Sunday, September 4, 2011

Playing Status Games

If you haven't read photographer Christine Ward's blog post about Facebook status "games" to promote breast cancer awareness, please read it now. It's gone viral, and for good reason. I'm not going to regurgitate it here - just go read it, seriously - but I am going to piggyback on Ms. Ward's eloquent and thoughtful post to announce that, on my own Facebook pages, I won't be playing the breast cancer game or reposting the various statuses people exhort me to repeat every single day.

Listen up: It's nothing personal. It says nothing about the causes I personally support (or don't support). It diminishes not one bit the respect and admiration I have for people who actively work on issues that are important to them.


I won't be posting my bra color, shoe size, or hypothetical pregnancy cravings - it doesn't mean I lack sympathy for your cause.

I won't be repeating your screed about the impotence of the American government - it doesn't mean I'm unpatriotic.

I won't be reposting your item on the casualties suffered in one Army unit in one of our wars - it doesn't mean I wish our troops ill.

I won't be copying and pasting your appeal to find a missing child - it doesn't mean I hate children.

I won't be sharing your notice about dogs or horses or other animals that face imminent euthanization - it doesn't mean I want them to die.

I won't post a status about love, pain, suffering, or friendship "for just one hour" - it doesn't mean I disagree with anything you've said.

I won't "like" your opinion on today's hot-button issue - it doesn't mean I don't care.

On the other hand, I may do any or all of the above on a given day if the spirit moves me - it doesn't mean I'm disparaging one person's values at the hands of another's.

Words are important. That's one reason I've set up this tiny corner of the Internet to sow mine. But words are vessels for ideas; they have no independent existence outside the hearts and minds that spawned them. That's why I can commit a poem to memory, or delete an offensive comment, or completely ignore what somebody has written or spoken, all without altering the ideas behind them. Words are powerful and powerless that way. They mean everything and nothing.

I'm not much of a joiner. I fear my susceptibility to groupthink, so I try extra hard to ward it off. But if something is important to me, and I want it to be important to you, I'll find a way to let you know. It might be via Facebook. It might not. Whatever it is, you can bet it will be sincere, and it won't depend on clicks or likes or pageviews for legitimacy.

So forgive me if I don't play along. It's not you. But it's just not me.

1 comment:

  1. AND SOOO many of those things are so fake... no one snopes anything before they post it.

    I pick and choose selectively... sometimes I go for it because they are interesting and really made me think, but in general I agree and pass over them.


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