Category: Digital World Stress

Digital Vigilantism

Digital vigilantism is where citizens become activists and use the power of social media to share comments, demands for action, information, rallying calls etc. to counter what they see as offensive or injurious or damaging comment and behaviour.

This is not just about posting comments online but about taking actions online that have more serious consequences.

This is happening as social media has become an outlet for people angry or dissatisfied with the behaviour of other groups and institutions. This is increasingly used – sometimes for good but not always – to highlight behaviours and consequences.

An example occurred in the town of Charlottesville where a rally over plans to remove a Confederate statue were met by counter-protesters, leading Virginia’s governor to declare a state of emergency.

This led to violence that was witnessed by many local people.

Some Twitter users in the Charlottesville incident accessed private information to identify and publicly shame any and every white nationalist who took part in the rally, whether they committed a crime or not. Others, however, focused on identifying only the white nationalists seen in photos and videos committing violent acts. The digital evidence was then turned over to the Charlottesville Police Department.

In 2011 the Vancouver Stanley Cup riots broke out after the Boston Bruins ice hockey team defeated the Vancouver Canucks. Facebook vigilantes named and shamed individuals, including several young offenders, who took part in the riots. A 17-year-old, Nathan Kotylak, was named in response to an image posted online, and this led to him and his family having to flee their home.

‘Naming and shaming’, that is sharing the target’s personal details by publishing them on public sites is also known as ‘doxing’. This is quite extreme and can be very damaging for the individual concerned.

Sometimes this digital vigilantism helps the Police apprehend criminals, but it can easily backfire and damage innocent people.

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How to Unclog Your Digital Life

The Digital world can be fun, entertaining, instructive, informative and wonderful, but also sad, nasty, destructive and dangerous and every other emotion and purpose you can think of.

We all create the content and services – good and bad but most people agree now that the Digital World  can be very stressful and many things that people use the most only add to the stress of modern living. E.g. Facebook is not designed to help you but to make money for the owners and deliberately stresses users with constant reminders, notifications and updates that only serve Facebook’s need for you to constantly use the service.

Unclog your digital life by taking simple actions to regain control.

  • Your smart phone is your servant not your master. Turn it off at night and whenever you can.
  • Set all APPS to no notifications – you don’t need to know the second an email arrives or someone on Facebook likes your page.
  • Uninstall /delete any programmes, services and APPS that aren’t genuinely useful to you.
  • Cancel all newsletters and anything similar that clogs up your email.
  • Unsubscribe from everything online you’re subscribed to unless you really cannot do without it.
  • Talk to real people – don’t avoid them by using text messages instead.
  • Make time to eat properly, not on the move rushing from one place to the next and no screens to look at while eating.
  • Make time to unwind before sleep and get a decent 7-9 hours sleep every night (phone turned off)
  • If you’re an avid game player – limit the time you spend on the games and never just before bedtime.
  • Practice mindfulness (with or without an APP)

Let me know your thoughts on the Digital World and the stress it puts us under and how we could learn to better manage it.

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