I am tired of deformed babies and dead dogs polluting my timeline.
There is nothing worse than having my daily amble through the private lives of friends, acquaintances and complete strangers disrupted by a horrific amateur photograph with guilt text in a godawful font suggesting that I should ‘like in 3 seconds’ or ‘reply amen’ if I am a decent human being.
Since I don’t have any pretensions to decency this guileless attempt is futile. It is going to take a lot more than human cruelty to prevent me shoveling the next forkful into my face.
But even if I was a gentle soul, what is the point? If mother Theresa’s ghost suddenly possessed me and ruined my life, what kind of meaningful action could these images make me take? There is no context. Who is that child? Where are they from and in what decade were they born? What is the cause of that dog’s injuries and is there anything that can be done about it? I could like or share the damn thing and ruin my friends’ days by pushing it to their timelines. I could comment with my true feelings on the matter and let the world burn. I could, and do, just grit my teeth ignore it.
Maybe I could write a polite message to the original poster and ask for details so I can do something useful. Just kidding. If you want to get covered in a sewer of crazy, ask a stranger on the internet a rational question. If you want to spend the rest of your week blocking trolls, ask that question in public.
What is the motivation of the poster? What journey did that picture take to get to me through various likes and shares? At best the poster is a traumatized individual expressing a deep hurt, at worst a narcissist so far gone they will use the picture of an anonymous being in pain to get 10 000 likes. In doing so, they are hardening some souls and re-traumatizing others. They are eroding the cache of empathy. The violating the privacy of the child and the sensibilities of other children. They are, in short, being destructive.
Next time you think of typing “Yes we scam” or whatever on one of these images, think about your friends. Your real friends that happen to be friends on Facebook too. Consider how making them see this image will improve their lives, the life of the image’s subject or your own.
Note: I realize that the SPCA and others use similar tactics in their marketing. These comments are not about them. I am not going to stand in the way of anyone looking to raise a couple of $$.