Act 1, Saturday: In São Paulo, three guys cowardly attack a family (including a pregnant woman and an 11-year old girl) because of a traffic discussion. Somebody films the whole scene.
Act 2, Sunday: Fantastico, a variety/news show from TV Globo, shows the video to its (huge) audience, on a report about traffic violence. It appears on YouTube shortly after that.
Act 3, Monday: People discover “Martinho Pompeia”, one of the agressors, on Orkut. His profile (and his friends’) gets vandalized by thousands of hate scrap messages, and communities appear inciting people to seek revenge (aiding them with his address, phone numbers and even financial records).
I have no idea of how this story is going to end. But I am still baffled by the power that the ubiquity of digital cameras, united with nation-wide TV coverage and a social network with deep penetration can unleash, despite of limited resources, low technical literacy or other barriers.
For better or worse, the digital age arrived. Even here in Brazil.