Viral Wrath

Ghent Altarpiece by Jan van Eyck

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Do you want to get social media right? In a world where one person can reach millions and those millions can reach back, people theoretically have enormous power. Marketers of all kinds are tyring to figure out what this means. Among the social media evangelist community, much attention is poured into how to use social media to our benefit. Should we focus more on social media’s dark side?

Social media has the power to connect billions of people together. What happens when an innocent person is the victim of a social media attack? Who protects the innocent when an otherwise civil crowd transforms into an angry mob? If the victim already has an established presence on the web, she might have a fighting chance at responding. Even with a web presence, though, it’s possible for a dangerous crowd to launch a virtually violent campaign.

When we’re connected like never before, what halts the scapegoating process? Marketers (we’re all marketers aren’t we) typically welcome and hope for viral messages. That’s often the Holy Grail of social media marketing.

If the virus is a fundamental currency of social media, should we not tread with caution? Who protects the sacrificial lamb? Wrath is viral too.

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