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Social Media Is a New Vector For Mass Psychogenic Illness

timothy posted 1 year,9 days | from the psst-pass-it-on dept.

Social Networks 373

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "There is an interesting read at the Atlantic where Laura Dimon writes that mass psychogenic illness, historically known as "mass hysteria"—is making a comeback and it appears that social media is a new vector for its spread. Mass hysteria such as the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693, the most widely recognized episode of mass hysteria in history, which ultimately saw the hanging deaths of 20 women, spreads through sight and sound, and historically, one person would have to be in the same room as somebody exhibiting symptoms to be at risk of 'catching' the illness. 'Not anymore,' says Robert Bartholomew, a sociologist who has studied over 600 cases of mass hysteria dating back to 1566, noting that social media — 'extensions of our eyes and ears' — speeds and extends the reach of mass hysteria. 'Epidemic hysterias that in earlier periods were self-limited in geography now have free and wide access to the globe in seconds,' says Bartholomew. 'It's a belief, that's the power here, and the technology just amplifies the belief, and helps it spread more readily.' In a recent case, nearly 20 students at a Western New York Junior-Senior High school began experiencing involuntary jerks and tics. Some believe that the Le Roy outbreak was a direct result of videos posted to YouTube by Lori Brownell, a girl with severe tics in Corinth, New York, 250 miles east of Le Roy. The story took off quickly, not just on the local and national news but on Facebook and autism blogs and sites devoted to mental health and environmental issues. Bartholomew warns that there is 'potential for a far greater or global episode, unless we quickly understand how social media is, for the first time, acting as the primary vector or agent of spread for conversion disorder.'"

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In other news (5, Funny)

J.J. Dane (1562629) | 1 year,9 days | (#44831873)

Psychiatrists identify social media as new source of revenue..

Re:In other news (5, Insightful)

fredrated (639554) | 1 year,9 days | (#44831939)

Non-snark version: Psychiatrists identify social media as new source of hysteria.

Re:In other news (3, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | 1 year,9 days | (#44831955)

Truth may sound like, but not actually be, snark.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832037)

Truth may sound like, but not actually be, snark.

Heavy emphasis on "may". I've come across way too many people on the internet who seem to honestly yet wrongly believe that the snarkier and more condescending a statement is, the more accurate and truthful it must be.

Re:In other news (1)

interval1066 (668936) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832345)

I can't be the only one whose noticed occasioanlly, that people who know me and know my dark sense of humor/irony don't always catch my humor in a chat/posting/email. That stuff is simply hard to put accross without the usual facial queues/intonations.

Re:In other news (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832507)

It's cues, facial cues!

What kind of moron mixes those up! /s for those that didn't read the thread.

Re:In other news (4, Funny)

Garridan (597129) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832049)

Cynic version: government finds new justification to censor social media.

Re:In other news (1)

Thud457 (234763) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832183)

Cynic version: government finds new justification to censor social media.

good./grumpycat
go outside and go to a bar.

Re:In other news (2)

endus (698588) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832397)

My shrink told me she doesn't do social media because all her patients tell her how horrible it is. .......I had just finished telling her how horrible social media was.

People are dumb panicky animals (5, Interesting)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44831915)

Truisms aside, this reminds me of the fact that they're still trying to redefine "delusions" in the DSM, because the Internet invalidated the old criteria, which went something like "Things believed by the individual, not supported by observation, and not shared with their social groups."

The internet made an avenue for crazy people to find similar crazy people, and form social connections with them, in a way that reinforced their own delusions quite directly. I don't think anyone has found a satisfactory conclusion to that problem, because they really don't want something that will classify people's religions as delusions.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (5, Informative)

schlachter (862210) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832033)

interesting. its like how religious people are not delusional because they have other people that believe what they believe. by all other standards, they would be considered delusional.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832139)

Except, by no valid standards would they be considered delusional. Dawkins pejorative book-naming choices, and the collection of parrots regurgitating that, is not a serious scientific decision.

The DSM provides us with a scientific one, perfectly suitable, and it only being challenged because atheists have a fixation on not retracting their clearly-false usage. If a belief is consistent with one's widespread cultural norms (and a "culture" requires more than a handful of people congregating on the Internet), they are no delusional. Period.

On many given issues, either Republicans or Democrats are factually incorrect. Their beliefs are false. However, neither are not delusional. Stop trying to special-case religion out of all other like circumstances of indeterminate human knowledge because of your personal axe you have to grind.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832189)

I'm an atheist myself, but "everyone is wrong about something" is an important mantra to keep in mind. The wrong is more important to human understanding than the right, because it gives you extra lenses with which to examine and expand what you already know. Free speech exists for a reason.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832195)

How is religion not a delusion? Please explain it to us.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832289)

Because parent to child is a standard kind of learning, and most religion is learned that way. Learned beliefs are seriously distinct from delusional beliefs in nature.

That wasn't hard.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832409)

A delusional parent can't teach their child their delusion?

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832443)

Yes, it ceases to be a delusion for that child. Human nature has some bugs, but psychiatric disorders are just that, things out of the ordinary, that cause abnormal brain function.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832247)

If a belief is consistent with one's widespread cultural norms (and a "culture" requires more than a handful of people congregating on the Internet), they are no delusional. Period.

The DSM definition is idiotic and only a delusional idiot could come up with or believe in something like that.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832315)

Well, regardless of your clearly-hypocritical stance, you and I do still get to believe our favorite musicians produce objectively good music, despite having no proof of this belief, and without being delusional.

Thank science.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (4, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832527)

When you grow up, you will realize that your favorite musician is not 'objectively good', he or she is 'subjectively good'. In other words 'there is no accounting for taste'.

You might even stop arguing about who's the best band...It was 'The Sex Pistols'.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832233)

interesting. its like how religious people are not delusional because they have other people that believe what they believe. by all other standards, they would be considered delusional.

To quote Budweiser/NFL: It's only weird if it doesn't work.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (0)

operagost (62405) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832365)

Also like how Internet Atheists believe that they are expert historians, archaeologists, and theologians because other people agree with them.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (4, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832391)

I like how you Capitalize Groups you disagree with, in order to make them seem like a Cohesive Group.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832045)

I don't see any problem with just removing the last part of the phrase, leaving only "things believed by the individual, not supported by observation." It seems to fit well with Wikipedia's definition, "a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary." Religions are delusions.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832199)

Alas, it's only your claim to the psychic powers necessary to know the content of all other individuals' observations, that is delusional here.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (5, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832223)

It seems to fit well with Wikipedia's definition, "a belief held with strong conviction despite superior evidence to the contrary."

Merely being "wrong" isn't sufficient to be a delusion. The sticking detail is "superior evidence to the contrary."

The problem with religion is that there isn't a lot of evidence one way or the other about the core questions of religion -- the origin of the universe and of life, what purpose we have in life, and what awaits us after death. Specific details of creation stories or certain mythical events in the past have been knocked out in many cases, but religion will not go away so long as those questions are essentially unanswerable with any degree of solid proof.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832225)

Because things you learn by authority actually makes up a lot of what you know. Even if you haven't personally substantiated it. Everyone believes wrong things, and that is not identical to delusions, because delusions are caused by non-normal brain activity.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832455)

Hmmm ... I strongly believe that things continue to exist when I no longer observe them. This believe is by definition not supported by observation. Should I consult a psychiatric? (Does a psychiatric actually exist, since I currently don't observe one? ;-))

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832537)

"This is not supported by observation" is the premise of your proof by-contradiction(that's what the cool kids are calling sarcasm now) that is flawed. Observing again and seeing things that you lost sight of is a means of (non-absolutely) demonstrating the validity of the belief.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (3, Funny)

bagboy (630125) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832055)

The internet made an avenue for crazy people to find similar crazy people, and form social connections with them, in a way that reinforced their own delusions quite directly.

Umm... the birth of Slashdot?

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832073)

Most people tend to believe things based on their social groups. Which is why Republicans and Democrats tend to be clumped together and have similar beliefs on completely unrelated issues.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832119)

Learn the meaning of 'why'.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (2)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832399)

Why?

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832239)

Lumping people together is almost always a mental shortcut that does yourself and others a disservice.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

phantomfive (622387) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832435)

And you are now lumped into the group of people who missed the point of the post.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832477)

Um... okay... that would be the point you clarify to the poor idiot who clearly didn't understand.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832281)

Most people tend to believe things based on their social groups. Which is why Republicans and Democrats tend to be clumped together and have similar beliefs on completely unrelated issues.

I've always wondered why gun owners are expected to be religious. Just because both are (allegedly) Republicans?

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832411)

Could you seriously justify ending another person's life yourself, if you didn't believe in an afterlife for them?

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

MrHanky (141717) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832207)

What? I don't think the DSM is about to redefine delusion, as a psychiatric term, to include truthers, chemtrail-believers and AGW denialists.

Re:People are dumb panicky animals (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832259)

They haven't actually made a change. It was just a serious problem raised with the diagnostic criteria, because a lot of classically delusional people were finding a social group that shared their beliefs.

Error in summary (5, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | 1 year,9 days | (#44831931)

Actually, 6 of the 20 people executed in Salem MA were men. And one of them (Giles Corey) wasn't even convicted, he just refused to plead and at the time torturing to force a plea was legal.

Re:Error in summary (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832151)

And one of the men was executed not by hanging but by crushing when he refused to confess as they slowly piled large rocks on top of him.

Re:Error in summary (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832387)

Actually, he wasn't refusing to *confess*, he was refusing to *plead* (guilty or not guilty). Because if he didn't plead, they couldn't try him, and if they couldn't try him, they couldn't convict him, and if they didn't convict him his property couldn't be confiscated. He figured he was dead already but this way his family wouldn't have to live in poverty. An amazing man, Giles Corey was.

Re:Error in summary (0)

minstrelmike (1602771) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832217)

Actually, 6 of the 20 people executed in Salem MA were men. And one of them (Giles Corey) wasn't even convicted, he just refused to plead and at the time torturing to force a plea was legal.

Thank God torture isn't legal anymore, right W?

Re:Error in summary (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832337)

Torture will always be the obvious point to pull out whenever someone says Obama is exactly the same as Bush.

Re:Error in summary (1)

operagost (62405) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832401)

True. Obama just kills them cleanly with a drone so they don't suffer.

Re:Error in summary (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832463)

Hey, you find a way to end violence as a means of settling human disputes, and I will commit my life to helping you. Torture has long had a special place as being understood to be unnecessarily cruel.

Re:Error in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832457)

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/03/us/guantanamo-lawsuit

Re:Error in summary (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832487)

Yeah, too bad republicans didn't let Obama shut that place down. Lindsey Graham is an inhuman monster.

Re:Error in summary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832219)

And one of those men was a man who was so absolutely incensed that they kept calling him a witch (rather than a warlock) that he killed himself through magickal spontaneous combustion rather than suffer their company any more.

That's weird (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832475)

"the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-1693, the most widely recognized episode of mass hysteria in history, which ultimately saw the hanging deaths of 20 women..."

Yes, that's very peculiar.

Apparently George Burroughs, John Willard, George Jacobs, Sr., John Proctor, Samuel Wardwell, Giles Corey, and Roger Toothaker-- the men killed in the Salem witch hysteria-- aren't worth mentioning, because it's expected that people will only get angry about injustice if the victims are women?

Typical psychological mambo jambo. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44831967)

This field is the modern equivalence of the Church. Their unsubstantiated beliefs are all encompassing and explain all human phenomenons. Where once were daemon and angles, now there are illness to be treated.
Every neuroscientist's essay I've read were cautions to the extreme in their diagnosis. To the people who actully deal with evidence based medicine, the very basis of neurosis and psychosis are at best theoretical and at worst nonsense. Even psychiatric will often administer random anti psychotics to all manner of patients since the very framework for treatment is just all made up.
It's not even a big secret. Just go ask any practicing metal care professional with more than 3 years of experience and they will confirm this to one degree or another.
It's all Mambo Jambo. Mambo Jambo...

Re:Typical psychological mambo jambo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832091)

That's right. There's no such thing as craziness.
Everybody's experiences, perceptions, and beliefs are equally valid.
There is no objective reality.

Re:Typical psychological mambo jambo. (1)

trongey (21550) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832295)

Where once were daemon and angles...

Exactly what sort of angles are we talking about here, accute, obtuse, right?

Re:Typical psychological mambo jambo. (5, Funny)

Kal Zekdor (826142) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832493)

Where once were daemon and angles...

Exactly what sort of angles are we talking about here, accute, obtuse, right?

Didn't you read TFS? Acute hysteria among obtuse individuals.

Re:Typical psychological mambo jambo. (3, Informative)

poity (465672) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832441)

While I think that's true for real disease in the biological sense, strange disease-like phenomena can arise from a confluence of seemingly unrelated factors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_Plague_of_1518 [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_mania [wikipedia.org]

And it raises the question if these phenomena spread like disease and harm like disease, should they be viewed any differently?

This is hardly Facebook's fault (3, Insightful)

SirGarlon (845873) | 1 year,9 days | (#44831969)

I blame Facebook for a lot, but I think they deserve a pass for this. "Mass hysteria" looks to me like a real phenomenon, but that doesn't mean the "victims" aren't doing in on purpose.

For example, from one of the stories [discovery.com] linked in the summary:

"... At last all the nuns meowed together every day at a certain time for several hours together." The meowing went on until neighbors complained and soldiers were called, threatening to whip the nuns until they stopped meowing.

If they can stop whenever they want, then I have a hard time calling it a "disease." It sounds more like "being an asshole." (See also, Salem witch trials.)

Re:This is hardly Facebook's fault (1)

minstrelmike (1602771) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832203)

Why would you think they can stop being hysterical?
It's not voluntary anymore than being an asshole is (and I don't see many assholes suddenly decide to stop being assholes).

Re:This is hardly Facebook's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832221)

Can they stop whenever they want? Or do they need proper motivation? Even in the example you cited, the nuns didn't stop until they were threatened.

Re:This is hardly Facebook's fault (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832347)

Exactly. They didnt stop until something they valued (their freedom/money/whatever) was threatened. So they then chose to stop. Apparently they didnt value their neighbors nearly as much as they valued themselves (duh).

Re:This is hardly Facebook's fault (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832427)

"Whenever they want" and "when properly motivated" are exact synonyms.

man, that is some lame LOLcats fanfiction (1)

Thud457 (234763) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832433)

"... At last all the nuns meowed together every day at a certain time for several hours together." The meowing went on until neighbors complained and soldiers were called, threatening to whip the nuns until they stopped meowing.

jeeze, trigger warnings there. You just blew the circuits of like three different groups of people while getting off another six.

Oh noes! The sky iz falling! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44831973)

I saw on Slashdot that people iz going crazy!

It must be true! Slashdot sez so!

Re:Oh noes! The sky iz falling! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832015)

Mass hysteria isn't insanity, but a component of human reaction to peer pressure. If you haven't seen 20 different people echo the same idiotic sentiment that they wouldn't have ever had if it weren't for the other 19 before, you haven't been on the internet long.

Re:Oh noes! The sky iz falling! (1)

alen (225700) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832205)

the sky isn't falling, but the oceans are rising and half of all americans are going to drown in the next 50 years

State of (Dis)belief (3, Funny)

tiberus (258517) | 1 year,9 days | (#44831991)

Guy: Where did you hear that?
Girl: The Internet.
Guy: And you believed it?
Girl: Yeah. They can't put anything on the Internet that isn't true.
Guy: Where did you hear that?
Girl: The Internet.
Girl: Oh Look, here comes my date. I met him on the internet. He's a french model.
French Guy: Bonjour.

Me:

Re:State of (Dis)belief (3, Funny)

Valdrax (32670) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832271)

You know, the punchline from the commercial just doesn't work if you don't give some indication that the supposed French model isn't saying "bon jour" correctly (and isn't attractive).

Re:State of (Dis)belief (1)

tiberus (258517) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832381)

Hmmm, Mark up error, seems &lqao

Re:State of (Dis)belief (1)

tiberus (258517) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832393)

#EpicFail

Re:State of (Dis)belief (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832497)

Actually it's "uuhhhh... bon jour"

The West is not Immune (1)

istartedi (132515) | 1 year,9 days | (#44831993)

We've probably all read accounts of primitive cultures contacted by moderns. The primitives suffer in various ways because they aren't prepared to handle what moderns have. Aside from the microbes, they can't handle the technology sometimes. If you've read those accounts smugly, quit it. The West is not immune. The difference is that we introduced the new things to ourselves. The bad news is that these authors may be right on some level even though it sounds like they themselves are engaging in hysterics. The good news is that we will eventually learn to deal with new things. We'll probably fare much better than primitives because the new things aren't part of a narrative of conquest and exploitation. Well, not so much conquest anyway.

This Is News? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832003)

Most of these people suffer from a sickness that requires them to share everything they do with the rest of the world.

Hey man... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832005)

'Wanna try some snow crash?'

Theres a common medication for this. (1)

nimbius (983462) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832011)

facebook_ip=31.13.69.160
route add $facebook_ip gw 127.0.0.1 lo
I'll thank you kindly to finalize your intentions post haste for any doctorates, statues, or parades or street names in my honour you wish to confer upon me.

Re:Theres a common medication for this. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832351)

Hmm, a common medication that doesn't work for 95% of the world's population doesn't seem like a very good treatment.

absolutely agree... (1, Insightful)

schlachter (862210) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832013)

just the other day I noticed there are many church groups on facebook with people professing their belief in all the imaginary stuff that comes with church affiliation. how is this not more significant than the salem witch trials? hundreds of millions of people have been killed from this mass delusion.

Re:absolutely agree... (5, Interesting)

minstrelmike (1602771) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832175)

in defense of the religions, people weren't actually killed _because_ of the delusions. Every homo sapiens social group that operates has a belief system of some sort and probably every single one of those is incorrect in serious ways.
And since every single social group has also killed and attacked other social groups, you don't get to blame their over-arching religion or philosophy, most of which are at odds with each other and even with themselves (being internally inconsistent). Every group has those. It's one of the ways any specific -group- is defined.

I know most folks like to blame history on socio-political issues but they are incorrect. Every group has a religion and philosophy just as every human has a spleen, a gall bladder and ligaments. Without ligaments, nothing gets done but we don't say ligaments _cause_ individual human actions.

Belief in a Creator God is a delusion but belief that religion causes the wars fought in its name is also a delusion.

mass hysteria (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832027)

like over vaccines? only cure is to counter that bullshit with facts.

OMG! (1)

feepness (543479) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832029)

I think I have psychogenic illness now!!!

Fear (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832031)

The symptom is "hysteria", the root cause is fear.

Social media (actually the WWW) is the communication medium. It makes the world smaller, this we know. It isn't special in it's ability to spread the "disease".

The Shadow People (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832053)

There was a (bad) horror movie along this principle: people dying in their sleep from no known cause. Apparently, if people believed that "shadow people" were out to get them, a negative placebo effect would take place, and they'd actually die from the belief alone.

The protagonist trying to expose the phenomenon was convinced, at the last moment, not to, lest an epidemic result.

Social Media isn't a Vector.... (5, Interesting)

Geste (527302) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832067)

... it is mass hysteria.

This article made me twitch! (1)

sinij (911942) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832081)

This article made me twitch... twitch... twitch...

this is why you must stick to cat videos (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832127)

They're like a nerve tonic.

Sounds like religion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832137)

Sounds like religion.

Great. A Clinical / Medical Excuse for Censorship (4, Interesting)

ClassicASP (1791116) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832141)

I can see it happening. The NSA is relatively new, so next comes the NMHPA (National Mass Hysteria Prevention Agency). They'll censor the internet systematically with advanced technology solutions and and say "No, we're not oppressing people's right to free speech. We're preventing panic caused by mass hysteria".

MIB (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832147)

Edwards: Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.

Kay: A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

Indeed it is (4, Interesting)

smooth wombat (796938) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832161)

The belief that your photos and comments are somehow important to anyone else on the planet.

Could it be the demographic? (1)

barlevg (2111272) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832177)

IT Crowd 106: Aunt Irma Visits [youtube.com]

Richmond: You shouldn't have sent out this e-mail detailing the symptoms. You know how suggestible and easily swayed I.T. people are.
Roy: That's not true!
Richmond: Yes it is.
Roy: No you're right. Of course it is.

also known as the mommy sixth sense (2)

alen (225700) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832179)

both my kids had all kinds of conditions and diseases because my wife read all kinds of crap on the mommy and parent blogs and the kids fit most of the symptoms

Re:also known as the mommy sixth sense (1)

neo-mkrey (948389) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832335)

your wife needs to get a job

Mass hysteria! (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832185)

Human sacrifice! Dogs and cats living together!

Re:Mass hysteria! (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832453)

Tell 'em about the Twinkie.

This explains why I thought Justin Beiber mattered (1)

Coop (9778) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832201)

Damn those mass delusions!

Hogwash (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832243)

Oh noes! Whatever will we do about this nightmarish prospect? Social media could cyberattack us all, turning us into fainting hiccupping teenage girls! I can't stop laughing! Oh my god.. I literally cannot stop laughing! Help me! HAHAHA! It;s real!! HAHA! We're doomed!! We're all doomed!!! HAHAHAA!

Seriously though, there are far too many bullshit detectors scattered among the masses for this to be a serious concern. Also, we're not all teenage girls, and aren't going to start copying each others mannerisms uncontrollably. Nor are all of us going to begin uncontrollably shortening "are" to "r" and "you're" to "ur" in our typewritten communications, resulting in messages that appear to have been written by cyborg hydrocephalics.

Hysteria (1, Funny)

Ann Coulter (614889) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832349)

Please do not use the term "hysteria" as it denigrates women. That word originates from the Greek word for "uterus," with the word "hysterectomy" sharing the same lineage, and perniciously qualifies women as raving lunatics.

Non-Social Media (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832355)

Personally I see more hysteria transmitted through news anchors and journalists than through FB and TW, not that they do not contribute.

The only thing... (2)

argStyopa (232550) | 1 year,9 days | (#44832371)

...the only thing that would make this even better is if these 'diseases' were fatal.

Any disease spreadable to the special snowflakes that could catch such 'diseases' over social media could ONLY be a win for Darwin generally.

More recent examples (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832481)

The Obama witch hunt of Syria is another example. Few facts, all of them ambiguous and yet so many senior political figures call for the USA to break it's UN treaties and attack Syria in contravention of international law even when public opinion in the USA is against such a move. This brings to light the hidden social networks used by people in Washington circles, not nearly as open as Facebook, but nevertheless instant communication, flash mobs, and mass hysteria within their circle.

Another recent example is the so-called gay-bashing law passed by Russia's parliament. Nobody, not even journalists, bothered to actually read the text of the law, which was actually a child protection law intended to protect children from outside influences who want to radicalize them. Those of you who know gay people will know that they do not all hold the same beliefs, do not all support the same political groups, do not all express their gayness in the same way. In Russia there is a problem with radical gay groups pushing a single gay agenda and recruiting underage kids who think that they might be gay. Given that it is illegal to have sex under age 18, how can a political group actually identify gay children other than by breaking the law? And why should gay kids have to come out now, and not later, in their own good time, when and if they want to. That law enabled fines (like traffic tickets) for people who promote gay propaganda targetting underage kids. It could have been passed in the US Congress. In fact there probably already are laws that prohibit heterosexual propaganda aimed at underage kids. The fact is that kids should be educated, not propagandized. Education is about drawing out the capabilities of a child, not creating a mini Marine corps training camp where everyone has to conform. But did we see any intelligent debate of this issue? No. Just the repetition of outrage at an unknown and unspecified gay-bashing law that perfectly mirrored the hysteria of the Salem witch trials.

Social media is not the main vector (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,9 days | (#44832503)

The main vector of psychogenic illness in the United States would be Fox News and talk radio.

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