Lets not confuse the term Cyber Bullying with a public protest done through social media.
Certainly during the most recent Alan Jones kerfuffle there have been abusive messages posted both at him, his station 2GB, and his advertisers. But was it the abusive messages, or the rational, but angry posts, and the number of them that got to the advertisers in the end?
Alan Jones may have an enormous audience of listeners, and at the end of the day those numbers and the 2GB share price decides whether he stays on the air. But despite that large audience, the bottom line is, that most brands don’t want their names dragged down in the mud with Alan Jones, if that is where he goes, they want his audience to hear about them, but in a positive way.
Old and New Media
Social Media is a form of media, it is a form of broadcasting, and now, through social media the public can have their say and be heard easier faster and more effectively than ever before, much more than on talk back radio or a letter to the editor or even by voting! Online Petitions advertised through social media can gather more signatures faster and also more effectively. Even if an individual only has a few followers, if what they post creates enough of a stir, that comment or Tweet can reach an audience as large as Alan Jones’s audience, and that makes it very hard for old style media to control what is said about them and their talent, and I’m guessing they don’t like it.
A Sincere and Simple “Sorry I was wrong” Would Have Done It
2GB is probably feeling that their power is being diminished, Alan Jones is probably feeling that too, right now he is behaving like someone cornered, hitting out blindly at all perceived foes. Mr Jones foolishly goaded the public by not simply apologising. His “apology” is what is called a ”Im sorry…but” and because of its ambiguity, it has caused more controversy than it needed to. He also goaded the already outraged public by saying during that “apology” that his advertisers wouldn’t leave the show, and all would be well. That simply spurred on the protesters to try harder to make a difference.
Advertising Boycotts Longer Term
The public protesters who were calling for advertisers to leave Alan Jones show, on the whole, wanted a shake up, they want Alan Jones to pay for what he did, because the only clear consequence of his insult to the Prime Minister was a little humiliation, it appeared he didn’t really want to atone at all. And the public also felt that this episode was only the latest in a long list of attacks on women in particular, time to pay the piper. The protesters also recalled what had happened in the Karl Sandilands radio scandal recently, and as soon as boycotts were mentioned in the Jones case, pointed out how the advertisers came right back to Sandilands show and little ground was made as a result. This put even more pressure on the Jones show advertisers to be seen as taking it seriously, and then declaring that they wouldn’t be back.
Social Media People Power
It is people power, and if old style media don’t wake up to this soon, they will be in deep trouble. You can’t afford to belittle social media or it’s power any longer. The effectiveness of social media to rally a peace march or a protest is so swift and so effective that ridiculing it, and the people who use it, is very short sighted and foolish. You cannot paint all the protesters with the same Troll brush, they weren’t all trolls and cyber bullies, and that is easily proven.
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What is Cyber Bullying?
Cyber Bullying is as we know it, is repeated abuse and threats transmitted by the internet. I think social media reaction to the most recent Alan Jones Gaff is far more of a protest than the ridiculous fear mongering term Cyber Terrorism or Cyber Bullying that Alan Jones used during his recent broadcast, reducing the online outrage to an episode of Cyber Bullying is just opportunistic. Misusing the term to try and garner absolutely no opposition. I mean who would defend cyber bullying…
I would never defend anyone actually bullying or cyber bullying at all, but I think we do have to be very careful to use the term properly to protect the truly cyber bullied.
It is telling that there is no such term for bullying by radio or television, its called being a shock Jock or entertainment.
Did you listen to his apology and on air comments today? What is your take? let us know in the comments.