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Are social networks causing people to lose their humanity?

If a person were to fall to his or her death off the face of a cliff, what should the general reaction of bystanders be? Should they tweet about it, take photos or try and help?

The latter would seem the most appropriate response to such a tragic occurrence, but people visiting Table Mountain, more notably Lion’s Head, proved otherwise.

Such an unfortunate occurred in Cape Town when Ibrahim Salie slipped and fell approximately 20 to 30 metres from Lion’s Head (Table Mountain) onto a ledge while taking a walk with a friend and his daughter yesterday, reported Die Burger. He was reported to have sustained hip and head injuries.

Hikers on Lion’s Head at the time of the incident turned to mobile technology by taking photographs and tweeting about the incident rather than assisting the fallen hiker with the exception of Zac (refusing to give his surname) who made an effort to check up on Salie.

In a tweet, Zac expressed his shock at the public who simply stood back and looked on. “…not a single person came down to us. They just stood and watched.”

“For at least 45 minutes I sat with his body and waited for the emergency services to arrive while people just looked on and took photos,” Zac later told Die Burger.

One of the people passing by thought as far as to throw down an emergency kit and Zac having a first aid qualification felt for a pulse, but discovered the fall had killed Salie.

Talya Goldberg tweeted (@TalyaGoldberg): “Helicopter was directly above us, but has now gone round the mountain, didn’t seem to spot the guy. The father who fell off Lion’s Head passed away put has been removed by air. The guy who fell, two children are in total shock. They saw everything happen.”

Eyewitness News then ran a twitter opinion poll@ewnupdates to see how the public felt about the reaction of the public to this incident. This is what was said:

Goitse Konopi (@goitsekonopi) “Society is flawed – We’ve lost our humanity and I blame our mass consumerist culture, everyone wants a youtube hit.”

Brian O’Neil (@kleinbrian_1) “it is the same “no worry” attitude that cuases the road carnage [sic].”

Mwansa (@JamaicanSmurf9) “this is just how unreal people can be. We r so artificial we wud rather share infor then help a human…[sic]”

Salie’s falling was the third incident of someone falling on Lion’s Head in three weeks, said a Table Mountain spokesperson.

Twitter was used for both positive and negative reasons. It was used negatively to share information and photos, which seemed to hold people back from genuine concern. Twitter was then used positively to officially report the incident and gave readers the opportunity to express their feelings regarding the public’s reaction.

When faced with such a tragic and unexpected event, there doesn’t seem to be much one can do except for phoning emergency services, but taking photos and tweeting about it should be the last thing on people’s minds because it is insensitive and inconsiderate toward the affected family.

Posted in: Social Media

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