Social networking is scary. Case in point: Angelo Reyes.
I was checking my Facebook inbox this morning and just before walking to my 9AM class, I saw a few people announce that former Secretary of National Defense Angelo Reyes died of a gunshot wound. Seconds later, people began to speculate about it being possibly a suicide case. I did a quick search and sure enough, Twitter, Plurk and even Wikipedia have already updated: That he died on February 08, 2011, of apparent suicide, in front of his mother’s tomb at Loyola Memorial Park.
All this information overload before the broadsheets could even report about the case. (The online counterparts were quicker.)
What’s scary about all this? Despite the tragedy, people all over the net went all out with the bashing. (Since a dead man can’t really fight back now, can he?) Well, he did expire on the day he was supposed to stand on trial for graft. I’m not taking sides. I’m just observing all of this while wondering about the future implications this media buzz brings about. Technological Determinism may seem like such a passe theoretical framework for the phenomena that’s unraveling right in front of us, but this is what’s happening now. Before, it has been said that people are braver online because it afforded them anonymity. But users are less anonymous now, as our offline identities are beginning to merge with our online identities. We are unabashedly posting our opinions with usernames that are quite attached to our real names and faces.
I’m not saying this is wrong…I’m just really interested in where this kind of behavior will take us and what lessons we’ll learn after the brouhaha subsides.
Another one of my observations: a couple of Twitter users have already created accounts that are supposedly Reyes’ voice that speaks from the grave. It’s kind of sick in a way…
But in this day and age of viral marketing and status messages that announce just about everything from what people ate to what they barfed…the lines have blurred, haven’t they?