Bloodlust for Entertainment: The Internet Mob and the Roman Colosseum

Bryce McKinley | November 17, 2020

At first, it might be a strange corollary to draw; how is the very modern phenomenon that is the internet mob the same as the ancient Romans who frequented the bloody Colosseum? It all boils down to boredom, fleeting entertainment, and a bloodthirstiness that almost seems to be inherent to the human condition.

The Virtual Colosseum

When an internet mob sets its sights on a brand, the brand’s first reaction is, understandably, to issue an apology and start damage control. Consider, however, that the mob may not be after an apology. The faceless people that make up a mob are, for the most part, people who spend their lives on social media, and these people get bored just like everyone else.

Viewed through this lens, a firestorm of sudden tweets is simply a quick hit of entertainment; the mob can get a short-lived surge of adrenaline from participating in the carnage — then simply move on to something else. All that’s left as evidence of their bloodlust is the smoldering wreck of someone’s life or a brand left trying to salvage their reputation.

The Gladiatorial Corollary

The Romans who lived for the bloody spectacles at the Colosseum were just bored people too, trying to escape the doldrums of their lives by watching people violently kill each other. There wasn’t any concern for the lives being lost for their entertainment; it was as simple as moving on to the next event. While today’s internet mob isn’t forcing fights to the literal death, the effect is much the same, and a brand would do well to try and keep that in mind.

It’s interesting to note, that societies who have introduced the killing or destruction of others for entertainment are well on their way out.

Instead of waiting until it’s too late, reach out to us now. We can help create a solid crisis response plan as well as provide expert insight into keeping a brand out of the mob’s sights in the first place.

Bryce McKinley
VP New Business
Bryce joined the team at Massive to streamline business development operations, improve internal program execution, and generate expansion exponentially. He oversees all aspects of operations and new business strategies.