I got chewed out this morning by a friend who felt singled out by yesterday's post and some of the Facebook Frolics that led to it. I apologized that they took it personal, rather than as a post trying to get people to use a little thinking about what they post. And maybe I wasn't sweet about it, but I am tired of hearing other friends contemplating bailing out of social media because they cannot handle the sheer volume of BS, unintentional or not, that gets pumped out there- which could be avoided with just a little research. Unfortunately, I am about to make that friend even madder at me, because the reasons she used to defend her post (a 2-year old weather warning that some moron changed the date on and sent back out) are a good indictment of cybersociety in 2015-16.
Her defense was two main things. First, she was in the middle of moving on to something else and didn't have time to vette it. Second, she is on one of those so-much-data-a-month deals and didn't have the resources to properly vette it. Both understandable, so far as it goes. But let's expand this out to ALL the people out there posting ALL these things that aren't right and can be easily dispelled.
First, if you didn't have time to vette it, you barely had time to read it. It made a visual impression, and away we go! This is why we don't elect Presidents by meme... or at least, we didn't USE to. I get that you didn't have time to check it, life moves on- then why post it? In my friend's case, it was prolly a "this needs to get out there" thing, which is admirable enough. Others out there are stuck in the "Let me be the first to tell you" mode; others just want to "agree" with anything that fits their agenda. I have honestly seen FB friends re-post stuff they DON'T believe in because the meme looked so much like others that agree with them that they just didn't read the damn thing correctly. I will admit to several occasions to reading someone's comment in the midst of "battle" and doing the same thing. Lesson: slow down, read, and keep your foot out of your mouth. I don't know about yours, but my shoes aren't all that tasty.
Second, and this is the thing that gets me- when did we get so dependent on the internet? There are a lot of non-internet ways to check up on things; in this case, turn on the car radio first before hitting the share button. Turn on a weather radio- they are relatively cheap if not especially time-efficient. Watch the TV local weather. Failing that, look around your timeline- are there a bunch of people posting weather warnings, or one anomalous post (which becomes two when you repost)? I honestly think a lot of FB false posts fall into the "if your FB friends jumped off a cliff, would you follow them?" category. Call the local weather line, or the NWS. Google Good Morning America and look for the video in which Mark Zuckerburg said he was sharing this property of his with total strangers.
A few years ago, I did a post on a friend posting a five-year-old article claiming Noah's ark had been found. I did a lot of points on WHY the story had to be false, but the summary was very common sense- if it has been found, why doesn't EVERYONE know about it? If the ark had been found, Turkey would be sitting on top of the biggest potential Disneyland in history. The great truths of life will NOT be found in obscure news articles posted on Facebook.
This week, the big news was "Peyton Manning accused of using HGH". This story was recanted by its source before most outlets even had ran with the original Al-Jazeera story. Now despite what you might feel about an Arab news source, I have always-before now- thought of AJ as high quality, responsible journalism. But this reporter ran with his story without vetting his source (which was the guy who recanted it even as it broke), and for some unexplained reason AJ went right along with it without demanding confirmation from another source- as any GOOD reporter or news source should do. Now, AJ looks unprofessional, Manning is leading a group about to sue them and their reporter for defamation, and the "source" has admitted to being about as credible as a 13-year-old boy typing up conspiracy theories in Grandma's basement.
My good friend the Fort Wayne Media Maven is constantly pointing out the various failings of what pass for news outlets in this town. They type up someone else's press release without even fixing grammatical errors, give out locations that a quick look at Google maps (much less Rand McNally) would tell them cannot exist as described, and when challenged, they send some punk kid "social media director" to insult you, just prior to blocking you. Ask yourself why WANE.com doesn't have a comment section after articles anymore since Mark Mellinger left. And why do they think they can get away with it, Mr. and Mrs. America? Because just like the trolls who constantly recycle old stuff for new for their perverse entertainment, just like AJ and CNN and ABC News, just like Brian Williams, THEY know you are "too busy to check it out", too "limited in your sources" to vette, to know it's not true or not accurate.
And that is why a woman like Hillary Clinton, who has been a known liar since AT LEAST 1972, can become our next President.
"A nation gets the government they deserve". If you want something better, DESERVE IT.
I am sorry, my friend, but this goes beyond your little error, beyond Facebook, and beyond me. I thank you, though, for giving me the change to expound on it.