Sharing Too Much

Tonight I feel I need to step up on my soapbox and say something about a trend I’ve been noticing on Facebook.  This trend is knee-jerk sharing.  It comes from seeing a post on a friend’s page, having an immediate emotional reaction, and sharing said post without doing any independent checking.  (Usually, the post ends up being wrong.)  This typically happens one of two ways.

First, there are the fake stories about toilet spiders, cash back scams, and other things that cause fear.  Most of these posts are written in the same manner as urban legends and email hoaxes, with the “it happened to someone I know” format.  They are scary, with supposed real details, and come with a warning to avoid certain things or do certain behaviors.  For some reason, people have become suspicious of these when they show up as emails (probably because we’ve all seen the ridiculous ones before) but when it’s a post on Facebook, of course it must be true!

The second that is starting to be more prevalent is the satirical article posted as if it was a real news story.  Either someone will post it honestly thinking that its real, or the poster will be joking but their friends comment as if the story was true.  Most people recognize that certain sites are satire, but these days there are many and it is often hard to tell that they are meant to be humor.

The first one is easy to avoid – there’s even a website out there that specializes in researching these kinds of items and classifies if they are factual or fictional.  The second is just a little harder; you have to actually check out the source website for the article.  Really, though, either one takes very little time.  Just do a couple minutes of research before you automatically click “share” and we’ll all be better off for it!

That concludes this message from our author.  We now return you to regularly scheduled blogging. 🙂

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