Have you ever received an internet message – perhaps on your Facebook feed – that threatened you with some dire consequence if you did not repost whatever it was – or do some other action designed to gratify the internet contact? Perhaps it was a money cat or a picture of kittens or some religious representation?
You did get the message? Congratulations. You’ve just met Internet Stalin. The 21st Century ghost of dictatorship – brought to your home by a social media site.
If this sounds a little far-fetched, check out Laughing Joe’s history when people refused to obey his orders. You can start in the 1920’s and go on to the 50’s and it will be a thrill a minute. You don’t even have to be a Fellow Traveller, Useful Idiot, or Lickspittle to appreciate his mastery of threats.
Of course most of the posters who share this sort of thing are just doing it for a laugh. And you’re put into the position of someone who will be decried for a lack of humour if you don’t applaud it and obey them. Well, don’t despair. The “ unfollow “ button is a silent savour – the “ unfriend. “ one a slightly more emphatic gesture, and a swift punch in the throat can always attract the attention of the dullest acquaintance.