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.

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.