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In an age of ubiquitous digital media and permanent mutual observation scandals are omnipresent. Everybody can release them, everybody can become their victim. Videos on mobile phones terminate careers, Twitter messages generate outrage, and SMS messages turn into evidence. Documents of embarrassment and public disgrace today display a vel kind of lightness and agility. They can be copied in time, spread very quickly, resist all censorship - and in the extreme case stir up worldwide indignation. The consequence: the reputation of the powerful and the powerless, of enterprises and states, can be destroyed in record time. In order to illustrate these considerations the books describes recent case-(hi)stories, discussing public figures such as Tiger Woods and Anthony Weiner, the powerful and the helpless that suddenly find themselves in a worldwide pillory.
Hanne Detel, *1983, is research associate at the Department of Media Studies, University of Tubingen, Germany. Her primary research concerns are media theories, mediatisation, the Social Web, scandalisation, and (unwanted) celebrity in the digital age. She studied journalism and communication as well as public law in Hamburg and Stellenbosch/ South Africa - on a scholarship awarded by the German National Academic Foundation. In parallel, she completed her practical journalism training and worked with the German Press Agency (dpa). Bernhard Poerksen, *1969, is professor of media studies at the University of Tubingen, Germany. His research projects analyse the styles of impression and image management in politics and the media, he regularly contributes comments on current affairs and debates to newspapers, radio, and television. The book he wrote in 1998 with the physicist Heinz von Foerster about the truth in perception (Truth is the Invention of a Liar) became a bestseller and is now considered a classic of systemic thought. In 2008 Bernhard Poerksen was honoured for the quality of his teaching and chosen Professor of the Year .