social media

Is celebrity death the new way to be popular?

I found out ab

I found out about the death of actor Paul Walker through Twitter and Facebook, not through the news. Checking my Twitter feed I noticed a similar pattern of tweets that were either ‘R.I.P. Paul Walker’ and ‘If one day the speed kills me, do not cry because I was smiling – Paul Walker.’

It’s always a sad day and a tragedy when someone dies, especially at the age of 40. But how many people who tweeted about it genuinely cared about his death? People rarely knew him and had never contacted him before. It’s the same with a lot of celebrity deaths.

Thousands of people a day die, yet people only mourn over, or offer their condolences to the family of someone who is famous. The desire of people to achieve as many retweets as they can has led to people often posting things such as ‘1 RT is 1 prayer for *insert dead celebrity or natural disaster here.*

When you think about it, that’s a pretty desperate thing to be doing, using someone else’s misfortune in the hope of gaining a bit of popularity online to get the approval of people you don’t know.

Before social media existed, news of a celebrities death was only discussed in person by families or friends down the pub, there was never a competition to see who could gain the most followers or anything by what opinion they had on that celebrity. Take for example the Boston bombings. Several times I saw a tweet which was a photo of the aftermath of the explosion with the words ‘1 retweet is 1 prayer for Boston’ on it. But time and time again I found myself thinking, this is a desperate way to try and gain retweets and followers.

Retweeting a photo of a disaster is not a way to help. It serves of no assistance in helping the people involved in the tragedy, so to use it in that context shows just how low people will go just to be able to increase their online ego. If the person that made that tweet really cared, they would have done a lot more than simply post that one tweet.

Social media has become a form of addiction for people and their addiction is leading them to stoop to new levels of desperation in order to get an instant hit to fuel their addiction. And in doing so, they often take away the real story of a tragedy.

What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.

Image: Tim Evanson