It’s an almost every day occurrence. And almost every day I feel myself getting more irritated and twitchy by these social shaming shares.
You know what I’m talking about! I’m referencing the Copy/Paste poseurs, those on a mission to show that they care more about a disease or other worthy cause, because they’ve taken the 10 seconds to copy and paste a post to their wall.
Why Am I Saying These Copy/Paste Shares Are Social Shaming?
Isn’t social shaming what happens when a group of social media users rally to tell a company or brand that they don’t like an activity or idea shared by brand management or ownership. Yes, that’s one form of using public shame across social media platforms.
But it’s not the only example of shaming those we follow, those with whom we interact on social media.
It’s become an insidious practice, something we do without thinking of the ramifications.
This is actually the post that tipped the scales for me and bumped this topic to the top of my “get it written” queue:
With a heavy heart today especially…Nothing is more painful than watching someone at the end of their life because of cancer. Trying to look good, but after chemo and radiation … you know the person is physically changed and they’re in shock!! I know many of you do not give a hoot about this message because, of course, the cancer has not touched you. You do not know what it’s like to have fought the fight or had a loved one who leads a battle against cancer. For all the men and women I know, I ask you a small favor and only some of you will do it… If you know someone who has led a battle against cancer, still struggling or who passed, please add this to your status for one hour as a mark of respect and remembrance …
Copy and paste to support victims and families affected by cancer. From your phone or tablet, hold your finger on the message to copy and paste on your page. Please no tagging or sharing.
Cancer absolutely sucks. I’ve watched my mother battle it, and eventually lose her life to complications brought on by cancer treatment. I’ve watched my dad rally and come back strong after two cancer surgeries. I’ve watched a good friend face almost insurmountable odds as her young husband has battled cancer for years.
I care. I give one helluva big hoot, but I’m not going to copy/paste your pathetic message! One hour on my wall, with no call to action to donate and/or get out and support the cause, does little to NOTHING for that cause!
When I Care About A Cause, I Take Real Action … With My Money And/Or My Time!
The act of copying and pasting a post on your wall does very little to actually benefit any cause or individual. Stipulating no hashtags, tags or sharing means it’s more about you than the cause. You want to look like a crusader, a champion of the cause against cancer, child hunger, gun violence, the list goes on and on.
Actions Speak A Lot Louder Than Copied/Pasted Words!
My sister and her family ring the bell for the Salvation Army every Christmas season, at least once, often twice. They bundle up brave the cold and the indifference, singing songs and supporting a cause they believe in. The share images and call on friends and family to come out and see them while they sing and ring the bell, but they never use social shaming tactics.
My brother-in-law continues to put on a charity golf event each year, which also benefits the Salvation Army. Both money and gifts are collected at this event, with the chosen charity actually receiving the money and gifts.
My husband straight-up stinks at golf. But he’s played year after year, paying the entry fee, because it benefits a good cause. This year a tennis tournament has been added and I’ll be out there swinging my racquet in the cold. Yes, you’re right, I love tennis. But my wallet will be opened and my joy at playing will also benefit with dollars delivered for programs and initiatives.
Put Your Money, Your Time, Your Effort Behind A Cause, Not Your Facebook Wall!
If you truly care about cancer, and I believe many of you do, open up your wallet and donate to cancer research. Get your butt up from your desk chair and take part in a run, walk or other event sponsored by the charity of your choice. Visit the pediatric oncology ward with the gift of books and your time. Sit down and read one of those books to a child, or group of children, battling cancer.
At the very least, if you can’t get away from your desk, pull out your credit card and create a monthly withdrawal if the cause is that important to you.
Your Cause Isn’t Any Better Than My Cause!
Last year I donated time, dollars and effort to a cause that matters to me, as I’ve seen it affect so many friends. I was part of a small group that launched a charity pro-am event to benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Atlanta.
I donated a website, Facebook and Twitter design and management, and spent hours at planning meetings. I donated out of pocket as needed to help get the event off the ground. I played in the event, and payed the full fee, even though I was a board member. Overall it was a sizable donation of both dollars and my time and effort. It felt quite good.
But, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about cancer. It doesn’t mean I diss those looking to deliver awareness about those suffering from diabetes or Alzheimers. It doesn’t stop me from worrying about the stray cat problem in my neighborhood (any of you that know me at all know that animal adoption is another cause I back with my dollars and my time and even room in my house … hello, Catt Damon).
Perhaps my dollars are already allocated. Perhaps my time is already taken up by activities that actually benefit my cause of choice.
Make It About The Cause, Not About You …
When I see these social shaming posts making the rounds, I cringe and often want to holler at my computer screen.
These posts are nothing more than a means to share a “look at me, see how much I care about this cause” moment, a moment which is soon forgotten amidst a fast social feed and friends leading busy lives.
Want to really make a difference to a cause this year? When someone asks what you want for Christmas, ask them to make a donation in your name? See if there’s a toy drive in your local area and drop off a couple of toys to help make a child’s Christmas a little brighter. Crochet or knit a scarf, hat and some mittens and leave them on a bench or tree, with a note that they’re free for the taking for someone who needs them.
I’m calling on your to care and act, rather than copy/paste during this season of giving and sharing. Set social shaming aside and do something that truly benefits the cause in which you believe!
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “an elephant never forgets.” Maybe you’ve seen the classic cartoon by Max Fleischer?
I’m often inspired by visuals. Sometimes a visual pops a title or idea into my mind. I was searching some stock photos (you do know they don’t have to suck, right? That’s another article entirely) and came across an image that sparked this idea …
Like An Elephant, An Audience Never Forgets!
When you’re building and maintaining a community, you’ve got to keep many things in mind, like:
- Personalities add color, but can also create conflict.
- People will always try to test the boundaries of what’s acceptable.
- Maintaining a robust community is time consuming, so not all the “easy.”
- Trust is tantamount when it comes to your community spirit!
That last bullet point is really the “golden nugget,” if I can steal my gal pal Brooke Ballard’s catch-phrase, I hope you’ll take away in this read.
Trust Lost Is Nearly Impossible To Regain
Sadly, there are so many ways you can lose the trust of your audience, your community. We see instances shared across social media feeds, infractions by brands big and small, almost every day.
Because we see them every day, it appears these kinds of blunders are barely obvious to the bulk of brands and marketers. Which is rather frightening.
When I’m part of a community, or a member of a peer’s audience, I find the following infractions most daunting:
1. Sharing Craptastic Content
It’s really not all that hard to ensure the content you share actually gels with your audience. Ready for the big reveal? READ before you share! So simple, yet so easy to forget.
When it comes to curating and then sharing killer content with your audience, there are no “trusted” resources. If you don’t read, you’ll get burned eventually, no matter how big the name behind the publish.
2. Dumb “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” Moments
If spamming the community is a no-no, then it’s pretty obvious that you shouldn’t only share your own stuff, every hour, on the hour!
If you expect your community and audience members to act in a certain way, you must lead by example!
3. You’ve Gotta Back It Up
There’s nothing worse than seeing a strong opinion stated, and stated well, then watered down with wishy-washy replies to dissenting opinions.Do not devalue your smart, strong opinion with a smiley-face emoticon! GACK!Click To Tweet
When you share an idea, there’s always the possibility that the entirety of your audience is NOT going to be on board. Agreeing to disagree is an art form. It doesn’t mean you roll over and lie dead, diminishing the impact and intent of the idea you felt must be shared.
4. Feeding Frenzy
There’s nothing worse than a hostile takeover … of my social media feed!
The stuff you’re jazzed to share? We’re sure it’s great. We trusted you enough to follow you, thus we think you’re head’s on straight. That doesn’t mean we want to see your avatar fifteen times in fifteen minutes.
Spread the love around, in a timely and tempered fashion, with some smart scheduling. This goes for Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Google+ (and basically anyplace else that delivers information in a feed).
5. Flat Out Bad Behavior
If you name call or are too aggressive and act the ass, your name is soon aligned with that most overused and abused buzzword, “hater.”
While I think the term is overused, it doesn’t mean the behavior is okay. You can’t bully your way into influence or prominence.You can't bully your way into influence or prominence.Click To Tweet
Forgiven Is Not Forgotten
Though you might manage to make an appropriate apology for your blunder or faux pas, the infraction will not be forgotten.
Your audience will remember. Though they might forgive the infraction, it will be stored in the vault of their memories. Secondary stumbles won’t be so easy to shake off.
Trust earned is so valuable. Trust lost is a tragedy. Don’t engage in activities and actions that could tumble that trust. Your audience won’t forget.
How About You?
What actions and activities trip your trust meter?