Digital Shadow

Posted: August 19, 2010 in Module 3: Your Internet Footprint
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Very interesting lecture by Tama on digital shadows. Interesting to hear how someone can be literally branded for life and never truly able to step out from a digital shadow that they may have had no role in creating. (See Star Wars Kid). I read on recently that Ghyslain Raza slipped into depression as a result of the ridicule and harassment suffered because of that video he shot but never had any intention of sharing.  Despite the fact he is now President of a non-profit organisation dedicated to preserving the heritage of the town of Trois-Rivières, a Google search of his name results in page after page of references to the “Star Wars Kid”, only recently interspersed with the “Where is he now?” stories.

Similar story about the “Dog Poop Girl”.  In reporting the story in 2005, The Washington Post said using the Internet to settle scores or issue public complaints is commonplace.  In recent years, the Internet has also spawned the rise of “citizen journalism”.  The Post asks: “But what happens when the two converge, and the Internet populace is stirred to action against individuals?” It becomes a cyber-posse and quite often the punishment does not fit the crime.

I know someone who went through a similar situation.  I won’t go into the details but suffice to say he was harassed and even had death threats stretching over many months.  He was labeled as a conspirator via YouTube and on blogs and the mob turned on him.  Years later, the digital shadow of that incident still hangs over him.


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