The always-on quanitifed self created a bit of a freak-out amongst SXSW Interactive attendees. the movement towards the omnipresent Internet creates dramatic implications for society and business beyond extrapolating personal data to deliver context.
Freedom allows many things, good and bad. The rationalization of justified Internet vigilantes arguably falls in both camps, depending on your perspective.
We love the archetype of the vigilante, the person who goes out and meters justice when authorities fail to do so. In a romantic sense, it makes sense. Consider our pop culture heros; Batman, Iron Man, Jack Reacher (in spite of Tom Cruise), Clint Eastwood’s many tough guy characters, and on and on. We worship their ability to right wrong in the spite of flawed protection mechanisms.
Thanks to the Internet, practicing vigilantism has never been easier. Social media empowers anyone to speak out for justice, and successful acts are met with attention and notoriety.
That’s unfortunate. Vigilantism (or “digilantism” online) is dangerous because the actor may not be well grounded in their ideas of right or wrong.