Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post warns of the online bystander effect using the Steubenville rape as an example of "callousness with which other students took out their cellphones to record the attack and gossiped about it online. In fact, the case came to light via a barrage of morning-after text messages, social media posts and online photos and video."
Much has been said about how social media helped solve this crime. Through texts, videos, photographs and posts on Twitter and Facebook, police were able to piece together a timeline and document what happened. This history is posited as one of the marvels of social media.
What hasnt been addressed is the factor of social media in the events themselves. If the bystander effect prevented people in 1964 from coming to the aid of Kitty Genovese, what might we expect from this and future generations, technologically equipped with devices that, by definition, place one in the role of dispassionate observer?
With a cellphone in every pocket, it has become second nature for most people to snap a picture or tap the video button at the slightest provocation a babys giggle, a fallen tree or, just possibly, a drunk girl stripped naked by boys who dont think twice. Over time, might the marginalizing effect of bystander detachment impede any impulse to empathize ?
You may also be interested in:
A Style Guide for the Internet Age "The Internet as we know it is dead." Surf Facebook With the Oculus Rift Readers Letters Mmmmm, Bacon...
|"Free apps make money by selling your personal data."|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“We’ve received requests to add some artificial noise to the buses so that people can hear them.”|
|“A novel experiment by a government to work with journalists and educators to combat the spread of online misinformation.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|The Festive Funk Machine: Click to Make Your Own Festive Music|
|“Both spacecraft are still operational when they reached interstellar space.”|
|“Initial riders may be more comfortable getting into a car with a human in the driver seat.”|
|“Can you replace the spring of a pogo stick with repelling magnets?”|