Jon Ronson tells the story about Justine Sacco who jokingly tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” While she was on an airplane, this tweet received an enormous amount of negative attention on Twitter without her being able to respond. Ronson points out that no one had empathy and took her side. Also, when some users tweeted about hoping she would be raped, no one turned on these offensive comments. It’s very topical story and Ronson does an excellently entertaining job describing the full picture showing the tweets on the screen behind him.
During the Q&A, he says after writing this book, he can’t shame anyone online now. “I’m not some sort of shame imam.” Instead, he wants people to have empathy and not quickly jump on the shame bandwagon. Catch great talks like this at the Chicago Humanities Festival running through November 8th and get a copy of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.