It’s Never Easy…Is Social Media Worth the Cost?

Personal Log, July 8, 2013

It’s been a few weeks since my big disaster at Anime Expo.  I need to talk about this…somehow justify what happened…at least to myself.  I’ve tried talking to other photographers about this, but even they might not believe me or give any support.  I’m hoping that if I lay it out here in a journal, maybe I can make sense of it.  See where it all went wrong.

***

Personal Log, Supplemental, May 9, 2015

I’ve been writing and rewriting this entry for some time.  Some things have changed, college is behind me and work is now sometimes stable.  I had hoped that with these two factors in my life I’d be over this.  Just bury this entry in the deepest parts of hell where it belongs.

However it has gone from taking on specific individuals to outright stereotyping.  And I have been typecast because of my choice in roles in the cosplay community.  I had hoped I would be someone positive in the community but on days like these, I question myself on whether or not there is a possible future for me in it.

“I wonder if the Emperor Honorius watching the Visigoths coming over the seventh hill could truly realize that the Roman Empire was about to fall. This is really just another page of history, isn’t it? Will this be the end of our civilization? Turn the page.”

–        Captain Jean Luc Picard, Captain, U.S.S. Enterprise-D

***

The age of information gave birth to Social Media as we know it.  It became possible to share with large groups of people photos, links, and even journal posts of one’s experience and shared with…tens? Hundreds? Potentially millions of users.  People with similar hobbies can now communicated despite mountains and oceans between them instantaneously.  Each one of us is merely few keywords away.  It is now possible to look up tutorials on photography or crafting armor out of foam.  Instead, it is used as a medium to insult, slander, or defame others from the safety of miles of Cables or Microwave signals.

And the best part is that it is so easy to do it.  Just create a profile on a forum or a fake profile on Facebook and then start posting about someone else.  Sites like Reddit, 4chan, Twitter, and Facebook are among the places where this can take place.  Plant something defamatory and scandalous somewhere people can see it, add sprinkles of truth or truth-like substances that would disguise the artificial nature of the product, and this could eventually cause serious damage.  Of course most people are unwilling to fact-check so now the false rumors are the truth.  You’ll see many examples of this both online and in the media.  Repeat something enough times and everyone starts to believe it.

This doesn’t just affect the cosplay community either.  Many social media sites are constantly used to spread false information about politics, world events, and even science.  The Twitter account for the Associated Press was hacked and used to post claims that the White House had been bombed and that the President was injured.  As for Facebook, I have personally seen inflammatory posts about cosplayers and photographers with both parties’ fanbases and friends lashing out at one another before an outsider comes in with a grain of truth.  There were news soon after SDCC 2014 that a teenager was beaten during the convention and that a suspect was IDed, though the Police reports stated that the teenager fell.  During the Boston Marathon Bombing, several people were implicated as suspects despite superficial evidence that a couple of users on Reddit and Twitter put together.  Because of this, the Police and FBI had to release whatever info they had to both clear the victims of false evidence as well as prematurely ID the suspects they did have, which could have ruined capture of the actual bombers.

 

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

–        Mark Twain

 

I try not to pay attention to drama online as I remind myself of the Prime Directive, a policy of noninterference in internal matters.  However, once in a while, a major incident goes off that drags me in.  Sometimes friends and fellow colleagues in the community become tangled in something.  Is it the logical thing to do?  No.

But it is the human thing to do.

Humans are flawed creatures: Anatomically, conceptually, and mentally.  We claim individuality but when there is a “just cause”, we’ll line up like an attendee at SDCC.  The question is which line did you get behind?  The one for the Avengers’ Panel?  The autograph line for Stephanie Meyer?  Or did they forget to cut the line off so now you’re sunburnt and dehydrated for nothing?

I can’t promise that I will not jump into a fight if my friends or colleges are involved.

But I can say that I’ll try and make sure I go into a fight with both eyes open.  I hope you can do the same.

Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we have to continually pay.”

–        Captain Jean Luc Picard, Captain, U.S.S. Enterprise-D

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~ by BlizzardTerrak on May 7, 2015.

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