Facebook… Twitter… YouTube… they’re all just basically mechanisms for marketing oneself online to the world aren’t they? A few weeks ago Andrew (click here to check out his post) gave us a great blog about the in-erasable digital footprint that we put online on a daily basis, and when it comes time for searching for jobs suddenly this can become a major issue. One of the things that concerns me is this ease with which we now publicly market ourselves in an attempt to seek social acceptance, praise, and congratulations. Now this wouldn’t be a problem if we were only promoting responsible and safe activities, but a lot of what is posted online is what, I consider, to be both stupid, and dangerous, and encourages others to engage in the same activity to reach this sense of recognition.
Social media in particular has revolutionised this idea that each person is now capable of standing out of the crowd, a whole page dedicated purely to their lives. Don’t get me wrong, I feel like everyone has the right to feel special, like they are an essential part of the world, but I also believe that certain people take what I describe as the ‘thrill of recognition’ too far and will try to obtain too heavy a presence online, acting as a bad influence for other impressionable individuals.
This ‘thrill of recognition’ I’m talking about is that little feeling of giddiness when someone likes a picture, or comments and you say to yourself “Yay! People like me!”.
So what am I talking about when I say ‘stupid and dangerous’ activities? Let me get this clear, this is what I perceive to be stupid and dangerous, and I’m not saying that everyone who does these things is stupid, I’m merely saying that a few individuals have utilised the internet to promote moronic behaviour for attention that can ultimately encourage others to follow suit. The top of mind responses of recent fads we have seen posted all over the net in particular is a) Train Surfing, b) NekNominations and c) even the seemingly innocent Planking
For those of you who live under a rock and haven’t seen this either on the news or online, train surfing is the act of grabbing hold of a passing train, usually at the very back of the train (above), and riding it from the outside. NekNominations was this process whereby individuals would skull a full pint of beer before nominating a mate to do the same thing within 24 hours. This particular one sounds relatively harmless, until you consider all the people that started doing dangerous (and illegal) things WHILST drinking their beer ie. Driving a car. And then there was planking, a little bit further back in time, and this one was just lying perfectly flat on some kind of surface, this too seemed relatively innocent until people started doing it from extraordinarily dangerous heights, on cop cars and even train tracks (below).
I’m sure many of the people who complete these activities think nothing more than “it’s a bit of fun”, but in doing so, they want to be recognised as they are almost always filmed by a friend, or caught on security cameras, they want to draw attention to themselves. What’s more, others will then watch these videos, or look at these images and see it as something they MUST do in order to be considered ‘suave’, leading them to follow suit, usually upping the danger factor in order to be recognised.
So has social media created a society of attention desperate individuals willing to complete moronic and dangerous acts for the thrill of recognition and in the process encouraging others to do so as well? Are these individuals going with the “all publicity is good publicity” motto that they’ll regret later in life? Should we be caring more about our digital footprint and the repercussions it could have?
I’d love to hear from you and what you think! Comment below!