Monday, 16 November 2009

Urban voyeurism

September 2009 stats showed that Trinidad and Tobago was ranked #30 on the list of Highest Number of Facebook users per capita globally, with 182,480 persons on the social media site, representing a 13.63% penetration rate...and growing.

And some of the most ridiculous and disturbing content also comes out of the twin-island republic. While social media has its advantages and is fast replacing traditional channels of communication, because of its immediacy, its appeal to a more tech-savvy demographic and its variety of channels, with Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Blogger etc etc etc, it also, like most anything else, can be demonised and used for disseminating the most alarming content.

The most recent of these which I have received is the now viral "Licks on the Promenade" clip, which goes on for over 8 minutes, and shows a young woman and her boyfriend engaged in a most crass argument on the Brian Lara Promenade, complete with profanity, violence and just plain absurdity. I would comment on the woman in question, but all I will say is that she should not show her face anywhere for the rest of her life for acting so stupidly in public. But it was not just for that brief moment, at that location, but with the assistance of the amateur media crew on the scene aka limers with a camera phone, she is now a nationwide, dare I say, global phenomenon.

But as I said in my reply to the stupid video, what was most disturbing to me is the fact that here was a very volatile situation, where someone could have been injured or worse cause tension and anger were escalating by the second, and there was someone with a camera phone, totally exacerbating the situation and in fact making it worse by provoking the couple involved, moreso the female assailant.

This is my problem. Facebook and these sites have now provided idlers with a convenient channel to exploit others and exploit negative situations. Now if in this situation, someone had been stabbed or shot, would Mr Camera Phone have kept shooting his video and worse, would he have posted it online to share with the world? When does the fun end and serious contemplation of decency begin? I saw very limited attempts in this video attempting to defuse the situation, and Part II of the saga (yes, cause Part I was clearly not enough for the masses), shows the young lady attacking the cameraman and yet he keeps filming and laughing and mocking an incensed and emotionally charged woman. If something had happened to HIM, should we have then felt sorry for him? It was clear that this was not the place or time to channel your inner Spielberg. But clearly we have not thought about time and place issues when it comes to the new technologies and people.

This comes on the heels of videos of female students fighting in the street with their skirts being ripped off and the fight continuing with them in just their panties. No matter what one may think of these girls and their behaviour, the reality is they were still minors, so did we need to videotape them in their underwear and post it online? YouTube eventaully saw fit to take the videos down since it breached their policies, but do we need someone else to tell us what we should know already?

Where do we draw the line? When do we realise that everything out there is not for cyberspace? Because if this is not the case, then anything can be found on Facebook in the future Anything. As one person said, you could simply tell someone off for poor customer service and then find yourself as the star of a viral video the next morning. Or you could be on Maracas in your swimsuit, sleeping under the Caribbean sun, and some joker could make you part of a sordid video, without you even knowing it.

Where do we say, okay...maybe this is not the place for this. But it goes back to basic "broughtupsy", and while we will ALWAYS have those who have no sense or propriety and will always find some insane new way to publicly humiliate themselves, do we need to help them along? Because then what does it say about you, the camera man or woman, who may coax them along for a "better" video. For more hits. For a popular video that everyone shares with their friends.

Society has long devolved into one where few people do anything to stop criminal activity, or to think "How can I stop this?" and some of us still have to come to terms with this. But are we also standing by, doing nothing, with our flip cams, our camera phones,  promoting negative elements via social media?

Someone stood by on the promenade for 8 minutes videotaping, what should have been an otherwise private event anyway. But seeing that the woman and her man put themselves out there anyway, does that still mean we have a right to just broadcast the nonsense. When do we stop and say, "Enough of this".

Enough of this.


Yup saw the video on a very attractive website in the U.S and it made me upset .. once again ... it is sad. Good one Avi ... I wish the "baddis" female could of read this . But then again,could she read? hmmm

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