The pattern has been around for about as long as Facebook. You see a meme that tells you to share it if you like kittens, so you share it. It makes sense if you like kittens. But, what if you really don’t care about kittens? Do you share anyway because you would be viewed as an evil person if you don’t, as if not spreading a picture with words is the deciding factor? Doing so would simply make you dishonest. If you don’t have the affinity for kittens you shouldn’t be judged as wanting to drop a sack full of them in the river. This is the classic, and too prevalent guilt share.
The fact is, even if you do love kittens as the second coming you still don’t have to share it. In fact, just by sharing everything that tells you to share you are actually spamming your contact list. You see, what happens is; Jeff shares a picture of a Ford F150 that tells you if you like trucks to share it. So, you and everyone in your contact list that likes the Ford F150, and a few who don’t but share anyway due to peer pressure, share it. That goes into the Facebook feed of everyone in your contact list. Now, imagine that Samantha shares that kitten meme and the same thing happens, it gets shared and ends up in everyone’s feed. Let’s pretend Ted shared a meme about black metal, same deal. Follow me so far? Good. Now imagine being one of the weirdos in your list that is actually most interested in astronomy and science. That weirdo actually gets all the astronomy and science news in their feed diluted with demands that he share pictures of kittens, trucks, people with black and white facepaint, minions, pleas from exiled princes in African nations, and many many more.
It gets very frustrating. You don’t want to unfollow your friends, because they’re your friends… aren’t they? And really, one should not have to make up special subsets of one’s feed just to get what is wanted. We don’t all like the same things and I certainly would never expect others to be interested in the same things I am. I definitely do not blame them for having their own interests. Even if I ever get to the point of requesting a share, I’m not offended if you don’t. You are my friend, not my minion.
Okay, I’m not saying you should stop requesting shares, if indeed it is a request and not a demand followed by harsh judgement if I don’t. I, personally, don’t share anything. It is a rule of mine, with an occasional once-a-year exception. But, when I don’t it is not that I hate kittens, trucks, or black metal. If I don’t share your meme that demands me to if I like you, it doesn’t mean I don’t like you. It only means I’m sick to death of demands that I share, distracting me from what I want and need and diluting my feed with pointless sharing. Even though some of you may be a bit narcissistic with memes like “I want to see how many of my friends are real friends, share if you’re a real friend”… I still like you and you are still a real friend. The status of a friendship does not rely upon a picture with words on Facebook, but on the hearts and minds of the people themselves.