Sunday, March 22, 2015

The blessing of social media

I read Jenny Surane's blog post how news media should be making it easier to share their content on social media, which made me think of a problem social media has fixed  – the forwarded email of a bygone era.

Long ago when email was the primary form of online communication, I remember receiving really long sensational emails from family members, often containing strange pictures and jokes. There were emotional stories of disease and suffering, cat photos, political messages and religious testimonies. 

Here is one of the first emails I received in 2011. It's one of those "forwarded" messages that guilts people into sharing the email through statistics saying things like, "93% of people won't forward this message." 

 Friday is world cancer day - I'd appreciate it if you will forward this request 


93% won't forward

A small request.. Just one line.

Dear God, I pray for a cure for cancer. Amen 

All you are asked to do is keep this circulating, even if it's only to one more person.
In memory of anyone you know who has been struck down by cancer or is still living with it.

A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting Another Candle..

Please Keep This Candle Going

OK so the email was well intentioned, it just doesn't belong in by Gmail inbox. Fortunately, social media has provided an outlet for the Grandmas, second cousins, and crazy aunts who can't resist sharing such emails. Occasionally, the spamming still happens, but fortunately many of these junk-emailing relatives have migrated their habits to Facebook and other social media sites, which is really good. 

Because on Facebook I can hide their posts.

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