I had my eye on Jon Ronson’s non-fiction book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed ever since I heard Jon interviewed by Richard Fidler on ABC’s Conversations podcast. And let me tell you, the book did not disappoint.
I listened to the audio book version of So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed which is curated by Bolinda audio. The audio book is narrated by Jon himself, which always makes listening to a book that much better! Listening to Jon read his own findings on public shaming was so engaging.
I listened to the whole 7.5 hours over two days and I was actively engaged, perplexed and interested the entire way through. So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed is an analysis of social media interaction on a large, worldwide scale. It’s not so much focused on the one-on-one interactions between individuals on social media, but on the frenzy that can happen when a post (usually a tweet) goes viral for all the wrong reasons. Jon uses real-life case studies as examples of when someone has tweeted or done something silly online and, for whatever reason, it has been picked up by the masses. The result of which usually destroys the person’s life as they are hunted by an invisible army of angry internet users.
This book provides another side to the stories we have all heard about in online news & media; the stories of people getting fired from their job after an irresponsible Facebook status or being hunted by mainstream media after including a minority group in a stupid tweet. This book is a comment on contemporary online behaviour, how a screen can provide distance between two people and the harshness and cruelty that can ensue.
Jon also delves into the concept of shame and it’s history. He explores how and why shame (especially when it’s public) can be so detrimental to our livelihoods. I particularly liked the chapter where Jon visits a therapy group where the attendees were to act as if they were in shame-free space. When you take shame out of the equation, people are a lot more upfront, honest and able to speak about their feelings.
As a pretty active user of social media, I find this topic really interesting and Jon’s opinion & detailed research on this issue made me think a lot about judgement, kindness and forgiveness. An absolute top read that I recommend for all people above the ages of 18 (there is some pretty adult content in here) to pick up.
To buy a copy of Jon Ronson’s audio book, click here.
Listen to Jon Ronson’s fabulous interview by following the link below: