I’d like to think that people appreciate it when a news anchor warns a viewing audience, “Caution, what we’re about to show you can be disturbing.” Better yet, I’d like to think most of the time, people like it when an editorial decision is made not to air something because it’s too disturbing or perhaps even unethical to show it.
Unfortunately, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook don’t have that capability. That means that questions of common sense, ethics and decency are left up to the person who is about to post something. As a result, I have seen things that I not only wished I hadn’t seen, but I also get a headache wondering why someone would openly post such stuff without any consideration of others.
One of the worst examples is animal torture or anything sad related to dogs. Do I think there are times where sharing stories about abuse are appropriate? Yes.
Do I need to see images of a scared and helpless little dog being cornered by an abusive owner to go with it? No. Do I need to see an animal’s face ripped off? No. But, nonetheless – I saw both and I had no choice. That’s because these things weren’t posted with an optional link to click on them. Instead, these are images showing up in my Twitter and Facebook timeline.
As I write this, I just got done seeing a video with the text “MUST WATCH & SHARE PLEASE” underneath it. The video started as soon as I passed it on my Facebook timeline. It was a dog crying profusely over the gravesite of a loved one. Why is that a must watch? Why would you beg people to share that? It’s depressing! Is this the type of thing that we go to see on our social media pages?
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it’s not what most people want to see on their timelines.
Facebook has opened floodgates as to what can show up on your timeline. Not only video, but posts from people and companies you don’t even know. Not long ago, there was a really disgusting image showed up on my timeline. Since it was all written in another language, I have no idea what I was looking at. It kind of looked like a tumor busting out of what looked to be human skin.
It was super close-up, so I got a nice view of this disgusting growth growing out of someone. Again, it wasn’t a link. It was an image I was forced to see. It was hard getting that image out of my head and it made my skin crawl. I wondered again – What made someone share this for all the world to see?
Not long ago, someone shared a gruesome video of bodies lying all over the street in what was presumably an accident caused by texting. I had no choice but to see it.
This is not why I log into social media!
Want to make an anti-texting message? Fine. There are some awesome ads and videos that make a strong case without showing bloody bodies on the street.
This is my plea to the social media community – Please stop the madness! Use some discretion before you post stuff. Ask yourself why you’re sharing something and consider your audience before posting it.
Want to shock? Fine. Give people the option to click on something. Facebook & Twitter give you options to share photos/video or just post a link.
It’s not too much to ask and people will appreciate it.