Ged Carroll

The wisdom of mobs

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Old media historically took a pride in its ability to spur the public into action, a classic example would be The Sun’s headline from April 11, 1992 which trumpeted ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It’. In this case claiming that The Sun’s readers had turned the tide of an election. There is also a darker side to this: the wisdom of mobs. 

I have been interested in how mob behaviour or the shifting of public opinion has been changed by social media and affected consumer behaviour with ‘the wisdom of mobs’.  The recent super injunction debate has again brought it to the fore, as has Anonymous and Wikileaks.

This has all had another subtle effect, as evidenced by this quote from Jamie East, founder of HolyMoly:

“There are fewer gobshites who aren’t media-trained and surrounded by PRs, so it’s more difficult to find things to write about. And the ‘pap’ agencies aren’t getting the pictures they used to.”

East is describing in his own colourful way an awareness and responsibility about their own reputation, or as Singaporean blogger Pat Law put it:

As long as the information is online, even if you’ve placed it on private mode, your privacy is automatically placed on a pedestal for potential abuse. So never publish anything you don’t want people to know online.

This is one side to a multi-stranded solution to the wisdom of mobs problem:

More ethics related content can be found here.