When I was a young girl, maybe age 11 or 12, my friends and I would get chain letters. Ours were handwritten and sent through the mail with a postage stamp. We generally only got mail on our birthdays from out of town relatives, so getting something in the mail was a big deal. I did write to a pen pal during the 5th grade, a student from another school in another state (a class project of sorts), but that was the only mail I would get. It's exciting when you're 11 to walk out to the mailbox and come back with something with your name on it.
My, how things have changed. We didn't have cell phones or computers when I was younger, so we communicated by writing letters, talking on the phone (the kind with a cord attached to the wall in the kitchen with absolutely NO privacy), or we knocked on someone's door and then sat on the front porch.
Today is very different. On any given day I can get a 'forwarded' email with an inspirational story that I am invited (or gently coerced) into sharing with my friends. There's usually the promise of good fortune or prayers sent my way, but ONLY if I share. Then there is the subtle hints toward guilt if I don't; 'I know which of my friends will share this and which ones won't' or 'If you're not ashamed to share this ...'. Really? I lead a very busy life, like most everyone. I may have time, at some point, to read through your email, but it may take a week and then what? I've missed my deadline, so now I am doomed to live the next 10 years with bad luck?
On most days I love my Facebook account; I get to read what my family and friends are up to, celebrate their happy moments and accomplishments, and feel connected. What I don't like is the political rants, the way technology has made it too easy for people to be bullies and say whatever mean things they want to people they know and people they don't know and hide behind cartoon photos and fake names. But, if I'm being totally honest, I also do not care for the posts that generally have a sincere message, but then attach that good message with a double dose of guilt; 'copy and paste this to your timeline for 1 hour' or 'I know which of my friends will read all the way through this message and then care enough to share'. I would much rather read your thoughts, applaud your efforts for sharing, and then form my own opinion; but the second an ultimatum is attached I will lose interest. Hopefully this doesn't make me a bad person. I will still read your message, consider your beliefs, and most likely support your cause if I agree, but most times I will not share it to my timeline or forward it to my contact list. That is my opinion and my choice, as it is yours for posting in the format that you do.
Will you still consider me your 'Facebook' friend if I don't? I hope so. I would hate to think that our friendship was structured around ultimatums and guilt.
How do you feel? Do you tend to share posts and emails that you receive, and if so why? Do you tend to send the posts asking for support? I understand that exposure means everything when you are trying to share news or support a cause. What topics are you most likely to share?
In a respectful and productive way, please help me understand.