What is a shit storm

Fucking storm

The fact that hatred ignites a New Year's baby is really a story. In general, shitstorms are overrated.

The son of a pastor was an adventurer, journalist, secret service agent, member of parliament and top civil servant. But John Buchan became famous as a writer, his "39 ​​steps" are considered to be the trailblazers of the thriller genre. In his only children's book, he sums up entire psychology books in one succinct sentence: "To notice that someone is afraid of you is a wonderful cure for your own fears."

Insecure people often act like this: They turn against those who are so weak that one hopes to scare even as a weakling. In this respect, it is not surprising that there were many hate postings against the Viennese New Year's baby with a migration background. Such a defenseless migrant woman offers the perfect opportunity to show off risk-free behavior in front of the group by which one feels threatened.

So the New Year's baby story gives an insight into the wickedness. But does it make a development clear? The only thing that is really visible here is that by now all solid posts understand each other well. Their numbers may grow. But it can also be that of the few that are always there, just an ever larger part dominates the send button.

Related to this is an overvaluation of social media shitstorms by the media. Certainly, people have already been driven to suicide by a wave of hatred. But socially, shitstorms are mostly short-lived and have no consequences. Only journalists consider a shit storm to be a story. There aren't even any criteria for what a shitstorm is. 100 bad posts? 50? Media reports that this or that triggered a shit storm or an unspecified “wave of hate” on the Internet, quoting two or three “original voices”, are dispensable journalism. He gives the whole thing more weight than it has.

That the New Year's baby stirred up so much sediment that even the tabloid media had to block their comment functions, yes, that's a bit of news. And hashtag campaigns can actually trigger processes, see #metoo. And the mob may grow. But it is also the case that the Internet makes it possible for the first time that expressions of displeasure that were previously only thought about or exchanged at the regulars' table are now made visible to everyone and collected. And to make this an event every time only makes a society hysterical.

And with that to the most important thing: Good luck and blessings, you, little Asel, and your family! And do not be afraid!

The author was deputy Editor-in-chief of the “Presse” and is now head of communications for the Archdiocese of Vienna.

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("Die Presse", print edition, January 6th, 2018)