A pet peeve of mine is the vomit I see on social media.
OK, that might sound harsh, but it got your attention and there’s a bit of truth in that description.
Facebook’s “SHARE” button is just too easy and some of us hit it without thinking, almost reflexively, again and again and again.
Maybe we think we’re doing the world a service, sharing interesting articles and “news” items that pop-up in our timeline. But when we fail to do our due diligence, and fail to check the veracity of the material we find interesting, and don’t question the source, and don’t add our own two cents to the post, we are abdicating our critical thinking skills.
Some acknowledge that they aren’t “vouching for the accuracy” of the material they share. They want their “friends” to sift through their voluminous posts and make their own determination of what’s valuable and what’s not.
Posts are a reflection of the poster. I know which friends like cute animal videos, who appreciates good cooking, who is keen about politics, and who appreciates a good laugh. Our posts reflect something about us. And the vomit reflects very poorly on the poster. Is he/she just lazy, or unwilling to use critical thinking skills, or self-absorbed in the power of the “SHARE” button?
Frankly, I’m as guilty as the next guy in spewing junk on Facebook. I’ve been hoodwinked into believing BS without verifying.
I’ll never forget the photo I posted years ago on Facebook showing thousands of people marching across the Golden Gate Bridge in protest of ‘something or other’. The protest march was something I agreed with and I was pleased that so many agreed and were taking action. A Facebook friend asked me if I really believed that many people would march across the bridge? I checked and learned the picture had been photoshopped. I was humbled and contrite, but it taught me a good lesson.
Since then I’ve learned about confirmation bias, and I’ve tried to avoid making the same mistake.
My advice to Facebook friends:
- Do your own due diligence and don’t cop out with the excuse that you don’t vouch for anything you post.
- Think twice, thrice before hitting the SHARE button. The Facebook algorithim might have posted the same material on many of your friends’ walls.
- Add your own thoughts to the post to show others why you think this article might interest them.
- Remember, your posts reflect on your critical thinking skills. If you value such skills, use them.
I will do my best to follow my own advice because I know the lure of the SHARE button blinds me as well.