It was Axl Rose that devised the lyrics, ‘Everybody needs some time… on their own… don’t you know you need some time… all alone’ and although the guy is a little crazy, he was never branded a psychopath for such a statement.
In all seriousness, gone are the days when a person was able to return home from a long day, close the door behind them and comfortably wallow in the peace of their own company. Social networking provides an excellent conduit for meeting new friends and staying in touch with old ones; however, there is inevitably a sinister aspect to the quasi reality established by social networking and the digital world.
A different perspective on such claims would suggest that buying an arsenal of guns and plotting mass murder doesn’t leave much time for social networking and people with the desire to plan and carry out mass murder are by nature quite antisocial.
Psychopaths existed in reality long before the phenomena of social networking came along. Contrary to the claims that people not using social networking sites are psychopaths, there is strong evidence to suggest that social networking and digital media offer a platform for psychopaths to extend their fantasies beyond physical reality into the digital world and consequently render them into an existence contained in the meta-reality of cyberspace.
For some, it seems that masquerading in the digital world invokes a false confidence that inspires ‘internet trolls’ and a broad spectrum of psychological abuse that would not be conducted in true reality.
From World of Warcraft to Facebook and Twitter, people are able to invent alter egos that allow that person a second identity – or possibly multiple identities – from which they can operate a fantasy existence that in a lot of cases replaces the life they have in the domain of physical reality. It would appear that in a wide range of cases, social networking has established a disguise for people, which in an unprecedented manner, supplies an alternate reality that coaxes and encourages strange and unnatural behaviour.
Documentaries such as Catfish, The Girl Who Became Three Boys and talhotblond explore cases in which individuals have utilised social networking to manifest false avatars in order to lure in innocent people. Some of the stories evoke sympathy and even empathy toward the lonely characters that are guilty of inventing false cyber identities while others end in murder.
So it seems that as well as providing a haven for legitimate sociability, social networking creates a realm in which psychopaths are able to flourish within an arena of fragmented human nature.