The dangerous new trend of 'trial by social media.'


There seems to be a concerning new trend emerging of ‘trial by social media.’ There's a couple of ways this can occur.

The first is where someone stands accused of a wrong doing and the alleged victim writes a public post, complete with photos and publicly names and shames the person. The issue is that this can occur without being reported to police or undergoing due process. There's been examples where people have allegedly had their Facebook photos stolen, fake profiles created and suddenly they find themselves in the centre of a social media storm being accused of things they did not say.

The second is in the case of this brilliant Ted Talk called 'how one tweet can ruin your life' by Jon Ronson, a person shares something that the world collectively loses their mind over. Suspending all judgement about them personally, the point is somewhere along the way they thought it was appropriate. Perhaps they made a serious mistake or misjudgement. Perhaps they are seriously misinformed. Regardless, the issue is often the severity of public response. There's a difference between constructively adding to a discussion and hunting people down within an inch of their lives.

The result is becoming a licence for everyone to grab their virtual pitch forks and engage in a public, mass witch hunt and in some cases, taking glee out of destroying another human being.

This is particularly relevant for personal branding and even more so for women who are positioning themselves as authorities in their field. As a person of influence, what you say matters. What you don't say matters. What you share matters. It can have wide reaching impacts for everyone involved and it's of paramount importance that you are working with someone who can help you effectively manage this.

For women such a mass scale show down usually becomes particularly personal by being accompanied by death and rape threats, or threats to your family.

When as a society did we decide that was acceptable?

Due process exists for a reason. If you're a victim of a crime, or witness something that could constitute a crime, report it to the police. If you see something unacceptable or inappropriate from a business, submit a complaint following the appropriate processes either directly with them or through the appropriate body. If you see one of these mass witch hunts unfolding, stop and think before you share and only share from reputable sources (eg. The police). 

The majority of people don’t get out of bed one day to deliberately harm others, but you just don’t know what you’re inadvertently contributing to that could have life long consequences for people.

Shevonne Joyce has built and monetised a trusted and quality personal brand that spans 60 countries. She works with women to position them as the go-to brand in their industry. If you're ready to become the go-to brand in 2018, please get in touch.

Shevonne Joyce