The Failures of Social Media: Who Really Killed Amanda Todd?
There is an exceedingly marvelous stanza in ‘Sympathy for the Devil” when Jagger and Richards write:
I shouted out,
Who killed the Kennedys?
When after all
It was you and me
The meaning of which couldn’t possibly be more obvious–if not painful. WE killed them. Their trappings, our expectations, their arrogance, our love, their evolving self-importance.
Our eventual hate.
Whatever it was, we did it and Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote this poignant observation, almost foreshadowing the rest of 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries’ greatest social phenomenon.
We have become our own worst enemies.
It used to be that with every year that passed, we became more permissive, and less concerned. All in, all the time. But it took time. Well, that wasn’t apparently any good for us, as we went from fast food, to faster everything.
And to satisfy that craving, we found ways to get into each other’s lives more intrusively and much more thoroughly than ever.
I was recently asked by a young journalism student that keeps in touch with me, why I’m not on twitter. And I replied as honestly as I could, without being hard: “Because while I enjoy our exchanges, I have a private life that is complicated enough, without needing to worry about telling you where I went for lunch with my son, and if that was yellow mustard in my sandwich or Dijon. For the record, I like both.”
She wasn’t impressed. Not satisfied with my response, she shot back: “As a leader in social media, you have an obligation to lead.”
Really? No, I don’t. I have an obligation to be here, and to put up posts of interest, with information (and sometimes entertainment), but I don’t feel the slightest hint of an obligation to share anything personal with anyone except those involved. And if I do here, amid the withering commentaries of politicians and members of the media that fail you–and often seek to dupe you, that’s my business.
When I was growing up, the gossip queen of the universe was a woman named Rona Barrett. She had her own syndicated column in one of the rags you can still pick up at the check out counter of your local grocer. My mother read her with great interest. As did my aunts, neighbours and even our local baker, who always seemed to be deep into the middle of Ms. Barrett’s missives. I wondered when he ever found the time to bake bread and produce the single greatest apple and cinnamon sourdough crumble I’ve ever had.
I loathed Rona Barrett and didn’t take long to tell anyone that would listen. I distinctly remember thinking that I found the intrusion into people’s businesses problematic.
I was a child.
Roll forward thirty five years, and the National Enquirer is a behemoth that won’t quit. The Globe, The Star live lavishly. Super markets can’t order enough bloody copies, with half telling us why Jennifer Aniston’s legs are the most perfect.
The rest, though, are reminding every young girl, subliminally or not, that she’s imperfect and not love-worthy unless she can look in the mirror and see a blow up doll with gleaming teeth and perfect hair.
Listen to them, won’t you? They know what’s best.
It seems that some people–now most people, are bent on minding everyone else’s business except their own. Oh, it’s not as if we shouldn’t know what our public officials are up to or if some cataclysmic event should befall us, which highway exist is best.
But is it really necessary to know my favorite brand of mustard? Really??? You’ll like me better, will you? Fascinating…
We have allowed social media to furnish the most artificial world yet. Nothing of substance matters anymore, does it? How else to do explain the “successful” survival of people like Justin Trudeau, Gregor Robertson or Christy Clark. All manifestations of mist. Piffle. Nothingness on steroids. Empty vessels, spouting emptier words. Promises from puppets. Drivel by dunces.
Even the words with which people interact on social media are frightening. Someone ‘follows’ you on twitter. I’ve had two stalkers, no thanks! Yet another will ‘friend’ you on facebook. Oh, I have more friends than I know what to do with. And if you’re a REAL friend, I’ll find you first, most of the time, thanks much.
We just can’t wait to get up in the morning and land in anyone else’s life.
But at what price? It took Amanda Todd’s sad death, by suicide, for people to awaken to the reality that this social media push is bad–very bad. And will only get worse. Bullying aside, what goddamned business is it of mine to know which bar you’re at in Waikiki? Or how long you and your new girlfriend slept in?
Why should we know a local journalist’s IMMEDIATE opinion of a breaking story before all the details are sure? Is this his idea of a warm-up act? There is no practice for life.
Who says the murder of a young man three weeks ago, should immediately have been tagged “gang related?” Did anyone speak to his parents? What about his friends?
Is that photo of a dead dog in the middle of the road really something that made you cry? And if it did, why should I care right this minute? I’m all for you having an ‘Old Yeller’ moment, but why are you taking me along for the ride???
Pictures and video, tapes and tweets. Honestly, WHO CARES? You shouldn’t. THIS IS RIDICULOUS! Write your damn letters long hand once in a while.
Amanda Todd didn’t lose her life because she was bullied, she lost her life BECAUSE she was bullied in the era of social media gone wild, driven by the same hypocrites that are now exalting her.
We can’t wait to mind someone else’s bee’s wax. Why?! What for? It landed a sweet, innocent little girl in Lucifer’s momentary–and unforgiving clutch.
I’m not saying there isn’t a utility to social media. I’m on facebook and enjoy pictures of my friends’ children and they of my perfect espresso We share jokes and tell stories. I make observations that I often craft in ways that I hope will challenge them.
I rarely post my columns from here. I think, often times, that I’m intruding in their lives.
I recently noticed that one of my friend’s wives had a fuller sweater and all her new shots were, well, rather revealing, waist-up captions. Clearly, she has new boobs–they’re very lovely, and she’s proud of them. But for as much as I think her surgeon did a magnificent job, do I really need to know? I could have lived the rest of my life not knowing, frankly. Though they are lovely…
There are no limits in any of these mediums. None. No matter what Mark Zuckerburg tells you, TWICE, I have had to threaten to sue facebook as one local community sports organizer hates the work I do here so much, and is so threatened by compassionate conservatism, that he put up some enormously libellous statements about me and my family.
For two hours those lies stayed up for all to see, while my lawyers worked. I blew if off eventually–feeling a tad violated in the process, until it was all down, but I’m a middle aged pugilist with a no-quit streak like you’ve never seen.
Amanda Todd was a young teenager, scared for her life. She killed herself? No she didn’t.
You killed her. And so did I.
We, those of us who understand the very real dangers, allow for twitter and facebook to run amok because we can glean instantaneous information that sometimes, let me repeat, sometimes (more like, rarely) forms a basis for a story or conversation. Why are we so outraged that a young child died by her own hand, after being savaged on social media–it’s very design fits perfectly for millions more Amanda Todds.
But that Google is now the lazy journalist’s first–often only–tool, is telling.
Poor Amanda never stood a chance.
Instead of admitting to the truth, the cowards and social media whores have decided to attack free speech, instead of admitting that all forms of social media have gone way too far, and anyone can be targeted. But hindering free speech in the process?
Cyber bullying now extends far beyond sanity’s reaches because the lame and shameless are looking to buffer themselves from sharp criticism and honest commentary. And how are they doing it? By bullying the their opponents into silence, and SHAMEFULLY using Amanda Todd’s unfortunate death as a whipping post.
It’s not enough to ignore their own hypocrisy, they’re looking to pry your hands off liberty’s bannister, and force you to steady yourself in sand.
Isn’t life a cabaret, old chum?
We won’t find the time to show up, but a tweet will do. Couldn’t make the funeral? No problem, it’ll be up on You Tube in an hour.
For decades we warned against fast food, but untethered information must come even faster??? Really??? In an instant?!
No, I’m not buying it, none of it. All of a sudden I’m supposed to care about what the vast majority of fools think of Amanda Todd’s death? Not a chance. They created the platform, they facilitated her demise.
They might as well have slipped a noose around her neck, kicked a chair out from under her blessed little feet, and buried her while she was still warm. The very same medium that killed her is now a flowing, but perverse memorial, with fluid discussion by guilty bastards about the method of administering last rights, instead of lamenting the passing of a lovely little girl, whose life hit the wall–at break-neck speed.
It was only a matter of time. And I, for one, am deeply sorry that I haven’t gone MUCH HARDER against those who would use such an event to placate their own fears of inadequacy–to protect themselves from their own corruption.
Amanda Todd is gone. And that’s very, very sad.
But who’s next?
To be brutally frank, I’m mad as hell about it all, because it will continue, since most are too busy covering their tracks to tell the truth.
Perhaps I should send them all a text that says: “See you in hell!”
I know Jagger and Richards had it right. We DID kill the Kennedys.
Just like we killed Amanda Todd. But much before she or anyone else was ever bullied.