Twitter & Facebook Are All the Rage With Felons

Jacqueline Burt Cote

twitter on iphoneWhat's up with all the blow-by-blow crime scene social media updates these days? Yesterday, TwitPic founder Noah Everett tweeted about his naked arrest (and, of course, included pics). Last week, armed kidnapper Jason Valdez of Utah held a woman hostage for 16 hours in a motel standoff, SWAT teams and all, and still managed to keep his Facebook page updated!

I'm not even talking about a two-word status change, like "Jason Valdez is hiding at motel." I mean the man wrote six full posts and added over a dozen new friends! He even had old buddies looking out for him, sending him Facebook warnings when necessary like "SWAT officer in bushes." Remember when people tried to keep things like hostages and naked arrests private affairs? It would be easy to assume that we've become a nation of exhibitionists, but I actually don't think that's the case.

I think the issue is more along the lines of "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" If a guy gets arrested and doesn't tweet about it, did he really get arrested?

I guess I kind of understood this tendency when people were rushing to broadcast every piece of good news to the world at large, but the fact that we're now starting to compulsively share epic fails in progress worries me. Are we as a species having an existential crisis? Or maybe it makes sense: If the point of "bad" behavior is to get attention, like it is with little kids, why not try to maximize that attention, get more bang for your bad behavior buck?

Whatever the root cause, I guess the long arm of the law won't have to reach much farther than its laptop for clues from now on.

Why do you think someone would share their crime online?

Image via Steve Garfield/Flickr

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