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Acclaimed writer and journalist Jon Ronson relates his startling journey into the lives of the shamed – people ruined by a badly worded tweet or a work faux pas – in 6 episodes of 15 minutes each.

Jon Ronson acknowledges that he was once a public shamer, and in his book, which he is reading from in this podcast, he explores the impact of public shaming on both the shamer and shamee. Neither come through the experience well. He draws a comparison between a social media attack mob and the 17th century practice of locking someone into stocks and throwing rotten fruit and veg at them. His conclusion is sobering: that the only way to survive social media onslaughts is to be very very bland. And this, he compellingly argues, is the very opposite of the free speech and democracy that social media is supposed to deliver. I was left questioning whether social media harms more than it does good.