Mob mentality has always been with us. My favourite example is from August 2010 when in the wake of the Sarah Payne murder a mob of residents converged on a suspected paedophiles house to forcibly oust the evil woman from their midst…only problem was she was not a paedophile she was a paediatrician, and they didn’t understand the difference.
Now fast forward to 2011 and throw Twitter into the mix, it has been interesting to see how many people joined in the #notw bashing not because a) they had been affected or b) they were actually outraged, but because they saw the hoo-haa and thought they’d join in.
Whats worrying about this is that Twitter is becoming a giant continuous focus group for both politicians and the media. When a metaphorical group of pitchfork baring Tw-okels turn up in your news feed real decisions are being made about policies and companies that effect real peoples lives.
Rupert Murdoch is an aggressive and quite ruthless business-man of whom I (and you) truly know very little. But in the last few days I’ve seen him compared to Hitler, a Bond Villain and Lord Voldermort with News Corp cast as the Evil Empire. My sense of perspective says some people are wildly running away with this and taking us all with them.
You may well think that thus far by-and-large the right people have been given the right treatment, but mark my words, someday soon a social media equivalent of the paediatrician story will happen and it wont be pretty.