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Stephen Dunkley – 2014
Don’t run towards the screams. Never run towards the screams. You sit at home watching horror movies and you shout at the screen, “Never run towards the screams

And yet they always do!
If nothing else, during a badly executed horror movie you can take side bets regarding which characters will be the first to expire.
The stereotypical ditzy blonde is always a favorite for “going first”.
The duration of her on-screen time depends on how annoying she is.
If she is that constant irritating whiner you almost know she’s going to pack it in soon.
And yet she runs towards the screams!

Would you run towards “the screams” in real life?
Would you run towards gunfire?

Driven by the allure and illusion of anonymity we often run towards the “screams” on social media platforms.
Unlike crowds standing behind a police line at the scene of a car accident we don’t observe… we become active participants.
We don’t wait behind the line until someone calls out, “is there a doctor here?”
Even when nobody requires the services of a mechanic, everyone is instantly available with technical information.
Everyone is a doctor, teacher, guru, spiritualist, expert, warrior, magician or a councilor.

When I read through comments on social media posts I immediately wish I didn’t.
Everyone runs towards the screams, joining in a fight…often in a cartoonish manner at best.
Many of those haphazardly-slapped-down comments indicate that the participants simply wanted to “be there”.
The doctor, the guru, the priest and the professor simply wanted to be part of the action.

Even when we don’t always see the bigger picture we want to stand in the path of the oncoming online storm.
We must be able to take a selfie of sorts and say we didn’t miss out.
We made our marks.
This is simply the “my opinion rules because it is mine” era?

Take a look at stuff that goes viral online.
So here’s something new, or some or other contentious controversial video (something awesome… something that is “the best ever”).
This “flavor of the day” can generate so much noise in the form of spectator participation that the original content may very well be eclipsed at times.
I always love listening to live music, but imagine the sad day when any concert simply becomes the next venue where the music or main event is eventually drowned out by either constant cheering, heckling or senseless fighting that breaks out in many of the aisles.

Yep, I’m a true believer in the power of social media… whenever it can be applied on a practical level.
Let’s find someone’s lost puppy or re-unite two lovers.
Help Joe get a car.
Raise some cash to help the homeless guy we all see every day.
That is real life, isn’t it?
Real and practical.
Showing how the comments and participation can make a difference.

There will always be problems and events on a global level.
Prior to the information age people experienced distress, coped with trauma on various levels and survived.
We read about amazing events, tragedies and triumphs of the human spirit in the “early edition”.
We didn’t forcefully insert ourselves into the story… and become the story…