Share this if you love your grandma!!!

Okay, just in case you actually had the intentions of sharing this post because you love your Grandmother, please don’t.

This headline is an example of my intolerable social media pet peeve. It makes me want to bang my head on my desk while questioning the future of mankind if this is what our generation is putting out into the world.

There has been an increasing amount social media content out there with similar text like my headline. It generally contains two parts; asking for a repost, like, or share, and a random association to an object or person that facilitates the former action (in my example, your Grandma).

There are a couple of annoyances here: the first being the direct begging to share one’s own content (begging is never classy) and the second being that these types of posts have nothing or very little to do with your Grandma or whatever other thing they’re associating the main subject to (see subway pic below). Besides, if your method of spreading love to anyone including your Grandma is through sharing social media posts then you probably need to reanalyze your communication skills. (Whatever happened to a good old-fashioned phone call, anyway?)

But I’ll stop with the Grandma stuff and pull out some real examples that people actually post . To make my point a little more clear, here’s this wonderful thing: if you don’t spread this post, you apparently love Satan.

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Even through professional social media pages such as Subway, who has over 24,000,000 followers, directed people to like their status if they love Hunger Games, and yet the link takes you to a Comic-con page.

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Okay, I get it – It’s natural to have the simple desire for likes, shares, comments, or favorites on a post. Everyone wants a little attention towards the content they publish. I’m guilty of waiting for a couple of likes to come in after I post a status, too. However, it crosses the line when the publisher needs to direct, beg, or threaten their audience to like or share something. The dignity (if there is any) of the author is shattered when they have to bring your Grandmother or Satan or whatever into the discussion in order to gain attention.

I fully believe that if your content is good enough, there is no need to ask for likes, they will come naturally. So it comes to no coincidence that the pages which post horrible content are also begging for a share.

But perhaps my pet peeve isn’t something that’s widely agreed upon. No matter how much I huff and puff, I have to admit that some Facebook pages are really, really, successful at getting followers.

An example of such a Facebook page is Yes Officer I did see the Speed Limit sign I just didn’t see YOU. Somehow attaining 2.1 million followers, this page in addition to publishing statuses that start with “like if…” also reposts junky content from other sites including memes, nostalgia posts, and anything related to twerking (thank you, Miley). In fact, there is a whole plague of Facebook pages all with odd names reposting the same content from each other. Can You Not Interrupt Me when I Am Trying to Tell My Story? is another example, garnering 429,000 followers. How these pages are capable of amounting such a large fan base is a mystery to me, because it certainly isn’t from their content.

My observations have found that the majority of this content type is on Facebook and/or external blogs. Interestingly, social media platforms such as Twitter seem to have a lesser share. The two Facebook pages I listed above do not have Twitter accounts and are exclusively found on Facebook. With such a fan bases spanning into the millions you’d think these writers would want to expand out a little bit. So why don’t they?

I wonder if certain network and profile configurations have allowed this type of content to flourish, or if it’s the type of people who use Facebook versus other social media platforms that engage in this writing style and have an attraction to this type of content.

Ellison and Boyd in “Sociality through Social Network Sites” set off to define the parameters of social media, and in doing so they outline some interesting structures that I believe may attribute to different types of content throughout social media platforms. Although, obviously, different types of social media platforms are going to have different types of content, why is it that these popular Facebook profiles don’t have Twitter accounts? It’s very doable with URL shorteners, and texts such as “Retweet if…” can easily fit into the 140 character limit.

In Ellison and Boyd’s social media definition, a social network site has “uniquely identifiable profiles”, “can publicly articulate connections”, and can “consume, produce, and/or interact with streams of user generated content.”

Perhaps it’s the privacy that Facebook gives their users and the bi-directionality of friends lists that have given this type of content an edge. In all honesty, who would follow someone on Twitter who exclusively retweets a bunch of reposts but never tweets out their own content, anyway?

With Facebook, having to accept someone as a friend makes the connection feel a little more official and solidified, which I believe ups the tolerance for reading and spamming crappy content. With Twitter, all you have to do is push that big red “unfollow button” and you can say goodbye. They probably wouldn’t even notice, since they can still follow you while you don’t follow them. I wonder if things would change if you had to send follow requests to people on Twitter, but in reality, I really don’t want to find out.

Oh, and just to conclude, you can enjoy the Condescending Corporate Brand Page:

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