Sunday, June 14, 2009

Netizens with a God complex

A few days ago I posted a blog about netizens positioning themselves as god.  Then just this morning, I came across an article about "Search &(Destroy) Engines".  It is really scary.

The article talks about what I was discussing a few days ago - the broader public taking justice into their own hands.  Whilst there are references in the article to some entirely immoral, unethical and frankly inhumane acts that, in retribution, have suffered at the hands (or clicks??) of the global society, I still have an issue with justifying this new millenium version of lynch mobs.

My issue is not with justice being brought to these people.  Their actions are inexcusable and they deserve to be punished.  However, punishment decided by and brought about via the masses reeks of uncontrollable hysteria.  

Unlike the lynch mobs of yesteryear, the result of this cyber-retaliation is not necessarily death.  That is, by the hands of others.  I would argue that public retaliation on these individuals will drive them to take their own lives and this brings me back to my original point - who died and made the netizens God?

I am all for the borderless society that the Internet affords us but I am now wondering who should be controlling the uncontrolled?  And further, is it the instant fame or notoriety that motivates people to do the unspeakable and then post videos online? 
As you can tell I'm somewhat baffled by this trend and I don't know what the answer is.  What I do know is that the future is clearer in the rearview mirror and we should be looking back to the 18th Century to see where this current bout of God-complexes is going to lead us. 

No comments: