Facebook and False Empathy

  

  Every day our Facebook feeds are inundated with pictures of missing children, wanted criminals and sad stories of people in need. The images tug at our hearts leaving us wanting to feel that we’ve helped so we “share” the post, sending it out to all of our “friends”. The problem is, the second we hit that share button we forget what the faces in the image really looked like. We aren’t out on the streets scanning faces, desperately hoping to help locate lost loved ones. We aren’t gathering donations to send to families in need. We tell ourselves we have done some good but all we’ve really done is flood the newsfeed with yet another image to numb the minds of those that see it and then quickly forget it. I try to always read the story ( the full story) behind these images before I share it. Far too often I find people are sharing hoaxes or images of lost people long since found. If you don’t care enough to find out if this person has been found why are you sharing it? You are only clouding the vision of everyone you share it with and blocking the ones still missing from being found. 


Recently I saw a tweet saying that the local Women and Children’s Shelter was in need of common everyday items for the poor people living there and I thought to myself, ” Perfect, here is a chance to actually do some good!” I posted multiple requests for donations from the list of over 400 people on my friends list, confidant I would get an outpouring of support from all of these wonderful people… I was so wrong. Three people offered to help. Three.
Not a single share or like. I kept reposting, confused as to why no one was stepping up. Did they not see my pleas? Was this a Facebook setting issue? I continued to see posts regarding vacations, drunken weekends, coupon shopping and pedicures but no offers for donations of shampoo, diapers or juice boxes. No one wanted to give up a few dollars to help innocent women and children? How could this be? I began posting funny memes and silly jokes and I noticed the likes and shares rolling in. This is what people care about? This is what gets their attention. Of course, these things require no effort…no empathy. These things were easy, and required no sacrifice- large or small. This is what our society has become…and it breaks my heart.

I am going to share a “missing” post, 

Lost- compassion and empathy! If found please use generously.

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2 thoughts on “Facebook and False Empathy

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