Is Hollywood's High Profile Stabbing a Result of a Social Media Obsessed Society?

I'm sick of people taking photos of their food, the storefront that they're entering, and every tiny little aspect of their lives. People are consumed with photographing and sharing everything that crosses their paths. It's really kind of OCD if you think about it and, at least, a little self-obsessed.

This month, a woman was stabbed and killed in Hollywood by a group of homeless men after she took their photograph and refused to give them a dollar afterward. This has spurred heated debates about panhandling, safety in tourist areas, and homelessness. However, I have not seen one person mention the issue of our society's obsession with phototaking and how it was the catalyst for this woman's death.

So the verified reports are that the unfortunate victim of the fatal stabbing saw these three vagrants holding signs that were littered with profanity. She apparently was compelled to take a photo with her cellphone to document what she had seen. Perhaps (and I'm speculating) to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? I mean, that is why most of us take pictures, isn't it? Had she never taken the photo, I think it's likely that the altercation wouldn't have happened and she'd be home safely today.

Not everything you come across has to be photographed. This is especially true of taking photos of people you don't know. Unless you ask someone if you can take their photo, don't do it. At best, it's rude. And it is an invasion of that person's privacy. It's really not for any us to decide to share that person's activities with our social networks. It's their life, not ours. (Of course, people doing public appearances and speaking gigs isn't applicable here.)

My sympathy goes to the victim's family as this was, indeed, a senseless death. That said, I hope people start having a new discussion about this tragic crime; one that addresses our social media obsessed culture and our constant need to share. Are we so consumed with getting likes and retweets that we just whip out the camera for anything and everything? Let's stop the madness here and now.

The next time you take a photo to share with your online networks, ask yourself, "Will I enjoy and appreciate this photo 20 years from now?" If it's a photo of your lasagna, I suspect the answer is no. However, if it's a photo of your kids with Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, the answer is probably yes. And, of course, use common sense when taking photographs; especially of others.

Just because taking photos is easier than ever, doesn't mean that everything is worth capturing for posterity.

Got an opinion? Sound off below. 

Photo Credit: Photobucket/smileu34

What Kids Can Teach Us About Change

temper tantrum photo: temper temper-tantrum.jpgChange is hard. Whenever you make an adjustment to your services, your website, the menu on your phone system, or your actual product, it's not uncommon for your customers to cry foul. Generally, people like routine and are creatures of habit. Change causes stress and, frequently, resistence.

Earlier today I was walking my dogs and we usually pass a pre-school while we're out. All the kids love to come to the fence to say hi to my little dog; he just loves kids and barks to let them know he's arrived. This morning, my little furball barked and all the children came scampering over to the fence. All of them were smiling and trying to pet him, except one little boy who was screaming and crying. My first fear was that the daycare folks would think my dog did something to the child, but one of the yard monitors quickly told me, "It's his first day. He's not very happy"

A kid's first trip to pre-school can be traumatic. For the very first time in their lives they're with total strangers, away from the people they know, and forced to stay in a strange environment where nothing and no one is familiar. Change is hard; no matter how old (or young) we are. Sometimes we'd all like to scream and cry and stomp our feet when change hits us upside the head. Unfortunately, as we grow up this kind of behavior is frowned upon.

The reality is your business is going to make changes. Sometimes they're for the better and sometimes you'll think they're for the best, but they turn out not to be.

Customers like to feel as if they're in it with you. They oftentimes feel like partners or even investors. They don't like to be surprised, inconvenienced, or annoyed. They want to be included. If they're part of a change, or adequately informed about it, it goes down smoother.

The next time your business is thinking of making a change, remember your customers. Can they be part of it? Can you seek their advice? If that's not possible, how can you best inform them of the change? Can you email them about it in advance? Can you guide them through the process with some simple education?

As adults, we're not supposed to throw temper tantrums like the kid on his first day at pre-school. However, in this age of social media, we all know that those outbursts manifest themselves in a different way: snarky tweets, hateful Facebook updates, critical blog posts, and more. Change is hard, but it doesn't always have to be traumatic.

Photo Credit: Photobucket/B. Mahfood
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