Friday, January 7, 2011

To live and die ...on Facebook

[Fair warning - this is likely to be an offensive and/or disturbing post.]


So it just occurred to me, tonight.  People announce they're going to kill themselves online... a lot?

Well, I don't know what the qualifying factor for "a lot" would be.  But I'm just sorta surprised and yet...not.

Okay.  So first off... The topic of suicide is pretty much a "hot button" topic, if you will.

The idea that someone would announce that they just took a bunch of pills online - Facebook or MySpace, back in the day - seems shocking to some, no?

Gah! Suicide! Gah! People online announcing it!... Gah!

It's a "sign of the times" and so tragic...people just don't take it seriously enough, etc etc...

But see, I'm decidedly not surprised.

I think the only difference in this scenario is that you get to see the evidence of the friends and such who made snarky comments.  You can witness it all, quite publicly.  Much like a bad car accident that stalls highway traffic for hours.  Except it's VIRAL.

People have always been announcing their attempts or plans to commit suicide.  Other people have also had common snarky thoughts and remarks to make about it.

It's just that it's on a screen, visible to every other friend of that person.  To be screen-captured and sent around the world in seconds, if so desired.

Our instinct now is to share.  The good and the horrific...we must share.  Now, you could just as easily take a picture of someone's suicide note and MMS that around, I suppose...but it's obviously different.

It's the act of POSTING your intentions.  The minute you throw some new status up, you're asking people to weigh in their opinion.  For better or worse.  Everyone who can see it is given that permission, even if you didn't realize how many people actually see it.

Better still, if one of those people with permission shares it with others... It's gone.  No more control over it.


Now I am a HUGE proponent of the internet and sharing information and knowledge and all the chaos that is the webz.  I believe that the truth will always win out, if given a fair fight.  And the internet makes everything a level playing field.

Websites like WikiLeaks and The Straight Dope and Snopes...are all about fighting for the truth.  (Yes, that was a rather random collection of websites that I pulled out of my ass, I'll admit.)

When the argument comes around again about restricting access to certain areas of the internet and giving speed/bandwidth preference over paid sites, I just seethe with anger.

It's not surprising of course.

Greed, like suicide, is ultimately hurtful and helps no one.


For Jean -


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