What’s really disturbing about yesterday’s events is how many adults thought it was a good idea to form a huge Internet gang to bully a bunch of kids and even plot to destroy their entire futures.
Without even trying to find out what really happened or listening to the other side, a gang of self-righteous folks jumped to judgment about a bunch of kids and prepared to mete out punishment based on nothing whatsoever but their clothing choices. Because that was the reason why it became so easy to condemn and mob them without any pause for reflection. They wore baseball caps people don’t approve of.
This is not an isolated case. This is one person after another who gets mobbed and destroyed by an online mob of folks outraged about something they can’t even fully verbalize. And it gets worse. First, it became ok to mob people for something they may have done as teenagers. Then it became ok to mob actual teenagers. What’s next? Preteens? Toddlers? Let’s go all Michael Green and Co and pledge to destroy the prospects of every infant who looks like he might grow up to believe something we don’t like.
A lot of profit is gained from the formation of these angry FB or Twitter mobs. While you are posting on them, you are exploitable. The moment you exit the app, you switch off its access to its only product: you. So the app needs to keep you hooked by offering up these manufactured outrage stories. Plus, you contribute to creating the environment of fear where anybody can be accused of anything at any time. Are you sure you haven’t been? Go check your social media, fast, and in the process sell some product for somebody else and invest some time, the only valuable thing you have, to help somebody else make a profit.
But who cares about boring things such as profit or exploitation, right? It’s all worth it because you are doing something really important. You are fighting Nazism. And the very people who profit from your belief in this will conveniently manufacture proof that there is Nazism everywhere around you.
The whole thing is extremely pleasant, extremely addictive. It gives an easy and accessible sense of purpose in a world where you’d have to work really hard to figure one out yourself. But it’s the pleasure of a drug addict. The cost of the enjoyment is too high.