Tag Archives: social media

#58 – Notes on Shame and the Modern Pillory

Shaming is a form of social control. When a person violates the established norms of their community, the group may respond by condemning, avoiding and ostracizing the ‘guilty’ person.

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In this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan examines public shaming in 18C London – where the guilty were placed in the pillory and pelted with various objects, including dead cats – and compares this to social media shaming. Is the treatment meted out on Twitter in 2017 little better than a 1717 stint in the pillory? Why do people join in to attack people they barely know or, more importantly, why do people attack others for ‘offences’ that are often spurious, subjective or not even understood? Aidan looks at one of the most famous cases of social media shaming, the only positive aspect of which was that no dead cats were hurled at the offender. The inherent danger in assisting with frantic social media shaming is that of potentially trivialising something real or exaggerating something trivial. There are, of course, many reasons to be genuinely outraged; Aidan is arguing that by rising up to engage in purely-reactionary shaming, the sphere of honest public discourse is suffering as a result.

Bibliography [by appearance]

Robert Shoemaker, The London Mob: Violence and Disorder in Eighteenth-Century England, (London: Hambledon Continuum, 2004).

‘The price of public shaming in the Internet age’, CNN web site, 16 April 2015, http://www.edition.cnn.com/2015/04/16/living/feat-public-shaming-ronson/index.html

‘A Terrible Shame. Enforcing moral norms without the law is no way to create a virtuous society’, Slate web site, 9 April 2015, http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/view_from_chicago/2015/04/internet_shaming_the_legal_history_of_shame_and_its_costs_and_benefits.html

‘How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life’, New York Times web site, 12 February 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html

 

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Donald Trump: Man of Letters

[This is a podcast companion article for episode 38 – ‘Notes on Making America Great Again‘.]

Listen to #38 – Making America Great Again

Many of Donald Trump’s tweets have not aged well. And some tweets have certainly aged worse than others.

It seems apparent that neither Trump nor his supporters are affected by the shame or embarrassment of what have proven to be ridiculous statements. Meanwhile, the rest of the world experiences astonishment at the rich irony to be found from such broken proclamations. Indeed, even the pariah of the international community, North Korea, has been critical of Trump’s Twitter outbursts, noting that Trump posts “ego-driven thoughts” and “rubbish” (Independent, 23 August 2017).

Here is my countdown, from 10 down to one, of the most, in hindsight, embarrassing tweets that the current United States President has bestowed upon the world. This is not a list of the most egregious attacks on individuals nor the most troubling anti-democratic statements, but a look back at utterances which, for a morally conscious human, would be the most cringe-worthy to reflect on in terms of their later inaccuracy or hypocrisy.

Before we begin the countdown, there is a bonus tweet which I could not quite justify including in the top ten, though it may perhaps find its way there in the future. This potential promotion depends on the outcome of the ongoing investigation regarding alleged collusion between Trump and the Russian government.

The bonus tweet:

Hold on tight, here is the top ten:

Do you agree or disagree on the top ten? Please do tweet me and let me know. In any case, we can be sure there are numerous more tweets which will look utterly horrendous in the dark days yet to come.

[Further commentary: All Aidan Project Podcasts and Articles on Donald Trump]

 

#40 – Downloading a President

The United States Intelligence Community concluded with high confidence that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. In this edition of the Aidan Project, Aidan is joined on the line from Israel by Ran Levi, an accomplished technology expert, science author and podcaster. In this episode, Aidan and Ran discuss the Russian hacking and/or cyber-meddling, and whether this type of outside interference can be stopped or whether it will also affect the 2020 U.S. presidential election. What exactly did the Russians do? And how did they do it? This episode also takes a look at the recent ransomware attacks which counted the British National Health Service amongst its victims, Donald Trump’s use of Twitter, the echo chamber mentality of social media, a possible showdown between NATO and North Korea, and much more. Born in Israel in 1975, Ran studied electrical engineering, and has worked as an electronics engineer and programmer for several high tech companies in Israel. Ran has written three books in Hebrew, Perpetuum Mobile, The Little University of Science, and Battle of Minds.  You can find Ran on Twitter @ranlevi or visit his web site at www.ranlevi.com. Ran’s new podcast, ‘Malicious Life’, has topped the iTunes charts in Israel and is available at www.malicious.lifeYou can tweet Aidan with your thoughts @theaidanproject.

Aidan and Ran’s previous episode together is called ‘Malicious Assured Destruction‘.

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