Alleged mass murderer James Holmes, who shot up a Colorado movie theater last month, killing 12 people, injuring 58 more, had a miniscule online footprint. Other than an odd profile on an adult dating site, Holmes, like the Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik, had no online social media presence to speak of. Most significantly, neither one of them had a Facebook page.
Which leads potential employers, landlords and others with a nose for online background checks super suspicious of those with similar minimal online activity. Could that new guy you’re thinking about placing in a nearby cubicle be another American psychopath – or is he just particularly private?
Sadly, another American mass murder this week at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, dispels that each and every potential psychopath will not reveal very much online.
Wade Michael Page, who killed six people before shooting himself, was part of a band called Definite Hate that sang about killing blacks, Jews, gays and other minorities. Page gave at least one online interview in which he said his lyrics “vary from sociological issues, religion, and how the value of human life has been degraded by being submissive to tyranny and hypocrisy that we are subjugated to”, and made more than 250 comments about a “racial holy war” on various online forums. His online activities were enough to alert the Southern Poverty Law Center that something bad could happen. And it did – before anyone could intervene.
Most of us are well into the process of leaving distinct online profiles that can tell anyone curious enough to Google our names quite a bit about us – our work history, marital status, political leanings, musical tastes and whether or not we prefer silly cat memes to silly dog memes – among thousands of other interesting and uninteresting minutiae.
It is more the norm to “over share” online rather than live off the online grid. So much so that new tools are coming out to help you filter the things online that make you roll your eyes – like your friends’ baby pictures. If too many of your friends are clogging up your Facebook newsfeed with photos of their little tater tots, check out Unbaby.me to get back to your regularly scheduled pet memes and Sh*t People Say videos.
Aren’t there better things to talk about online this week? Of course there are!
- Think teens are wasting their precious Wonder Years texting too much? Think again.
- Do mobile shopping habits differ between the East and West coasts? Seems East Coast types are spending more of their dollars online for eyeglasses and education. Out West, we prefer pedicures and Pilates.
- The 2012 Summer Olympics tape delay vs. live broadcast controversy quieted down a bit in this second and final week of competition.
- Speaking of YouTube, one of our favorite uses for the service is to get instant flashbacks into the way we were. Apparently, 1994 was further back in time than you think.