In a sign of how remarkably James Holmes was able to literally come out of no where and become a social mainstay, investigators are now piecing information together that reveals that the suspected assailant behind the Aurora, Colorado massacre had little to no social media presence, throwing into question whether his lack of social media presence was a harbinger of what was to come or a sign of the degree of disconnect he had with society?
wptv: t’s a truth of the digital age. When a person is plucked from obscurity, for good reasons or bad, the first thing curiosity-seekers do is turn to the Web.
Facebook or Twitter. LinkedIn or Tumblr. We expect social media to shed light on a person’s personality, especially when, as in the case of Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes, we’re trying to explain the unexplainable.
Yet the irony in this instance is that for the individual whose name has been more searched more times on google than any other thing since last Friday when the Aurora shootings took place, literally no one had ever heard of him. In fact one would be willing to espouse that James Holmes eschewed most human contact all together which may explain to a large degree why he had no social media relevancy to begin with.
Media and law enforcement investigating the shootings have found no traces of him online, aside from a possible account on Adult Friend Finder, a romantic meet-up site, according to police.
It’s impossible, of course, to draw broad conclusions about his mindset based on the fact that he didn’t share online. But Holmes’ lack of an online presence has emerged as a piece of the puzzle for people looking for answers.
Contemplates Dr Pamela Rutledge, director of the Media Psychology Research center:
“We could ask the same questions about the lack of Web presence that we could for anyone who isolates themselves. Was he socially isolated in all senses?”
“We know that social isolation can amplify the negative consequences of stress and increase the risk of developing psychopathology. Some research has shown that social isolation actually delays the positive effects of activities found to be emotionally beneficial, such as exercise. … What we don’t know is what caused Holmes to have such a break with reality.”
Holmes by virtue of not having social media presence, (admittedly a strange thing in a world forever hooked up to social media links, tweets, facebook messages and other accounts), puts him squarely in the minority amongst his peers. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Homes wasn’t wired to the ongoings of society (his fascination for pop culture, video games, science should immediately tell us otherwise).
Reflects Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project.
“It’s not the norm for someone of this age to have such a limited presence, in any form: no blogs, no profile on a photo-sharing site and things like that. But it’s also a mistake to think the everyone in this age cohort is living every minute of their lives with social media. That’s not the case.’
With few, if any, conclusions to draw, Rutledge said the most interesting observation about society as a whole may be how surprised we are that the suspect did not use social media.
“It’s a testimony to how normal participating in the social media world is when we look at the lack of presence as an anomaly,” she said. “(We wonder,) ‘What’s wrong with this guy that he’s not at least on Facebook?’ ”
That ironically may be part of the disconnect and the sense of deep alienation Holmes had with the average person who he perceived to be part of a weak, insular society that he as the anti villain would bring to its heels….