Just a little more than a year after Justine Sacco sent the ill-fated, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m White!” tweet, The New York Times Magazine wrote an in-depth piece on her (and others who have suffered the social media mob) to see where she is now and how this has affected her livelihood.

There has been a lot of subsequent coverage on the topic:

It’s an interesting look at the social media, whether the crime fits the punishment, and how we might all need to chill.

Jon Ronson, the article’s author, even researched how long it has been since society allowed public shamings in much the same way we ridicule online (the 14th Century).

The conversation turns from the social media mob and online lynchings to how we can use humor in our social media efforts without coming across as clueless and insensitive as the Sacco tweet.

Her point was that the tweet was so ridiculous, she couldn’t imagine anyone taking it seriously. She was making a satirical remark on the bubble we live in in North America. But what she learned is, unless you’re Louis CK or South Park, satire doesn’t work so well in 140 characters.

It’s an interesting world we live in. Many business leaders are scared of what happens when an employee doesn’t think and sends a tweet like this, or when a customer is unhappy and doesn’t get his way. There are, of course, ways to deal with critics, but Joe poses the question, “Does it make sense in some extreme cases to go completely dark?”

What do you think?

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  1. Albert Maruggi

    Let’s just say this, those who know me know I’ve reduced my presence on social except for Twitter, mostly a couple of years ago when I found social getting hostile to those merely stating an option, or trying to engage in a discussion. The attempts a humor that failed notwithstanding, social has become a pool with live electrical wires overhead in a wind storm.

    I started personal private file called Tweets I never tweeted. It’s not online just for little old me. Why did I not tweet them? Because I don’t have the time to deal with a potential advocate who is trolling for a fight or a misstep at humor.

    What’s the result? Social isn’t the place it could be where sides are understood instead of attacked or defend. I thought it could be that place of understanding in the beginning, for the most part, I was wrong.

    Think about it this way, if social was a corporation then we have hindered creativity with the way we pounce on things. The current IVF and Dolce Gabbana dispute is the latest of these examples. With every act of social discretion that leads to not posting (this includes me) we give power to those who want to attack instead of understand a perspective. However, I am not on social to advocate a position, just because I have one. Yet by having a position, a personal as that belief might be, and as open as I can be that your position is equally valid, there still seems to be the aurora of conflict. Our society is so accustomed to say sports where there is a winner and loser in a short time period or entertainment where there is a beginning, middle and end. Where someone is right or wrong. We do not yet live in a society where all can accept a discerning period for each other.

    To the question posed in this piece ” Does it make sense to go completely dark?” My answer, for now is yes, because we are living in an era where beliefs and positions are an encampment to be defend and for most of those participating in social it seems like we are not living in a period of enlightenment.

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