Recently, a prominent, or at least internet-famous social media personality committed suicide. Many, including myself on another blog, wrote brief (or not so brief) essays about his passing, and in reading about it I noticed another prominent or at least internet-famous social media personality getting fairly pissy about it all because, dammit, the victim was his friend and people shouldn’t be capitalizing on it.
This was quickly followed by a few critics, whom I suspect of (a) finding him through search engines and (b) also being would-be internet-famous social media personalities themselves (there may be a poem in that phrase somewhere, or at least a good country song lyric) — where was I? OK, these people, his critics, right — a few began to point out the obvious, that by cranking out post after post about his late lamented friend and engaging in twitter battles (bitter twitter battles, and yes the Seussian possibilities of this aren’t escaping me) with those who were writing about his friend’s suicide, HE WAS DOING THE EXACT SAME THING AS THOSE HE WAS CRITICIZING.
An interesting imbroglio, surely, and one that got me thinking about the self-reflexive (i.e. up one’s own keister) nature of social media and writing about current events. Therefore:
- when the content IS about promotion, it’s rather difficult to separate content from promotion.
- ergo, when one’s persona is that of a promoter, everything one says becomes suspect. Disclaimers tend to make it worse. In Real Life, I have done sales, and my current job role still includes some sales-related activities. The trust gap with sales people, whom I generally find to be about as honest as the next person, irritates me, but this factoid I’ve just articulated may be key to understanding the whole thing (or not).
- so one can pretty much always be accused of exploiting an event by writing about it. Fairly self-evident when you think about it, but if you want to ascribe this to me and call it the Poetrytech Theorum, feel free.
The suicide I mentioned was about a month ago. I thought about it again yesterday when my personal facebook and twitter timelines just blew up with the news about Steve Jobs, and while I avoided saying it in those forums for fear of sounding like (and being) that pissy guy I mentioned, I wanted to say:
CAN YOU JUST SHUT UP EVERYONE KNOWS ALREADY AND YOUR MEMORY OF YOUR FIRST iWHATEVER IS JUST TRITE AND ANNOYING
Which is my honest, blunt, unfiltered opinion. But what makes it impolite and unfair to say is that people have a need to comment, even when they don’t really have anything material to add. Some people have this need more than others. This pretty much explains the runaway popularity of social media, so to get on these soapboxes and complain about people getting on their soapbox is pretty self-reflexive. Still, it’s not necessarily a positive development of the world we live in that we have so many little Don Draper wanna-be’s with a bullhorn now, using the medium to clang their cymbals.