Years ago chain letters started by being just that, letters. They would arrive with threats of your immediate demise if you failed to copy them and pass them on.
The electronic world didn’t kill off chain letters, just made them faster and more prolific. Every day emails arrive with something not that funny in them, but the stern warning that if you don’t forward them to everybody in your address book that you will be turned into a real live frog, yes you will.
Fascinated by how to make something pointless so ‘viral’ the authors turned their attention to social media, especially Facebook where most users have no brain or common sense whatsoever, and started rumours. Typical were rumours about Facebook charging users for the service, the rumour demanding that you do this or do that to your ‘status’ in order to object. Of course, it wasn’t really in order to object, it was in order for them to see how viral their little false rumour had become.
We went through a wonderful phase of using social media to all co-ordinate and meet-up to harmlessly ‘flash-mob’ a venue. Thousands all appearing in a single place, all joining together at the stroke of a minute spending two minutes standing still like statues to the confusion of everybody else that wasn’t in on it. Yes, it was fun. Harmless fun, although it became a little annoying on the millionth ‘Rickrolling’ (But I did finally stop)!
Eventually, this itself mutated from annoying fun into something a little more dangerous. Facebook was used to co-ordinate looting and pointless destruction across cities in the UK, and is now being used, alongside other social media like Twitter and Youtube to get people to congregate in places, or ‘occupy’ for no readily apparent reason. Gone are the days of a fun flash mobbing. Now it’s gotten far more vicious and is trying to be a global protest for no readily apparent reason beyond testing the ability of those who start the chain letter rolling to see what ‘result’ they can obtain.
Of course, protesting “Down with” always has to have a thing to be down with, and the only thing that rings a common bell is the ‘evil corporations’ and the endless conspiracy theories about the ‘new world order’, and so that is the target of the latest viral exercise. People are told to occupy places in order to complain, and their complaints should be directed towards the huge money making corporations.
Unelected spokesmen for the viral movement are of course the geeky teenagers who pretend they are part of a menacing organisation called ‘Anonymous’. It makes them feel cool to watch how many hits their latest ridiculous video on Youtube has received. If people also follow their instructions to ‘occupy’ somewhere, that’s even better. What a boner it gives them!
The oddest of the irony of all this is that they, alongside those who fall for it and turn up, will typically be ardent consumers of the shiny shiny products of the biggest of these corporations, especially the likes of Apple, who have a cult following from those most likely to be ‘occupying’, despite being the hugest ‘evil corporation’ of the lot.
Apple, netting far more money than the American Government ever has, and with a history of providing over-priced goods put together by dubious child labour and high carbon polluting processes, is also the common tool of those who wish to occupy and protest.
Go figure the immature mentality behind that one!