Facts Have Taken A Detour: It’s Time To Share More Mindfully
Updated: Mar 8
On an innocent, meandering trip down a Facebook hole, I peek into profiles, turning over statuses like rocks.
I click the ‘read more’ option because I’m invested and I’ve never said no to reading more.
I send a pink circled heart to all the babies, comment on all the proud moments of bravery and growth. I read long monologues about the challenges being faced. Motherhood stuff. Mental health. Tornado aftermath. Body image. Surgery recovery.
I surf the latest head shots and clever boomerangs.
Inevitably, I bump into what I’d rather avoid...
The Fake Articles. They lurk, always, tucked into timelines of otherwise good people.Their headlines are designed to trigger and bait.
Their reported-on events are hearsay, often already disproved some time ago, twisted into semi-truths for maximum shock value.
Online media has become anything-someone-will-share. Anything for a click. It doesn’t matter who started doing it first, because now everyone is exaggerating and soundbiting and stretching facts and completely missing the point of “information” (to actually inform).
Those “innocent” click tunnels about violent immigrants and political conspiracy on your neighbor’s profile? The photos were often stolen from some other event in some other place, reported on and resolved long ago. “News” sites are all too often just basic web pages with suspect names (Biz Standard News or Empire Herald), full of anything you want to hear. There’s no law against lying on the internet. Yet our peers and family members share completely misguided stories to validate their fears and insecurities. The equivalent of buying a copy of The Enquirer at the grocery store, circling the headline and mailing it to everyone you know.
“Just thought you should all see this. It proves my worst fear...
Terrorists live among us!
It’s only a matter of time before we all get the virus!
Socialists are ruining the country!
Brad and Jen... its not looking good.”
Look, people of Facebook:
I want photos of your baby.
I want tips on where to eat.
I want that carefully written monologue about what you’re going through and how to support it.
I want all the top picks from your latest photo shoot in which you felt powerful and artistic and seen.
I want links to thoughtful, creative, funny, and cathartic videos and writings.
But I’m done with opinion articles posing as facts. I have enough to sift through on the election already...stop posting clickbait from made-up sources.
Stop posting unmindfully. The ecosystem is damaged enough... it doesn’t need one more fearful sheep’s bleat, adding to the noisy, confused fray.
We can do our part to stop the spread of misinformation too... comment when the “facts” are blurred. Ignore the posts so carefully designed to trigger us. We can remember that ad companies are still paying for the 24 hour news cycle. We can take overarching agendas into account. We can have real, kind conversations with the people around us. We can get actual journalism from platforms bound by exhaustive research. We can read more books and watch more documentaries. We can look for content that sheds light on common humanity, and we can beware of outrage-driven headlines designed to provoke us into not needing a full explanation.
An Optional Conversation
Ask yourself...is this click sending a dollar to the wrong person, corporation, or ideology? Is this article researched or just another sponsored redirect? Am I posting this because I feel informed or because I’m afraid?
We are constantly being baited for our money and time... but we are smarter than the lies being fed to us. We might even consider sitting for a while in not-knowingness, rather than tuning in to a barrage of facts not yet proven, and adopting them as forever truths. We can sharpen our intuition and listen more carefully before sharing. We can make the online sphere a better place.
Of course, these aren’t facts. They’re just my opinions. :)