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I’ve recently found that well-motivated people do like to spread the word through social media about issues that they find disturbing. This is all too frequently done through the inclusion of a video of whatever it is that causes this emotional upheaval. Societally the convention is that this is considered a ‘good thing’ because (they say) it ‘raises awareness’. The awareness it has raised in me is annoyance. Why so?

Well, consider it like this. If something makes me angry, upsets me, or even worse distresses me – why on earth do I want to visually inflict it on my friends and cause them anger, upset or distress?

The news channels, the newspapers, the charities and so on already provide this information copiously. There is rarely a day goes by without some bead news being visually communicated to me, often by a charity justifiably seeking funds. In their defence they do so with more measured video snippets because they believe that distress should not be inflicted by accident. If something IS likely to distress, they warn us.

(Have you noticed the repeated charity adverts saying the ‘situation is getting worse’? If that’s so, the money already sent isn’t working, so why send more? OK, that’s a bit tongue in cheek, but Michael Sheen is starting to get on my pip. See also an interesting article on why Ethiopia continues to breed an ever-larger population while still having no food and water.)

Anyway, social media users – if you like me enough to consider me your friend, here’s a suggestion.

If you really feel strongly about an issue, provide a link instead of a video, and let me decide if I want to see it. Provide it so that it doesn’t automatically upload the video e.g. put a gap between the . and the com. Don’t force upsetting scenes on me. Start a conversation about it with me, and see if I engage. If I am interested, let’s talk – if not, let’s move on. Or just use a poster raising the issue, one that doesn’t anger, upset or distress people, but just raises that awareness.

PLUS – and here’s just a thought – please don’t try to involve me unless you intend to do more than just spread the word. If you want to actually DO something, DO IT! Otherwise you’re just pointing and saying, “Oooh, look what they did!”

And that’s the Daily Mail’s responsibility.

In the end, it’s simply a case of your Circle of Concern v my Circle of Influence. If one or neither of us is willing and/or able to do something about the issue other than just shout, let’s waste no further time on it.

 

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