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5 kinds of people to avoid on Facebook during an emergency

  • Published at 06:11 pm July 12th, 2016

From the intense, bloody birth of the nation to present day, it's been a rocky road politically and otherwise, and if recent events are any indication, we have a long way to go in search of that elusive holy grail called “peace”.

We can only imagine what the wartime situation was like for the previous generation, before the introduction of cell phones and the Internet into daily life. The advent of social media means everyone now has front-row access to unfolding events during a crisis situation. While that means it's easier to do great good, like crowd-sourcing volunteers and relief funding during the Rana Plaza event, it also means that a moment of panic can quickly go out of control, particularly when you're faced with these five types of people on social media:

The Backseat Driver

Eat your heart out, Goethe. Whether it's hartal violence or a hostage situation, this person has “expert” advice for the people on the ground. From commentary on police tactics, to economic analysis, the Backseat Driver seems to have proficiency over a diverse portfolio of topics. Not that the police or the media or the policy makers are above reproach, but during a developing crisis, can you picture said police or media pausing to check their newsfeeds to take advice before proceeding? We thought not.


The conspiracy theorist

“What's that sound? Bomb attack! I bet it was the Chinese who did it..it's always the Chinese...you can't trust them. Also, Elvis lives!” The dust hasn't even settled on an event, and you'll find the web crawling with people who jump at shadows and imagine hidden motives behind everything.

Admittedly, nothing is ever how it seems, but an emergency situation is just the time to keep calm, not go chasing windmills.


The blame game

Something we probably learned from our glorious leaders, everything is always someone else's fault. The players of the blame game aren't just satisfied with the usual suspects of authority figures, no. They'll go for pop culture, historical figures, and having exhausted their stores of straw men to attack, even attack other people on Facebook for doing the exact same thing they're doing.


Too soon, bro

Impending disaster tends to produce a sort of gallows humour for some people. Used properly, humour can be effective at alleviating stress, and sometimes even lead to social changes. But that's pretty rare on Facebook. There's nothing like a crisis to send these troll figures into overdrives as they salivate over the insensitive jokes they can make, all for a few extra likes and shares.

Too soon

Hashtag overdose

Hashtags are intended as as equaliser in a field dominated by propaganda. Making sure your message doesn't get lost amidst the sea of media messages riding the information wave around the Internet, they're a useful tool for raising awareness. But when half your status is hashtags, some of which are just the same words capitalised differently, you know you've gone overboard.

Times are dark enough without social media making it darker. It wouldn't hurt to be a little considerate and positive.