This is another recycled post from the accidentally deleted blog. I wanted to re-share it because I think it is very important to really think about the messages you send and why you are sending them.
I have quite a few birth-interested Facebook friends, so I see quite a few articles on my newsfeed. Often I see the same article several times throughout the day as the article makes the rounds. Usually these are articles that are encouraging, uplifting or are seen as more support for the poster’s positions. More often, articles are posted out of anger, frustration or the desire to punish the author or main subject of the article.
Posting as punishment? True. I see it in the replies to the articles as well. Reader after reader tries to find the most eloquent way to say the author is a nincompoop, or the other readers are. It is fascinating to me that these posts almost never simply state they disagree and list factual reasons why. Instead the discussion is a back and forth of the author is perfect – the author needs to grow a brain.
I am reminded of a comment made by the speaker at a recent law school graduation, “Most people claim they want justice, but what they really want is vengeance.”
But here is the secret…I think the authors of the articles and the companies that publish their articles like it that way. The page views do not record whether you were there to see the disaster or because you wanted the encouragement. I doubt anyone “official” ever looks at all the comments, they simply check to see how many have been made. An article that gets an emotional response – one that divides the readers and gets them shouting back and forth – increases profits.
Profits? Well, yes. What do you think a website exists for anyway? Do you really believe the New York Times, Time Magazine, Cosmo or even Facebook do what they do to provide education for the masses? These are businesses, and even not for profit businesses need to support themselves. If there is no income, the business ceases to exist. In the world of web articles, that money comes from advertisers. Advertisers want more people to see their ads. Websites must provide content that is stimulating to ensure readers share. Sharing is an inexpensive way to get more people to the website.
No, I am not anti-corporation. I don’t mind that these businesses provide information as a way to make money. In fact, I’m rather fond of some of them. But I do want to encourage you to think twice before you hit that share button for an article you don’t want to support. Your share will be shared, and the impact will multiply and the article will get lots of attention. Attention is what websites need – which means that author or that type of story will likely be repeated. In some systems your link to the article is counted as a “vote” for the importance of the article.
Just a reminder to think twice before you “vote” for an article.