On TV3 news: another tut-tut story, via CBS, about how dangerous and horrible the internet is, this time about the voyeurs who did nothing while a netizen, Adrian Biggs, committed suicide online, live.
It’s to be expected: old media are still scared of new media, so any story about the evils of the internet will be accepted with greater glee than in a rational world.
While the story of the suicide is morbid and it does rightly highlight that there were thousands of uncaring people out there, it’s plainly wrong to group all netizens together as though they were one group. It’s a mistake that old media make constantly—probably because 15 years after the web became mainstream, they still haven’t ﬁgured out what to do in response.
The ’net is segmented just as any medium—including TV networks who like to say this to advertisers all the time.
In May 2008, one netizen in the US sent what amounted to a suicide note, which came into my emailbox overnight. The result was that dozens of people worldwide acted to prevent him from taking his own life. Emergency services were notiﬁed and the gentleman’s life was saved.
Get it, old media: the internet prevented a suicide attempt. Of course, that was good news about the internet, the sort of thing not celebrated on TV network news during prime-time.
If there is any nastiness, it’s a reﬂection of the human race, whose less savoury members are simply more easily found, sometimes congregating online. But old media don’t want to remind us of that—after all, these people could be readers, viewers and listeners. Posted by Jack Yan, 07:09
The coverage is no different really from what is written/televised about people jumping from buildings from instance.Post a Comment
Too often, there are people goading the person about to jump and that's what ends up being reported. In this case, the story had the Internet twist to it. I actually think there is a reason to include it as I believe the Internet provides a layer of abstraction that makes at least some people behave abominably, in a way they wouldn't in real life.
You're behind a screen, far removed from the reality of a person killing him or herself - think about all the rubbish people put into emails or blog comments: they'd never say such things to your face.
I was surprised to see that story reported here in New Zealand, as normally, suicides are kept quiet under (I think) the Coroners Act to prevent copycat incidents.
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