Saturday, October 16, 2010

Anatomy of a status virus

The great thing about websites like Facebook and Twitter is that you can really express yourself and share the things that you are passionate about. However there is a dark side to Facebook, a very dark side and I am not talking about Farmville, that will wait for another article. What I am going to talk about are status viruses.

What is a status virus? I just coined the name, even though it is more directly related to chainmail than it is a virus but the personal nature of facebook statuses elevates the conscern for this problem so I think virus is accurate. A Status virus is a status update that is copied from someone elses status because the update implies that you are somehow less of a man/woman/human being/gamer/geek/rodeo cowboy if you do not. They use our insecurities against us. You are less of a man unless you agree with me and post this statement! or worse, the ones that suggest that if you do not copy and paste a droll message about cancer that you are in fact supporting cancer. Not only am I less of a human being but I now actually support cancer? Is it possible to support cancer? How would that work?

Usually status viruses say something everyone already knows. Cancer is bad, I love my children, I enjoy food and beverages, I like to have fun and implore you to also agree that you do as well, otherwise you do not, and you are a terrible terrible person. I refuse to repost these, I enjoy my originality, my creativity and my individuality. I refuse to fall under the yoke of status bullying and you all should as well. If you value who you are, then you should be who you are. If you want to fight cancer there are a number of organizations you could donate to, this would help more than yelling at your friends who may or may not "unfriend you".

The worst kind of Status virus is the kind that preys upon the insecurities and fears of people. There was recently one that was complaining about the so-called mosque at ground zero. (it's actually a cultural center). Status updates like these try to justify hate and pass it off as speaking ones own mind Feel free to speak your mind, but please don't copy and paste others.

Posted via email from Robert Headley's posterous

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