Teenage girl in Malaysia kills herself ‘after Instagram poll’

Jamie Fullerton in The Guardian describes the sinister face of social media.

The Guardian

There is a cold inevitability to this headline, a sadness going way beyond the mountain of sadness connected to this girl’s death.

Makes me wonder, what kind of people is social media engineering?

We really are all fucked if we’ve become a world where voting on someone’s death, or life, is given so little thought. My guess is every one of the 69 per cent who voted “death” didn’t think she was serious. Their response to “Really Important, Help Me Choose D/L” was as random as flipping a coin. They didn’t think about the question, or the outcome, they just flipped a tail instead of a head at the toss.

The even more worrying implication is the lack of of critical thinking in her followers, in those who voted. Would this girl still be alive if she had put an “L” before the “D”? I’m going to make a dangerous assumption and say she put the “D” first because she had suicide in mind. Her metric was already headed in that direction, the answer just confirmed her choice. The 69 per cent chose randomly, and followed blindly.

That has ramifications reaching way beyond this girls suicide, taking us somewhere over the horizon, and dropping us in a well so deep we may never get out.

In a complicated world social media makes everything binary, simplifies a mater of life and death into a choice between, “D” or “L”. Ironically they understood the difference between the abstract “D” for “death” and “L” for “life” but not the nuance of putting “D” before “L”.

There are no binary choices. I fear we are forgetting that fact, forgetting how to navigate complexity.


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