Justice is a Goal Valid in a Democratic Society

Moral outrage amplified by social media at times leans toward mob rule.

Aristotle’s definition of anger (moral outrage)
a desire accompanied by pain for an imagined retribution on account of an imagined slighting inflicted by people who have no legitimate reason to slight oneself or one’s own.”

But what of this “slight”? Is this justice-oriented or something intimated to lower the social status of those that offend? This begins to lean into the realm of ‘mob justice” because the voices of disregard are blunt, massive and hold little civilized regard or meaning.

Here is what Abraham Lincoln said in 1832:
There is, even now, something of ill-omen amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions in lieu of the sober judgment of Courts, and the worse than savage mobs for the executive ministers of justice…Thus, by the operation of this mobocratic spirit, which all must admit, is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any Government, particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed.

He warns that mob rule can endanger democracy and justice. The ugly outcomes of this type of rule are more apparent today than 184 years ago.

Socrates stated in The Republic that this path takes democracy back to tyranny.

Our attention economy is hard-wired into social media design, so the danger now is even more stark and apparent.

Justice is a process, not the outcome.

One of my favourite Twitter features

One feature of Twitter that I have been using extensively and find very useful is to ‘favourite’ a Tweet. (whoops – for all those down south ‘favorite’). Depending on the program you are using to get your Twitter feed, ‘favouriting’ a Tweet is usually very easy. With the constantly expanding number of people that you follow you need some way of following up those URLs that are being given. You wouldn’t be following them if they weren’t right? I have 2,877 favourites at this point and they give me a huge resource to followup whenever I get a few minutes. Anything that is valuable gets moved to Evernote for future reference. (Evernote use is another story). If you have an iPhone or iPad then the movement and view of resources is ubiquitous. Any place, any time. A very good learning experience.


What is happening to blogging?

Besides myself there are a lot of blogs that are in hibernation at this point. It seems strange but a diet of Twitter seems to have evaporated the desire to write. Taking the bit of thought of many people seems easier than spending time following someone’s complete train of thought on a subject. Are we becoming enamored by small bits of text in a quick series? This will date me but I remember the show Laugh-In. What made is so unique and unusual was the shortness of each film clip. It made a huge impact and had the effect that a one room TV scene became almost obsolete. MTV hit us with even shorter clips to  coincide with each drum beat of music. Now Twitter seems to be the snippet induced mind candy. Yesterday was my 3rd anniversary of Twittering and there has been a evolution in usage and acceptance. At the start was the challenge of how long it would continue, just like blogging and email. The answer probably will always be whatever technology or system we use will continue as long as it is relevant to those that use it. Maybe for some of us we just need to write more.

McAlpine does it again

The creative ninja from Chilliwack, Tim McAlpine has delivered another video for the Your Symposium hosted by Forum Solutions in October.

Of course he is going to get together his posse and take over the 2nd morning with the young at heart. But Tim you have to look at yourself in the mirror. You are a Gen Xer. Your the Brand X of the generation pool. These young guys have more energy and are quicker than you. Us Boomers know to stay out of zone that that they create. My kids are Gen Y so there is some history to learn here. They will take you in because you are a nice guy. They will put up with you because you have that creative energy. But Tim you are a marketeer not a mouseketeer. Develop the Young and Free platform, get everyone excited but remember – the Boomers are your real friends. You don’t have to go over to the other side like that. Hoodie? Next you’ll be skateboarding and into graffiti and you will be listening to You Say Party We Say Die.

Seriously anyone reading this and has gotten this far needs to know Tim and I are friends, right Tim? What we both agree upon is that this is by far the best event you can attend and here are some reasons why.

  • you will meet people who have fantastic points of view.
  • you will have ample opportunity for discussions.
  • you will probably meet some people you have never met before but have read their blogs and twitter postings.
  • you will meet the most gracious hosts (Forum Solutions) ever, period.
  • the food is lots of and great.
  • this is the most real symposium with the most real people you can imagine.
  • what you learn and hear will churn in your head for a long time.
  • there is a magical, caring quality about this event that is unique and must be experienced.
  • it will not let you down, it will exceed your expectations.

Sign up, be there, keep Tim happy. This happening is about great people and socializing with them. The media stuff and marketing is the value add on.


There is an excellent post on TechCrunch about a site for retweeting. I hadn’t really thought about this because using Twitter in a browser doesn’t have this function. TweetDeck does (and if you aren’t using this program as your desktop browser you are loosing some extremely valuable tools and processes) and the wonderful iPhone app Tweetie. The program Retweetist purports that retweeting indicates authority or popularity and the program lists those tweets that have had numerous retweets (enough with the tweets…)

What seems to be happening here is that Twitter, since it seemingly is or is close to mainstream now, is beginning the “authority” or “popularity” or whatever you want to call it game, like past discussions on blogging and Technorati.  Benedict Spinoza said something about vain people “It may easily come to pass that a vain man may become proud and imagine himself pleasing to all when he is in reality a universal nuisance.” That sums up the popularity discussion  for me.

 Those that I have followed who have used Twitter for over a year (and that is a generalization) don’t appear to be playing this game. Those that one follows or are following are part of a network. That network is built up over time and it becomes a valued network. To me it is a very simple criteria to follow someone – I have either met them personally or would like to meet them someday. The popularity that others may speak of is not important because what people state on twitter is for my ears. The authority that is being discussed is moot. Numerous times this network of fellow Twitterers have shared valuable thoughts and insights that have always made my day much more colourful. The stimulus of a single sentence is extremely positive. It is one’s own Bartlett’s – Familiar Quotations. There is humour, sadness, wisdom, political irony, joy and many more emotions attached to these 140 character blurts. I have rarely quit following anyone. That action takes place when people begin to twitter numerous times in a row, numerous days in a row. That isn’t twittering, that is Soapboxing. 

Twittering is growing because people are finding new ways to challenge it’s limitations. Allowing saved searches in Tweetie gives you a very valuable tool to keep track of memes you want to follow. Being able to save linked URLs in Instapaper is just plain neat as you can quickly garner the days reading. Tweetdeck’s additional columns for 12 seconds and TwitScoop help tie in tweets to the Internet in a quick and easy fashion. This functionality will only grow. I just wish I could establish different groups to tweet to, like Jaiku (whoops). If everyone you followed, and you followed them for the right reasons, tweeted their most interesting URL once in awhile, that would be better than any search I could create in Google.