Social Media’s Biggest Lie
This time it was the news that made the news. This time, instead of hearing about the killer’s social media from an investigation, we heard it in real time from the killer himself. He made social media the very essence of his crime.
I wondered how a psychopath had a social media network. Then it all came back to me. News reports of senseless killings over many decades. And how, until now in the age of social media, all those killers were described as “loners.”
Maybe it began with Columbine (April 20, 1999). Although the influence of social media wasn’t as obvious there because it was a shared psychosis and seen as an extreme folie à deux. Maybe, but they were loners.
However, since Columbine, the extensive usage of social media has been the common element the news has given us in lieu of the more cryptic term, loner. Yet, for all this data we have learned nothing about how these disturbed people became out-and-out psychopaths.
Instead, we are left with a pile of meaningless social media connections. As though there was some understanding of the actions of these psychopaths that could be gained by exploring their social media movements.
Far too many people seem unaware that we become human only though interaction with other humans. This interaction is not only what makes us human, it’s what keeps us human.
It would also seem that most people are unable to distinguish the unreality of social media’s virtual interactions from actual face-to-face, one-on-one human interaction. The news media acts as though social media gives loners real connections.
What nonsense! It’s their actions, not their social media connections that identifies people as loners. It’s their lack of real human interactions that labels them. But what is real for such disturbed people?
They each have their own reality. The rest of the world calls it virtual but that has no effect since the disturbed think it’s real—just as they believe their grievances justify the use of weapons.
Social media is “… the illusion of companionship without the demands of friendship.” —Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why we experience more from technology and less from each other.
Disturbed people without real friends are as likely to harm themselves as others. Using social media to deceive ourselves into thinking virtual is actual human contact will end in disaster.
We could avoid some future disasters if we remove the possibility of interrupting live broadcasts. This seven-second or profanity delay has been available for decades.
The NRA’s big lie is anyone can own a gun without any need for proper training. That is the same as saying any idiot can use one, which turns out to be true. Using it correctly is another story.
Social media’s biggest lie is that virtual friends can help with real problems. Guns don’t solve personal problems, people do. That is, real people, not virtual people.