Real or Surreal: With 'Webtribution' Fact and Fiction Are Inseparable

One of the core principles in my consulting business is that for every action, there’s the opposite reaction. Typically the conversation focuses on big trends and their opposites over time, but the premise exists side by side in our daily moments.

I just posted in Smart Sensuality biological science suggesting that revenge isn’t as fundamental to our being as altruism. Cultural Creatives hope and pray that the essence of human nature, as evidenced by science, raises us above a typically religious view of our depraved condition. See Science Redefines Innate Human Behavior.

The Wall Street Journal just brought me back to earth with a feature that belongs in my Real or Surreal trend, with Using the Internet for ‘Webtribution’.

For much of human history, exacting retribution on your enemies—as opposed to fantasizing about it—was too much of a hassle for most people to bother with. It involved duels, poison or, at the very least, clever rumors that took ingenuity to create and patience to spread. By the time you had devised a revenge plot, you typically had cooled off and come to your senses.

That’s not the case anymore. Thanks to the Internet, vengeance—let’s call it “Webtribution”—is easier, and nastier, than ever. And it’s also a whole lot more prevalent. The Internet permits us to be impulsive and anonymous. It requires a minimum amount of work: You can ruin someone’s life while sitting on the couch watching TV. And it provides a maximum amount of pain. Read on. Anne