This specific Ted Talk points out some major issues that are going on in today’s society. Jon Ronson brings up some excellent points pertaining to how the social media can take one simple thing and misconstrued it and then proceed to blow it up way out of proportion. It was not only the subject matter on which he was discussing, but the way he was presenting the information that made it obvious which side of the argument he was one. Jon Ronson spoke with passion which as a viewer it made you hang on to every word he was saying.
Ronson not only brings up social media in a whole, but he also shows the progression of specific events as well as how social media has changed since it was first created. Social media takes up a vast amount of people’s life in today’s society, it does not help that it is right there at one’s finger tips. Jon Ronson brings up a question that nobody really has brought to light or has an answer for. Ronson asks “When does the act of online shaming go too far? “(Ronson, 2015) Ronson used one specific event to show just how vicious online shaming can be, and how quickly it can escalate way beyond what should have.
The event in question is in regards to Justine Sacco, she was head of communications at a digital communications company. (Ronson, 2015) Justine Sacco went on a trip to Africa and decided to post on social media about, Sacco chose to tweet about her trip before her plane took off. The tweet read “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white! ” (Ronson, 2015) Being that Sacco could not check her phone while she was on the flight she had now idea how her life was about the change. When her flight landed Sacco took her phone out and turned it on, and her phone blew up with txt, calls, and otifications, etc.
The tweet she had posted before takeoff went viral and all of sudden Justine Sacco became public enemy number one. Justine Sacco did not even have that big of a social media following, but one of her followers retweeted the post to a more known journalist. That is when it blew up, Jon Ronson later contacted this journalist and asked how did it feel about what he had done? He replied saying that it felt “delicious”, and then backed it up with “but I am sure she is fine” (Ronson, 2015) In this moment Ronson realized that this journalist had no idea the ramifications of his actions were.
Ronson once again brings up the question, “When does online shaming go too far? ” Ronson says that he has always kind of been the person to stand up for the little guy, he would stand up against the powerful. With the ever growing world of social media Jon Ronson realizes that everyone who is on social media now has the power to either make one’s life better, or completely destroy it with no ramifications of their action’s. There is a valid argument in this presentation, but nothing is one hundred percent perfect.
The weakest point in this argument was that, Justine Sacco was not completely innocent in the way he was portraying her. Jon Ronson does later on in the speech say that he met with Justine Sacco and talked to her about the tweet. Her response it not what one would have thought it to be, especially if you were one of the many that had been reading and listening to social media throughout this event. Even though there was a weak point, there were strong points in the speech. Jon Ronson uses ethos, logos, and pathos perfectly, which all helped him present a very powerful speech.
Looking at the speech probably the strongest aspect of it was the way he presented the information. It did help that the topic that was being discussed was one that has a part in almost everyone’s life. Which as a viewer you could see that the topic of social media resonated strongly with his audience. Majority of the audience were dressed in business attire and had name tags around their necks, and there was a good mixture of ages, which leads me to believe that it was a conference.
At the same time the speaker at the end mentioned that the book written by Ronson was mandatory reading, which can lead one to believe that it was some type of class. Jon Ronson did a really good job of keeping their attention, which probably not that hard being that a good amount of them had already heard about the topic of discussion. Also the fact that social media more than likely played a significant part in their lives. In every situation or argument there is always two sides, and more than likely they each view the situation completely different.
With there being so many different opinions surrounding social media and the uses of it, there is definitely going to be a disagreement or two. The audience who would more than likely stand with Jon Ronson on this topic would be more of the older generation that really do not understand what social media is or the impact it can have on a generation. Another group who would more than likely be victims of internet shaming. Most of the time when one has personally experienced the effects of shaming, whether it be online or in day to day life, they will not take part in the shaming.
There is always another side to look at, and in this case there is the side of the people who do not agree with this argument. Those individuals are more than likely to be taking a prat in online shaming, not truly understanding the impact of what they do. Jon Ronson establishes himself as a writer of many books about standing up to the powerful. This is a perfect use of ethos. When a viewer is told something like this majority of time they take the person at their word. It also helped his case with the way he presented himself, as a person who knew what he was talking about.
The way he used ethos played into the way he used the pathos, he hit you with the ways that online shaming personally impacted Justine Sacco and how she lost her job due to the shaming. When he mentioned that you felt bad for her, but Jon Ronson hit you even harder when he mentioned her dad. Because it was no longer just effecting her it was having an effect on her families’ name and reputation. Even though the use ethos and pathos are big in the forming of a good speech there is also the use of logos.
Jon Ronson clearly points out his argument, and his stance on the matter at hand. Jon Ronson points out a couple of the tweets that went way to far; “I’m actually kind of hoping Justine Sacco gets aids? Lol”. (Ronson, 2015) Some responding Tweets went as far as saving th ets went as far as saying that she should get raped and contract aids, or that she should be killed. Tweets like this as they say just puts nails into the coffin of Ronsons’ argument, that it just seals his already solid argument.
Those examples are only a few of the hateful and malicious things that were said surrounding this event. This presentation has a very solid argument backing all the points that are made by Ronson. There are no evident flaws within his argument, Ronson made his points clear and precise. The way he used ethos, pathos, and logos all helped make this speech what it was. He had research and examples to back every point that was made, which in change made his argument that much stronger. The presentation really made you as a viewer stop and think about when does online shaming go too far?