Don’t be a jackass! Read before you comment (or repost).


jackass

File this under “rant.”

Has this ever happened to you?

You wake up, pick up your iPhone, open the Facebook app and start reading through your feed.

The first thing you see is an image of Morgan Freeman (or some other celebrity) with the caption “RIP”.

rip_morgan_freeman

You admire Morgan Freeman, feel a fleeting sense of loss, and reflexively “like” the post.

Or how about this?

You’re on the train commuting to work.

Your friend’s timeline includes a post about KFC using biologically engineered chicken with a graphic image of a skinless, four-legged fowl.

Does KFC use genetically modified chicken

A visceral feeling of disgust overwhelms you and instinctively, you “share” the article he posted, adding “The FDA has to stop this!”

Or perhaps this?

Skimming the headlines of your favorite online rag, you come across a compelling article title, like “Taco Bell warns employees against directly exposing skin to food.”

Taco Bell warns employees not to touch food

Alarmed, you comment, “I can’t believe that anyone would do this!”

Nothing wrong with any of these fairly common occurrences, right?

Wrong!

The problem with your reactions to each of these scenarios, is that the information you liked, shared or commented on, was false.

Morgan Freeman is not dead.

The image of KFC’s genetically engineered chicken is an internet hoax.

The Taco Bell article was in The Onion.

I’m sure that this has happened to all of us at least once (if not multiple times).

You happened upon something that, at first blush, seemed plausible, but upon further examination was a crock.

We’re not gullible, but how do we find ourselves in this position?

Are we daft?

Simple-minded?

Stupid?

No.

We’re just lazy.

Think about it.

Do you actually read the full articles you find in your feed or simply skim the titles (or look at the picture) before “liking”, “sharing” or commenting?

No you don’t.

Like most people, you just skim.

You see a compelling image on Facebook and respond automatically.

You read a controversial article title or comment to a post and just react.

Instead of mining the article to gain a substantive understanding, you’re content with the superficial sheen of knowledge.

And you comment, repost or share without context or perspective.

And what do we do in response?

Do we read the article our friends have posted, re-posted, liked, or commented upon?

No.

Most likely we’ll add our ignant (aka “ignorant” for my Ebonically challenged readers) two cents to the fray.

There have been a spate of articles recently discussing the prevalence of “blind posting” (I believe I’ve just coined a phrase).

Blind posting refers to posting, reposting, liking, sharing or commenting without reading the article first.

The issue with blind posting is the rabid dissemination of inaccurate information that quickly goes viral.

Or, worse still, is the advocacy of a position that you don’t truly support.

Actually, the worst thing is that you look like a jackass.

Don’t let social media turn you into a jackass.

Read before you post.

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