First step is admitting to social media problem

With all the anger about social media services collecting and selling our personal information, it was only a matter of time until someone used a gun to take out their frustrations, right?

But that isn’t why Nasim Aghdam opened fire inside the YouTube headquarters building in California last week. Just the opposite. Aghdam was angry because YouTube wasn’t telling people enough about her.

It has come to that, then. Vanity has become so prevalent that privacy is less important than publicity.

Aghdam’s peeve was that, as she claimed, YouTube was “suppressing” videos she made about veganism, animal cruelty and exercise. And, by the way, there weren’t enough “glamor shots of herself” on YouTube.

One homicidal nutcase does not a social trend make, of course. There is more evidence of digital narcissism.

How often do we hear about teenagers involved in “sexting” by sharing nude pictures of themselves via the internet or cell towers? Some politicians seem powerless to stop themselves from engaging in similar behavior. Would you place sexually suggestive pictures of yourself in a place where everyone had access to them? Quite a few people do that digitally.

In addition to showing the love, quite a few folks show the hate via the internet. In Facebook posts, emails, texts and other ways, they write and say vile, violent things about others. Much of the venom they spew is far beyond what they would say to a person’s face.

Conversely, then, the internet seems to be felt by some to be the ultimate tool to tell millions about themselves, while at the same time some sort of guarantee of anonymity. It is a curtain behind which one can hide then, at will, pull aside to show off everything. Some use it as a telescope trained on themselves then, possibly within minutes, as heavily-tinted glass behind which to hide and scream epithets.

Strange, isn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong. Many (hopefully, most) people using social media are neither narcissists nor hate-mongers. They use Facebook, et al, much as they would utilize a telephone.

A substantial number succumb to social media much as millions suffer from alcoholism, however. It erases their inhibitions and their common sense.

Perhaps we should think about establishing some Facebook Users Anonymous chapters. How many, I wonder, would take that crucial first step — admitting they have a problem?

Mike Myer is executive editor of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register.