Click LIKE or SHARE!
We have probably all seen posts on Facebook saying things such as: Click LIKE if you love the NHS, copy and paste these words if you think this animal cruelty is bad, share this pic if you love your parents / children, etc, or post this pic if your son or daughter are amazing, share this if you think nurses are good people, blah blah blah. There is a definite trend nowadays for some people to re-post these on social media and I think it is quite interesting as to where this has come about from.
Some readers will just gloss over it and skim read onto the next status update on their wall. Some will tag their parent / son / daughter / dog / friend who does the highlighted job etc… Some will wonder whether they are supposed to do the same too, or whether there is an inference (intended or not) that if you don’t share the post or like it or tag someone else into it that you don’t believe the statement to be true for you.
When I was younger, there were chain letters doing something similar. They were trying to get you to carry on the chain by copying what was done previously and carrying on the chain to further people. I always used to think that it had precious little benefit at the time, but it kept some people happy I guess.
In the tech age of now, we need to be extra careful that our online activities are not exposing ourselves to technological scammers and folk with bad intentions. Some of the apps on Facebook are unscrupulous, the kind of thing that will tell you who your best friends are, who has liked your statuses or photos the most, or who out of your friends are most likely to be getting married, or get pregnant, or to get a knighthood or whatever – some are often only there to harvest your user details and not to provide a service purely to entertain you and your friends.
Too much time on our hands
Now I am a firm believer that we are in the middle of an era where many people have too much time on their hands, a time of simple distractions around us all, a dumbed-down Britain with maybe even a decreasing interest in constructive achievement – a nation of ‘watchers’ and not so many ‘do-ers’. a nation with more of a interest in the inane and where we have to think considerably less.
A lot of that is self-evident, and the arguments for it are plentiful. None moreso than that some people use it to unwind from busy lives. Life is very busy for many people nowadays and entertainment in most formats can help us unwind from those, and sharing good times with people is a great relaxer.
Entertainment has changed dramatically even in my lifetime. But it seems to have shifted enormously from family entertainment together as a group of people when I was younger to solo entertainment and turning to digital devices to fill our time. We see many occassions where people will have their head down staring at a mobile device rather than interacting with those around them. The face to face conversation has also taken a dive too. I do wonder, and dread ever finding out the answer, how many face to face conversations are around ‘did you see on Facebook?’ rather than what is actually happening in life. As a consequence, we as a nation are learning a lot less, something that is plain to see for many in so many walks of life.
I love technology, I think it can be a great enabler, I think it can be used to bring people closer together, I think it can be revolutionary in the way that we live our lives. I do not think that it should be used as a complete replacement for human interaction though. Why would you want to be scrolling through what people have said and posted when you are around friends? Are the thoughts of your online friends more important than those who you are with? I know of too many people that are too busy reading about life to actually go out and live it, to be scrolling through posts rather than creating memories and opportunities.
Shock horror – I have changed my mind!
Initially when I first started drafting this blog piece, I was of the opinion that those posts about click like or share if… etc were pointless. I originally thought that they had not much purpose. I am now of the view that if its purpose is to tell someone they are thought well of, then that is a good thing. Focusing on the positive things in life should be something for all of us. Yes, I have concerns that people may be opening themselves up to unscrupulous online activity, but as long as people are safe from malicious internet users, I and they have nothing to worry about. The chain letters from years gone by, had little benefit I thought at the time, but they made some people happy.
Yes, the technological advances have leapt forwards in the last couple of decades, but it doesn’t mean that people don’t find happiness in the new ways. Far from it. We relax in different ways than we did in the past. If it makes us happy, then that’s a good thing. As long as it isn’t at a greater cost.
Use of social media and technology – the virtual world – should not be at the expense of living in the real world though. Living life and all the opportunities it offers us means sometimes stepping away from the tech world. Looking up at the world, not down at our gadgetry. Seeing smiles on people’s faces, not electronic images of other people enjoying themselves or not enjoying themselves.
Spreading happiness not clicks
I’m afraid that social media is too often an anti-social media for some. I am in favour of technology spreading happiness and also good meaning intentions rather than the alternative. Happiness is too sparse in many people’s lives, we can all become more tolerant of minor frustrations, put aside distractions and identify where we can try and help put the smile on faces of those around us, and that feeling will help more people look up from their devices and see what is happening around us that keeps those smiles on our faces for others too.