Life-changing, phone-recorded video rants here to stay, says expert
'We don’t have a great framework for what the boundaries are'
If it seems like those videos of people saying dumb things, especially racially-charged things, are happening more and more. That's because they probably are and we need to be prepared, an online shaming expert says.
"I think teens are probably better at this than their parents are because they have grown up in an era where they expect to be surveilled," Cliff Lampe told The Homestretch on Friday.
"It is usually not a teen doing the violation being recorded."
- 'It's beautiful support; it's amazing': Target of racist rant at Denny's overwhelmed by kindness
- NYT | Planned Parenthood Videos Were Altered, Analysis Finds
Lampe is an associate professor at the University of Michigan's School of Information with a focus on technology-mediated human social interaction.
You've probably seen the videos he's talking about.
A New York City lawyer unleashes a racist tirade at a deli, inevitably followed by identification and retribution.
Who this this bigot in Midtown Manhattan? What's his name?<br><br>Please share this.<br><br>Here he is harassing & insulting two women for speaking Spanish...TO EACH OTHER in the middle of Manhattan.<br><br>Trump has empowered ugly white people like this to say whatever they feel like saying. <a href="https://t.co/WbHlet6H7c">pic.twitter.com/WbHlet6H7c</a>—@ShaunKing
A B.C. woman goes full xenophobe in a Lethbridge Denny's and loses her job, among other outcomes.
There's no shortage of examples.
It's difficult to muster sympathy for these subjects, but it's not hard to see how online shaming could lead to consequences that could outpace the original incident itself.
In 2012, a protestor at a Chick-fil-A filmed himself arguing with an employee at the restaurant over the fast food chain's anti-LGBTQ stance. He was fired after a YouTube video of the disagreement went viral. Two years later, he and his family were surviving on food stamps.
"We don't have a great framework for what the boundaries are. Part of the issue is the law has a hard time with harassment and how do you prove it, so people often take the justification of norms into their own hands and it becomes a lot more vigilante based."
Knowing consequences is a literacy
And those videos can live on forever online.
"I think people have said stupid things to one another for a long time. What's changed is our ability to record and share it and our ability to react to those recordings," he said.
Until laws around harassment and vigilantism catch up, there are ways to mitigate a situation from going south.
"By recording incidents themselves. You see this with police now quite often where they will record if they are being recorded. Having a recording of your own and being aware of what happens when somebody is recording you and how easy that is to share, is an essential literacy that people need to develop," Lampe said.
Or, you could just treat others with kindness — whether you're being video-taped or not.
- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Alberta peace officer hospitalized after picking up discarded fentanyl vial
- MORE ALBERTA NEWS | Calgary WinSport adds 8-storey Free Fall for adrenaline junkies
With files from The Homestretch