For those who may not follow the comings and goings of professional athletes on a micro level, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has embarked on his quest for a third NBA title. As he does every year around this time, James has gone into what he calls a “social media blackout,” where he does not use Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for the duration of the playoffs.
He does this with the objective of keeping his mind clear of distractions, so that he can increase his focus on the task at hand. Those who do not follow the NBA may be confused as to why this act is considered newsworthy, but the harsh reality is that this “blackout” says a heck of a lot more about us than it does him.
NBA fans are collectively stunned by the fact that such a top notch athlete would dare to avoid social media for the duration of a playoff run. This truly goes to show that we have developed an unhealthy obsession with both social media and the personal lives of our favorite celebrities.
Social media was recently abuzz when an Instagram model released a purported conversation that she had with James through Twitter’s private messaging function. The denizens of social media immediately jumped to conclusions, assuming that LeBron would not only cave in and go back to social media before the playoffs had even begun, but that he would also attempt to cheat on his wife in the process.
It is easier for us to assume that LeBron is just as weak as we are when it comes to avoiding social media. Most couldn’t resist the possibility that James gave in to the lure of an Instagram model. We’d like to believe that our celebrities are just like us, that they are constantly checking their phones for social media related updates.
These people were made to look foolish when the model’s story was eventually revealed to be fake. In modern society, we tend to find lies to be more fascinating than the truth, which leads us to believe things that we shouldn’t. Instead of giving him the benefit of the doubt, the memes and tweets flew fast and furious.
Our obsession with the mundane daily activities of celebrities has reached an unhealthy fever pitch. We’d all do well to start decreasing our level of focus on these matters and stop treating non stories as if they are breaking news.