Tag, You’re It or It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt

It started out as a simple notification. I’d been tagged on Twitter. Tagged for what, I didn’t know, but tagged all the same.

I opened the app. A lovely photograph filled my screen taken by another blogger who has frequently entertained me with her travel stories and photographs of parts known, as well as less discovered. But what was it doing on my Twitter feed?

The only information I could find was the hashtag, #7dayphotochallenge. No pictures. No explanations.

Being the sucker for friendly hashtag games, I clicked to learn more.

Following the tag, I saw a number of other posts featuring images of nature or various things around the house. The game seemed easy enough. I found a decent enough picture to share and tagged a couple other nice people I follow.

The following day, another photograph appeared in my feed posted by the same person who’d tagged me in the first place. However, this time other twitter handles were mentioned. It began to dawn on me then that this was one of the more run-of-the-mill twitter games.

I suppose the whole “#7day” part of the hashtag thing should have probably clued me in, but in my defense, I was somewhat distracted at the time by the pretty landscape. So I looked around the room, snapped a photo, and tagged another nice person.

It dawned on me then, that I may have made a tactical mistake. Before, I might have been able to pass off the first photo as a fluke or humoring a friend. But now, now I was invested.

I posted a third then started preparing my whole strategy for pictures 4,5,6, and 7.

Suddenly, this whole game thing was beginning to seem like work. Fun work, mind you. But work.

And I still didn’t have a clue what in the world purpose of the game was or the rules were – other than no people, no explanations.

I found myself thinking of a special I’d seen on Netflix a while ago called The Push. The film documented a social experiment designed to answer the following: could a regular person be manipulated into pushing another person off the top of a building based on nothing more than the power of suggestion and the perception of authority. It was a modern take on the Milgram experiment.

The experiment started by first identifying people who are more susceptible to suggestion than others. Potential subjects were sent into a room where a pair of people in on the experiment stood or sat whenever a bell rang. Those who joined in the exercise without ever once asking why the first few people were standing one moment and sitting the next were invited to the next round.

Once the subject was selected, he or she would be gradually conditioned to accept increasingly risky commands leading up to one final choice – would they continue to allow social pressures to influence their behavior, or would they stand up to something that they, being good people, knew to be morally repugnant?

Watching the experiment play out on the screen, I’d like to think I wouldn’t – that I’d draw a line in the sand before the situation progressed that far – but now, given how readily I jumped into a game that everyone else seemed to be playing no questions asked, it makes me start to wonder.

I like to think that people are good and well-intentioned overall. However, we can get carried away by an idea. Then, suddenly we find ourselves backed into a corner, blocked by the rigidness of our beliefs as much as by those who oppose them. At this point, it is only natural to forget about the larger implications and instead try to seek the protection of the closest group at hand. We then do or say whatever we can that either requires the least amount of thought or provides the most immediate relief. And this is when the bad stuff tends to happen.

People, for the most part, aren’t naturally bad in my opinion, but people sure can be lazy.

I’ve included a clip from a recent episode of Last Week Tonight on the topic of astroturfing, which was not a term I was familiar with, but now makes complete sense. The clip is NSFW, so wait until sensitive ears are not around before you watch it, but its worth the watch all the same. It’s a great reminder of the risk of getting so caught up in the group-think, emotional side of things, we forget to ask if what we are doing or saying is truly best, or based on any fact from the start.

If you aren’t able to view the clip, let me repeat with his key point: “It is now even more incumbent on us to use our judgment diligently.” So never forget to use yours. I’ll do the same.

Because while it’s easier than ever to get swept up in a trend, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

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27 thoughts on “Tag, You’re It or It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt

  1. I admire you for doing the challenge as stated. I did it on my blog a few years ago. I changed the rules to 7 pics in 1 day. Made it easier, less work-y. Please don’t push me off a building for saying that, I’m just a free spirit at heart. 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I did this sort of thing without inviting people by name.
    For social media, at least it’s true for FB, it is stated in the small print that pictures belong to them until you close your account… as well as anyone who is tagged on them.
    So, basically, by responding to such games, you offer your pictures to FB, as there is always someone tagged in the pic.
    Some other games ask your favourite food, name of your dog and so on… these are used by hackers to get answers to your security questions when you only thought you were playing a nice game with friends.
    Yes, fun and games until someone gets hurt…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is unfortunate that his show is on HBO as I feel a much larger audience could benefit from his team’s level of researched reporting, but then they might lose the freedom to go into as much depth as HBO allows them to do. He made fiduciary requirements entertaining for Pete’s sake.

      Like

  3. Push sounds frightening. Human beings can be manipulated too easily. It’s the rare person who can actually resist going along with the herd and they are generally scorned. Okay – enough icky sadness, have a good weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Now this is interesting, Allie. I have seen a few other posts for this 7-day photograph challenge and they also didn’t really know what to do so your assumption here is true. People can be sheep-like with trends and social media and don’t always apply their minds [not a photograph challenge but the bigger issues that come up on social media sometimes]. Have a lovely day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was recently tagged in the same 7-day photo challenge on Twitter, but just said ‘No thank you.’ I’ve done these tag challenges on my blog, and they can take up a considerable amount of time (time I can’t spare). I may sound like a kill-joy, but it’s what works best for me.
    Plus, even though I state clearly on my blog that I do not accept blogging awards or tags, I still get them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent points… have you watched Black Mirror?… there is an episode called Shut up and dance which is totally aligned with The Push …. I watched the latter. Raw, but extraordinary…. ((the BM episode I mentioned makes more sense if you check out online, YouTube for instance which contents you might find in the so called Deep Web; BTW).
    Best wishes ⭐️💛

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Eek. Because I’m the one who tagged Helen who then tagged you…

    It really was just a silly, fun way to share photos and say hi to some tweeps I hadn’t seen on Twitter in a bit. Took no time at all to cut/paste/attach a photo. (Though I DMed the tweeps I tagged to warn them and tell them how to play–with no pressure to actually play.) Sorry it was work and took you down the deep well into Twitter hell.

    Liked by 1 person

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