As a modern girl about town, and one fortunate enough to have more than one social acquaintance, I have been known to utilise social media. For the most part I am happy to suffer the odd behavioural quirk and barbaric grammar abuse from those also frequenting such sites but just recently, one particular habit on one particular site caused me to choke on my Diet Coke and raise one perfectly plucked eyebrow in utter disgust. Facebook, I’m talking about you!
I’ve written before about the endless dull photos of supposedly “cute” things and mindless snaps of plated foods, but things have gone way beyond that minor annoyance. For weeks now I have been developing a rage and a venomous fury for those tedious people who perpetually plague my timeline with guilt fuelled viral poppycock and I’ve let it ride up until now. What’s different you may ask? What mighty straw broke the camel’s back with one so famed for endless tolerance and empathy? Well, read on and you will discover that even I have limits. For those of you sensible enough to have shunned Zuckerberg and his book-faced chums, this will all be untrodden territory and so I shall enlighten you on the basics of Facebook virals.
The Book of Face allows a marvellous amount of
spamming sharing, by telling Agnes if Bernard clicks a “like” button, comments on, or otherwise engages with anything Charles has posted. For example, if Charles posts a picture of his cute puppy eating a plate of the muffins that he just baked, Bernard can comment on it and Agnes, who may not have the pleasure of knowing Charles and his puppy, can see that Bernard thought Charles’s picture was “lol, totes cute”. With me? (don’t worry, I’m rarely with me but trust me, I get to a point soon). So, with all this sharing and social media caring, what is a bored modern-day stamp collector to do? There’s very little need for stamps these days as everyone’s gone electronic, so what on earth can they collect on a cold lonely unemployed morning, when their mummy has gone to Bingo and The Jeremy Kyle Show doesn’t start for another hour? They can collect “likes”. Genius!
I’m sure this all started harmlessly enough. Someone had a funny picture of a dinner that looked like a pickled scrotum and after a few of their friends hit “like”, the thing went global and they were the proud owner of 100,000 imaginary thumbs-ups. What an achievement, what a life changing moment to add to your CV, what a way to get your name in the history books alongside Florence Nightingale and Thomas Edison! Once isn’t enough though and a spark, a lust for more has been lit. Another genital shaped meal won’t cut it this time though, there needs to be some bigger hook, some better way to gather these precious “likes” than being mildly amusing. Hmm… Got it! Basic commonly shared opinions, accompanied by a direct instruction to hit that button.
“Like if you would snog Brad Pitt if he asked really nicely!” Sure, why not. What’s the harm? *click*
“Like if you remember playing with a ball when you were a child!” Yep, I remember that. *click*
“Like if you went to the toilet today!” Um, ok. *click*
“Like if you like clicking like!” Seriously?
While these harmless opinion polls may get you halfway to an OBE for services to spamming, they’re never going to get you noticed by Mark Zuckerberg and invited to his weddings (yes, weddings plural. Oh come on, as if he’s only going to have one!) or on the cover of Time Magazine for being Emperor of Spam. You need to ramp it up, for without these “likes” you’ll never amount to anything in life and you’ll get laughed out of Like Club (by the way, the first rule of Like Club is that you “like” Like Club). Think hard. What can you possibly use to gently persuade people that it would be a jolly jape to hit that button? How about mercilessly bludgeoning people’s sense of guilt and goodwill? That sounds like good old fashioned harmless fun, huzzah!
“Hit like if you would rescue this drowning puppy. If you don’t hit like, that means you’re a cold hearted puppy drowner!” Oh god, if I don’t click like, all my friends will know I wished a cold watery death on an innocent canine! *click*
“These soldiers all had their legs blown off because they were trying to protect you from having your legs blown off. Click “like” to send them a leg restoring prayer!” Crikey, I don’t want to be responsible for them hopping home to their hero’s welcome. *click, click, click*
“Look! Look at this horribly abused child. LOOK AT IT. Click like!” Sooo, does clicking “like” mean I agree that child abuse is wrong or does it mean I like child abuse. Perhaps it means that if I don’t click the button an abused child will drown a legless soldier’s dog. I’m so confused!
The fault here doesn’t lie entirely at the feet of the soon-to-be-knighted collectors of “like”, they are merely the instigators of these ridiculous chain-letters. Those who keep the thing going by clicking that wretched button are far more guilty. Yes, we get it, you’re a nice person who likes soldiers and puppies and who believes disabled children are beautiful (that one gets me. A picture of an unfortunately deformed child with instructions to “like” if you think she’s beautiful. She’s not. She may well be a very lovely person with fine character traits, but genetics has dealt her a duff hand and there’s no denying that. Why else would she be the subject of a “like” collector’s machiavellian scheme? They didn’t ask you if a Victoria’s Secret model was beautiful, did they? Not enough guilt, no viral potential), but show a little modesty with your saintly compassion and stop spamming my social media!
All you well meaning, guilt-free clickers, answer me this. How, in the realms of all possibility, do you think that your “like” button is in any way directly connected to charity fund raising or to the ear of your chosen deity? How do you think spreading the distressing image of an upturned tortoise will in any way aid it into a comfortable upright position and provide it with a fresh leaf of lettuce? If you genuinely want to make a difference to these things, step away from the Facebook and do something practical about it, and for the love of all that is internet worthy, if any one of you dares cause my Facebook page to again bear host to the image I was faced with the other night, I shall hunt you down and personally tattoo it onto the inside of your eyelids using a biro dipped in faeces.
The image I’m talking about, the one that caused me to almost decorate the room with a lungful of Diet Coke and outrage, and the proof that these Facebook “like” harvesters have gone one giant leap too far, was the image of a dead baby with 117,171 “likes”.