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Thanks Gawker For Setting The Record Straight--How Crowd-Mobbing Controls A Conversation.

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on April 17, 2007

I’m all for parody so “Business Week Editor, Former Gang Member, Lives in Terror of Roving Packs of Lesbians” had me laughing this morning. This parody of what actually happened over the past week to me—and the judicial system—holds some major lessons for all of us in this new world of social media.

Just to set the record straight. I went to do jury duty and lost my freedom. It’s a nightmare facing anyone doing jury duty. I made a request to get information about the danger facing my family while I served as a juror on a case in which the defendants were accussed of gang assault and attempted murder. I wanted to know if violent, national gang, such as the Crips, was involved so that I needed to protect my family while serving on the jury.

The next thing I knew, I was tossed off the jury and detained by the judge in the court house for the duration of the trial. I wasn’t charged with a crime or allowed a lawyer. Scary? You bet. Imagine yourself in that situation. Detained for worrying about my family while doing my civic duty?

Paradoxically, I actually like jury duty. I served as a juror on a criminal trial the last time I was called. Here I was actually being prevented from doing jury duty.

So I hired a criminal lawyer, we went to the Appellate Court and it immediately vacated the order to detain me. A rogue judge, who had been depriving numbers of people of their freedom for years, was stopped cold by his peers. End of story.

Except not. The narrative about the trial in our social media world is about “killer lesbians” and my being afraid of them. The New York Times story misses the point and buries the real story in the penultimate graph and leads with an error in the transcript. And then Gawker, having fun, takes it an runs.

So welcome to the world of crowd-mobbing,. There is a place for a serious discussion about the shape and direction of crowdsourcing, user-generated content and social media in general. But not today. Today we laugh with Gawker.

Reader Comments

David Armano

April 17, 2007 6:56 PM


It's also worth noting that in addition to the NY Times and Gawker viewpoints—you having a platform via this BusinessWeek blog allows you contribute to the conversation as well—to shape it and add your personal perspective.

Granted in your case, though the platform is convenient—it's less critical as you have connections in the press etc. Now think about an indivudual who might go through similar circumstances without any connections. Normally we relied on the press soley to help "set the record straight". Now, tools exist to help us magnify our voices.

For those of us who are fortunate enought to have cultivated a community—if we find ourselves in need of help, we have that community to turn to. Just like in real life—except the digital communities tend to be a little bigger. :)


April 17, 2007 9:12 PM

I'm afraid of Bruce. And his Blubber.

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