Amy Salloway’s recent Issues article for The Kernel, in which she discusses her experience after an inappropriate photo was posted online without her knowledge, is a well-written and poised discussion about what it feels like to be humiliated in the virtual world.
It is also an important reminder that our online actions can have just as much impact as real-world interactions and that a little virtual kindness can go a long way.
Monica Lewinsky’s recent TED talk, The Price of Shame, also outlines the dangers of public shaming in the internet age. In it, Lewinsky shares her own experience as ‘patient zero’ of what would soon become a trend of worldwide public humiliation via the internet and discusses the larger phenomenon of virtual harassment that has followed in its wake. What particularly concerns Lewinsky is the propagation of ‘a permissive environment online’ in which information is ‘amplified, uncontained and permanently accessible.’
Lewinsky’s brave and moving talk calls for a stop not only to cyberbullying and harassment, but an increased capacity for compassion, empathy and humanity online, urging people to remember that the individual whose private life is being published or ridiculed is ‘dimensional, has a soul.’
So, just a reminder before you post, repost, tweet, retweet, share, like, favourite, publish or comment on something online, take just a moment to think about the effect it might have on someone, even if you don’t know them.
Read Amy’s full article here or watch Lewinsky’s TED talk below.