Quite often on Facebook various quotes get bandied about and published on people’s timelines. They’re kind of like little badges; little sound-bites that people publish and then, if you happen to be "friends" with them, they appear on your FB page too so you can all see what sort of bandwagon we are all expected to jump on today.
This is fine. I don’t mind this. Sometimes these quotes are darn clever. Or just funny. Or actually have a point to them beyond entertaining the web user for a couple of nanoseconds. Yes, I’ve sometimes been freaked out by the thought that FB is on occasion thought provoking or spiritually enlightening but then I calm down and realize that it all depends on the calibre of one’s FB friends. FB just isn’t going to be a religious experience for everyone.
Sometimes though these badges get my goat. They get me riled and peed off.
I’m talking about the ones that attempt to hold your morals hostage. The ones that attempt to emotionally blackmail you.
And they work in the same manner as a chain letter. Only rather than some unspecified disaster befalling you and yours, you merely pronounce yourself as being a very uncaring person and not a true friend if you don’t go along with everyone else and “share” the badge on your own timeline.
You know the type of thing I mean, I’m sure.
“Let’s see how many of my true friends will take a stand against cancer by sharing this…”
“Only real decent people will have the courage to share this and help end child abuse…”
“If you are a selfish uncaring scumbag you will just ignore this and go on about your day without a care in the world while hundreds of babies dies because of your nonchalance BUT those of my friends with a beating heart will join me in publicising this to the great unwashed FB masses…”
Etc, etc, etc.
I’m happy to nail my flag to the poles of cancer treatment research, ending child abuse, bringing world poverty to an end… but as soon as I read that accusing, mock offended tone that presumes to point the finger without even giving me a chance to think, well, I’m afraid I do then ignore the propaganda and go on with my day. I go on with my day feeling slightly irked and sullied but go on I do.
I think what annoys me most is the recognition that when people are foolhardy enough to stick these snide bits of propaganda onto their FB pages that is about as far as their moral righteousness takes them. They don’t go out campaigning for these causes. They don’t head down to the charity shop to make a donation or get on the telephone to pledge some money.
They hit “share” on FB and consider it job done. Task for the day: responded to a moral knee-jerk reaction – tick. And now onto a funny picture about a half-naked cheerleader being photo-bombed by a yampy looking dog.
And nothing changes.
Except the individual’s perception of their own self-righteousness.
Well, I have my own perception of that… and, in my opinion, the currency has severely dropped in value.