It’s no secret that we live in a dangerous world. With guns, violence, and diseases we expect to hear about horrifying crimes and devastating sicknesses, but the latest death trap is shocking: attempting to capture a selfie. Hello, and welcome to the year 2015.
Within this past year, there have been more selfie-related deaths than shark attacks. Many people are declaring selfies more dangerous than sharks, but is that really the case? Is that really a fair statement? In actuality, it’s not the selfie that is killing people, but rather, our culture.
Instagram likes. Facebook friends. Twitter followers. It’s as if that’s the only thing anyone cares about in today’s world. We are judged entirely, whether we like it or not, by numbers on a screen. People will do almost anything to increase that number; to increase their popularity. Nothing proves that more than the number of selfie deaths in the past year.
It should be made clear that obviously no one has died directly because of a selfie. I mean, no one snaps a photo and is instantly hit by a ray of toxic gas that escapes the phone. However, the deaths almost certainly would not have happened if it wasn’t for the selfie-taking act.
The stories range from a 19-year-old man teen accidentally shooting himself in the head to a 32-year-old being trampled to death by bulls. While the two died in remarkably differing situations, there is one key element in common: both were attempting to take a selfie. Without the selfie, 19-year-old Deleon Smith would have never picked up a gun and 32-year-old David Lopez would have run faster. Without the selfie, Smith and Lopez would still be here today.
These devastating accidents should serve as a huge wakeup call for every single person out there. Is this really what our world has come to? Do people really value likes and followers more than they value their own lives? Quite literally, this whole epidemic shows that people would kill for popularity and social status.
So what exactly is an Instagram like? What does it even mean? You take a photo, post it online, and then people choose whether or not to press a button. If they decide not to click “like,” nothing happens. But if they do click it, the owner of the photo gets a notification, and the number below the photo – the number of likes -increases. But then what? Did anyone’s life really change?
Of course not. It’s all meaningless. It’s not real.
There’s a new saying that I’m sure most people have heard by now: Pics or it didn’t happen. In other words, if you do something and don’t post a picture to some form of social media, it’s like you didn’t even do it. What’s the point in going to the Taylor Swift concert if you don’t make a 200 second snapchat story? And did you even really eat that delicious grilled cheese sandwich if it didn’t appear on your Instagram?
That was the exact mindset of all of the victims of this selfie epidemic who died way too soon. They needed to capture a moment – no matter how dangerous it might be – because that’s what was important to them. That’s what was a priority. They undoubtedly wanted more likes, more followers, and more popularity. Even though none of it is real, in that moment, it felt realer than ever. More real and more valuable than their lives.
In today’s world we are all chasing something that doesn’t exist. And that’s a lot more dangerous than being chased by a shark.