Saturday, August 02, 2008

More Facebook Journalism

The MySpace page of JoKaWild has been featured in a number of news stories about the gruesome beheading of 22-year-old carny Tim McLean on a Canadian bus. This story about online tributes also includes the R.I.P. Tim McLean Facebook page, where mourners have posted many Photoshopped images of the young man in life. In general, I hate what I call "Facebook journalism" as symptomatic of the lazy reporting of many mega-corporate newspaper chains, but in this case the need to reconstitute the victim's humanity may be more understandable.

Of course, as the article points out, a number of Internet trolls have posted nasty comments about the fact that listening to his iPod and texting his girlfriend were some of McLean's final activities. This remarkable long piece on "The Trolls Among Us" by Mattathias Schwartz in the New York Times is the opposite of Facebook journalism because the reporter actually slept on the couches of some of his subjects and spoke to family members about the source of their "malwebolence." Schwartz makes a very smart argument against the current "cyberbullying" legislative hysteria in the course of revealing the motivations and subcultural rituals of trolling.

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