Tom Brady and Cecil The Lion Have Caused A Twitter Meltdown
The news and the internet have been dominated by two distinctly separate issues all week; the upheld suspension of Tom Brady and subsequent NFLPA lawsuit, and the hunting and killing of a beloved lion by an American dentist with a fetish for exotic animal heads.
The internet has a bad habit of reacting with indiscriminate intensity to anything that sparks an opinion, so now Tom Brady and Cecil the Lion have created the latest Twitter vortex. And even Twitter is starting to realize it.
While the issues at the heart of each story are paradoxical in theme and social consequence, they have become equally controversial dinner table topic and have inspired similar outrage across news and social media outlets. In fact, the two headline have appeared in such proximity to each other so often that it's almost hard to believe that they are completely unrelated.
Technology has played an increasingly large role in group think across social media platforms as more people every year are getting their news delivered in minute by minute increments via smart phone news apps and Twitter. Because of that, the most popular news stories are not always what we care about the most. They're just what we talk about the most.
Well the Twitter-verse is beginning to become self-aware, resulting in some dark and disturbing realizations about the media monster that we have all had a hand in creating. Over the past few days the thin, digital line between true horror and manufactured outrage has become more blurry than ever.
Brady and Cecil may actually be making Twitter lose its collective mind. The "how upset are we allowed to get?" and "is this actually that big of a deal?" questions have started to invade the conversations around these topics. "Is it okay to be this angry and upset about an animal?" "If it is, then do we also have to exhibit the same rage and disgust over every murder we hear about?" "What does it mean that an under-inflated football has garnered more attention and dialogue than ISIS?"
These types of questions have always lingered in the back of our minds, but something about the concurrent Brady and Cecil headlines has Twitter really facing the reality of our priorities head on. TMZ did a bang up job of illustrating exactly how weird the grouping of the two issues is becoming.
Should we be bothered by the fact that not only are these the two questions being weighed with equal importance, but that they are being directed at a legitimate candidate for the Republican presidential nomination? Will his answer to either of these questions really set a tone for how he sees himself running our country?
Of course, just because truly important issues with larger social implication are happening does not mean that the media has to ignore other stories of varying value. But when does our commitment to those stories begin to hinder our understanding of the world we live and the things affecting us every day?
See it's not just the attention and scope of conversation and debate surrounding these topics than has started to frustrate people, it's the outrage and indignity that people are treating them with. There have been plenty of times that trivial or entertaining events and topics have gone viral, like Ellen's Oscar's selfie and Sharknado. And of course things like the capture of Osama Bin Laden, the Boston Marathon bombings and the riots in Ferguson after the killing of Michael Brown all garnered incredibly powerful deliberation and focus.
Yet the internet and news media doesn't seem to have found a place in the middle to place events and issues that are significant and debatable but do not affect our livelihood and how we want to function as a society. When it comes to Tom Brady and Cecil the Lion, the actual meaningful and discussion-worthy root of each issue has been removed from the conversation altogether and replaced with buzz words for people to spew out for views and retweets.
One good thing that has come with from all of this hype is that it convinced Twitter to start taking the first step towards self-awareness. The first step is always the hardest.
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