When Christian Eriksen hit the deck during the Denmark-Finland match, it was a horrible moment.
But it was not just the player collapsing, it was also the integrity of much of the viewing public who sprang into life on social media.
Yes, while the poor chap lay prostrate on the pitch and in the sick bay, it was every man, woman, and child for themselves.
First up were the self-styled thought leaders and gurus of propriety, who slammed the press for filming and implored the public not to share footage of the incident, but who still felt it of paramount importance to talk endlessly about its implications in detail.
Presumably, seeing a man stumble to the floor is more distressing to the guy’s friends and family than spelling out in clear terms that he might die or be permanently disabled? No, but hearing this gang take the moral high ground helps them to cement their status as those to be listened to. This is all about audience creation.
Then came the messages of support from fellow players and celebrities – not personal notes to the bloke’s phone or his email address – not even to his family – but via Twitter. That really does makes them not personal, but it does of course ensure that you and I see them, and that’s what really counts.
They were in fact not messages of support for the baller but messages that create support for the virtuousness of the sender.
And so, the cogs of the machine started to turn.
Those tweets could then be retweeted with the ‘classy’ label by the social media partners of the senders when they were anything but that. But at this stage, social media platforms were awash with the purported values of the commentariat, whose social media channels were sucking up monster hits. There are books and merchandise to churn out, after all.
It’s how the mutual-backscratching of social media follower-farming works. Individuals work in partnership to cross-message and boost each other’s support.
Meanwhile, the player was sucking into tubes in the ICU.
Others swiftly threw their limp-but-still-breathing pre-corpses onto the hero bandwagon to praise Eriksen’s Danish teammates, and in doing so brought to life the ‘it takes one to know one’ psychology of nomination: if I’m grand enough to call out a hero, you can by association think of me in equally meritorious terms.
And perhaps follow me on Twitter too?
To top it off, we had presenters in tears who had never met the guy but who were going to talk about their new-found awareness of the fragility of life of their own nearest and dearest.
In one fell swoop, they gave us a full frontal of their supposed humanity and managed to make it all about them.
In brief, a man collapsed and was resuscitated, which was a massive relief.
The beating heart that failed last night was that of altruistic compassion. It has long since been replaced by this ugly, grotesque platforming by an abusing, predatory, social media class.