BANGKOK – Following Monday’s bloody bomb attack in Thailand’s capital city, terrorism and media experts have warned that the fallout of such incidents could be just as damaging if people start using really stupid hashtags.
“High-profile events like bombings create instant trends on social media,” said Kayla Huston-Wendt, a new media analyst and associate professor. “This unfortunately tends to attract the worst, most illiterate kind of attention-seekers, who end up creating massive collateral damage through the juvenile abuse of social media networks.”
Huston-Wendt specifically singled out the use of lame, agenda-backed Twitter hashtags as the most unfortunate product of global news events.
“Every time there’s a natural disaster or terror attack, some asshole has to start tweeting under “#prayfor” whatever place got hit,” she said. “Frankly, I can’t think of anything more stupid that categorizing news under “prayer.”
“Let’s face it – praying is what people do instead of actually doing anything,” she added.
According to Huston-Wendt and other social media experts, hastags such as “#prayfor” and “#strongertogether” reduce important and complex situations into pandering, sloganeering echo chambers where destructive agendas can be forwarded instead of the actual issues behind the tragedies.
“The national unity banner is, of course, just an opportunistic exploitation by whatever establishment to use tragedy to cement its power,” observed political analyst Anders Torsuld.
“I would say a brain-dead hashtag that mass trends is probably, in the long run, more destructive than a bomb or a typhoon.”
Facebook pages created explicitly to commemorate tragic events were also described by Torsuld as “moron magnets” that allowed “grammatically atrocious self-promotion” to substitute for meaningful action.
Torsuld noted that any Tweet or Facebook page that encouraging people to pray, support incumbent governments, or wave “a dumb fucking flag over a corpse” was the surest way to ensure that tragedy would repeat itself.
“If the people’s response to extremist ideology is to create more, equally stupid ideology, then the terrorists have already won,” he added.