Everyone who relies on social media for their businesses, blogs and websites knows there is value in Facebook “Likes” and “Shares.” These little clicks mean your updates are going to continue to be added into others’ feeds, and there’s not really a point in posting if nobody is seeing what you have to say.
That being said, I’ve seen an ugly trend recently that I think needs to be cyber-kicked in the virtual groin — using sensitive subjects that touch decent people’s hearts to manipulate social media contacts into spreading your crap on the Internet.
Now, I realize that provocative, timely and hot-button issues are social media gold. And, I really don’t mind when people use their social influence to pass along their thoughts and ideas, as long as there’s actually a legitimate stance being taken with some thought-provoking message attached.
A big part of social media is the sharing and trading of ideas. I admire people who are big enough to say “I care about this enough to put my true feelings out there for the world to see,” even when I don’t totally agree with what they have to say. It takes courage to take a stand. Period.
HOWEVER, when someone uses the sympathy of others solely to rack up Facebook followers, likes and shares, it really rubs me the wrong way. For example, today I’ve seen a couple posts shared by family and friends about domestic abuse and the Trayvon Martin case. These are hot issues that do deserve public attention; I totally agree with that. The original poster, however, was the same person in both cases, and the posts looked like this…
Why does this chap my ass so badly?
It’s sick. Plain and simple. The person behind the above status updates is using people who’ve been victimized to go viral on Facebook. Surely, I can’t be the only person who thinks this is wrong.
Sharing a cause because you believe in it is one thing, exploiting people who suffer illness, tragedy and loss simply for the sake of growing your online business (which, by the way, is exactly what this poster is doing) is demented. It’s shameful and manipulative. Using another person’s pain to get attention from those who sympathize with his or her situation for personal gain is twisted and needs to stop.
If you want to be noticed online, be genuine, clever and sincere. These are the traits that lead to trust and success on the net, just like in real life. Using others’ suffering to get ahead is putrid, loathsome and discredits you as a trustworthy business contact (and human being, in my opinion), no matter what you’re selling.
If you see this kind of thing come up on your newsfeed, don’t pass it along. There’s no sincerity or passion for change behind it, so it’s nothing more than spam from someone with a cold heart.