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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Real Smoking Gun Dot Com


Now that authorities have gotten wise to the cry-for-help letter or the, "I ate 10 Advil," feigned suicide attempt, teens will have to find another way to let their emotional pains be heard en mass.  Because of that, and given a teenagers general resourcefulness when handed a computer, a new trend is developing that has many parents worried out the wazoo.  It's called "profile suicide" and it's a fad that is plaguing social networking sites from Badoo to Xango and everything in between*.  

To learn more about it, we reached out to the very first recorded facebook profile suicide, Betsy :) Martinez of San Jose, California, former handle gr82cu!.  And no, that's not a typo, her username was created at a time when punctuation was still prevalent in emails and digital monikers (a short sighted human programming error the likes of Y2K or the iphone alarm bug of 01/11^).  It might seem silly to call someone old in the social networking world, it's origins dating back only a decade or so, but Betsy has seen it all by this point.  Or at least been forwarded it.

"Being a woman of 18 years of age, it's hard to imagine wanting to end them all.  My profiles, I mean.  But some days I'd wake up and think, 'would anyone even notice if they were gone,' you know?  My profiles?"  A feeling surely echoed by many troubled youths, especially those in upper-middle class suburban neighborhoods who've had no real plight their entire lives thus far.  Still, one can't help but wonder if she had a point.  That's why in early 2006, just after facebook went public, Betsy CTRL+ALT+DEL her entire e-life.  And she's never felt better since. 

"One thing I noticed is that I actually go outside now.  And like, instead of playing wheel of fortune on facebook, I just watch it on my TV.  It's little simple differences like these that have reminded me life is totally worth living.  All the ups, the downs, the crippling lows when I don't get 600 birthday wishes-- they're all worth it," she prattled, eyes bulging out of her head.  Though her diabetes had almost completely ended her ability to stand, it's clear Betsy now walks on the righteous path.

But is profile suicide right for everyone?  The stigma of any form of suicide may be too much for most people to bear.  Still, there's a certain pleasure in wiping the earth of your digital self.  Especially for those who believe in reincarnation as they know their dance with the medium will continue for many years to come.  But with such celebrities as Jimmy Kimmel and his National UnFriend Day, profile homicide has become nothing short of commonplace.  Suicide is sure to follow soon.  One way or another, Betsy agrees.

"There's also the idea that if we run out of power the computers won't turn on, so...  It'll be like everyone's profiles drank the kool aid at once."  Something highly unlikely because if there's any kool aid around, you can bet that Betsy's on the case.

*****

*of which, we're not sure.  The list of social networking sites  provided by wikipedia was hilarious.  And instead of completely losing my audience by saying Advogato to Zoo.gr, I tried things I had at least heard of.  Well, words I had at least heard before at some point in my xango'd badoo. 

^ 01/11.  NEVER FORGET.

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