One thing I have noticed a lot recently online and in social media, is how quickly and easily people share things, without giving it much thought. People will stumble across a post, photo or video, then quickly decide they like it and hit the share button. Without much knowledge of where the post came from or who was behind it, they are happy to associate it with their name and their feed, showing friends that they either like or support it.
A not very discerning audience
This isn’t a revelation by any means and this means that many organisations are cashing in on it. People and companies know the social media audience isn’t very discerning, so with a well thought out idea they can promote themselves easily to millions by people sharing it on their feeds. People my have compelling and interesting arguments to promote, but if you don’t research it you won’t know how true, how real or how valid what you are sharing actually is.
The way social media seems to work these days is that someone posts something, people start sharing it, the news starts reacting to it and then a day later people report on social media and the news on how fake or invalid it is. Myself personally I would prefer to wait before sharing something I liked, to let this timeline play out and to do my own research.
Popularity doesn’t equal quality
Just because millions of others have shared or liked something it doesn’t mean the item is quality, it might just mean that millions of people have fallen in to the trap of not checking the back story.
One thing I don’t like is when companies or organisations with a bad reputation or that do horrendous things, then post images that they know people will share, like patriotic things for instance, which in themselves are harmless just to get people to share. They know that when people share, people don’t first click on their page to find out what they are about and when you have already hit the share button it’s too late.
An instant world
Social media is an instant medium but it doesn’t mean we have to turn in to instant and impulsive people. There are many people out there who prey on the fact that the audience is sadly like that and take advantage of it, so the only way not to be taken advantage of online is to take your time and think things through.
By sharing things you run the risk of promoting something you would never promote in real life and promoting something at the expense of your reputation and standing. Social media also has such an impact on the way we think about the world around us and view the stories we read about in the news, so by sharing something you could be influencing the way people think about something, so use that power wisely.