Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Our Fluid Media Society

Comedian Tom Green died yesterday. I know it because my son's friend got an email on his cell phone from the website of his fans. This is absolutely true. What is not true is that Tom Green died. Instead his website was hacked into by Chan4hackers. They killed him off. And since the electronic media is so much more real to some people than reality, people starting mourning. And what is worse is that tabloid media wasn't the one who picked up the story. CNN picked it up. And that's not the only case.

In a similar story, actor Jeff Goldblum fell off a boat, electronically, and died, also electronically. Luckily, this was not the case and Mr. Goldblum was witty enough to give his own eulogy on the Colbert Report. Actor Harrison Ford was also offed by electronic tabloids. It's very easy to create this type of false sensation, and you have to wonder about the people who do this. Is it for their own gratification? Is it to get back at other groups? And if tweeters and such can get this kind of action on the fluffy world of celebrities, what can similar tactics do with the more serious issues of our day?

Many people blindly spread rumors via email without due diligence. This is how monetary panics start. This is how people's lives are destroyed. And this also plays into the way elections are being manipulated. It is easy to move people on the basis of The Big Lie. That is the theory which contends that if you say something loud enough and long enough, people will believe it, even if it is wrong. This also allows for organizations that have their own special interests in mind, to deliberately upset the balance and misinform people for their own warped purposes. So while Twitter and such social networking outlets are fine for keeping up with friends, I wonder if the downside is that we know less than we knew before we accessed them.

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