So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (Review)

We will be reviewing reading from our CPD library over the course of this year. Our 1st review is from the recent book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. Don’t forget you can view the current list of books available on Google Drive.

book review 1

You are what you tweet

Journalist Jon Ronson sets out to make his audience think twice about their use of social media by sharing the stories of those who have been publicly shamed for their inappropriate or fraudulent posts on Twitter or other channels.

Posts may include words or images which would have remained private or in very limited circulation in pre-internet days.

He travels the world interviewing men and women who have been publicly shamed for a variety of reasons (an experience made all too easy by the way a story can be spread beyond all reasonable measure on social media).

I thought his early example (Justine Sacco, a New York publicist who in 2013 tweeted a joke intended to be read as a satire of Western ignorance) was too extreme to be considered relevant to most of his readers.

However, a later chapter tells of a man who was sacked from his post after making inappropriate comments at a conference and this example could be ‘closer to home’ for many of us.

In his book Ronson also intends to challenge those who are passing judgement on others and says, ‘we don’t feel accountable during a shaming because a snowflake never feels responsible for the avalanche’.

He concludes, ‘when we jump on a shaming bandwagon we should feel terrible too’.

His message must be firstly to always think seriously about content and accuracy before posting or blogging and secondly to stand back from judging others.

By Sarah Nicholson @DHSBoys

The Times review puts this very succinctly.

‘Certainly, no reader could finish [the book] without feeling a need to be gentler online, to defer judgment, not to press the retweet button, to resist that primal impulse to stoke the fires of shame.’ (The Times)


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