Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Natural selection at work and at play

The number of people who are torpedoing themselves via social media never ceases to amaze.

About a week ago, we had the YouTube upload by the parents of a 7-year-old boy they camcorded at the wheel of an SUV, with mom, dad and siblings cheering him on while they rode along without seatbelts. The family has been identified, and Quebec police are investigating.

Saturday brought news that three Saskatchewan 20-somethings had been arrested after posting a YouTube video starring themselves in an illegal duck shooting spree on a prairie pond. Predictably, there was widespread public outrage. Heavy fines and jail time are a definite possibility.

Then yesterday we came across, the following diatribe posted by a young woman to Facebook: "OMG I HATE MY JOB!! My boss is a total pervvy wanker always making me do shit stuff just to piss me off!! WANKER!" Oops, she had apparently forgotten that she was still in her probationary period, AND had "friended" her boss, so this immediately attracted his attention. The ensuing loss of employment was surprising only to her.

What the heck is going on here? Are these people just bottom feeders in the gene pool, do they have a false sense of privacy, do they fail to perceive the probable consequences of their actions, or is there some disconnect associated with social media in which users are transported to an alternative reality featuring the suspension of both laws and rules of normal behaviour?

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