4/16/2013
Please like and share

Remember when we were annoyed at Facebook because everybody is sending you invitations to play Farmville?

At least we could turn those off. You can block certain applications - or, if the need arises, certain people from sending you app invitations. Because really, not everybody wants to tend to a farm, or join the mob, or run a restaurant.

When I first read about Facebook fatigue, the main point was that you're inundated with notifications and invitations. I never really had that problem, because nobody really bothered to send me invitations. There were a few, but they were the usual suspects anyway. Notifications? Not often. I wasn't the type of person who'd comment on every status anyway, mostly because (at least back then) I had the feeling people secretly didn't like me.

Turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg, because now there's a new monster on our news feeds: pleas to like and share things.

Please like and share!

My past job saw me run a few Facebook pages, and if there's one thing I knew - and I'm not talking as a social media expert - it's this: likes don't really translate to anything. I post something - a question, or most importantly, a link - and what you want are for your posts to translate to page views. And, personally, I also want a discussion going on there. I love comments, partly because I love talking about things. I ran our Glee page and I had conversations about songs with some of the regulars.

Of course that knowledge of how Facebook works is a bit outdated. Now they've made it harder for pages to have their posts show up on news feeds, so the folks who run the page have to work harder. That should explain why everybody is now asking everybody to like and share their posts.

Please like and share!

If there's a hierarchy of annoyance, the bottom level would be those brands who run promos that determine winners by number of likes and shares. Like you could monitor every like and share. (Well, you can do it with the former, but not the latter. You only see shares from people who like your page, and you don't have to like the page to share.)

The middle level would be those pages who run polls by posting a photo composite of your choices. "Like if you choose A. Share if you choose B. Comment if you choose C." This is hell for the administrators, and hell for those people whose news feeds you clutter. In my case, I saw a lot of photos of Daniel Padilla, and it became my idea of hell for a while.

The highest level would be, well, what we see now. We have pages, usually with long names that have nothing to do with the content, who specialize in sharing... I don't know. "Thoughtful quotes" in graphic form. Photos of supposedly aggrieved people, preferably those with an injury to show. Illustrations accompanied by guilt-tripping words. My mother is the best woman I will ever know, and I will love her always and forever.

If you really love your mother, please like and share!

Oh, for fuck's sake.

Maybe it's just me and my preference to not scream about my love for my mother. And I don't begrudge you if you want to scream about it. But through this? Really, you can't get any more creative? Remember those emails you used to get from your so-called friends who have nothing to do with their lives? Forward this to five people and your wish will come true in ten minutes! Don't do anything and you'll die. Okay, so you don't really see this sort on Facebook, but when you do see these graphics on your news feed, you can't help but feel terrible, at least initially. If you really love your mother, please like and share! I love my mother, but I don't want to like and share this. Then you don't fucking love her, you moron! Ugh, can't you leave me alone? Fuck no! Oh.

Or this photo of this starving child from Africa. He's hungry. Yes, I know. I've read about this many times. I feel bad about it. If you really do care, please like and share! It doesn't do anything. If you have a heart, please like and share! But it doesn't do anything. What if I tell you that liking and sharing this post will give these kids a dollar for food? Really? Prove it to me. You don't have a fucking heart! You bastard! Eh.

Or today, in the aftermath of the bombings at the Boston Marathon. This eight-year-old girl died. If you feel terrible hearing this, please like and share. The news is terrible enough. Please like and share. I feel too terrible. Please like and share, you heartless bastard! But this news is fake! Heartless bastard! Or maybe not. You heard of this guy whose girlfriend died before she crossed the finish line? He was gonna propose to her. You will never feel the pain he's feeling now. If you really love your girlfriend, please like and share. Oh, bitch, please. The bombs exploded on the sidewalk. No runners were killed, as far as we know. She was being given CPR. I know this because I saw the photo on a news site, and I trust the photographer more than you. His next photo shows her awake, but yeah, severely injured, but awake. She's severely injured! Please like and share. I won't give you my time. You motherfucking heartless bastard!

Well, what about you, you motherfucking heartless bastard? Taking advantage of a tragedy to get likes and shares? What, your mother didn't love you enough as a kid? Didn't give you attention? No friends? No lovers? No sex? So now you're manipulating us to agree with you, else look like, well, a motherfucking heartless bastard? Oh, boo hoo. Yeah, I will admit, I feel terrible when I see the stuff you post. People will look down on me, shit! Shit! But do I love my mother any less? No. Do I have a heart? Yes. Do I feel terrible about what happened? Yes. Do I have to tell you about it? Fuck, no.

Perhaps I do need to clean up my news feed, because I have many Facebook friends - the lower class sort, as it turns out - who keep on sharing home remedies and midwives' tales and guilt trips on their pages. You know, like chain emails. That's what it is. Chain mail. Chain mail on a different playing field. If you will do the same, please like and share.

And your responses...

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