A woman updates her Facebook profile with a report that she’s overdosed on pills and not only do none of her one-thousand odd “friends” express concern; some go so far as to mock her. Soon, she’s dead.
A sad window, I think, into the subconscious ethos of the Internet. There’s something about this medium of communication which feeds people’s ugliest instincts, and the fact that its subculture was founded by engineers probably got everything started on the wrong foot, as well. And it’s not just on the Blogosphere or recently. This mindset–a sociopathic, dumbed-down bastardization of Libertarianism–was evident in the heartless, gratuitously-cutting email exchanges a decade ago on Usenet, CompuServe and so on.
One hopes, though, that contrary to the impression this awful incident leaves FB’s net effect is positive. At least it has profile pictures and facilitates communication of a sort. Perhaps it is slowly mitigating the depersonalizing side of the Internet.
Some users of the site even taunted the 42-year-old over her final status update instead of trying to save her, calling her a “liar” and saying the fatal overdose was “her choice”.
Yesterday her mother, Jennifer Langridge, said she was shocked and upset that nobody did anything for her daughter despite being aware of her threats.
Mental health charities said the case was a sad reflection on today’s society where friends made online are not necessarily friends in real life.