The Facebook News Feed gives us an opportunity to the vast array of thoughts about our lives, relive memories from that cookout last summer, stay connected with otherwise inaccessible friends, and gather evidence to fuel juicy gossip. There is one trend that I see on Facebook (and other social media outlets) that disturbs me a great deal: Our detachment from real life.
I know you’ve heard people complaining about how, “No one talks to each other anymore,” and “Ugh, everyone is so plugged into their iPhones!” Well, that’s not what I’m talking about. I am talking about how we have become desensitized to people’s struggles.
I offer the following example:
A while ago, someone that I [used to] follow on Facebook posted a surveillance video they found on WorldStar Hip-Hop. In the video a man was escorted into an interrogation room and left alone. Apparently, this man was not properly searched when he was arrested because he pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the head. Blood gushed out of his temples, mouth, eyes, ears, etc.
Two questions came to mind:
- What made WorldStar Hip-Hop think this was something they should share?
- What made this Facebook friend think it was something he should share?
I offer another example:
Today, someone else I [used to] follow, posted a similar video. I didn’t initially know what the video was, but from what I saw a man was in a high rise building, capturing a woman who had stepped out on the ledge of an adjacent building. The woman was preparing to jump, but instead of calling the police the man shooting the video was cheering for the woman to jump, exclaiming that he would send the video to WorldStar Hip-Hop. I stopped watching before the woman jumped.
What is scary about the last example is that there are three levels of terror:
- A woman would find her immediate circumstances so unbearable that she saw suicide as the only option.
- A man felt the best course of action was to record the endeavor on his iPhone and share it with a website that would post it for the world (including the woman’s family) to see, rather than CALLING THE POLICE.
- Someone I am associated with in some way felt like this is something worthy of sharing with the rest of her network.
I initially thought that our society is somehow losing our humanity. At some point we lost all sense of discretion and decency and feel like posting a video of someone in real life dying or getting hurt equates to entertainment. Part of me still believes that this is true. There is definitely a trend of what I call Train Wreck Entertainment where seeing real people break their limbs, have their dreams crushed, or even dying is defined as good entertainment.
I have seen Train Wreck Entertainment work on such a profound level that it has successfully rendered many of us unable to determine what is real. As a result we have become more apathetic and less compassionate. I am not going to tire you with the many examples, but it is definitely happening. I hope that you see it, too.
Solutions for this problem are difficult to outline and then even harder to implement, but it can be done with an individual and a community effort.
On an individual level, choose not to repost or share articles, videos, news stories, and other media that contributes to Train Wreck Entertainment. If you see a video of an underage girl twerking in her bedroom, don’t repost it. Even if you repost it to share how despicable it is, you’re still sharing it and giving it more views, which is what the people who created the video want. At a community level, don’t be afraid to boycott media outlets and content that spread lies or violates us in some way. Even if you’re morally wrong, you’re still fighting for something you believe in.
Always remember that what we see is there because we ask for it through our actions and the attention we pay to it. For those of us who recognize that there is a problem, the responsibility to bring about change rests within all us…not them.
To learn more about what I have decided to do to combat what is going on please visit THE BANG BANG THEORY. I hope that you can get involved.