The ubiquitous Facebook that has made us share everything – right from what we eat for lunch, where we watched a movie, and with whom we spent the vacation to who among of friends is having a bad day and who got a big pay hike to splurge on a swanky sports car. Among all these know-how about what’s happening to whom and who’s doing whom in the celebrity circle, we have the what’s trending to catch your attention, suggestions to “Like” pages, and not to miss the Apps which glean information (check my post on Taking Ownership Of Your Data),cleverly.
Finally, the chain forwards, the misinformation posts that appeal to our emotional, charitable side.
1 Million Likes (Y) and Their Biggest Lies
The biggest lie that keeps floating around is:
“1 Million Likes” to this poor <insert “dog/sick kid/soldier/grandma/homeless…”> to turn their life around.
While some posts make our hearts melt with the cuteness quotient:
Image credit: jentalkstoomuch.com
Some gnaw at our emotional side:
(Image courtesy: urbanlegends.about.com)
I know it is heartless to ignore these when it is easy and humane to “do good” to others by a simple like/share.
It seems legit, all right, since many of our friends and friends of friends are liking and sharing it. After all, Facebook is free (at least currently) and clicking a ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ doesn’t cost a thing, right?
Psst…Here’s a little secret. Facebook has something called “Edge Rank Algorithm” that governs what posts can be seen, these posts are generally ones that garner a lot of Likes, Shares, Clicks, Comments, etc. The posts receiving excessive engagement from the masses make it to the news feed.
Now the simple logic: a simple post can become a promoted post, read Ads (by Facebook), for a certain fee. Here’s how all your likes on the “1 million likes” posts are helping businesses to understand what moves people, what doesn’t.
I am not saying that this grossly wrong, but it isn’t right either.
Let us understand how such “do good” message might have originated.
You probably might have clicked on some link that could have downloaded an app, or could have planted a virus either either on your machine or malware on your phone. This could have app settings that permit it to post on your behalf (read how Apps glean personal information), and thus the message has travelled all over Facebook to appear on your page as well as on your Friends pages.
The Emotional Blackmail – “Copy and Paste, Do not Share!”
Why is that most of these messages have a “Copy and Paste, do not Share, if you really Care” caveat?
“Copy and Paste, do not Share…” is a sly way of asking you to endorse something.
Here is the truth, “Copy and Paste, do not Share…” is simply a ruse to get past your Privacy Settings.
Most of us generally like to limit who can see our posts, via Privacy Settings.
When you choose “Friends” as the people who can see your posts, then you are limiting the exposure of what you post to a defined set of people. When your friends share a post of yours, your Privacy Settings does not allow their friends to see your post.
Choosing “Friends except Acquaintances” limits strangers, business colleagues and anyone who might have “mutual friends” from viewing your post.
By asking you to copy and paste…and not simply share, these veiled “do good” posts can get past such privacy settings. While your friends or you copy and paste such messages, it is impossible to trace the source of these messages, hence the validity of such messages always remains a question.
Now for the final thing,
“Copy and paste to support” messages to support cancer patients do not help anyone. If personal experiences/treatments are shared, that will!”
Re-posting a message actually is not going to help anyone. It does not generate any value, no penny for every like, no dollar for every share, no free surgery for posting/pasting something on your wall for an hour…nobody, nowhere donates something for your click/like/share. NADA! It’s a SHAM!
While you feel good about propagating some kind of goodwill, you are really not helping anybody. No one who has cancer is going to recover by reading your status. If you really feel bad about having lost someone, or know someone who is suffering and want someone to fight cancer and get better, find a cause that fights cancer. We all need love, but most people with cancer need money to fight cancer!
Yes, you heard it right! Donate money, not your “one hour of placing a message” on your Facebook page.
If you are one of those people who is tending/tended to someone fighting cancer, share information about treatments, hospices, hospitals, names of substitute drugs, doctors, associations, trusts that can help people. Data such as hospitals where free beds are available, medicines available at a reasonable price, names of people who can volunteer to help, support groups/meetups where patients can meet people who fought and survived will really help, etc. – you get the picture!
I am not here to tell you that with “Copying and pasting messages” to support cancer patients, you are entirely wrong, but without doing so, you can still support them by doing something real that can help them.
Don’t believe me? Go ahead, ignore. Or, don’t copy and paste. Do not share.