Why would Brian Burke, the former general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, launch a defamation lawsuit against a group of seventeen obscure commentators who gossiped online about lurid details of his personal life? The case may serve to showcase the new reality of how online comments are handled in the legal system.
If you're not familiar with Andy Lassner, chances are you've never watched an episode of The Ellen Show. Awkward selfies, family man confessions, and Bieber-shaming are some reasons why I've definitely found myself sifting through backlogs of Lassner tweets while riding the train to work in the morning. It's like falling down a rabbit hole of sarcasm and self deprecating delight.
I've seen business owners and personal contacts tarnish their reputations with a few words or a few clicks, not fully realizing the power of the digital world we now live in. Every picture you post, every status or page you like, and every update you share is essentially announcing to the world who you are, permanently.
I couldn't help but wonder what kind of individual downloads a photo of a cute little girl running a race, then, with the full knowledge that what they're doing is fraud, fobs it off as the victim of a heinous attack? Was it not tragic enough that we knew three people had died, dozens were seriously injured and thousands profoundly affected? It made me angry.
Within milliseconds of the explosions, #BostonMarathon and #PrayForBoston were trending topics on Twitter. This is today's reality when it comes to tragedy. We live in a day and age where news finds us, we don't need to even look for it. Online, in the midst of tragedy, it's easy to spot those who care... those who don't... and those who would and do dare to make some sort of joke or cast blame before all of the facts have been sorted. While this online always-connected life exposes us to tragedy faster and with more detail and impact than ever before... it also allows us to feel connected, to reach out and support one another like never before.
He's young, lean, handsome, well over six feet tall, has dark, curly hair, a smile that makes women go weak at the knees, wants to build a better world and is the son of a famous Liberal Party leader. No, he's not the one you're thinking of. Instead of trying to become the next prime minister of Canada, this one's trying something even tougher.
Is it any surprise that flashy headlines and fake celebrity death memes on Twitter get so much attention? In this era of digital narcissism, where our gateway to content is through the lens of the people we like and admire most, traditional and digital publishers must now grasp for attention in an even flashier way.
Send those thank you emails. Send them liberally and sincerely. While efficiency is key, particularly in a business capacity, I also appreciate doing business with nice people. Kindness and thoughtfulness go a long way in building and maintaining relationships, a distance that efficiency alone cannot.