My personality is a slightly bizarre combination of cynicism and optimism. I’d like to consider myself a healthy skeptic but there are times when I just want, even need, positive things to be true.
Case in point: I fell for two … not one, but two … April Fools’ “news” stories on Saturday.
I share this so you will know that I understand how photos of abused animals, critically ill/injured children, and other assorted traumas can inspire a profound need in people’s hearts to respond in some way.
Unfortunately, parasites (cleverly disguised as human beings) have learned how to capitalize on the good intentions of their betters in combination with the popularity of Facebook.
They are “like farmers.”
They steal a heart-wrenching photo and write accompanying text that implores people to “like” and “share” the post and/or type “amen,” “God bless,” or some other benign comment as a way to demonstrate solidarity, sympathy, or as the equivalent of a prayer.
The post explodes with thousands of responses, which translates into thousands of Facebook users leaving a trail of digital breadcrumbs back to their accounts. The “like farmers” then sell this access to the highest-paying slimeball who then harvests the login and password info from those good-hearted-yet-naive Facebook users.
Said slimeball often introduces malware into users’ accounts as the icing on the cake. An additional insult often occurs when the content on the original post is replaced with something highly objectionable, linking your approval with content you wouldn’t be caught reading much less endorsing.
As someone who enjoys sharing articles on her Facebook page, I understand the instinct to respond, immediately, to something that is emotionally moving, but consider how useless the “like,” “share,” and “amen” gestures really are. It’s like building a bridge to no where. Taking the time to actually pray for a person or a cause (finding a cure for cancer, for example) and possibly contributing to a reputable charity are far more meaningful than anything you can post on your Facebook timeline.
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About the photo: The Big Four Bridge is a former railroad route spanning the Ohio River from Jeffersonville, Ind., and Louisville, Ky. For more than 40 years, the center portion of the bridge remained suspended over the river, rusting to ruin. In 2013, the Big Four re-opened with pedestrian ramps on each bank and a beautiful walking path in between. It is no longer a bridge to no where.