Changing the way we communicate

There was a time when you’d call someone to wish them a happy birthday, offer condolences on the passing of a family member, or drop by to check in on them when they were feeling under the weather. Now, with modern technology, everything seems to be done on whatever ‘platform’ you prefer. The majority of the crowd seems to go with Facebook, although Twitter, Snapchat and so many others seem to be gaining ground.

A few things you’ll never see me do, and this is for my own personal reasons. I’m not judging others for how they deal with things, but just putting the thought out there.

  1. You’ll never find me posting my relationship status. Why? Because that is between the person I am seeing and myself. Anyone else who needs to know, should hear about it from me directly, or my partner. Others who are curious, I’m sure it’ll get to them through the usual gossip grapevine. The rest of the world, well to be honest, it’s really none of their business.
  2. You’ll never see me ‘share’ a post saying anything along the lines of “If you have the most beautiful/handsome daughter/son; if you love your daughter/son” or any of the other number of similar posts. The people who are important in my life hear that directly from me. They don’t need to see me sharing what milIMG_20160319_152409lions of others are. I share what I feel directly with them, and that has much more meaning and impact.
  3. While I understand the sharing of news of someone’s passing, sometimes it’s the only way to try to ensure all of those who cared for them, or their family members, find out; you will never (I hope) find me offering condolences on that post. Again, for me personally, if I am close enough to that person for me to know how this loss has affected them, I’ll contact them directly either via personal message, phone call, or card. Otherwise, I don’t feel it’s my place to say anything as I may express condolences on their loss, when really, they didn’t feel it was much of one and they were just posting the information for those who might care.
  4. You’ll never see me sharing pictures of abused women/children/animals; people in hospital beds or born with some sort of medical deformity with the comment to say “Amen” and share, or just share and either whatever deity you believe in will help them, or a large multi-national organization will donate money for their medical bills with each share. Wake up people! These are all scams! There are numerous ways to track the clicks and provide more crap in your feed. If you want to make a difference, make a donation directly to an organization that will help a person or animal in that situation. Make the donation yourself, don’t expect someone else to do it for you so that you can feel better.
  5. You’ll never see me share a contest to win a car, beautiful round chair for two, tickets for a cruise, unless I’ve done the research. Many of these contests are valid, but they are in the UK, Australia or some other country where they sure aren’t going to ship the prize to you. The majority of these contests, if you click through, are pages that were just created, specifically for the ‘contest’. Again, scam….lots of clicks and lots of data collected to fill your feed with more junk. Others are local businesses trying to get their name out to people in their area. Again, they probably aren’t going to pay the shipping cost to send the prize to you, no matter how much you ‘like’ and ‘share’ their information. There are a few who will, but take the time to check out where the contest originated. A grocery store in British Columbia is not going to ship me a 25 pound turkey, and if they don’t operate in Ontario as well, a gift card in lieu of the turkey is just a piece of paper to recycle.

I am going to clarify myself. Throughout this blog I’ve said, “You’ll never see me…..”, and I hope you never will see me do any of the above. However, no matter how diligent we are, we sometimes trust a post shared by a friend, or are caught by a headline (which is what they are suppose to do…draw us in), and we click through or share and then regret we did. I know I’m guilty of doing the ‘Happy Birthday’ post on Facebook. Those I’m close to also hear it in person or get a card, and those who only get the message through Facebook, I probably don’t have their address or phone number and it’s the only way I keep in touch with them. I may have to work at changing that.

For things like kids who are missing, suspicious vehicles, the death of a famous person; I generally Google the name of the star, or click through to the originator of the post for the missing person etc. They have sometimes updated information and the person was found a year ago, yet the post is still being passed around, or it helps you verify if it is a valid post or not. Another great site of confirming information is Snopes.

I guess what I’m saying is that we have to be careful in what we share, and be smart enough not to believe everything we hear, or read. Just because it’s on the internet, certainly does not mean it’s true. When it comes to celebrating an important milestone in someone’s life, pick up the phone, buy a card and a stamp. Let’s get back to a bit of the ‘personal’ in our personal interactions. It’s easy enough to click a button, but sometimes more difficult when you have to write the words down or say them in person.

In the words of Mark Twain, “Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see and you’ll be right most of the time……of course now days I’m not sure you can believe half of what you see either.”

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