Look, I’m on FB all goddamned day long. I just am, it’s terrible. It’s like a car crash, I can’t look away. I don’t know why I bother because most of the time, the shit that is posted makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a fork. Case in point: viral status messages. I hate them. I have a seriously unreasonable hatred towards them. Since I said I would write this post (to my friends on FB of course) I’ve been trying to figure out why I hate them so much. The best I can do is break it down by component and type of viral status and not by content. Which is very, very hard for me because on their own they are so goddamned stupid it’s hard not to make fun. Oh, also I should note, these are coming directly from FB so the spelling and punctuation errors are not mine. Let’s begin, shall we?
“Let’s be clear on this: OBAMA did NOT kill Bin Laden. An American soldier, who Obama just a few weeks ago was debating on whether or not to PAY, did. Obama just happened to be the one in office when our soldiers finally found OBL and took him out. This is NOT an Obama victory, but an AMERICAN victory!! REPOST IF YOU AGREE!!!
Exhibit A is what I like to call “Grossly misinformed political rant viral status”. This also includes the call for “Boycott gasoline day”. How about this, if you choose to make a political rant on your status (and believe me I do it all the time), why don’t you frame it in the form of a discussion, and heck even include a link to back up your insanity? By link I do not mean a link to the FB group where you grabbed the stupid status from in the first place, I mean a real honest to goodness link from an information source on the internet that is NOT FB.
“My curfew was the street lights, my mom didn’t call my cell, she yelled my name. I played outside with friends, not online. If I didn’t eat what my mom cooked, then I didn’t eat. Sanitizer didn’t exist, but you COULD get your mouth washed out with soap. I rode a bike without a helmet, getting dirty was OK, & neighbors cared as much as your parents did. Re-post if you drank water from a garden hose & survived…”
This is the digital version of your dad/mom/grandpa/grandma/crazy great aunt saying this, “When I went to school we WALKED. I remember when cigarettes cost .25 and you could start smoking when you were 7. Also, we used to throw lawn darts at each other FOR FUN.” Basically it’s one generation calling the new one a bunch of pussies and it’s stupid.
“FB friends, in honor of Mother’s Day I’m changing my profile picture to a picture of my mother and will keep it there till May 9. I’m hoping that you will all do the same. If you like this idea, repost this as your status so everyone gets the word and see how many beautiful mothers we can get on FB. Happy Mothers Day Mom!!!! I love you !!!!”
There are a lot of these, I call them the “If you love your family repost posts” There was another one around Mothers’ Day that asked people to post the names and dates of birth of their kids, information which according to my local PD, unsavory people promptly used for identity theft. Awesome! Ok, so how about this, if you your love mom, kid, husband or think your cousins are extra sassy, CALL THEM. Don’t like phones? Send them an email. Want to shout it to the world in a status anyway? OK, why don’t you say something individual and caring about that person. Here’s an example, “When I was little my mom used to put me on the counter and let me help her cook. My love for cooking comes from her, and for that I owe my mom a debt of gratitude. Love you Ma.” See how I did that? Probably the same amount of time it takes to cut and paste.
“Kids with Special needs aren’t weird or odd. They only want what everyone wants….to be accepted. Can I make a request? Is anyone willing to post this and leave it on your status for 1 hour? It is Special Education week & Autism Awareness month, and this is in honor of all children made in a Unique Way. You never understand a situation untill you are faced with it.”
Exhibit D might make me the angriest of all status messages. You can pretty much take out “special needs” and swap in Heart Disease, Domestic Violence, Cancer, whatever you want it’ll work. Here’s what you need to know: Changing your status to one of these for one hour does NOTHING. Do you understand? It does NOTHING. If you want to help take a fucking second and do SOMETHING. Here’s a good example, “This month is national Autism awareness month. Please check out: etc etc website or consider sending a small donation to the following: XXX” There you go. That way people can get information from a valid source and, if they choose, have a place where they can donate to a charity you believe in. I have had family members die from cancer, and I tell you what, I don’t think that the best way to remember them is to post a viral status message about them. Sorry.
Now. To the meat of the issue. In addition to the messages themselves being stupid – this “REPOST IF YOU AGREE” is just insanity to me. First off, Thanks! I didn’t know I could do that! Phew. I’m glad you let me know that I can cut and paste things I agree with. Secondly, If you find something interesting or want to tell people something, write it yourself. “But Kate, you are a famous writer! I don’t write so good. What should I do?” Awww, thanks! Honestly though, most of these messages are so stupid and filled with grammatical and spelling errors that anything you write is going to be better than that. Blindly reposting stuff, for whatever reason is lulling people into thinking that they are doing something. It’s inaction in action. You’re doing nothing but annoying people. If you have a cause, belief, news story etc you want to promote, discuss, whatever then do it. There’s even a little tab right next to where you update your status to paste a link. It’s not hard. I do it all day.
Finally, if you see a viral status that you agree with and you just have to post it, can you at least do your part to make the world a little less sucky and do the following: “My friend Lisa just posted this and I really liked it: Cut and paste here.” Then, for the love of God just delete the Repost if you agree part at the end.