Sitting there by yourself in public can lead to a mild heart attack occurring in some people. The idea that everyone is thinking while looking at the lone person, “OMG, what a loser sitting by themselves, what’s wrong with them?”. But never fear, having your phone in front of your face magically takes away that stigma of a social leper. Of course everyone is thinking, “Gosh, what a cool and popular person they must be!”. #sarcasm.
But let’s be realistic here, no one is thinking either of those things, people are not as social as we believe ourselves to be. We’re actually quite nervous being by ourselves in public spaces. Having a phone, or some form of technology to keep you occupied takes away from that anxiety (or a book, but let’s be real, even the hipsters don’t read books anymore).
The great thing about always having your phone in your hand means there’s never an excuse to miss a thing that needs to be documented (500 bathroom selfless do not count as citizen journalism).
But the moments that are captured and made viral are not usually the great ones of humanity. Within Australia there appears to be a trend of racial rants on public transport. These verbal moments of complete idiocy are captured and then uploaded to social media where people watch them while shaking their heads. As in the case of Sue Wilkins. After her rant was uploaded it made international news, and she was labeled as the “the racist lady on the train”. Now I had forgotten her name while I was writing this post, but typing into Google ‘racist train rant’ and I hadn’t even gotten to rant when ‘racist train lady’ appeared as the first search option and several Youtube clips of her were the top hits.
Personally I believe what Sue Wilkins said was wrong. But I ask you the question, was uploading the video of her ranting wrong as well?
Wilkin’s appeared on Channel 7 News the following night to apologise, telling her back story of having a bad day. That does not excuse her behaviour, but where is the line as to what people we allow to have their faces put online without their permission?
The videos that are uploaded do not just affect the person in them. Their families, where they work and anyone they associate with can be deemed to be as ‘bad’ person as the one doing the rant themselves. An article by The Anti Bogan blog, details how Wilkin’s behaviour was splashed so easily across several platforms by the use of a camera on a phone.
Last weekend I experienced some public transport racial comments. Although this instances was not a shouting match, it was loud enough for me and the people around the two men who were saying it to hear. Thrown in amongst all the racial terms, were also how university students are handed everything from their parents and don’t have to pay for anything. Lel jokes, do they even know any uni students?
Now my first thought with these two obviously charming individuals was to tell them to be quite, they were just being annoying and ignortant, but it was not to film them. One because I couldn’t have done it sneakily. And two, because what would I do with the footage? Maybe show it to some friends? But I certainly wouldn’t be uploaded.
I believe that comes down to I wouldn’t like images of videos of me to be put on the internet without my permission. I feel much more comfortable being aware of what is going on, which is the opposite of when I have my phone out in public. #creeperalert.