Facebook isn’t a valid news source

I see this ALL the time, way too often actually, and it’s quite scary. Something is posted or shared and it goes viral and people are outraged (or super happy, depending on the post) and suddenly in a flurry it’s all over Facebook. I have seen post on how it’s the end of the world, photos of all of the “awful” things happening around the world, and even some good things. Share this photo and get free chipotle! Yeah, I have been there and done that and guess what, if you show that photo to a fast food chain they will laugh at you and say sorry, this isn’t valid please actually buy your meal.

But why do we this? We share something without really thinking of it’s origins or where it came from or who even originally posted it. And it’s not too hard to find out what is falsified and what is actually real. I mean google searches can tell you where pictures actually came from. Searching for the original post can tell you if this is a legit facebook sharing stuff or one that was just created to share this account of things that suddenly has surfaced but is totally true. And just plain common sense will tell you what is entirely plausible, and what isn’t.

Remember the tide pod eating craze? And then right after it suddenly became huge news that kids were snorting condoms? Yeah, the actual video of that was from years ago, from one kid who was doing some kind of challenge. But everyone believed that kids were now snorting condoms because someone found this video and shared it like “kids now days snort condoms! First tide pods, now this? Crazy!” and it was insane how fast people believed this to be something kids were actually doing quite regularly. Which in turn led kids to actually try it, though thankfully only a couple did. At least only a couple filmed and published it. But a quick youtube search will show you like 2 kids who actually tried, tons of news videos on this “new trend” and then videos from a year ago, 5 years ago and even 10 years ago.

I watched a video one time, about a person talking to a snake. They said to the snake, “You have legs! It was on facebook, so it’s true!” and while the snake tried to tell the person how stupid it was, snakes don’t have legs, the person shared the post and told everyone they know that snakes do have legs. Because it was on facebook, so it must be true. Here is the actual video if you ever want to watch it. While incredibly dumb, it has a point. Just believing something that is from our facebook timeline isn’t actually a valid source.

Here is a thing though, people can post whatever they want. Google has a bajillion images that anyone can download. And photoshop exists. So this tweet that is supposedly from some verified account saying these newsworthy things is actually very easily edited in photoshop. I have no idea how to use photoshop and I can safely tell you that I would be able to make up a fake tweet. If you really want to know if someone actually tweeted this out, go sift through all the tweets they have tweeted. Also good luck, because my twitter alone has over 12K tweets and I’m not even verified.

The facts are though, just because something is posted, doesn’t mean it’s true. Just because they have a photo, doesn’t mean it’s true. People lie, people make stuff up and people spread rumors about all kinds of things. It’s sad, but it’s true.

All those go fund me links you see asking for donations? Do you even know where this money is going. Maybe it’s the still the broke college kid in me but when I see a link, I don’t just drop money all over it. I don’t know the people personally asking, I do not 100% know for sure that they even need the money for what they say because I have never met them. And it’s sad, because I would love to be able to help everyone who needs help. But not through a link online, in a world where people can make false profiles and write whatever they want. I do not know if they will actually take the money and use it for what they claim, or if this is a scam because they know if they get a picture of a little girl and say she needs help she is so sick people will donate money to them. Not to mention the thousands of funding pages for things like “help me buy this, I need a car, I want to travel etc” which alone make a person shudder with the amount of funding pages people have for things they really should just be saving up for with their own money. As much as I would love to have an all expenses paid vacation via go fund me, I can go to work and save my money and do it myself.

The thing is though, we live in a fast social media world now. Where people are obsessed with sharing everything. But we never get the whole story. The videos of people being treated “poorly” at a store or restaurant could very well be an act. Because all we see is the last half of what was going on, with this person claiming that they are being treated so poorly. But what went on before the video was recorded? How was this person acting before they suddenly decided that they were wronged and need evidence of this? I could go into a store and make a huge scene and get kicked out, then start recording as security removed me yelling about how they are being rude to me just because I am a girl. Chances are people would share the crap out of that, saying “don’t shop here they are sexist towards woman.” and bam. Half a truth has suddenly become the only truth in the eyes of social media.

But because it was posted online it must be true. And that’s honestly the scariest thought to think about. People don’t take the time anymore to look things up, read from actual sources AND to read both sides of an issue. We see something, we believe it, we share it. So when did facebook photos and peoples tweets become the news? My goodness, look up press releases and statements and find out where those posts actually came from.

Have you ever looked up one of those “bad” posts people have shared. For example a while ago it was huge news that a worker at a restaurant purposely put meat into a vegan meal. While they had screen shots of the actual post of the worker bragging about doing it, it was no where to be found online. And you can go to their profile real quick and find out if it’s on there or not. Now I know that things can be deleted but also, wouldn’t there be more of a trace of it than just that one screen shot? Things online are never truly gone after all.

And honestly, I get it. Because you see something and you feel like you need to be outraged and do something about it so you share it. But spreading false news and media lies won’t help anything. What does help is finding out what is really going on, sharing the actual news and then doing something accordingly. Because simply sharing a post claiming to be truth is only going to cause more hurt and confusion in the long wrong. Facebook isn’t our news source, social medias aren’t platforms of truth and literally anything can be falsified. We have some very passionate people who think by making posts on facebook they are helping the issues of the world. And it’s having an opposite effect.

So before going on a social media outrage rant, before sharing anything, before making claims find out more about it. Look stuff up, do your own research and make sure that you know for sure what you are sharing. It doesn’t take that much more effort to do a little homework, and it can do a world of good in the social media world.

Don’t trust the people on the internet

So, how many times have we heard this in our life? If you’re a 90’s kid, like me, you have probably heard this a million times over.giphy Don’t trust people online, don’t give them details about yourself, that person in the chat is OBVIOUSLY a 65 year old male looking for a young girl. Profiles are fake, people lie etc. I grew up honestly believing the worst in people, especially those who are online. And while I may not have been online a whole ton during my childhood, I still was aware of the warnings. Only being allowed to play Neopets online; and only after my sister had done it first, giving the approval that yes I would ONLY be using it for games.

My first facebook account was hidden from my mom, which I felt so guilty about I immediately deleted and than asked her if I could make one and she relented. Talking to people online was such a foreign thing to me, like I still thought that I had to seriously protect my email because if the wrong person got a hold of it then someone could know everything about me. Chats were a huge no and you can forget about connecting with people at all besides calling them on the home phone or talking to them in person.

I was also of the generation that grew up with the introduction of cell phones into all of our daily lives. I can remember picking up the oldest, crappiest flip phone from a free box at a garage sale and all my friends thought I was literally the bomb.com because I had a (unserviced) cell phone. I was 12, this was the life that I grew up in. 10670275_10202881873312879_6495196671531450835_n

But slowly, we all got phones and we all got facebook. My Facebook dates back to 2008 so I was one of the firsts. Not super early I know, but I can remember when facebook became a thing. After being released to everyone, it was thrilling to be signing up for something that could instantly connect me to all my friends, plus some people that I knew but had never actually talked to. I wasn’t quite old enough at the time to have had a myspace, nor was it really that popular like facebook has become.

cool-momBut the warnings still stayed, even when society began changing. My mom constantly asked me who I was talking to. Who I was chatting. “Who are you texting” she would ask. much to my annoyance because I was not about to tell her about the cute guy I liked that week. I wasn’t about to tell her about my friends conversations, I was not about to tell her any of the conversations I had. Not because they were particularly bad, but because I grew up in the generation that NEEDED to protect who they talked to and about what because then we would get the “lecture” and we grew up hearing it so we didn’t want it anymore. I was constantly questioned about who I was talking to; their age, gender, what their family was like, siblings, parents, did they go to church? How do I know them? I remember my mom getting so mad one time because upon this intense questioning about one of my close friends I mumbled a very annoyed “I don’t know” or a blasé one word answer. She had told me “when I was younger I knew everything about my friends, I knew all about their family, I knew what they liked and I even knew how long their parents had been together.” saying this in a very matter of factly, and judgmental, sort of way. It wasn’t that I didn’t know, but I was sick of being peppered with a million questions because somehow if I knew the wrong person I would end up dead. giphy-2If I talked to the “wrong” person, was associated in anyway or was friends with them, that could mean life or death. And while I can understand the fear of this in any parents eyes now, as a child it seemed a little too much to have to tell my mom every friends whole life story.

So, when I got to college, things really changed. I had a taste of freedom that I had not had before, especially with the internet. Not drastically mind you, but that warning began to fade from my mind. My first room mate was assigned to me and I got to know her through her facebook. Although facebook did a poor job, mainly because you make facebook what you want it to be. That was my first lesson in the reality of online.

I began to grow my twitter, chatting with people over twitter threads about how awesome Buffy the Vampire Slayer was. I’ve had twitter almost as long as facebook, thanks to a certain high school blocking facebook and not twitter; all the kids at my school signed up for one. This was my first taste of the friendliness of strangers on the internet. The warnings all but faded in my mind at this point. I mean my mom never really spent that much time warning us so much as banning us from really chatting with random strangers online. And while she had interrogated the crap out of us, or at least tried, about who we were in contact she didn’t have to continually tell us to be wary of the internet. The times she did say it, combined with the need to know every thing we did, was enough to put the warning in our head.

So, when I decided that college wasn’t for me, and I left the big ol city of Chicago to travel back to dreary old Iowa I had (in all reality) nothing to do. I had snagged a part time on call job at the time and had whole mornings free. I was not used to this, I had no class, no tests, no social life anymore. I really suck at making friends and all the ones I had made I had left back in Chicago. So I made use of my library, using the online catalogue. I remember that this was about the time that John Greens “The Fault in Our Stars” came out. I read it, I loved it and I wanted more. Somehow, I had stumbled upon the depths of youtube “book tube” community. I found a fan music video for TFIOS and instantly fell in love. When I realized that there was this whole community making videos solely dedicated to books I was thrilled.booktubes1 I wanted to be a part of this, I wanted to join in. So, I sat down and filmed a review on my phone of enders game. The video (and my channel) has long since been deleted. I filmed it wrong, the quality sucked but I was hooked. I began to follow book people on twitter, talk to them about their channels. Have discussions over different books. And my life changed.

This certainly wasn’t the first time I had chatted with people online. I constantly frequented Omegle, and many friends I had made from camp were strictly online. Although Omegle was a little more risqué. You had to be pretty careful when on Omegle. But Omegle was good for a chat when you were bored, or for a nice troll once in a while.

Omegle

I began to “meet” people online, we shared the same interests and we got along really well. I had never been wonderful at making friends so to be quite honest it was mostly me talking to people on their stuff they posted and them responding. But a few people actually stuck around. And some people I even talk to today. I remember I met one of my friends in the book tube community. We both made videos and both enjoyed it but did not have the major passion for it that others did. We don’t always talk every day or even every week but we still communicate and that friendship means a lot to me. Pushing past those warnings and boundaries, proving that not every single person online is a pedophile.

I met another friend over Game of Thrones, and we chat on occasion as well. While we haven’t exchanged personal information I do consider us to be good friends. We share a lot of the same views, and a huge love for game of thrones.

And just recently, I joined twitch. I have had the best conversations with people over video games. I have no fear telling people about myself now. Heck I run a blog where I try to be as open as possible. You can truly meet some really amazing people online, and while the warnings we received as children held some truth we also live in a very different world now. We live and thrive in an online world. People make money from youtube. People Stream them playing a game, and as weird as it sounds, you meet some really solid people on there. twitch_logo_animation

And to be quite honest, the people online have never really hurt me quite like the people in my real life right now. All of my best friends are “online” or texting friends. Mainly because I made my best friends in Chicago and then moved. I also really suck at keeping friends apparently, and have somehow made the ones who live close to me mad. So I love my online friends. I love my gaming buds, my bookish peeps, my tv show pals, I love my dearest best friends who I have to text because they live 6 hours away.

And while I still interact with real life people, in the real world, the online ones just connect with me more. They mean so much, and maybe it’s because we share interests or maybe because I communicate better online or maybe I just come off as less annoying online. Who knows, but what I do know is that these friends stick by me while the ones in my life don’t really do that. And I could be holding up a huge standard for people in my life to meet, but when it becomes apparent that the people online will make an effort to talk to you, to read your stuff or watch your streams but the people in your actual life can’t text you back or hang out or support you in any way as a friend it’s not hard to realize why I like my online friends so much.

I’m also not saying that all people online are golden either, I have definitely met the worst of some online. People who get mad when you say a simple statement, who abuse you for having a certain view. It happens a lot in the book community actually. Someone likes a book and the whole community shuns them because that book is “bad” or there was the time that I pointed out that no matter how terrible a book is said to be it’s morally wrong to purposely go to Goodreads and give them a bad review without even trying to read the book. And same goes for reviewing it very well if you haven’t read it. Online, it can be a mess sometimes. Theres sucky people everywhere. But at least online you can control what you see a little bit more.

tenor

But really what it boils down to is finding people with similar interests who you can get along with. Wether thats online, or in real life. And take the internet warning with a grain of salt. Be safe, sure but don’t think that every single person online is a terrible person just out to get you.

 

Facebook groups ruined my life

Okay, so facebook groups didn’t actually ruin anything. I’m still living, fully alive and very much enjoying my life. But I recently went through, and left, all but one of the facebook groups that I am a part of. I had joined some vegan pages, as well as a professional photographers one as well. These were closed groups that I was required to answer a question and get approved to join, so it’s not like a page I just followed and got annoyed with. These were closed and private groups of supposedly like minded individuals that I thought I would be able to get tips from, to help me progress on through my lifestyle. How wrong was I.

Now, I don’t know if anyone else had really had any bad experiences with groups, but I know that I certainly had. You think that I would have learned the first few times I had joined various groups, but nope. The first time I ever joined a group I was just starting out in switching over to eating more plants. I thought a vegan group would be perfect for me. I also still thought honey was a vegan food, so there’s that. But I was really excited, I thought being a part of a group would be so motivating. After I had joined though, I noticed just how vicious people online can be. I mean I had known people are like that online, I have experienced it first hand. I just wasn’t expecting a group of people focused on living a more peaceful life would be the most vicious online. The first things I noticed were people commenting nasty things. Someone was wanting to be vegan and had questions, making it clear that they had not fully transitioned yet. See in my mind that’s totally fine. I myself am not fully transitioned. We may not buy meat or dairy but we are still in a transitioning phase. But these comments that people directed at them were so rude. Calling people stupid, commenting links about how bad it is if you’re not vegan alongside rude comments as to how dumb they are for not knowing these things. I left that group very quickly. I could not believe that people who wanted to encourage others in this lifestyle would be so mean to people they don’t even personally know.

So when I found the zero waste vegans group, I thought it would be a better choice. And for a while it was. I got great tips, there were also people who were not 100% vegan. Everything was actually really nice. I had no regrets for joining this group. But then, the comments trickled in. Slowly, at first. But they grew in numbers. People commenting on how you SHOULD word a post. Claiming offense in things that weren’t even offensive. There always seemed to be that person who would start a fight over a post that had nothing wrong with it. ALWAYS! I had posted a question at one point on the page, and the comments that I got back were quite rude. Telling me how I should be doing things in my life, telling me how wrong I was, telling me in regards to my question that I was basically crazy. I had asked a simple question in regards to my life, and instead of answering the question or giving an honest valid opinion on the matter people thought they needed to educate me on myself, my life and how I did things. That was my last straw. No matter how I explained my reasonings, people were basically telling me I was being stupid over something that I was doing, that was really not any concern for them.

At the same time, I had joined a professional photographers page. As a photographer I thought this would be good, get some advice and tips from others. As soon as I joined I realized my mistake. People were commenting snotty things, mainly on the posts about people inquiring about prices. Telling people that their prices should be higher than what even the photographer themselves could afford. Saying photographers with prices lower than that were no good, less quality etc. As someone who is really striving in the photography community to provide quality services at a fair price this really got under my skin. One commenter was telling everyone how they would charge 125$ for one print. A SINGLE PRINT! And kept telling people that you need to have prices that high no matter what area you are located at because someone will be able to afford it.

Maybe that works for their business, but in the area that I live in no one would ever pay that much for a single print. And in the day and age of digital people are more interested in having digital copies of their photos. It’s not a bad thing to offer digital, but apparently you are ruining your business if you do so. So far, we are doing fine with starting up a new business while offering digital copies. And maybe that could be true in other locations but where I am located that’s just not the case, and honestly making money is not the first thought I have. I love photography, I love what I do and I also want to provide services and products that people also equally love. Products and services that are affordable and high quality. But if you said that in the photographers group people would probably die of shock.

So, a few days ago I went through and I deleted myself out of those groups. I didn’t like how I was feeling when I saw their posts. I didn’t feel like I was getting any help from them either. I felt really down when I pulled up the group page and when I saw the conversations going on. I don’t want social media to bog me down, and I don’t need it to make me feel worse throughout my day. Social media, to me, is a place to document my life and share it with those who I don’t get to see everyday. To connect. And to see how other people are doing as well. And the wonderful thing about social media is that a large part of what you see is controlled by the user. So I took control.

And this post isn’t to say facebook groups are bad. Some groups can be really awesome. They made a group for our teacher training group and I love that group. It’s a place to connect to all my training pals. But if the group you joined is making you feel anything less than happiness, you don’t need to be apart of it. And with the power to join and leave any groups we want I did myself that favor and just let things go.

It’s not about me, or them. It’s about what I need in my life right now. I don’t need negativity, and I am not afraid to do something about it. It’s nothing personal to those groups, but I can’t get on board with leaving mean comments on other peoples statuses. I can’t get on board bullying people. I can’t get on board with taking a holier than though attitude because you have certain skills. We all have our own opinions and thoughts, that’s what makes us so unique. We should be able to share those without being attacked, or people being rude about it. It wasn’t like people were commenting any opinions or questions that were rude or cause offense. People actually tried really hard to share things that affected no one. Yet people were still ruthless. I’m not really about all that in life and in social media.

So, I think I will just follow one more cat page or yoga page on facebook instead. Because that’s what makes me happy. And sometimes, clearing out negative things bogging us down in life is just what we need.