Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 15, 2011 / 15 Menachem-Av, 5771

The Mob That New Technology Has Made

By Mitch Albom






http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Andy Warhol once predicted everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. He didn't say we would all be connected in an instant.

But we are. One touch of a button. One group e-mail. One Facebook post. And boom! Everyone knows everything. Or everyone is in one place. The ability to rally followers with a single post has shown its dark side, with the recent events in London and other places.

Crowds gather. Crowds turn to mobs. Mobs turn to riots. And they were all invited.

"Bare SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some (free stuff!!!)" read one post prior to the recent London riots. Another read: "If you're down for making money, we're about to go hard in east London."

The proliferation of messages sent across social media sites -- especially BlackBerry's messenger service -- were so significant, British authorities are talking about finding a way to limit such sites in the case of potential violence.

But how? How do you put genies back in bottles -- in this case a million genies in a million cell phones?

"It's instantaneous and it's anonymous," said Paul Wertheimer, founder of Crowd Management Strategies. "What we're looking at is the 21st Century mob."

The 21st Century mob. Just press send.

Anyone remember our protest rallies from the 1960s? We knew about them weeks in advance. There were posters. Phone calls. Bus trips. It took a lot of effort. And, despite the drugs flying around those days, there was usually a reason to gather.

Today, not only don't you need a reason, such methodology would be like getting ice from a truck. Why phone one person when you can text 1,000? Why tack up posters when you can digitally invite the world?

London is just the most recent example of crowds spouting almost instantly from digital seeds. Los Angeles has dealt with flash mob violence. Suburban Cleveland had an incident over the July 4 holiday. Philadelphia has been dealing with the problem for a while. Mostly young people gathering, getting violent.

"They're lawless. They act with ignorance. They don't care about anybody else," the Philly mayor, Michael Nutter, told the media. "We're not going to tolerate that."

Understood. But how do you stop it? Some have talked about blocking the signals of digital devices in certain volatile areas -- sort of like an instant jamming mechanism. But that supposes 1) You can identify that area quickly, 2) You have the technology, 3) You're not also blocking legitimate use of those devices -- like an elderly person calling for an ambulance on a cell phone.

Besides, once you identify a "hot spot" hasn't much of the damage been done?

You can't keep people from assembling in this country. But what happens when the point of the assembly is to disassemble something?

CENSORSHIP AND FASCISM?

Ironically, the whole idea of flash mobs was originally to have fun. Spontaneous large-scale dancing. A worldwide pillow fight. But somehow that has been turned on its ear. What appealed to adventurous fun now appeals to disenfranchised anger, boredom, the simmering temperature of a gathering horde.

And yet we can't deny the disenfranchised in oppressive regimes can be galvanized by social media. Look at Tunisia or Egypt. If the governments there closed down the digital airwaves, we'd all scream censorship and fascism.

"Free flow of information can be used for good," British Prime Minister David Cameron told the parliament this past week. "But it can also be used for ill."

And that's your problem in a nutshell. The only thing that seems certain is that the world is going so much faster now, snap decisions, snap judgments, snap riots, snap coverage. We are teaching a dangerous, subtle message, that we can see everything in an instant, know everything in an instant, have an opinion on everything in an instant.

With that, inevitably, comes desire for everything in an instant -- including whatever you don't have. Is it any wonder that would-be looters, alienated youth, the bored or unemployed or disconnected want the same thing, and see that tiny screen as a fast way to get it?

The 21st century mob. Assembled in the time it takes to make a sandwich. The world is indeed becoming a scary place.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.



Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.



Mitch's Archives


© 2011, THE DETROIT FREE PRESS DISTRIBUTED BY TMS, INC.

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles