….well, quite accurate, if Elle Hunt’s overreaction to the Great Mushroom Picture brouhaha is anything to go by:
Even if she’s checked out Brok’s profile pics and thinks he’s a bit of all right and isn’t dissuaded by his friends’ possibly habitual over-stepping of boundaries, taking a photo of a woman in public, at distance, without her consent or even her knowledge, then posting it to a public Facebook page with 880,900-plus followers is enormously misjudged at best and (I don’t know, I hope, because if it isn’t it should be) possibly criminal at worst.
A criminal record for taking a snapshot that includes a woman in it? You have got to be kidding me!
“The internet is a reflection of society,” I often say in defence of a story about some trending hashtag. But that also means that the internet is full of failures of judgment and questionable content and men feeling ownership over a woman they quite know literally nothing about, apart from that she owns white shorts, eats mushrooms and was on the Gold Coast on Monday night.
He doesn’t want to ‘own her’. He wants to meet her, maybe date her if they both click.
It’s called the continuation of the species. You may have heard of it.
Whether or not these stories have “happy endings” is sort of beside the point: women have a right to be in public spaces (and private ones!) without being co-opted into some bloke’s bid for “love” or likes.
What about men? Don’t they have a right too?
Is the taking of photos to illustrate ‘manspreading’ something you ever got up on your high horse about?
… just because something has “gone viral” isn’t in and of itself reason to report on it. If media is going to cover internet culture, it must exercise at least as much judgment as it would with stories that occurred “offline”, a bar that admittedly varies from publication to publication.
Yeah, well, that’s a consequence of 25/7/365 news. They’ve got to write about something…
…we journalists working the digital beat can exercise judgment and discretion and a sense of responsibility over how much of the internet we lend our somewhat quaint, old-media credibility, for howsoever long it may last.Not every “Facebook user” is deserving of their 15 minutes of fame. Not every product prototype that goes viral on Tumblr makes a “trend”. Not every brand’s “perfect response” needs to be amplified. Some people are just very good at playing for favourites, and more power to them.
But if the media’s broadening the definition of “news” – which, ICYMI, I’m all in favour of – let’s not take it so far as to include every bozo’s idiotic bid for internet acclaim. Especially if it involves someone else without their knowledge, let alone their consent, and those retweets and likes and shares come at their expense.
Your ‘old media’ is increasingly irrelevant. People will decide for themselves what constitutes ‘news’. And if they judge this is indeed news, by sharing it and liking/disliking, or polling, or any of the other options available…then you’ll be out of the picture.