You just got through crushing candy. You did some fine crushing. The candy didn’t stand a chance. Then you pulled up your favorite news site and saw something that evoked shock and awe. A voice in your head screamed “I MUST SHARE THIS WITH THE WORLD!” First, please take a step back. Better yet, sit down. I have something to share with you that may sting a bit. Ready? Sitting down?
We all have access to the same interwebs. Not kidding. Let that sink in for a sec.
You know in your heart that you are the first person to discover on Yahoo News that a celebrity died or a rich English baby had his picture made (didn’t we win a war so that we couldn’t have to give a flying crumpet about that family?), or a natural disaster happened. Sorry. You aren’t. “But, Mike D,” you say, “No one has shared this yet.” Good eye. And don’t worry. The posts are coming. There are a lot of people who feel they must share every “newsworthy” event they discover online with their friends. Take pride that you have at least a few virtual friends who understand they don’t. And weep for those who get their news from social media.
In a similar vein, you are not an investigative reporter who has broken the story that a celebrity has shuffled off this mortal coil. It is not necessary to type “R.I.P (insert celebrities name here)” as a status update. Don’t worry. We won’t think that you do not want them to rest in peace if you neglect to post this. Actually, that might be better. How about only commenting if you want someone to rest unpeacefully? Is that fair? Or if you must announce a death, share a favorite memory or picture or quote. Stop flooding our feeds with the same three words that 75 other people just typed. They are in a club you don’t want to join. Unless, maybe you’re FB pals with the deceased’s spouse or something. Then, I guess I get it, but, I would still say something more personal. And I’m almost positive the person you are RIPing can’t read that you want him to RIP. Well, unless you were FB friends with them to begin with; if so, I think there is a purgatory setting.
Try this litmus test. After you post something you deem newsworthy, check back later and see if you have any “likes” or comments. If you have neither, that post should be considered a failure, removed, and never spoken of again. Oh, and affirmatives from your three batcrap crazy friends who “like” everything you post, no matter how inane, don’t count. Sorry. Like my bud, Eric Cartman quipped, “I don’t make the rules, I just come up with them and write them down.”
Again, the reason we have embraced social media is because of our interest in each other. When I first joined The FaceBooks I reached out to a college friend. I asked, “now that I’ve accepted this technology, what the hell do I do with it?” He replied, “it’s essentially there so the rest of the world can see how old you’ve gotten.” You know, I’m okay with this. That’s actually one of my favorite things about this medium; catching up on lost time with old and new and virtual friends. Share news about yourself. Tell us about your achievements. Relate funny stuff that happens during the day. Tell us when your kid invents something that will change the world or destroys the plumbing or shaves the family pet. If you are dying to update your FB status and can’t think of anything to share go with a picture that everyone will love (e.g. cats with really long names, your friends at your tailgate party, pictures of drinks at sunset with the caption “take that”, grilled meat).
But, next week when the intertubes tell us that Will Smith has died yet again, maybe they’ll be right this time. If so, please, let him actually rest in peace.