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Social Media Before Reason

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Take a selfie in front of a fire? Sure, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

"The end comes, as it was always going to, down a video phone!"
The Doctor, Doctor Who, "The Eleventh Hour"

Social media are regularly used for circulating news and sharing whatever you're doing with your friends in the form of status updates, pictures, or videos. This can be really fun and addictive, and although spending a lot of time on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram might distract you from living in the moment, it usually won't actually hurt anybody. It also goes along with an Internet Safety Aesop since you should think twice before you post something on the internet.

But what if you find yourself in a dangerous situation that requires rapid action, such as a natural disaster, a medical emergency, or a crime in progress? The logical thing to do in this case is to either run to safety if you can't help or hurry to the victims' aid if you can...and yet some people are so hooked on social media that their first impulse is to start posting about it there before they even think about responding to the emergency. Sure, whatever's happening is newsworthy, but it'll be too late to do anything about it if you waste precious seconds fiddling with your screen.

This is Truth in Television due to its roots in human psychology — when you see an outright incredible scene, it's so hard to believe it's actually happening that your first reaction will be to actually prove it's real by putting it on the Web. It can also be an aspect of Bystander Syndrome where everybody assumes that someone else is already taking care of it and that there's nothing for them to do but watch. Keep in mind that social media can also be used legitimately for sharing information during a disaster when other means aren't available, or more specifically submitted to the proper authorities as evidence of a crime being committed; this trope is specifically about using it in a way that's inappropriate for the situation.

Compare with the Intrepid Reporter, a professional journalist who ought to know the risks they're taking by being there; the Apocalyptic Log, which is left by someone in case they don't survive to tell the tale, instead of by some Twitter addict who just doesn't realize how much danger they're in; and Endangering News Broadcast, which is usually more dangerous to the subject than to the filmer. Related to New Media Are Evil and Everything Is Online. Subtrope of Skewed Priorities and Social Media Is Bad. This is a common trait of a Selfie Fiend, and even more prevalent with the Bad Influencer.


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  • In a commercial for Eggo waffles, a family is eagerly awaiting for an Eggo to pop up out of the toaster and when it does, they immediately whip out their phones and begin tweeting "Leggo my Eggo". As they're doing so, the youngest daughter just walks up and grabs the Eggo.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Aggretsuko: In the OVA We Wish You a Metal Christmas, Retsuko becomes addicted to posting dessert pics on Instagram, to the point that she winds up doing such things as spending all night taking a train back and forth to another city just to post a picture of something in a cafe she'd heard about.
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch's second Establishing Character Moment after his chess game is him rushing to help a truck that just had an accident, while everyone around him is merely taking pics and wondering why no one has called an ambulance yet. Note that this came out before the advent of social media, but the attitude is still there, with people using their phones to take pictures rather than calling emergency services with them.
  • The 2018 version of GeGeGe no Kitarō:
    • A young man decides to run around in Shibuya traffic and disturb the locals so he can get views on YouTube for it. He turns into a red-leaved tree not long after. Why was he transformed? His previous video showed him tearing off a talisman and breaking the rock it was attached to in the same careless style, unwittingly releasing the youkai inside. And then bystanders take pictures of the aforementioned tree, in which some of those who took pictures of the tree turn into the tree, causing Shibuya to turn into a red forest.
    • In episode 22 when the Gyuki comes to the island town during a festival, the people think it's an entertainment and begin taking pictures of it. It is only after it eats the selfie-takers that the people realize it's a monster and start panicking.
  • Yuri!!! on Ice tends to play this for laughs:
    • In Episode 2 when Yurio arrives in Japan, he mentions knowing he can't post pictures or else his coach will find out where he is, but as soon as he finds a shirt he really likes (with a tiger on it), he takes a selfie with it and posts it anyway. His coach is not amused in the slightest.
    • Phichit seems to have a habit of taking embarrassing pictures of people and posting them online without their consent since, in his words, he just can't help himself. He does it twice in Episode 6, where he takes a picture of his coach Celestino when he's drunkenly passed out and when he uploads a racy picture of a drunk and naked Victor hugging Yuri.

    Comic Books 
  • Dark Reign: The Corruptor takes over Captain America's mind, orders him to kill Steve Rogers, and attempts to film it with his cell phone. Rogers manages to deflect the bullet, which ricochets and gets to the Corruptor's cell phone. He gets electrocuted as a result.
  • In the G.I. Joe (IDW) series, the Joes are assigned an online journalist codenamed Hashtag whose job is to improve the Joes' public image by posting social media updates. By following her updates, COBRA was able to track the Joe team and ambush them.
  • In the 2013 The Green Team series from DC Comics, the leader type is initially puzzled as to how the assassin has tracked them down until it's learned that the newcomer has been posting his location to a Facebook equivalent.
  • Heroes Reborn (2021): Blur is so much faster than the Silver Witch that he can easily lap her, the only reason she snared his soul was him making a social media video while outrunning her, and he didn't see what she was doing.
  • Kid Loki from Journey into Mystery (Gillen) knows he needs to escape through a portal fast after he's summoned Surtur—but he can't resist snapping a picture of the rampaging, now freed fire giant first. (Probably for the skeptical followers of his Instagram, which we've seen earlier in the series.)
  • Supergirl (Rebirth) has Catco unveil a new system that lets users of their website act as reporters themselves. When Kara suffers Power Incontinence that causes her to fall into a crater in a hallway, the people who arrive are too busy trying to spin a story out of it to help her up.
  • Titans (Rebirth): When Abra Kadabra transports the guests of a kid's birthday party to the moon, one girl takes a selfie while in the midst of gasping for air.
  • The Transformers: Shattered Glass incarnation of Ravage is a horrible social media addict who not only has a tendency to give up his location while in hiding due to posting it on his social media accounts, he also likes taking selfies with someone he's sneaking up on in the background and sending them the picture.
  • Ultimate Marvel:
    • Spider-Men II: A giant piece of a robot has fallen in the schoolyard of Brooklyn Dreams Academy. Some pages later, Miles is leaving to investigate, the police are performing crowd control... and a pair of students take a selfie in front of it.
    • Ultimate X Men: In the first issue of "New Mutants", Hank, having learned jack-squat from a previous incident involving blabbing details over the internet (which among other things led to Magneto going on a rampage and the Ultimates trying to arrest the X-Men), goes on an internet chat room to tell everyone about the Mutant with angel wings living at the mansion. Cut to two different mobs on the front lawn, one pro-Mutant, one anti-Mutant and both wanting to see the angel. Hank refuses to see how this is his fault.

    Comic Strips 
  • Subverted in the Doctor Who Magazine strip "Liberation of the Daleks". At first it appears that the alien family visiting 1966 Earth are both callously and suicidally unconcerned by the Dalek invasion, as they take lots of selfies to post to a galactic Instagram-equivalent. Then it turns out that the whole thing's just a theme park simulation, and they know it.

    Fan Works 
  • Anyone: Izuku simply can't resist the temptation and takes a selfie with the Kaiju.
  • CONSEQUENCES (Miraculous Ladybug): During SUN'S WRATH, one of the people hiding inside the Eiffel Tower tries to film the rampaging Hell-ios. Another civilian yanks them down and scolds them for running the risk of drawing the akuma's attention their way.
  • Feralnette AU: Alya has a bad habit of prioritizing her Ladyblog over the safety of herself or others. After Ladybug calls her out on this, she actually gets worse, having dramatically misinterpreted her warning and convinced herself that the best way to prove herself to Ladybug is by throwing herself into harms' way for the sake of killer footage. Felix also notes that she doesn't bother getting permission from anyone she films for her blog.
    • During the Birds of a Feather arc, Marinette protects several ballet students from an akuma and buys time for them to flee, getting injured in the process. Alya berates her for risking her life, spurring Marinette to call her out on her Moral Myopia:
      Marinette: ...the rules are always different for everyone else, huh?
      Alya: ...what?
      Marinette: Never mind. It's nothing.
      Alya: No, it's not NOTHING. Why won't you listen to me about this? It's not like I'm overreacting!
      Marinette: Sure, let's have this conversation now. So, it's fine when you, the blogger, run off to follow dangerous akuma for social media, but if I run off to try to help people, it's time for me to be lectured?
  • Throughout leading by example, Hux has a habit of whipping out his phone and taking pictures for Snapchat at inappropriate times.
  • In One More Trigger, Greg Veder ignores the fact that their school is being evacuated, staying behind in order to get a video of whatever's about to happen. This results in both him and Taylor being kidnapped by the Nine.
  • A Possible Encounter for a Phantom: Drakken jeopardizes the Faction's efforts to keep a low profile by posting information about their scheming with the Terakons online. Once Dementor finds out, he deletes all of these posts, then blackmails him in order to force Drakken to let him join.
  • So you time travel to the future and your classmate gets punched...: The whole reason while Ms. Bustier and her whole class gets transported to the future is because Alya just had to get footage of the latest akuma, Time-Turner, managing to get the whole group zapped in one fell swoop.
  • Two Letters: Invoked by the new Ladybug against Alya. After Alya's investigation spurs her to show up to an akuma battle disguised as Chat Noir, the new Ladybug shields her from an attack. Afterwards, the seemingly heavily wounded heroine pleads with the public to be more careful around her fights, and not get involved 'just to get clips for social media'. This, coupled with a reminder about how her Secret Identity is a matter of national security, convinces Paris that Alya was trying to unmask their heroine just for the sake of 'landing a big scoop'.
  • With Confidence: Thanks to the teachers at Aldera doing absolutely nothing about the Fantastic Ableism running rampant at their school, social media is overflowing with evidence of their crimes, much of which was proudly posted by the perpetrators themselves, showing off their callousness and cruelty without considering how this might come back to haunt them. Izuku uses this to his advantage by gathering up all of this evidence.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Death of Superman: Subverted. During Doomsday's rampage, we see a girl posting a video on social media, but it's more of an Epic Hail as she begs the Justice League to show up to stop him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A variant: a common complaint about Found Footage Films, especially in the horror genre, is that the protagonists always seem to clutch their cameras for dear life, trying to film all of the horror going on even when logic suggests that they drop the camera and just run.
    • The Blair Witch Project, of all films, actually deconstructed this one. The reason Heather continues to film everything, long after it's become clear that she and her friends are lost, is because it's her way of coping with that fact. The screen on the camera makes the predicament she's in feel less real.
  • Anna and the Apocalypse:
    • "#Evacselfie" becomes a trending topic as people take photos of themselves at evacuation centers, often posing with the zombies on the other side of the fence. Steph reacts appropriately.
      Steph: Well, we all deserve to go extinct.
    • Subverted with Chris running back to grab his phone after he drops it. Steph criticizes him for trying to risk his life to retrieve a piece of glass and metal, but Chris explains that what he really wants is the photos of his girlfriend and grandmother that were saved on the phone, as they may be the last he sees of them alive.
  • In Army of the Dead, Guzman and Chambers are a pair of social media influencers who got famous by staging zombie hunts around the Las Vegas quarantine zone. They joined the Caper Crew heading into the walled-off part of the city not just to provide firepower, but also to promote themselves. The moment they step inside the walls, they immediately take a selfie together. Chambers' early death causes Guzman to quickly snap out of it, though.
  • In The Batman (2022), one of the thugs with white face paint that Batman confronts films the whole thing with his phone, right before Batman's brutal beatdown on the gang member who dared to attack him.
  • The main characters in Bodies Bodies Bodies are all presented as twentysomething versions of Phoneaholic Teenagers whose bad behavior on social media leaks out into real life, and nowhere is this clearer than with the ending, where the killer turns out to be nobody at all. David's death, the inciting incident for the plot, happened because he was trying to film himself opening a champagne bottle with a kukri for a TikTok video. While drunk. No points in guessing what happened to him, though it takes the entire movie, after the rest of the cast had killed each other out of suspicion that one of them was the killer, for Bee and Sophie to finally discover the evidence on his phone.
  • In Cannibal Holocaust — a candidate for the first found-footage film ever made — the protagonists are a bunch of murderous scumbags who film their atrocities out of a sick sense of sadism, the fact that they have cameras at all implied to be a major driving force behind their crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
  • In the 2013 version of Carrie, during the title character's telekinetic rampage at the prom, the school photographer tries to film what's happening, and we briefly see the action through the lens of his camera, found footage-style. He gets a table to the face the moment that Carrie makes eye contact with the camcorder. The original version of the script was supposed to have a greater found-footage component; this scene was likely an artifact of that. A non-fatal example comes earlier in the film when Chris films Carrie's humiliation in the school showers, which turns out to be incriminating evidence that she was responsible for the prank, meaning that she's not getting unbanned from the prom no matter how much her rich father tries to argue her case.
  • In Deadpool, Negasonic Teenage Warhead starts tweeting in the midst of the confrontation between the heroes and villains. The villains obligingly wait for her to finish and even let her make the first move.
  • Exit (2019): When a terrorist unleashes a deadly attack in Seoul, a few people are shown taking selfies in front of the toxic gases while they spread.
  • Made-for-TV Movie, A Fairly Odd Summer, the third and final of The Fairly Oddparents live-action movies, has a wealthy family about to go out on a vacation. However, the parents are overly obsessed with their social status online. As soon as someone makes a negative comment about them on a social page, they quickly bail on their vacation and just send the kids off by themselves... with Vicky.
  • The Gentlemen: Was hanging around to take selfies with a dead body that has just fallen off a tower block while four irate London Gangsters are trying to clear up the scene really a good idea? Quite frankly, the chavs are lucky they got off as lightly as they did.
  • In God Bless America, after Frank and Roxy's shooting at the cinema, they spot a guy filming it all on his cellphone — without any concern for his own safety. Frank shoots him right through his phone's camera lens.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: When Godzilla makes landfall in Hong Kong, a crowd of bystanders can be seen taking out their phones to photograph or record him. Granted, he's moving away from said bystanders' position, but considering that as far as humanity knows at this point Godzilla has become hostile to humans...
  • In Infamous (2020), Arielle is obsessed with becoming famous and live streams the crimes committed by her and Dean on social media. This inevitably puts the authorities on their trail.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Thor: The Dark World, Jane Foster is trying to get civilians to evacuate. She's incredulous they're not only still around after the Big Bad and Thor are duking it out after the landfall of a giant alien ship but are all rushing to the windows to get their cell phones out. One even asks her if she's kidding about leaving, since Thor's right there.
    • A few years later in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Flash keeps livestreaming to his Instagram followers while they're running from the super elemental illusion in London. This is a double-edged sword; on the one hand, Mysterio's tech crew is able to use it to target the kids since they're trying to kill Ned, MJ, and Betty, but on the other hand, Happy is able to use it to rescue the kids, since Peter tipped him off that Mysterio was targeting them, and once Happy finds them he gets Flash to turn off the stream.
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: A livestreamer named Klev catches Shang-Chi's fight with some Ten Rings goons on a bus. He continues livestreaming even as the fight puts everyone in peril (though he does justify not getting involved — when he sees the bus driver get knocked unconscious, he relays to his viewers how "Every time I try to drive a bus, I get yelled at.")
  • In Pearl Harbor, one of Rafe's friends keeps on recording the attack with a camera even when all hell is breaking loose just inches away from him. He gets hit by gunfire from a passing Zero and dies.
  • In [REC] 3: Génesis, Atun tries to keep filming even after a Zombie Apocalypse has broken out. Koldo grabs his camera in response and smashes it.
  • In The Social Dilemma, the family's youngest daughter Isla is so addicted to her phone that when her mother locks it away for a dinner, she instead smashes the container and runs upstairs rather than eat without it.
  • In Ted 2, this is Ted's reaction when he sees John covered in semen.
    Ted: Hang on—I'm gonna post this on Facebook!
    John: NOOOOO!
    Ted: (typing) #GrrrMondays.
  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022): As Leatherface appears within a bus full of people, they make absolutely no effort to escape, instead standing there like statues and holding up their phones to photograph and record him. As much as the moment is designed as a satirical jab at millennial/gen-Z influencers (especially with one of them threatening to have Leatherface "cancelled"), it's also somewhat justified, since he’s blocking the main exit and recording him will leave behind more evidence in case he tries to attack them.
  • In the opening scene of We Can Be Heroes (2020), Miracle Guy puts off fighting aliens (which are charging directly towards him) to get a selfie with them, and predictably, is taken off guard and knocked unconscious by their attack.
  • Wish Upon: If one of your best friends has just developed necrotizing fasciitis (a.k.a. 'flesh-eating disease') and is freaking out, then now is probably not the time to snap a photo of her and post it on the web.

  • The Institute: Early in the story, police officer Tim Jamieson is forced to fire a warning shot to apprehend an armed and intoxicated teen, but the bullet ends up knocking down a lamp from the ceiling, which then falls on top of a bystander who, instead of doing the sensible thing and run, stayed to film the whole altercation. It costs Tim his job since the guy got injured. Once he makes his way to DuPray, he is hired by the local sheriff who has zero sympathy for the injured bystander specifically because it was this trope and overlooks the incident when hiring Tim.
  • Fun Jungle:
    • Quite a few people following a trend of streaming videos of themselves spanking zoo animals in Tyrannosaurus Wrecks, are mentioned as having been badly injured in the process.
    • In Bear Bottom, a tourist named Morton provokes a herd of elk while taking selfies, then continues taking selfies in the middle of being chased by an angry bull elk that gouges his butt. Then immediately after getting out of the hospital, he climbs into an angry rodeo bull's pen for another selfie and ends up being chased into an outhouse, which gets knocked over, leaving him Covered in Gunge.
  • N.E.R.D.S.: McKenna, a cheerleader from Book 3, tweets everything she does whenever she can, sharing a lot of information that should be kept secret, such as the fact that she and her friends are stealing treasure from alternate realities.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Amazing Race: In the 26th season, already starting the leg in last place, CJ & Libby lose their only chance to catch up by taking a selfie in front of the bullet train without checking the time. By the time they finished, the doors of the train closed making their deficit impossible to overcome.
  • Austin & Ally: Austin tweets about "Suzy's Soups" going out of business while they're trying to save the restaurant.
  • Downplayed in The Big Bang Theory: Penny is upset with herself for having sex with Raj and hides out at Amy's apartment. Raj comes over to talk to her and reveals that the sex never happened; they were both too drunk and passed out after he came prematurely as she was helping him put on his condom.
    Penny: How did you know I was here?
    Raj: It's all over her Facebook page.
  • Black Mirror:
    • The trailer for series 2 shows (among similar images) a crowd filming on their phones whilst a homeless man is murdered in front of them; and dozens of people holding up their phones as a huge, ominous dark cloud comes along to swallow them up.
    • In Black Mirror: The Waldo Moment, a cartoon bear named Waldo runs in a by-election in England as a joke candidate, receiving criticism from competing traditional political candidates (who believe he makes a mockery of the democratic process) but also massive appeal from the voting public. Waldo ends up coming second behind the stuffy, humourless Jerkass Conservative candidate, but ultimately he turns out to be the last politician to win a British by-election: the Waldo movement not long after takes over Britain and turns it into a barking mad, populist Police State and worse, seems to be spreading across the world too.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Eleventh Hour", the people of England watch the Sun mysteriously dimming over, and instead of running for some sort of probably-fruitless cover, they begin to film and tweet about it. The Doctor comments on this.
    • If you weren't scared of social networks enough, "The Bells of Saint John" shows that there's a mastermind using all your updates to the Internet to track people, events, and the ridiculous situations you should really deal with before taking a selfie. The selfies help them steal identities. (Funnily enough, though, the bad guys make this same mistake: their social media accounts all mention where they work, which is how the Doctor tracks them down, with some help from Clara.)
    • At the top of "Death in Heaven" people are gawking at the Cybermen who have just emerged from St. Paul's Cathedral in the previous episode's Cliffhanger; their mastermind Missy offers them photos with the cyborgs for a pound and even crows to the Doctor "We're trending!" as some people take them up on the offer. But they turn out to be a subversion: they're actually military personnel from UNIT come to ambush and apprehend both Missy and the Cybermen (and to take the Doctor with them to boot).
  • In Dog with a Blog, Tyler attempts to post a photo to "Buddy Bop" when he realizes he only has 2% phone power. Meanwhile, the girls are trying to find a way to get Stan back in the house. Avery remarks, "You're wasting precious time here!"
  • One episode of Kanpai Senshi After V is based around Treasure V facing huge public backlash after Blue Tweets a picture of an enemy mook attacking a child, rather than actually stepping in to help the victim.
  • Longmire: When an heir to a phenomenally wealthy family turns up dead, Walt takes pains to keep the story away from the press while they work on the case. While he's explaining this to the family, its bratty Phoneaholic Teenager tweets out the news, then tries to take a selfie with him.
  • NCIS: A carload of teens has just collided with a dying Naval officer and they pile out of the car to check on him. One of the teens is clearly addicted to social media.
    "Get off Facebook and dial 911!"
  • Played for laughs in Scream Queens (2015). Chanel #2 is alone in a room with the series' Serial Killer and chooses to tweet about it instead of calling for help. She's promptly murdered right after. After being fatally stabbed, she clings to life just long enough to post her final tweet before expiring.
  • World's Dumbest...:
    • Played With in pretty much every way, typically in one of two scenarios—either someone will film a disaster and its aftermath instead of doing something to help, prompting the commentators to jokingly Lampshade the importance of continuing to film the events; or someone will stop filming and go to help, prompting the commentators to complain (and, in some cases, re-enact the probable aftermath themselves).
    • Another form of this occurs when someone films something embarrassing and decides to erase the tape—which apparently means "send it to TruTV so Danny Bonaduce can make fun of it."

  • AJJ has the song #armageddon, in which people spend the Apocalypse taking pictures and posting about Satan's minions mercilessly slaughtering everyone.
  • Freak Kitchen's song "Freak of the Week" is about exactly this. Just check out the lyrics:
    I'm the new black / I'm opium to thee / Will do anything / For popularity
    Mutilate myself / Become an amputee / Like me, like me, won't you like me?
  • Rico Recklezz taunts his unnamed opponent of doing this.
    You had a pistol on YouTube but in real life you weren't toting
    Ha! Who the sucka, dead dumb stupid motherfucka
    I wish I know who slumped ya, so I could give they ass a thumbs up bruh

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Benjy's first instinct when things start getting freaky in the locked school is to take a video recording of the strange events, even when the Fog of Doom forms into a snake and impales a student right in front of him.

  • In Fangirls, Brianna and Edna have to physically wrestle Jules' phone out of her hands to prevent her from taking a selfie with the kidnapped pop star.

    Video Games 
  • Brawl Stars: In the animated short "Barley's Last Call", there's a Funny Background Event of Emz taking a selfie in front of Poco trying to put out a fire, rather than helping him.
  • In Chapter 5 of Celeste, Theo goes into a mysterious temple to get cool pictures for his InstaPix followers. This ends badly. In his defense, he had no way of knowing beforehand that the temple was some freaky Eldritch Location.
  • Content Warning may as well be called "Social Media Before Reason: The Game" since it involves you and three other players going into dangerous locations to film spooky shit for likes.
  • In Dicey Dungeons, Lady Luck lampshades that of all the goals of the player characters, the Witch wanting ten million social media followers is probably the least practical — although since no one ever actually gets the prize at the end of the game, it's a moot point.
  • In Hifuu Nightmare Diary ~ Violet Detector, Sumireko is trapped within a dream where everyone attacks her with danmaku. Frustrated with the looping nightmares, she decides she better makes use of it and starts taking pictures within the dreams and posting them on social media to gain followers. Thanks to her unique circumstances with dreams, the photos carry over to the real world somehow.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: In Nomi's holonovel, you can record the alien invasion for your holovlog, only to be disintegrated by the aliens while doing so.
  • LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 has it as a gameplay mechanic that some characters can stop and try to take selfies at any time, including in the middle of fights.
  • Let It Die features Colonel Jackson, whose fetish involved taking selfies in the blast radius of the bombs he made himself, sometimes with his partner/lover Johnny. It ended about as well as you'd expect, with Johnny getting blown in half. The subsequent grief-driven rampage is what leads Jackson to get decapitated and become the second Don of the Tower of Barbs.
  • Rabbid Peach in Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle has an obsession with selfies as a character quirk. She even takes them when her personal safety is being compromised, like when she was being grabbed and slammed by a Piranha Plant.
  • Cassie Cage of the Mortal Kombat series uses this in some of her pre- and post-fight banters; taking a selfie with the evil, alien or just plain old deranged killer that is about to fight her to the death, and then another with their mangled corpse which goes straight onto social media where other fighters leave their comments.
  • One of D.Va's highlight intros in Overwatch is her ejecting from her mech after hitting the self-destruct, only to stop and take a selfie of herself flashing a V-Sign with her Meka exploding in the background. Somewhat justified since, in-game, she's immune to the self-destruct itself.
  • Persona 5:
    • The fickleness of social media in general plays a huge role in this game, particularly regarding the forum that the Phantom Thieves use to collect intel on their targets. The media flip-flops between laying it on thick/abusing the thieves' services, and turning on them and labeling them pariahs. This gets especially troubling for the thieves when the head of The Conspiracy they've been fighting against confesses to his crimes; his lackeys slander the thieves on social media sites and the people of Tokyo eat it up, no questions asked, despite the fact that Shido and his party had absolutely no interest in Japan's welfare. It comes to a head during the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, where you learn that all of Tokyo embodies the sin of Sloth and serve as the masters of the aforementioned dungeon along with the Final Boss. It also doubles as commentary: the people of Tokyo would rather be told what to do than divert from the expectations laid out before them, and one symptom includes taking things at face value.
    • One early-game scene exemplifies this: as Shiho lies in Shujin's courtyard after a bungled suicide, Ryuji and the Protagonist swiftly run down there, only to find a mass of students snapping photos and shooting video footage, with Ann being the only one who even tries to help (via riding along with Shiho in the ambulance). Ryuji says it best—
      Ryuji: What the hell's wrong with these people?!
  • Levi from Starlink: Battle for Atlas has a rep amongst his crew for taking and posting selfies of himself everywhere, and snuck onboard the Equinox in the name of boosting his follower count, as noted in one of Victor St. Grand's crew files.
  • Miharu Hirano in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 has a special item throw where she'll stun the opponent, then quickly run up and take a selfie with them before they topple over. The opponents are surprisingly accepting of it.
  • Happens in Until Dawn, when, while exploring the basement of the cabin they're staying at, Chris misses an apparent ghost Ashley sees because he was looking at his phone.
    Ashley: You were on your phone, you dip! What were you tweeting? "Hashtag there's a freaking ghost after us?"
  • Watch_Dogs:
    • One of the random conversations in has someone lamenting that onlookers were more concerned about snapping photos and videos of an accident than helping.
    • The trope is averted in normal gameplay; NPCs will stop to photograph unusual events (e.g. the infamous vigilante Aidan Pierce) but run or call the cops if things get too dangerous (e.g. the infamous vigilante Aidan Pierce blows up part of the road).
  • We Become What We Behold has you accepting orders from an unknown source where you have to photograph "something interesting". It later escalates to prejudice, violence, and full-blown massacre.
  • Subverted in Yandere Simulator: The bullies are very dangerous obstacles because of their penchant for social media. If they catch Yandere-chan in the middle of a murder, they will swiftly take a picture and try to post it to social media, requiring Yandere-chan to murder them and crush their phone so proof she's a murderer doesn't leak out. This applies to anyone holding a cell phone, really, but Phone Addicts like the bullies and the Gaming Club do it much faster than anyone else holding a cell phone.

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss
    • In "Truth Seekers", in the middle of a fight between the imps and the federal agents, Blitzo takes a moment to cut off an agent's head and take a selfie with it. Blitzo being able to goof off while slaughtering people highlights how much the fight is a Curb-Stomp Battle in the imps' favor.
    • In "Seeing Stars", Octavia had run away from home to Los Angeles, but she can't help but take photos of herself in front of interesting landmarks. Accidentally stumbling upon her posts on Sinstagram is how Loona is able to track her down.

  • Grrl Power: One of the alien visitors speculates that the reason Maxima doesn't use her obscene firepower to end a super-brawl is because it might risk collateral damage to the people who are recording the fight instead of running away to safety.
  • xkcd comic Seismic Waves explains how people near an earthquake's epicentre can use media like Twitter to warn faraway people about an upcoming earthquake... only for those faraway people to waste time retweeting the warning instead of finding a shelter.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Avengers Assemble: After being transported across time and space to a mysterious asteroid while looking for Thor, Captain Marvel tells Ms. Marvel not to stop and take a selfie. After a moment, she relents and allows Kamala to do it anyway.
  • In Bojack Horseman, Herb Kazzaz, after his cancer goes into remission, spends the drive home tweeting how he'll live forever, only to collide with a peanut truck, which causes his death by allergic reaction.
  • Danger Mouse:
    • In "The World Wide Spider", the monster-of-the-week's rampage keeps crossing paths with a tour group that's always standing in front of whichever landmark it's about to attack. The group includes one particular tourist who always stays put long enough to take a selfie of himself with the monster in the background.
    • When Penfold gets addicted to his new phone, he starts posting vast quantities of selfies to social media, even while on secret missions. Baron Greenback uses these posts to track the duo and thwart DM's every move. DM eventually uses Penfold's addiction to his advantage in order to halt the Baron's scheme.
  • Part 2 of the DC Super Hero Girls episode "Nevermore" has a teenager taking selfies in the middle of some destruction Raven accidentally caused. Batgirl is understandably annoyed when rescuing her.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • Mark Beaks is featured in an episode wherein he is constantly threatened by a hired thief named Falcon Graves. Falcon was hired to steal "Project Tadah", the company's upcoming product. Despite this, all Mark cares about is taking photos of himself with Falcon and updating his current status on social media. Falcon promptly destroys Mark's phone, but he keeps pulling out replacements and documenting every moment on social media. At first, one might think this is subverted given that Mark himself hired Graves in order to steal the nonexistent project so he could keep the money the investors gave him, so he had little reason to feel threatened. But upon seeing his last phone tossed off the roof of the company, Mark dives down after it, catches it, takes a selfie, and types "YOLO" before hitting a trampoline he did not know would be there.
    • Zigzagged with Dewey (and to a lesser extent, Louie) in "The Town Where Everyone Was Nice!" Dewey and Louie spend most of the episode on their phones instead of experiencing the local culture for real, which Webby calls them out on. This escalates to Dewey taking pics on his phone even as a carnivorous plant is about to devour him. However, Dewey's pictures also help Webby identify the threat in the first place, downplaying the trope.
  • Gravity Falls: We don't see it happen, but Wendy says Robbie during "Weirdmageddon" would have gotten away from Bill Cipher's initial wave of weird, but he stopped to take a selfie.
  • Kaeloo: In one episode where the main four get stranded on an island full of cannibals, Pretty decides to take pictures of herself crying over them getting stuck and post them on social media site Fakebook. Her sister then points out that she could go rescue them instead.
  • Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire: In "Mukudzei", the protagonist prioritizes filming himself in the alternate timeline in which he landed, to the point that he causes the vehicle that is supposed to help him back to his own timeline to crash.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: When there's an Akuma attack, there is amateur Intrepid Reporter Alya Césaire trying to capture Livestream footage for her Ladyblog, even if the Akumatized villain is a Person of Mass Destruction and it would be smarter to run like hell.
  • The Owl House: Parts of the montage of the Collector taking over the Boiling Isles is shown through Penstagram posts. Most pictures seem to have been taken from extremely dangerous positions, like from the middle of a panicked, stampeding crowd being bombarded with shooting stars, or from just outside Hexside documenting several teachers getting turned into puppets.
  • Steven Universe:

    Real Life 
  • So many deaths and injuries have occurred while taking selfies that Wikipedia has its own page for selfie-related deaths and injuries.
  • In one incident that occurred in December 2013, a woman decided that—rather than do something helpful or respectful in regard to a would-be jumper on the Brooklyn Bridge—she would take a selfie as police talked the jumper down in the background.
  • While no humans were killed, a baby dolphin died of dehydration when a group of people all passed it around to take pictures with it.
  • Vicky Xipolitakis, an Argentine diva, took a flight and was invited by the pilots to the cockpit. She joked with them during the takeoff sequence, was even allowed to press the throttle... and filmed everything, and uploaded her video of her antics to Twitter. As you may suspect, the two pilots were fired immediately, and the three of them (the pilots and Xipolitakis) faced legal action for their dangerous stunt.
  • This seems to become a trend in Russia, to the point where the government felt it necessary to start a "Safe Selfie" campaign. Read, for example, here. Ranging from shooting oneself in the head during selfie to holding a live, unpinned hand grenade!
  • Visitors at national parks and other sites of natural beauty tend to defy regulations and even their own survival instincts to immortalise some amazing sight. Folks, no matter how much you think you need to, or how cool the resulting picture would be:
    • Do not climb onto railings or parapets or lean out over the edge of a cliff to get a better view.
    • Do not wander off the trail to get a better view.note 
    • Do not wander out into the road to get a better view.
    • Do not pick up, pet, or feed the animals. If an animal moves away from you, do not follow it. If an animal approaches you, move calmly in the other direction.
  • During the second Iraq war, Geraldo Rivera filmed himself highlighting detailed troop locations, numbers, and movement prior to combat operations, and broadcast it well in advance of the actual events, and was swiftly kicked out by the Army afterward. He did this knowing full well the fate of Daniel Pearl, and numerous civilian contractors who were set on fire, alive, and hung from bridges by the enemy Iraqi soldiers and their Al Qaeda sympathizers. He was, and still is, shocked that the allied army and the viewing public in general hate him, and to a lesser extent, his network, for doing this.
  • YouTuber Logan Paul filmed himself visiting Aokigahara (Also known as Jukai — the 'Sea of Trees' — and the Suicide Forest as a result of its reputation as a suicide hotspot), a forest at the foot of Mount Fuji with his friends in Japan. Then he began to film and upload a video of a dead body he stumbled upon for many viewers, who are mostly juveniles, to see, then began making insensitive jokes at the deceased's expense. As a result, it garnered a lot of controversy alongside the general misbehaviour Logan and his party engaged in during the trip as a whole, including throwing objects at citizens in Tokyo, stripping and fighting in the street, and clambering around on moving forklifts and generally being a nuisance at the Tsukiji Market.
  • In Odisha, India, somebody tried to take a selfie with a wounded bear. No points for guessing his lifespan. Bonus points for guessing that this was the third person in 2018 to be killed trying to take a selfie with a wild animal in Odisha alone, though the other two were both related to elephants.
  • In India, a man was hit by a train while taking a selfie. He managed to survive the incident, though, unlike many of the other real-life examples listed here.
  • On May 1, 2020, a group of about 60 men, including two American former Green Berets, entered Venezuela with the intention of capturing President Nicolás Maduro and overthrowing the government. Almost immediately after they crossed the Venezuela border, they were attacked, resulting in eight of their members being killed and thirteen arrested, including both Americans. The would-be revolutionaries had been discussing their plans openly on Twitter beforehand and even uploaded several videos, letting Venezuelan authorities know exactly when and where they'd be.
  • On July 2, 2021, a man by the name of Edward Cagney Mathews confronted a black neighbor and their argument later devolved into Mathews spewing countless racist words. Almost immediately after walking away, Mathews overconfidently revealed his house location to the person who's recording the video so he can challenge anyone who dared to come to his house. You can guess what happened afterwards.
  • TikTok has received flak for various reasons.
    • The app has received criticism for fringe challenges encouraging teens to engage in unsafe actions, illegal activity or dangerous stunts, several of which made national headlines. Among those that have gained notoriety for their dangerous nature include the "milk crate challenge" (in which participants attempted to climb a pyramid of stacked milk crates), the "dry scoop challenge" (similar to the "cinnamon challenge" of the late 2010s, in which participants tried to ingest undiluted supplemental protein powder)note , and the "blackout challenge" (in which participants were dared to choke themselves until they passed out for several seconds, risking asphyxiation and possible death doing so).
    • The most infamous "challenges" were the "devious lick" challenge (which involved middle and high school students posting videos of themselves stealing, vandalizing, or showing off stolen items [or items they pretend to steal] from their school), and the "slap a teacher" trend (which is pretty self-explanatory). These two cases turned out to be subversions, as a March 2022 Washington Post investigation revealed that the "devious lick" and "slap a teacher" challenges had originated on Facebook, but were used by its parent company Meta as part of an orchestrated campaign in conjunction with consulting firm Targeted Victorynote  to undermine TikTok's public reputation.
    • A trend from 2020 involved getting a tattoo of the letter Z with a horizontal line through the middle (Ƶ) to both represent the pride of being part of Generation Z, as well as symbolize rebellion and unity. However, the tattoo strongly resembled a "wolfsangel rune," a symbol originated by the 2nd SS Panzer Division of Nazi Germany and still used by neo-Nazis in the U.S. and Europe. As she was receiving death threats because of her role in it, the then-18-year-old girl who started the trend posted a video apology, in which she expressed profuse regret and broke down crying as she genuinely did not know the symbol's history. The damage was already done because thousands of TikTok users got the tattoo before doing the research on the symbol's Nazi roots.
    • A 2022 meme circulated on the app (incorrectly advertised as a trend, with most of the videos being duets or stitches of other users reacting in utter disbelief) involved a recipe for "Sleepy Chicken," in which a user marinated chicken in NyQuil while cooking it. This prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to warn against cooking/boiling the cold medicine due to potentially toxic effects (including potentially dangerous respiratory effects from inhaling the medication's vapors during the cooking process and the risk of overdosing on dangerously high amounts of NyQuil while eating).note 
  • Social media has played a role in several gang-related murders worldwide, with people aiming to disrespect their rivals by going live on Instagram on their turf, which sometimes has led to said rivals showing up after becoming aware of the live broadcast.
  • During the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, a Russian soldier started an Instagram stream by phone, bragging about his kills in that day's mission. Apparently unaware that his unsecured public stream left him open to basic triangulation (which is to say, basic artillery plotting), he was Killed Mid-Sentence when an explosive shell landed on his position, serving as a brief but vivid object lesson on what constitutes an appropriate time to stream.
  • In 2023, an Ohio doctor had her medical license revoked for live-streaming surgeries on TikTok, which constituted a gross breach of professional ethics and patient privacy and resulted in several injuries to her patients.


Video Example(s):


Mark Beaks - Hashtag YOLO

In a panic about a bad social media post, Mark Beaks jumps to his apparent death to catch his phone. Lucky for him there was a trampoline down there he had no idea about.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / SocialMediaBeforeReason

Media sources: