An opinion piece on the damaging effects of social media, using Dan Bilzerian’s footage of the Las Vegas Strip massacre as a starting point of argument.
On October 1, while thousands of revellers were enjoying themselves at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old retiree, locked himself in a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and began shooting.
Paddock murdered 59 people and injured over 500, before killing himself.
One of the people at the scene was Dan Bilzerian. We know this because as bullets began bringing people down, Bilzerian took out his phone, and started filming the incident for Instagram.
“This girl just got shot in the fucking head. It’s so fucking crazy.” Said Bilzerian as he runs away from the scene.
Bilzerian posted the video on his Instagram account. A feed that’s turned him into a modern day, High Hefner, with over 22.9 million followers tuning in to see tits, fannies, and guns.
The video went viral.
Dakota Meyer, a retired marine, responded on Instagram.
“This is why children shouldn’t classify heroes by their followers or their photos. @DanBilzerian this is what kills me about people like you. Always playing “operator dress up” and so so tough when the cameras are on. A woman just got shot in the head, and you are running away filming. That’s not what operators do.”
How did Bilzerian react?
We will get to that in a little while, but first, have you ever heard of Sir Jonathan Ive?
Have you ever wondered how on earth we ended up with an iPhone?
Well, you can thank Sir Jonathan Ive, one of the men who helped design the thing. He’s a top bloke. The queen even thinks so. She put the sword on his shoulders and knighted him.
In a recent speech at the TechFest conference in New York where people surrounded the man trying to get under the true hood of the iPhone X, a member of the audience asked him how the iPhone has changed the world.
His answer may surprise you.
“Like any tool, you can see there’s wonderful use and then there’s misuse.”
When asked to elaborate on the word ‘misuse’ the knight replied:
“Perhaps constant use.”
Sometimes there is a time to use your phone, and sometimes you are better off running.
Social media is like a bomb factory lit up by Japanese lanterns. It serves a purpose, even looks the business, but if you don’t handle it correctly, then, well, let’s be honest World War III will likely begin via Twitter.
The poker world is social media nuts.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
The desire to reveal every facet of your life to complete and utter strangers has reached a state of delirium. Puckered lips. Front facing selfies. Butt selfies. Someone else taking them for you selfies.
To become the very best at anything, and within the poker industry that could be a player, dealer, poker room operator, or writer, we have to sit down daily and do the work.
It seems easy.
It’s anything but, and the problem lies with ‘Resistance’ a term coined by the brilliant author Steven Pressfield. During a recent interview with Ryan Holiday, Pressfield had this to say about beating resistance.
“Resistance never sleeps. It never slackens, and it never goes away. The dragon must be slain anew every morning.”
Social media is a manifestation of resistance.
A study of Facebook users showed that 70% of them left their ‘session’ feeling sad and depressed, and a billion people are logging into their accounts on a daily basis.
And for what?
Cal Newport, the author of Deep Work, suggested in a recent blog post that one should make a list of all the things that social media is good for.
Then he asks that you estimate how long it would take to check on those ‘good things’. Finally, he asks you to compare that number with the fact that the average American spends two hours per day on social media, with 50% of that time spent on Facebook alone.
It begs two questions:
What are people doing?
What could people be doing instead?
When it comes to the role of the poker player, one could argue with the game becoming increasingly more difficult they should spend those two hours working on their game.
And yet my Hootsuite feed doesn’t stop filling up, with some poker players beating the shit out of that two hour average on a regular basis.
How can you get into the zone, when you spend so much time living in someone else’s?
It’s time to face the facts, ladies & gentlemen.
Resistance has evolved. It’s become social media, and we are no longer in control. Social media is.
How did Dan Bilzerian reply to the Marine who called him out for running away from the attack?
The so-called Instagram King called him a ‘retard’ and released a second video showing him returning to the scene, begging a police officer for a gun so that he could help, and a third monologue video talking about his views on the media’s use of the ex-marines Instagram post.
“They print whatever is going to get the most clicks. It’s kind of sad. They publish some fucking guys account sitting behind a laptop typing trying to get his five minutes of fame.”
Five minutes of fame?
I smell subterfuge.
If you don’t believe that social media is in control, consider this.
While a rabid gunman is mowing people down all around you, your first impulse is to run. I get that. I would have done the same, girls brains or no brains.
But what happened next is inexplicable.
In the midst of the anarchy, with his life in danger, Bilzerian pulled out his mobile phone, got past the password, scrolled to his Instagram account, pressed the record button, and began filming.
In the second video, he asks someone to film him while the gunman is still killing people.
And the best bit?
The bit that says it all about this fucked up society.
Nobody even mentions how abnormal his actions were.