January 22, 2014

Our Impatience is Making Us Victims: Why We Should Stop “Liking” Things on Facebook.

Sometimes I’m so sick of social media that I could scream.

And yet I’m regularly on Facebook and I recently joined both Twitter and Instagram—because I’m a blogger and bloggers live partially online.

It’s a reality; it’s a given. And yet.

And yet.

When I saw this headline, screaming everywhere, On Facebook, clicking ‘like’ can help scammers, my first reaction was: well, duh. My second reaction, though, was slight pity for how many of my own wonderful friends and family members I regularly see sharing things like this.

And I’ll be honest about something else: I might not share cute or gut-wrenching “likeable” Facebook statuses or pictures, but many people do. That’s another reality of social media.

Here’s the much-reported CNN story that inspired the aforementioned headline and, ironically, has been making its rounds on Facebook:

“It’s an image that tugs at the heartstrings. A smiling 7-year-old girl poses in her cheerleading uniform, circled by a ring of pompons, her bald head a telltale sign of her chemotherapy treatments.

The photo hit Facebook last year and popped up all over with messages of support. “Like” to show this little girl you care. “Share” to tell her she’s beautiful. Pray for her to beat cancer.

But here’s the truth. The photo was nearly six years old. And neither the girl, nor her parents—who never posted it to Facebook—had any idea it was being used that way.”

This particular story goes on to tell how, aside from this own family’s personal introduction to the horror of internet abuse, these types of Facebook shares simply help to promote scamming sites or, worse, internet fraud.

Personally, my family was recently made victims of the wide-spread Target credit card scam.

While I rarely shop at Target, I happily use my local Target pharmacy and my credit card had to be cancelled right before Christmas (which, as you can imagine, was pretty bad timing).

Because this stuff happens to real people, not just those we don’t know and have never met somewhere in part of the country that we’ve never been to. The Target fraud happened to me—and I first read about that, too, on CNN—and, actually, it happened to another elephant journal writing friend.

And this little girl—the cute, bald-headed cheerleader in that CNN photo—I don’t know her, but someone does.

I’ll admit, I avoided reading this article initially. The irony that my comrades were sharing it on Facebook was just too much for me, but, finally, when it wouldn’t go away I read this article and I was appalled.

Using children for financial purposes is disgusting, but, friends, we have to be more careful about what we randomly “like” online.

For instance, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a reader comment on one of elephant journal’s Facebook shares of an article and, clearly, the respondent hadn’t even taken the time to check out what they were “liking” or commenting on. This is deplorable.

Are we that lazy?

Are we that impatient?

I’ve always considered myself an impatient person, but in comparison to much of what I’m seeing online now…not so much.

So here’s a thought: let’s actually read the full article and not only the headline. Let’s also not click “like” on something that we looked at for a mere split second. Let’s dig in—really dig in—and not just to articles but to life.

This is the start of a new year. It’s 2014! And I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for a change.

I’m ready to be more patient, more pro-active and less “likeable.”

Are you?

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo credit: CNN

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