Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Fourty: The Socially Irresponsible Networking Conundrum

The Internet. What else to say about it?

Powerful. Informative. Revolutionary.

And apparently, the home of attention whores and idiots, both common folk and famous people alike.

So, what’s up with this? Why are people so prone to ruin their careers (and in some cases, their lives) for the admiration of people they may never see in person? What is it about the internet that makes people so…stupid?

Well, my first guess is that the sheer power of promotion that cyberspace provides. Ever since social network sites came along, people have seized this opportunity to broadcast themselves to anyone who would click on their pages, be it through Blackplanet, Myspace, and later on, Youtube and the uber-popular device, Facebook. Anyone who had music to share, photos to show, or stories to tell could simply post them up, and watch the people subscribe, “like”, or join to.  However, the early sites were mostly off-limits to celebrities, as the amount of work needed to be done to design, update, and maintain a personal page usually required more work than a celebrity would want to spend time managing.

Then Twitter came along.

Convient. Easy to have people “follow” them. And more importantly, easier to posts thoughts, tour dates…and pictures.

Now, I will say this; when Twitter is used for noble purposes, it actually can be a big vessel of awareness and gathering, since so many people get on it, and access to a famous person’s page is so easy. Twitter can also entertain us to hear what most celebrities are going through almost instantly as they put it out. Charlie Sheen’s Twitter revolution of amassing 1.2 million people to follow him just a mere 24 hours after he announced he had come onto the Twitter scene is an amazing example of popularity amped up.

However, as we all know, Twitter has been everything but noble these days. More often than not, celebs get on there and they post very inane things, or just outright offensive stuff. Occasionally, a celeb will put out something that actually seems harmless, but people will be offended by it just the same. Take the case of Pittsburgh Steeler running back Rashard Mendenhall. His tweet about question people cheering upon hearing about the death of Osama Bin Laden drew many an angry fan, thinking that he’s siding with the man responsible for 9/11. Honestly, I just think that he was question whether it’s right to cheer for anyone’s death – no matter how evil they may have been to their fellow man – but, with so many people affected by the attacks, having someone diminish the “closure” that was felt with the announcing of Bin Laden’s death upset them even more, which drew angry responses on his page and other websites.

Of course, there’s the now defeated LeBron James. Shortly after tweeting how “The Greater Man upstairs knows when it was his time to win a title”, people everyone compiled the ever-growing animosity to LeBron, claiming he blamed God for the Miami Heat losing the NBA title.

Then, there are pictures. Nude pictures. Yes, those pictures. What makes a person want to put up a picture of themselves nude, I don’t know. In some cases, most of the pictures “accidentally” loaded gets when a celeb send a picture to a private person, than that person puts them out, and unfortunately, that comes off as being just stupid, which in that case is unfair. (Although, it should serve a warning about sending nude pictures to ANYONE, especially if they’re famous sending it to a non-famous person). And we’ve seen the damage they can do, as in the case of Greg Oden, or even more recently, NY state rep Anthony Weiner, who put out nude pictures of himself, lied and said his account was hacked, then finally admitted that he released those photos. Now, because of this, pretty much every politician in the country wants him to resign from his seat. If that doesn’t work, I’m sure he won’t be elected to serve again. So, his career, for all intents and purposes, is over. All because he let his cyber irresponsibility get the better of him.

Look, by now all know that these social networks have both their upsides and downsides. But what amazes me is how celebs keep falling into the same cyber-trap, either with their posts or their pictures. They should know by now that being a person of stature, fame, and/or fortune makes their world so much more scrutinized, that any indiscretion gets that much more magnified

Oh well. I guess that the one bright side to the internet. Since we all like watching train wrecks, the internet is just one trap loaded up to another. So, keep ‘em coming!

6/14/2011

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