True Crime: Seperating Fact from Fiction

There is a sense of fascination for the inexplicable true events of another’s life that draw so many daringly into true crime. 


The genre can be gory, representing the most terrifying stories of serial killers and chilling mysteries which remain unsolved. Chasing the feeling of urgency and anxiety allows true crime fans something to get themselves thinking and keep them in a chokehold. The appeal comes from a desire to understand the inner workings of a criminal mind, and for the majority female audience, to avoid becoming the victim by taking note on what not to do if they find themselves in a similar situation. 


For centuries true crime has been a captivating topic; however, social media has only recently added more fuel to the fire. On the popular short video site Tik Tok, the past two years have seen a rise in the number of headline stories popping up on our “for you” pages. Such as Joe Exotic also known as the Tiger King, Cameron Herrin the murderer with “pretty eyes”, and Jeffrey Dahmer the serial killer who was given his own show. 


These villains have been idolized and fixated upon without any regard to the crimes they have committed. Some have even been supported through comment sections by claiming there was no wrongdoing. 


Hostility often rises from discussion on social media. Reddit, known for its public forums, sees inappropriate and harsh language during arguments which are often about solving or defending a crime. When stereotypes or politics are brought up, the conversation can become negative and offensive, veering away from its original purpose. 


These conversations are not just negative for those hiding behind a screen on social media but can become dangerous for those involved in the story. It doesn’t matter if the story happened years or days before, fans continuously create their own false opinions on the little they know of the “characters” who are subject to criticism, often being forgotten as real people. 


The public having access to their story allows them to discover personal information and have open discussions which can be traumatizing for the victims. This also poses an issue for those who attempt at being social media detectives. These are people who try to solve unsolved crimes while not being professionals. This can prove useful at times, yet also lead authorities down the wrong path, often a harmful one based on personal beliefs. 


However, there is a positive side to true crime, one that is beneficial to those who interact with the genre on a normal basis. Reforming the justice system is one aspect that is being resolved thanks to the public having access to trials. The faults in the system are being noticed and brought to the attention of those with the power to call the court out. Sometimes even social media outbursts can achieve this.


On a smaller scale, some find calm in listening to the stories of others by seeing emotion and sensitivity within them. This can be helpful while recovering from trauma or needing to know you are not alone. Communities have been created to help those going through similar circumstances. What’s shocking is that many actually listen to true crime while they fall asleep, finding the man/woman’s voice behind a true crime podcast relaxing.  


There are both negative and positive connotations that go along with true crime being so present in our society. Yet, it is up to the individual immersing themselves in a serial killer’s world that can truly decide if it’s for the best.