I promise, this is not what you think it is!
This post is part inspiration from something I saw the other day (and had seen years earlier in my email in college), and a Facebook status a friend wrote. I will share this with her, because she definitely needs it right now.
Have you ever noticed that social media is full of “If you like me, you’ll share me,” “What happens next is (insert gripping adjective here),” and “No one loves me, but maybe you do”-type posts? Cute puppies, babies who need surgery, and stuff about cartoons I watched reminding me that I’m “old as shit,” or that my childhood was awesome.
Yeah, me too. Don’t they make you crazy?
Oh, and…”Old as shit.” Is that a thing? I mean, I’m not stinky, and I don’t think 34 is old, yet this picture of Lion-O from Thundercats is supposed to make me feel like I am. Conversely, I don’t need a meme to remind me that my childhood was awesome. I lived it. I have the memories. Not all of them involved watching cartoons.
DAMN YOU!!!! Now I feel old! I watched ALL OF THIS!!!!
Anyway, posts about stuff like this.
I refuse to share them. I refuse to share anything that has a “woe is me” or “You love me, so you’ll share me” appeal to them (and by appeal, I mean plea, not that something is appealing to me). This stuff, my friends, is clickbait. And I hate it.
I remember the year I started college (in 2001), I was checking my email. It was the pre-Facebook days, but the “share me and this will happen…or don’t and reap the consequences” stuff was alive, well, and populating my email inbox. My former best friend until a few years earlier had sent me one of these emails that promised bad luck (or worse) if I didn’t share it with ten people IMMEDIATELY. Now, in those gullible days, we did what we had to do. We were terrified of the consequences of not sharing something. But, apparently back then I was a rebel. I didn’t share the email.
Guess what, I’m still alive now. It’s been 16 years. I’m fine. I’m a little heavier, and my right ankle is a little banged up from numerous issues, but I’m fine. Not forwarding an email 16 years ago had no repercussions on my life. The only thing to blame is the love of food, genetics, and dance school.
I remember how offended that friend got when I didn’t share the email. It was an affront to her that I would be so chancey-chancey, but in reality, I just didn’t have the time for emails like that. I was just starting my first year of college. I had homework, papers, a part-time job, and when I was online, it was probably to work on school stuff and not send off every chain email I got to ten people who also didn’t have time for that. The friend sent me an email about “being insensitive” and that I should forward every email. As much as it pains me to type this, but…”ain’t got no time for that.” I ignored her angry email. We did rekindle over a year later, and we did stay friends for quite a few years after that. There are circumstances as to why the friendship kind of fell apart, but that’s not the point of all of this.
I think my point in this long-winded story is that we have the right not to share what we don’t feel like sharing. By not sharing, it doesn’t mean we aren’t compassionate. That fact that we take notice means that we are compassionate. By not sharing, you’re not showing insensitivity, but by taking note of a cause you believe in that goes beyond merely sharing a “No one will share me” meme, you are showing compassion.
Here’s the thing – we can’t fight every battle or for every cause. It is impossible. And sharing a meme that begs you to share isn’t fighting a battle, it is simply wasting time.
It all goes down to the “jump of a bridge because I did it” thing. Just because I told you that you have to share something (or that something told you that you had to), do you really have to? No, you don’t.
Isn’t freedom of choice great?
I saw a commercial about this – a man who, every time he saw something on TV or social media (pets needing homes, homeless vets, kids needing mentoring), he’d turn around and that new “plight” was following him. A crowd of need following him, symbolizing burden. This only stopped when he found a cause he knew he could support. While our burdens and worries don’t physically follow us everywhere, emotionally, they do. That’s when memes and “suspense headline” articles are created that pull at our heartstrings, in the hope that at this exact moment, ours will get pulled too. The other hope is that we will see it and yes, share it because we or someone we know really needs this. Hence, the term “clickbait.”
Clickbait is the new chain email, the 2017 version of the 2001 annoyance I had as a college student trying to check my emails. And like in 2001, “ain’t got time for that.”
One thing you’ll never see me share on Facebook is the usual “clickbait” stuff. I just can’t. I don’t want to. Because I’m not any less of a decent human being, and I’m not heartless. I know something is cute, I just don’t need a dog with big sad eyes to tell me that “no one loves him until he gets shared.” Sorry doggy, you’re loved without people sharing you. And how do I know you’re not a stock photo? Does your owner know you became a meme? Did your owner do this to you?
If you so choose to share memes and clickbait, that is fine. You can, I will never stop you. But if you are going to give me a hard time for not doing the same, ain’t go no time for that…or your ridiculous argument.