But Gale’s bullying and childish tactics are not the worst parts: it’s the audience, the followers, the media, cheering on, welcoming the suffering and distress of another innocent person because she had temporarily been in prior distress herself (again, according only to Gale).
Cyberspace and digital platforms are not free for all spaces that have no moral repercussions; they matter, because words matter. Gale’s actions directly affected another person, and they appear to be fuelled by the “sick love” people have with digital nastiness. It’s as if people believe there are no repercussions for calling her names, for laughing at her.
But there are repercussions. It’s just that most of us have never been the target of such systematic and bullish tactics. The laughter will cease when that does, and we’ll wonder how we ever laughed at all. Don’t support people like Gale. Do something Gale didn’t: be a better person than those who are causing you distress.
Read the full piece in The Guardian, and let’s have less of this (which jeopardised someone’s offline job – though to be fair the organisation needed to have a more co-ordinated response policy!), and more of this in which everyone is in on the joke (I’m for inclusion over exclusion)!
Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.