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Harvesting Guilt – The New Stamp Collecting


“Click like if you have ever seen the sky or a puppy will drown.”

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”.



About prettyfeetpoptoe

I live in London and have both my own legs so I am fortunate enough to get out and about on occasion. I form many views on the things that I see and do and love nothing better than a session of linguistic gymnastics in order to share these views.

44 responses »

  1. This may be your finest work. And fook it, I’m going to “like” it too.

  2. Pfffft, “like” this!
    I don’t fall for that crap. I love the way you’ve put a new prospective on it! Like “liking” something will make it all better….yeah, right.

    • Judging by the amount of the tripe cluttering my FB feed, quite a few people DO think their “like” button has magical powers. Glad you’re not one of ’em.

  3. Well, I de-trivialised my life by abandoning Facebook to its fate last year. Like.

    • If it weren’t one of the only ways I keep in touch with some dear foreigns, I’d be right there with you. My fingers is constantly hovering over the “delete account” button (sadly not right next to the “like” button on some people’s accounts).

  4. Missy Amber

    Gah! Zuckers should introduce a special button to click if you want to send the poster of a rectum clenchingly irritating post an image of a massive pile of elephant turds.
    The appearance if such items, to which I also include “inspirational” Bon mots about motherhood and friendship, is a sure fire signal to unfriend a few soon to be ex acquaintances.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly, but I think you and I and the other responders are like your famous King Canute ordering back the tide. It’s not going to stop.

  6. I’m afraid to ‘like’ this…but it is worthy!

  7. Great points well put! I need to switch off some peoples comments on FB, getting bored of their rubbish popping up, usually I get news events where someone kicks off a diatribe against a terrible event, say a child murder, but then the commenters all write along the lines off “they are sick, I would scrape their face off with a rusty scapel, feed it to my dog and then burn them alive” etc.. you get the drift. Where do they get that imagery from, they should worry about their own urges for acts of violence. Then of course that ends up with thousands of likes and it fills up my news feed.

    • Ah, Facebook. Where pathetic promises of grand violent acts go to languish amongst the pictures of abused ponies. Maybe it’s all Mark Zuckerberg’s personal joke. Rather clever really.

  8. charmedbylove

    Status update: “I’m going to pee now” *Like* (100, 000 people like this)

  9. It’s nearly as bad as those ‘cut and paste this as your status for an hour’ virals

  10. THANKYOU!!
    This is something that particularly makes me angry, but I feel like if I rant about it I’ll come across as an arsehole. People who encourage people to ‘like’ photos of kids with cancer because theyre beautiful and cancer sucks are just plain awful. The irony is they’re using our guilt to increase their so called ‘popularity’ and we’re meant to feel bad if we don’t give in to their stupid viral photos, yet really THEY ARE USING PEOPLE. It’s sick.

    Seriously Zuckerberg. You just got $9 billion dollars in the past year. It’s probably because people are sick of this type of thing.

    Ok. Clearly I got my rant out in the end. But thanks, you made this witty when I just come across as a crazy cat lady

  11. How about I just comment instead 🙂 I agree with you that the viral ‘likes” are way over the top. Some of the sahres have a link you can go to that Actually have something you can do that Actually help someone. But not many. I “Like” the Jessie Joy Jars, for the little cancer warriors. You can actually go and say something to them to help their day be brighter. That’s a “Like” you can work with.

    • Totally agree. If you want to brighten up someone’s day and tell a cancer patient that they’re beautiful, go and tell them. The turd on Facebook will just keep all the glory to themselves!

  12. Ooops, sorry. “Shares”

  13. Well, while I will admit I have a Facebook account, I will say that I have a few friends I actually chat to and that only once in awhile. I use FB for playing my game “Words with Friends” and to spread the cheer of my blog. I can guarantee a dislike and a poor comment had I seen the pic you are referring to. That is … wrong…other words come to mind, however, you are always too polite for me to say them!

    • Such politeness, Scott, was not what happened when I saw that picture. The air was quite blue, I can tell you!

      Have to admit, I’m guilty of using Facebook for the furthering of a particular blog myself. 😉

  14. I did have a problem whether I should press the like button or not 😉

  15. Fark me, I just thought it was me that thought this way..huzzah i’m not the only one, I NEVER click ‘like’ (mainly cos i’m a twat) but more so cos I know it won’t make a farking diffference!

    Laters taters;)

  16. Hi there PFPT – just to let you know I’ve nominated your blog for an award today. The sooner someone gives you a national news paper column, the better. You really are a one-off!

  17. Brass Monkey

    Social networking? I’m too old to get involved in all that nonsense, and I think your piece about it excellent. However, if it is compulsory to “like” something, I like the 2 photos of you.

    • Apparently you’re never too old to get sucked into Zuckerberg’s network of social spamming.

      G;ad you “like” my pictures, you just saved a dying cactus plant and a soldier’s toenail.

  18. Hmm…I hesitated on pressing your ‘like’ button here in case your pretty feet leapt out of my laptop and slapped me round the face. I sympathise with much of this – especially the blackmailing ‘like this or be branded and evil bastard forever’ ones. I also don’t appreciate seeing dogs with their brains smashed in or aborted foetuses in some attempt to elicit sympathy from me. I just report such things.

    But…I have to admit to clicking LOTS of likes and shares but ALWAYS on stuff I like – great music, funny cartoons, wise sayings that are actually helpful and articles or blogposts that I’ve read that I enjoyed. In fact, I will probably share this post on Facebook because I think at least 50% of people on my FB could do with reading it! So, forgive me if I continue, secretly and in great shame, to click a like or two… 🙂

    • If only I had the power to leap through the computer screen… Well, I’d have a shockingly huge computer repair bill for starters and there would be a lot of people with biros sticking out their necks. Doesn’t bear thinking about really.

      So glad you posted on Facebook. Hopefully a few people will “like” it. 😉

      • ha ha! They certainly did! I described you as someone who ‘bites’. My friends replied you certainly do! Not just pretty feet then but strong teeth too 😉

  19. Hi Kenthinksaloud shared this on my facebook and I agree with most of what you have written – I am unable to condemn fb as it has kept me sane for the last 2 years having had a bad accident and been unable to physically “social network”. I liken my fb activity to my just nipping in the local, or having a coffee with someone, I hate the posts where people feel they have to share every intimate thing they do in their life, but, there again, if that’s the level of their mentality who are we to judge? Your comment about the dead baby is taking it a step too far, however, I support a charity called Lisa’s Stars which helps people who have suffered a stillborn birth, miscarriage and prem baby. There are sometimes photos of Lisa with her Stars (4 in total) and I know they have helped 100’s of people both male and female, psychologically and physically. At the moment one of my friend’s is posting lots of photos of dogs that are on death row and it is breaking my heart – and no, I don’t put animals above humans, before anyone says anything, so I just scroll over those pics as I’ve tried to put her in a different category and can’t. On a lighter note, loved your blog x x

    • Thanks for stopping by for a read!

      I hear what you’re saying about spreading the good word but my gripe here is not with those well thought out campaigns doing a benefit to the world, my gripe is with the idiots who are posting emotionally provocative images with the sole purpose of winning a popularity contest based on the number of hits they can gather. It’s a sad little game that detracts from the good that social media can do, be it providing friendship and entertainment or a way to spread important news.

      The dead baby image was purely there to win a game, not to raise awareness, unless I’ve been wrong all this time and that when someone tells me “1 x like = 1 x prayer”, it really does get posted on God’s Facebook wall!

  20. No need to thank me – it livened up my day, I like your style, wit and intelligence. It also brightened my day as having nothing much better to do than “social network” I have to admit to having developed an arthritic clicking finger. I love good dialogue and “discussions” and I miss that with not working or being able to socialize as much as I would like. Fortunately for us, God doesn’t need a wall for us to post stuff to, however, when I get to heaven I have a few points to discuss with him i.e. Design faults – female Hormones etc

    Keep up the good work


  21. I just came across this today. I totally agree with you. I think Facebook can be a wonderful tool if used correctly; but sharing and “liking” pictures that do nothing but basically rouse some small feelings of sympathy serve no purpose if not acted on by following through with giving of ourselves to help those in need; whether that be financially or just with our time and our prayers. What a great post. Thanks so much for sharing. May you be extremely blessed, Sheri Haskins : )


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