Thursday, June 3, 2010

SLAPP Me Senseless and The Malcontent Bitch Session

A recent article in the NYT is an interesting introduction (for me, anyway) to the concept of a SLAPP - a strategic lawsuit against public participation.

At first blush, there is an appealing David vs. Goliath aspect to the example used in Dan Frosch's article - a college kid railing against the (perceived) injustice of big, bad corporate America in the way that college kids do today: by launching what amounts to a Facebook flame war.

And in the context of SLAPPs, any sympathy for the college kid is understandable.

But there's something else going on here, something about the power of social media to really, really impact companies -- much more than -- as Frosch mentions, "a tirade in a bar or a rant in a public meeting."

The undeniable fact is, with such a user-generated megaphone like social media at anyone's disposal, there ought to be some responsibility for its power - a power, by the way, that WE have all bestowed upon it.

So while Mr College Kid has his right to speak his mind, he does so essentially at his own peril. For if social media becomes the mouthpiece of the malcontent bitch session, its power will wane and eventually no one - not college kids, not corporate America, nor you and I - will have any use for it.

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