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So You've Been Publicly Shamed

So You've Been Publicly Shamed

Book - 2015
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This is the perfect time for a modern-day Scarlet Letter--a radically empathetic book about public shaming, and about shaming as a form of social control. It has become such a big part of our lives it has begun to feel weird and empty when there isn't anyone to be furious about. Whole careers are being ruined by one mistake. A transgression is revealed. Our collective outrage at it has the force of a hurricane. Then we all quickly forget about it and move on to the next one, and it doesn't cross our minds to wonder if the shamed person is okay or in ruins. What's it doing to them? What's it doing to us?
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), 2015.
ISBN: 9781594487132
Characteristics: 290 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Yuki says: "Fascinating look into the world of social media and how what you say might change your life. Jon Ronson has a humorous style that Brits are known for, and it was an entertaining read. His other book on psychopaths was interesting, too. (“Psychopath Test”)"

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Mar 10, 2020

Book is more of a gossipy, personal feelings narrative than a review and analysis of on line attacks.

Jul 30, 2018

People make mistakes. We also make dumb jokes that aren’t intended to hurt anyone but sometimes do. In this book the author interviews folks whose mistakes were made in a very public and embarrassing way, or whose “jokes” went completely wrong and they were shamed by people on the internet. The one that stands out to me was of a woman who, while traveling, took pictures in front of signs and made stupid comments and posted them on social media. Yes, they were inappropriate at times. One of her pictures/comments was made at a cemetery and it offended people because they thought she should have been behaving in a more respectful way. This particular story hit home with me because my sister and I did the same thing. We got such a kick out of the funny signs we saw in Europe so we took silly pics and made what we thought were funny comments. Neither of us lost our job or were publicly shamed. We were lucky. It can happen to anyone and this book shows that. The author likened public internet shaming of the 21st century to being pilloried in the 1700’s and I agree. I was fascinated by these stories of public shaming, couldn’t put the book down, and highly recommend you read it, too.

Jan 15, 2018

Such a relevant read! Well researched, well interviewed, and well executed! My second Jon Ronson read (after The Psychopath Test) and he did not disappoint. Eye opening and thought provoking, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed makes readers think twice about their silent power on today’s social media, and also gives public shame victims a second chance/new voice, hopefully.

Oct 12, 2017

With the advent of social media has evolved a new method of letting someone else know you disapprove of their actions: public shaming. From journalists investigating potentially career-ending secrets and sex scandals to Twitter users expressing outrage over insensitivity, Jon Ronson recounts the trajectories of a number of recent such shamings. Why are some "shamees" utterly ruined, while others emerge essentially unscathed? Since the book's publication there have been a number of additional, very public, shamings which have provoked apologies or a reversal of a decision, and it will be interesting to see how this phenomenon evolves and what sorts of effects it continues to have.

Sep 24, 2017

This is definitely a book worth reading all the way through. I felt a wide range of emotion, and that's only strengthened when you remember it's a non-fiction title.

Feb 18, 2017

Fascinating, real-life stories of people whose lives have been ruined by the internet and social media. Ronson does a great job of asking philosophical questions about our public lives and also our stance on "shaming" throughout human history.

jr3083 Jan 07, 2017

One of the problems with a media-savvy author who travels the world promoting his book is that by the time you get round to reading it, you feel as if you've already done so.

This was the case for me with this book, which I had heard about through multiple interviews on different Radio National programs. The author, who had his own taste of being the victim of cyber-stalking, becomes fascinated by the phenomenon of shaming over the Internet as a modern manifestation of an older form of punishment and social control. ...

Of course, through his book Ronson shames these people again by publicizing their plights anew and I found his smug voyeurism rather off-putting. Nonetheless, many of his points resonated.

The book was an easy enough read. I just felt that I'd already heard it all before.

For my full review see:

Oct 10, 2016

My five year old daughter likes to imitate my exuberant sister Jenny and stomp her foot while saying, "That's it, I've had it, I'm going to tell." Thank God there was no social media in the 80's and I get to pass these tales of our slightly crazy family down the old fashioned way. Ronson hits another home run with this cautionary tale for the digital age. I am sure the Stasi would have loved the internet and social media where people willingly announce every thought, feeling and action to the general public. People's lives and careers have been ruined from ill timed tweets and poorly delivered Facebook posts. I will definitely attempt to make my digital footprint just a little smaller and my life a tiny less transparent with less dank memes.

Jun 27, 2016

Public shaming on social media - it's as easy as an anonymous comment, or one click of the "share" button - but our removal from the direct effects of our actions doesn't lessen their impact on those affected, and may even weigh on our conscience, when the shaming gets out of control.

Jon Robson, through the stories of several individuals, studies the phenomenon of public shaming through social media - and unlike in the past, where a public humiliation may have been over and done with in an afternoon, or a few days - there is something incredibly terrifying about the permenance of social media shaming. In one chapter, Jon Ronson explains how Google can be an ongoing source of anxiety for those shamed, and how one company helps out those who want to leave their past behind (or at least move it to page 2 of the Google search results).

Some of the people in the book who have been shamed were perhaps foolish, but none seemed deserving of the utter hell that thousands of online users unleashed upon them. Jon Ronson comes across as a charmingly unflappable confidant to those he interviews and writes so well that it was hard for me to put this book down before it ended.

I really will continue to think about not only the words I speak, but the actions I make online, after reading this book. Incredible work.

Jun 01, 2016

This book makes me feel so conflicted, and I don't know if that's what Jon Ronson wanted to achieve. On the one hand, I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for the wrong-doings of some of the featured people in this book (the guy who made the dongle joke being the exception--that's just a gross case of misinterpretation). BUT I don't think they should be relentlessly hounded by everyone with internet access about their mistake, whatever it was. I'm sure they feel bad enough about what they did, and there's no need to put their lives/employment at risk. I don't know what the right solution here is, and I'm not convinced that Ronson gave us much to go on regarding a solution, or a recommendation going forward, which is something I usually want/expect to hear from non-fiction authors.

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Apr 27, 2015

lisatofts thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 99


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Jun 06, 2016

P 248 And after they were jailed, things got only worse. At Walpole-Massachusetts's most riot-prone prison during the 1970s-officers intentionally flooded the cells and put insects in the prisoners' food. They forced inmates to lie face-down before they were allowed meals. Sometimes officers would tell prisoners they had a visitor... then the officer would say that he was just kidding. And so on. 'They thought these things would be how to get them to obey," Gilligan told me. 'But it did the exact opposite. It stimulated violence.' 'Literally every killer told you this?' I asked. 'It amazed me how universal it was,' Gilligan replied. 'Over decades.'


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