17 year-old Maria Rusco of Romania was electrocuted to death while she was bathing and tweeting in her home. According to the Austria Times, “Police said they believed Maria Barbu, 17, had tried to plug in her laptop with wet hands after the battery died during a long session on social networking site Twitter as she took a soak at her home in Brasov, central Romania.”
While the jokes you can make about this story practically write themselves, the fact is a teenage girl lost her life most likely tweeting about something inane and trivial to her friends. I like to think that anyone who can figure out how to sign-up for and maintain a social media account has the base-level knowledge of electricity+water+your body=bad, but perhaps it’s not about base knowledge.
My colleague recently wrote a post called It’s a Millenial Thing, You Just Couldn’t Understand detailing the exploits of a young, aspiring PR jobseeker who basically went nutty on the person who DIDN’T hire her, just because she was given some constructive criticism about her writing sample and experience. While I’m not comparing the Romanian girl’s accidental death to a self-inflated college grad’s tirade, both cases offer social commentary on common sense vs. egocentricity.
Social media saturation and the ability to be a center of attention 24/7 is like a drug. You can snort blog comments, mainline re-tweets, huff SEO and inhale the chatter of friends and strangers alike with no real personal gain. While this is practical for inflating self-esteem balloons, our Romanian friend proves that it can also be deadly when abused at the expense of common sense.
Assuming Maria knew that electricity + water + her was bad, she clearly thought the benefits of tweeting about loofahs and conditioner outweighed the deadly hazards presented by bringing a laptop into the tub. And while our PR gal could’ve taken the constructive criticism, improved her weaknesses and done better in the next interview, she chose to go on the attack and most likely got herself blacklisted from any future PR jobs in the area. While this doesn’t make our two anti-heros full blown narcassists, it does speak to their self-serving priorities, priorities which ultimately led to death and failure.
Yet, even by writing write this I am feeding my own sense of self-importance as if my thoughts on this topic are relevant to some grand audience. I don’t plan on assailing a senior member of my profession or introducing electronics to tubby time so why pontificate at all?
Posted by: Nick