What happened when Jon Ronson met the creators of his Twitter impersonator
Back in 2012, Jon Ronson found an account on Twitter that shared his name and photograph. He wasn’t especially happy about it, and met with its creators to see if they might be able to take @jon_ronson down. Here’s how the conversation went . . .
After posting the video online, Jon was delighted to find a groundswell of support for his case. But some of the responses to the video surprised him, some people responded by publicly shaming the perpetrators. Jon found this fascinating, so he began to explore the phenomenon of modern public shaming. The resulting stories – hilarious and eye-opening as only Jon Ronson can be – are in his new book, So You've Been Publicly Shamed, which is out in March this year. It’s Jon at his funniest and most thought-provoking, and we can’t wait for you all to be able to read it.
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.
A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice. But what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people's faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.