December 5, 2013 marked the day the world lost a great leader – and members today’s digital community found ways to make light of this situation. I’m all for a light-hearted joke even at someone’s (or my own) expense. However, the use of social media to deliberately belittle a meaningful moment or person is simply crass.
Yes, I know the tweet is fake. According to Buzzfeed, Ms. Hilton was on a plane when this tweet was posted by @DeletedTweets. Much to Paris’ dismay, twitter users had a good chuckle at her apparent confusion between Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King jr., but the truth came out quickly enough. A livid Paris responded with the following:
What I fail to understand is the thought process, or perhaps lack thereof, that goes into a stunt like this. @DeletedTweets would have to have thought: Nelson Mandela is no longer with us –> How can I mock the passing of a man who was imprisoned for over 27 years for fighting for human rights? –> Wouldn’t it be jokes if we threw some racism and stereotypes in there? –> Paris Hilton annoys me –> *light bulb*
To honor the life of Nelson Mandela, a memorial service was held five days later at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. Dignitaries from all over the world came to pay their respects to the man who is often referred to as, “the father of the nation”.
I concede that this was not your typical funeral. And perhaps it was the kind of event one could attend and snap photos – but not selfies. Politicians and celebrities are accustomed to having their photo taken, with or against their will. However, selfies scream egotistical. This isn’t the paparazzi stealing an intimate moment; this is “we’re at a funeral. Better document it with a selfie”. Michelle gets it.
Social media tools are fantastic. They have the power to engage and create a connected community, ignite movements and evangelize concepts.
They just shouldn’t be used anywhere near the topic of death.
Disagree? That’s fine – you’re entitled to your opinion. You and Spaghettios.