The outrage industry

Every now and then my news-feed fills with articles proclaiming that the internet is outraged over one thing or the other. Various twitter posts are sampled and posted as evidence. More articles are then posted in response and in counter-response. Twitter, facebook and blog posts are re-posted as more evidence. If the issue has legs it may even get a hashtag with a suffix of “gate”. Clicks abound and the outrage industry gets fed for another day.

Most of the time, the only people getting hurt are the overly sensitive types with blood pressure issues. On the whole, it’s all a bit of fun if you like partisan, name-calling, tribal-flag-waving verbosity. And having observed this for some years now, it seems to me that people really do like getting outraged, taking sides and yelling at each other. One of my more commented on posts was the result of outrage. Every month, the caps-lock trigger finger gets more and more sensitive.

Still, it seems to me that it’s mostly harmless until the death and rape threats start. Until people get doxxed and swatted. But I guess every industry has its dark side.

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