I Love Facebook. I spend far too much time keeping up with what my friends are doing and posting adorable pictures of my children. But I almost Never repost anything. Every once in a while I'll share a link to an article or a joke that I think might be edifying or amusing to my friends, but that's about it. Why? Because most of the re-posts Make Me Crazy.
Specifically, here are several categories of things I will never re-post - or usually even respond to.
1. Anything that begins "Nobody ever reads my timeline, but..."
Similarly, nothing that begins with "most people won't repost this, but..."
Why? They're manipulative, pure and simple. They're trying to guilt me into doing something not because I want to, or because it is meaningful or true, but because I feel guilty. I hate that.
2. Anything - even anything that I agree with - asking me to comment with an "Amen" or a "share." Or honestly, anything that asks me to share Anything for any reason.
Why? Again, see "manipulation." I feel that most of these are incredibly annoying, disrespectful plays on emotion and I don't chose to participate.
3. Any post asking for help finding a lost child, teen, dog, or etc.
Why? Am I really that heartless?!
No. Have you ever noticed that not one example of this sort of post in a dozen actually includes the Date on which the alleged disappearance took place? One popped up in my feed the other day that, upon investigation, was two solid years old. I visited the profile of one of the two missing victims and saw that it had been active within the last few days. I don't want to be part of the perpetuation of bad information!
Exception: When a date is clearly communicated, preferably embedded in the photo, and when the missing person is local. Social Media can actually be useful in these instances - but only when used responsibly!
Why? Again, it's the play on emotions, specifically guilt. "Liking" a post doesn't help that kid - half the time the photo involved is years if not decades old and the information is wildly outdated if not entirely inaccurate. Ugh.
5. Any post proclaiming that it is "National Short Person Day," "Ice Cream Day," "Hug an Armed Services Person" day, or fill in the blank.
Why? Again, there's never a date on the picture. Maybe these days exist. Maybe they don't. I don't care. But I'm pretty sure they're not months and months long.
6. Any article, video, or similar link that includes language like "He does X, but when Y happens, my jaw dropped."
Similarly, anything like "Top 10 things in X category. I couldn't stop laughing at #4."
(In other words, pretty much everything from Buzzfeed and its relatives.)
Why? It's like they think we won't read it unless it's the Most Amazing Thing in the History of the Internet. Over-hyping everything from a neat trick for slicing a watermelon to a list of celebrity foibles ends up causing a form of sensation inflation that bothers me on about 15 levels. And when the links don't end up paying off, I feel tricked, foolish, and annoyed. I rarely read these links. I never share them.
7. Anything asking me to comment and/or share so I can win a trip to Disney Land, a new Apple Watch, or whatever.
Why? 99% of these are scams. The 1% that aren't are pretty easy to recognize, but rarely worth entering due to pure statistics. Hint: If the name of the profile posting the contest includes a period or other bit of punctuation, a space where none belongs, or similar weirdness, it's Definitely a scam - the scammers come up with an unused profile name similar to the legit one, and then basically hijack the traffic.
Another hint: Check the date the profile was created. If it's this year, it's a scam!
Exception: When the contests / raffles Are legit and sponsored by a small business that I respect and want to support. These aren't hard to recognize. Just look for the good English. :)
8. Nearly anything proclaiming that coke / coffee / microwaved or reboiled water will kill me, or "one weird trick" will save my health.
Why? False information, about 99% of the time. Check snopes.com if you doubt me. :}
Quite often when I read these my natural inclination towards vigilante-ism kicks in, and I do my five minutes of research and respond to the post. Sorry if I've done this to you. :)
9. Practically anything in support of any political party, social issue, or religious position.
Why? This is a trickier one. I have some very strong, very sincere convictions and beliefs. I enjoy discussing them. Sometimes I even enjoy debating them. But - and this has taken me something like 20 years to learn - Not on social media.
Nobody is listening. No-one who doesn't already agree with me, anyway. And I'm slowly figuring out that nothing alienates people faster than a position directly in opposition to their own posted in black-and-white. Often I could have a very reasonable, mutually beneficial conversation with these same people if I was just doing it face to face. But online? There's no way to see body language, no way to communicate humility or even humor... it's Just Not Worth it.
(Sadly, I only adhere to this about 90% of the time. Again, if I've done this to you, sorry!)