Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Cut and Paste: Do not Share

Reading Sally's comments on the Jayden K Smith friendship request hoax. And I have to say I don't agree with Sally. This is not an uncommon experience, and there's no hard feelings. I don't think we agree on most things, so that's fine.

Sally's take on people sharing this sort of scare is that it comes down to vulnerability. The fear that someone could steal one's Facebook account and start "Like"-ing Ed Sheeran, for instance, on our behalf is a very real one, in this day and age. And we should not take it lightly. Frankly, if singing Galway Girl isn't some very real sense a form of treason, it should be. But I digress.

I guess I'm not as kind as Sally. I don't see it as a sign of vulnerability. I see it as a kind of generalised sense of public duty, combined with a certain intellectual laziness. Through 360 and such like petition sights, through the RT'ing of the latest fool that things Jeremy Corbyn is the Messiah, we have grown used to the idea that we can change the world, if there's enough of us, without too much effort.

And so a scare story pops up that Archibold Nemesis, King of the Newt People, should he send you a friend request, will make you a Manchester United fan, hack all your friends and turn them all into newts, and give your wooden leg woodworm. And you feel - well, it could be true. You could check a hoax site, or give it some thought, but that would take effort. Or you could pass it on. The worst that could happen, in one isolated example, is that you've bothered a few friends with an untrue piece of advice. But should that friend request indeed pop through from King Archie, you'll have saved them a lot of embarrassment. So you send it on.

No effort, the instant warm feeling of protecting your friends. Who have received the same warning from 300 other lazy-but-vaguely-kindly people.

And I must add, as the sort of smug get who likes to tell people they're forwarding on spam, there's no fun telling them. I had a friend telling us to write and complain about a blasphemous play coming to England. I did the research (of course). I let him know that the play wasn't planned for England - had played a few years ago and nobody had noticed - and wasn''t even blasphemous. And his response? "Well, I'm glad I passed it on, anyway." And the virus of well-meaning laziness had spread again.

Do us a favour. Next time you get a warning, check. Then hideously embarrass the peson who passed it on in public. Then message all your friends telling them never to accept a friend request from said person, as s/he will only fill their inboxes with spurious messages.

And whatever you do, don't accept a friend request from Archibold Nemesis, King of the Newt People. He's a hacker. And you'll end up as a Man Utd supporting newt.

1 comment :

  1. Oh no, we don't agree, I am deeply unsurprised... that said I do agree ... please check what you are sending on folks, we all get caught out from time to time, but some of this stuff is blatantly ridiculous ☺. Right back to my kindness zone, where I disagree with the great Archdruid, but I have a bigger collection of tea-lights so I will bask in their glow...


Drop a thoughtful pebble in the comments bowl