BERSIH came twice with protests on the streets and garnered a huge publicity. Upheavals in the Middle East brought down governments and don’t even get me started on the countless of revolutions which happened over the past hundreds of years. Riots and panic caused a lot of damage and even death to some of the people caught in the stampede. Most of this time, it all takes a bit of spark to set off the mob mentality.
Nowadays, we take that very same mentality to the internet. First we had the case where a video of a guy punishing his poodle and that was publicized on all social media networks from Facebook to Youtube to blogs and even news portals. Then came many more rantings and created that mob mentality online. It all just takes a spark and the whole internet community became enraged.
The problem is that, as much as we say that facts are sometimes turned around on our news and mainstream media, I tend to see the same thing happening on the internet as well.
Take this story about a bartender in the US of A, she waited on a couple one night at the bar and lo and behold, when the couple left and paid for their drinks, they didn’t leave a tip. That might seem normal here especially in Malaysia where service charge is already charged into our bills but in the states, it is deemed as rude not to leave a tip.
A normal tip usually ranges from 15-20% and whenever I travelled to the states, I made sure I used an app on my iPhone to help me calculate my bill when eating out (which I do anyway since I was travelling).
The worse part for that bartender was that, the couple also wrote a small note on the receipt.
p.s. You could stand to loose a few pounds
Image source: http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/
By the way, that’s “lose” instead of “loose”.
Anyway, she became enraged and posted this receipt on her Facebook page and the thing just went viral. She gotten tonnes of support from people and they even started researching for this alleged person who left the note and the no tip and when they found the guy, a whole hate smear campaign onslaught went on.
The problem with the whole entire episode was that the bartender, gotten the wrong guy! I guess with “gwailo” fellas, a first and a last name such as John Smith (just an example, the guy’s name wasn’t John Smith) would be extremely common.
I can just imagine that one day just waking up and finding out that half the internet community is knocking on your social media door asking for comments or just plain bashing you in.
Of course the news site have then issued apologies here, here and here. But the damage has been done already. So the next time you decide to start an online vigilante campaign, just make sure that you do your own proper research and homework before hitting out on innocent folks out there.