In wondering about the ways people tend to help one another in times of distress, I started thinking of the Internet’s capacity to connect people to issues that they, in other circumstances, would be of limited assistance. Now that the information highways are even wider, it has become increasingly easier to people to offer themselves to a noteworthy cause. The most current incident that has caused quite the stir within and around Internet communities was the recent firing of an Applebee’s employee in regards to customer privacy and corporate policies. To get a better scope of the issue, the article I looked at is here!
I think this article is widely fascinating because it really adds gravity to a.) how massively endless the web is and b.) what types of social disturbances will spark a fire into people. Just overnight Applebee’s became the focal point of this incident that started between one waitress and one patron; in a matter of hours, it was as if everyone who ever walked into a restaurant went to computer to ‘save’ the young woman who lost her job for posting someone’s receipt online. This hammers down one nail straight from the beginning: justice, on the Internet, it swift and uncompromising. The Applebee’s Facebook page was steamrolled with negative reactions and promises of losing large amounts of customers if the decision did not get recalled soon.
I think what becomes a major issue here is that although there seems to be an infinite number of voices signaling a rising action, is any one individual really being heard? If everyone vehemently punching their keyboard buttons in anger and outrage, who is screaming that loudest and is there any way to silence someone on the web? In terms of is anyone being heard, on a large scale, I think the answer is no. People do realize that there is an issue at hand and understand that something must be done, but I don’t think we can trace back this incident and find one singular voice that ignited such a chain reaction. This is exactly why plenty of causes get celebrity endorsements to add weight to the controversy. Without that representative image that most of society can look upon and recognize, it would appear that Facebook is filled with a lot of faceless disgruntled members. I also don’t think other Facebook users care too much what everyone else is saying either. So many times upon scrolling down the hundreds of comments on one thread, it is like you are reading the same thing with slight variations. You only need to raise one critical argument and say it well. If some people had read some of the previous comments, they would have figured out that the point they wanted to make was already stated hours ago, and that there was no need in killing a dead animal. But this only sheds light on another issue, people do not want to be told that they don’t have a voice, especially not on the Internet. If one hundred people feel inclined to make a point, then a hundred more comments will be made on a thread. The web is not like a classroom where the teacher serves as a moderator or a courtroom where the judge dictates certain privileges, on the other hand, the Internet is a fairly lawless place in terms of freedoms to say as we please. Only recently have we seen the slightest emergence of laws put into place to prevent death or suicide by cyber-bullying or threats. Whereas many advocates will contend that Applebee’s has bullied someone out of job, others can make the argument that a different type of bullying is taking place on Applebee’s Facebook pages and websites all over the web.
It seems to me that a lot of humanitarian and philanthropy efforts take place through the screen more than ever. Instead of taking our questions and concerns to the proper channels, it is easy to play the hero by clicking away the intolerance. One of the biggest social media melodramas in the past year and half was the Stop Kony movement that seem to go out of fashion faster than Google+ (no offense, we love Google). As opposed to investigating what happened, making educated steps of spark change, and following through with the right policy makers, a lot of young adults thought that watching, ‘liking’, and sharing the video that circulated Facebook was all it took to make a change.