Facebook Status Charity Wars

by admin on January 23, 2012

My mother survived her battle with breast cancer last year and is, in every way, an inspiration. Likewise, my father beat colon cancer and, in the process, lost his foot to cardiovascular disease but hasn’t let it stop him in any way, shape or form. I note this only because everyone has their own stories, their own inspirations and their own causes.

For those unfamiliar, on Facebook, occasionally you will get an “in-box” message from a friend telling you what “code” to use to post cheeky status updates in support of ___________ (insert cause here – breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, shingles, etc…). Likewise, you will often see people post status updates in support of the causes that they are fond of, asking others to also copy and paste the verbiage in their own status update.

Sometimes, I play along, other times I just pass right by them…

I have one friend, Sally, who, each and every time one of these pops up, feels compelled to respond with something akin to: “Sorry, Betty. This ain’t my cause and I will do nothing to support it, regardless of how it may or may not have affected your life. My cause is Sally’sCause and Sally’sCause only and I can do, say or type nothing in support of anything other than Sally’sCause. Sorry if that upsets you, but that’s the way it is.”

I have no issue with her choosing her own worthy cause to support and, the cause that she has chosen, she does often raise money for in various ways and she is not, in fact, pushy or over-the-top in her solicitations. My issue is only with how snarky and borderline nasty her response is each and every time someone posts something or solicits donations for a cause other than the one that she has chosen to favor. Our one girlfriend’s father recently passed away after a debilitating illness and when my girlfriend chose to participate in a fundraising walk in his honor, Sally responded to her exactly the same way as she always does. I so badly wanted to call her up and scold her for being so insensitive and inconsiderate, but then decided that I might then be at fault for butting in.

Is she wrong for doing this? Is there any way that I can get her to understand that she doesn’t HAVE TO respond and that her lack of response will serve as her declination AND eliminate the possibility that she look like an insensitive louse? Please know that this particular friend is confrontational to the extreme, so treading carefully is absolutely necessary. 1107-11

I really dislike those guilt manipulative Facebook statuses that describe some heinous situation or cause and end with some guilt manipulative command that to copy this text into your own Facebook status with the implication that if you don’t you are are a callous, evil, indifferent person.  A friend of mine does this type of Facebook status very frequently.   When she posted one that said, paraphrased, “If you had cancer or know someone who has cancer or died of cancer, copy and paste this into your status.  Real friends and loved ones who deeply care about their friends and family will put this in their Facebook status but only 10% of you actually will do it.”      I privately emailed her writing, “I have had cancer, my sister-in-law and my father have died of cancer, my father-in-love has cancer and to imply that I do not care about them because I do not wish to cut and paste your status into my status is guilt manipulative and hurtful.”     She replied that her status was meant for a broader audience and that she wasn’t targeting me.   I am fully aware of that but that “broader audience” is her friends and family, not the general public.   She still posts statuses like this and I ignore them.

Is Sally wrong to reply as she does?  You betcha!  She’s involved herself in a Facebook status charity warfare pitting her favorite charity or cause against everyone else’s.   It’s one thing to use your personal Facebook wall to push your personal agendas but it’s entirely another “thing” when you traipse over to other people’s walls and push your personal agenda there.   Sally should learn to let it go and mind her own charity on her own wall.

{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

vanessaga January 23, 2012 at 6:04 am

I don’t mind these statutes but don’t repost them by choice; just not my thing. I agree, Admin, that the guilt-inducing edge to them is irritating, the same as the ones about how “none of you really read my status except those of you who just did and now you have to craft a stupid comment beginning with the letter Q to prove it” chains. But I don’t choose to comment because I don’t think any of these people had malice on their mind and if it disturbs me that much a private comment is much more polite. I’m not sure why Sally is picking fights about charities of all things but I don’t think she sounds very charitable at all if she thinks hers is the only one that matters.

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lkb January 23, 2012 at 6:52 am

Brava Admin! I hate those “if you _______, then cut and paste as your status.” For one thing, does it really do any good to follow that directive? (I haven’t seen any form of cancer cured because of the massive number of such directives). For another, who is the FB friend to direct someone to do something (and to judge) if someone does not follow the directive.

It’s the same with those, “If you love (the diety), then….”

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MellowedOne January 23, 2012 at 7:33 am

These type messages are one my FB ‘pet peeves’. Reasons:
1. The ‘cheeky’ messages that are posted (ie the color of one’s bra, where they ‘park their purse’) do nothing to serve as awareness for a disease/condition.
2. Most ‘tune out’ repetitive messages that flood the newsfeed, especially word for word repostings.
3. I believe it can possibly be offensive to those actually suffering from the condition. If I was battling cancer I wouldn’t think someone posting either the color of their bra or a copy/repost would be doing anything to make others “aware” of what I and others go through.

As far as the manner of response, I do not feel it necessary to respond to public postings. An exception could be that the facts presented were mistakenly incorrect, and a gentle comment of correction is in order. Now, if someone sends me a private message, they should not be surprised IF I choose to respond, as a private reply message of course.

Lastly, I think these type posts are “cotton candy posts” – looks good, but no real substance.

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Jojo January 23, 2012 at 7:43 am

IMHO it’s just plain offensive to turn someone’s suffering into a chain letter. I don’t repost, participate in or forward any charity related item that I cannot verify personally. I am happy to say this to someone if they ask, but Sally’s straying onto people’s Facebook or bothering to reply is just as bad as the chain letters themselves. I can completely understand that Sally wants to get her point across because we’re all bombarded with these emails every day but to turn a person’s efforts to commemorate their loved one and be of service to others into a chance to hijack a conversation for her own cause is less than considerate.

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GroceryGirl January 23, 2012 at 7:45 am

First, there is no reason for Sally to get so snarky about something as silly as a status update so OP, I’m with you there.

Otherwise I must say I really dislike those charity updates. My biggest problem with them is that they serve no purpose. Putting a cartoon as your profile picture will not stop child abuse. Writing weird cryptic things that sound like your pregnant (“I’m five months and craving M&Ms”) will not find a cure for breast cancer. If you really want to do something productive post a link to a site where you can donate money or time or do something useful…but all the same, as annoying as I may find it, it’s never worth it to try to pick a fight online.

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TheVapors January 23, 2012 at 7:57 am

I’m confused about one thing:

Is Sally commenting PUBLICLY under the person’s Wall Post? Or is she sending them a Private In-Box Message every.single.time. she sees this on another’s wall?

The first, to me, would clearly be the ruder of the two. Any friend seeing her “I won’t do this, because I only like my own charities” note would be wise to delete her note from their wall. Confrontational or not, she doesn’t have to start a charity war over these very common posts, which could easily be ignored.

If the second, I’d probably just not reply to her strange messages. It’s as though she thinks those notes are specifically for her.

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BH January 23, 2012 at 8:41 am

Some people take facebook too seriously. Why should Sally feel the need to be so rude? I get them all the time, I do not like the ones saying for every time this message is forwarded or reposted X Company will donate X$ or cents. It’s a lie, and the images attached are usually disturbing. Reposting sadness will not help cure any disease.

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Aje January 23, 2012 at 8:43 am

There´s a fairly famous charity that I don´t support because the person cheated on his wife and hurt his family, who had supported him throughout his illness for the nurse! Still, when people post the name on the charity on facebook, I don´t say, ¨Dude, that guy is a jerk!¨ I just don´t write anything or if asked, I politely reply that I have other charities I donate to.

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Katrina January 23, 2012 at 8:51 am

I hate those things! There are a few running around that claim to have fundraisers attached to them, so many posts equal so much money. There is no real way to track this, don’t buy into it! Sally was just plain rude, what she is doing is the equivalent to giving a Girl Scout a lecture on nutrition instead of just saying “no thanks” when asked to buy cookies! I, personally, just ignore those updates, just like I ignore the ads on the side.

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Amy January 23, 2012 at 8:58 am

They actually have a name for those types of social media campaigns– slacktivism. Such campaigns can actually be problematic because people think that they’re helping, and therefore are less likely to do things that require actual commitment, like donating money or time. While there is definitely a role for social media to play– some diseases really do need more awareness for the general public– some of the larger issues, like breast cancer, don’t need much more public awareness than they already have. However, I do think Sally went about expressing her feelings in the wrong way. A private message politely declining is sufficient for donations and other facebook requests.

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NotThumper January 23, 2012 at 8:59 am

This is why I can’t stand those things on FaceBook. Actually there are a lot of things on FB I can’t stand which is part of the reason I drastically eliminated most of my friend’s list. Admin is right, just ignore them. I have to do the same thing for a few of my friends with their religious posts. It’s not my cup of tea but I still like my friend so I just ignore it and move on…

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claire January 23, 2012 at 9:10 am

I don’t think you will be able to adjust her rude behaviour. I am not sure if it’s your place to try, but you could probably try to take the edge of her snark by being extra nice in any relevant threads?Lead by example, kind of thing!

I ignore those cut and paste charity ones,in fact all chain statuses in general are ignored especially the silly “secret games” to “raise awareness” about a cause by posting where your handbag is “on the kitchen floor” or what colour your underwear is “black”,etc…..I fail to see how you can raise awareness for something when you don’t even mention that something in the status!

If I get a message asking me to do one of the secret ones, I don’t challenge,(as I know some people enjoy the “fun”) I simply post a status saying that I have received a message asking me to spread awareness for whichever topic, then a link about how to learn more (or how to check for breast cancer, helpline telephone number for domestic violence, whatever is relevant). I think my friends are getting the message as I didn’t get sent the most recent one (something about going on holiday for a certain length of time depending o yoru relationship status…weird, and totally not linked to cancer!)

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Angel January 23, 2012 at 9:16 am

Completely agree with the admin. If Sally doesn’t like these status updates, she is free to ignore them. People do not seem to understand, when you post something on the Internet it is there forever, and it reflects upon you. Sally is way out of line and if she wants to post her own agenda, she should keep it on her own wall. I’m not sure if there is any nice way to tell her this, being that she is confrontational, but if you choose to talk to her, make sure it is not through the Internet!

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Margo January 23, 2012 at 9:22 am

Yes, Sally is rude to reply as she does, but I can understand why she does it – these things can come across as quite manipulative.

As Admin says, they are often worded in a way which implies that anyone who does not re-post is uncaring or unsupportive. I very rarely repost such things, laregely for that reason, but if I do, I will edit before posting to say something like “please feel free to repost if you would like to use this way of showing your support for / spreading awareness of x”, as I feel that that doesn’t carry the implication that if you don’t re-post, you don’t care.

OP, you could consider doing the same (Or making a comment on your own post saying “I’ve posted this exactly as it came to me, but please dn’t feel you have to Share / Repost unless you would like to use this way of showing your support for / spreading awareness of x”) which might make Sally feel she doesn’t have to post her comment.

If she does, you could consider sending her an e-mail (or better still, mentioning it if you see her in person) to say that you know not everyone will want to support that same causes, or to show their support in the same way, but with things like this, it’s only really necessary to comment if you wish to join in, and that her chosing not to repost or share is enough in it’s own, she doesn’t need to send you a comment each time.
That said, I would only say anything to her if this *really* bothers you a lot, otherwise just hide her comment.

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Edhla January 23, 2012 at 9:25 am

Although I agree with Admin that Sally is wrong, I can definitely see where she’s coming from. Also, I think there is a difference between “Hi everyone, I’m participating in a fun-run/bake sale/something else like that to raise money for x, you can support me if you like by doing y and z” and those HORRIBLE “if you REALLY care about abused children, you will pass this spam on your wall” status updates.

The former are genuine messages; the latter are chain letters, pure and simple, regardless of their overall message. That they usually contain some emotional guilt-trip to pass it on if you “REALLY care” is the icing on the cake… the traditional “chain letter” has some sort of threat of “send this to ten people, or you’ll end up like the girl who didn’t and who died in her sleep” has been changed to “send this to ten people or you’re a horrible, horrible person.” Either way these are blatant, unkind attempts to manipulate and frankly, I would not consider someone who sent me a message like that to be a friend of mine.

I have been extremely angered by some of them; one was about “stop animal cruelty” but instead of giving any information about how to donate to such a worthy cause (either in time or in money), it simply had an extremely shocking and distressing picture of a badly injured dog. NOT what I wanted to see on my newsfeed without warning. The person who posted it is a good-natured but not overly bright or perceptive woman I went to school with. I know she didn’t mean to upset me, it was just poorly thought out and no doubt SHE felt guilted into “passing it along.” I have now hidden her status updates, though, because I seriously wanted to go somewhere and vomit after seeing that photograph.

And that’s all you can really do. If a person posts things like that which are obnoxious, I’ll likely just hide their status updates on my feed. If they post something I deem to be judgmental and truly, deeply offensive, I will unfriend them, and depending on how well I know them, I’ll send them a (reasonably polite) PM explaining why. I can completely understand (and secretly sympathise) with Sally when she is outright challenging the chain statuses (but not the example you mentioned which, like I said above, seems to be a genuine personal message, not a cut-and-paste-look-how-much-I-care job), but I wouldn’t call her behaviour an upholding of etiquette.

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Xtina January 23, 2012 at 9:52 am

I hate these kinds of things, these “you need to SHOW how much you care about (insert name of charity) or you are evil and everyone will now know it if you don’t send this to every person you’ve ever met”. That kind of phrasing makes me want to purposely never pass such a message on to anyone no matter how worthy it might be otherwise–and quite frankly, it lowers what should be a message of charity and care to the level of an annoying chain e-mail. But I would never be so rude as to respond like Sally does…..

There is no need for Sally to be so abrasive in her declaration that she is not interested in contributing to or participating in your charity. OP, I think the only way to do this, if you definitely feel the need to address it, is attack it head-on and just be prepared to face the consequences if Sally takes it the wrong way. Otherwise, I would probably do what Sally *should* be doing, and just ignore it—she’s only making herself look bad, after all, and you should not feel like you have to fix her problem.

Should you want to raise the issue, I would probably just tell Sally that you appreciate her candor and know that you can *always* count on her for an honest answer, but you feel that her responses to the charity posts are a bit terse and she may consider that it might be less trouble to simply let the post go rather than give someone the wrong impression. If it won’t be implicating anyone specifically, you might bring up a specific example where Sally’s words could have been particularly hurtful, like the girl whose father had died, and frame it as “it was construed the wrong way and you may have not realized it”. I suspect there are probably ways on Facebook that one could avoid receiving such messages in the first place, and that might be a good solution for Sally going forward.

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Huh January 23, 2012 at 10:20 am

I just don’t understand what the point of those copy and paste status are. It’s not like you’re making a donation or really doing anything at all. Especially those secret ones where it makes the poster sound pregnant/taking a trip/etc. and it’s really code for breast cancer awareness. How does that help at all?

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Cat January 23, 2012 at 10:24 am

I stand agape at people who send/say things designed to be hurtful and then say they are sorry if it’s hurtful, but that’s the way it is.
Cases I have known: 1) My mother learned she had an aggressive form of cancer at age 56 and was trying to decide about chemo, radiation, surgery, etc. My older brother (age 23) told her that she was going to die anyway and there was no need to waste a lot of Dad’s money on treatments. She should just go on and die. I told him that was a horrible thing to say to her. His reply was that he had a right to give his opinion. 2) As an adopted child, I spent thirty years searching for my birth family. I found an older sister who refused to speak to me. After several years she sent me the following message on a Christmas card, ‘ Since you’re my “sister”, I am willing to meet you.’ If a friend sent me a message that read, ‘Since you’re my “friend”, I am willing to meet you.” I would find another friend. I found out later that she had made all her sisters promise never to see me. I have no idea as to why.

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Wink-n-Smile January 23, 2012 at 10:43 am

Cat – as to why your biological sister would want her other sisters to refuse to meet or speak with you – some people believe that having a sibling who was adopted out somehow demeans them, and to actually acknowlege it would shame them.

I don’t understand that belief, but it does exist. It sounds like that’s what’s at play here. Either that, or she blames you for her parent’s sins. To acknowlege you is to accept and tolerate the parent’s sins. Some people just can’t do it.

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Library Diva January 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

The comments here are interesting. It seems like those “Repost this if you care about people with cancer, most of you won’t bother, my true friends are the 1% that will” chain statuses are universally despised. So why do they continue to dominate everyone’s newsfeeds? It’s a condundrum, like how everyone hates litter, but litter still exists.

Actually, thinking about it some more, I bet these are the equivalent of the email forwards popular in the late 90s (“1000 reasons why a beer is better than a man”) and before that, the cutesy answering machine messages (part of me still believes that the lyrics to Beethoven’s 5th symphony are about how NO-BODY’S HOOOOME. NO-BODY’S HOOOOME.) Once people become more inured to Facebook, they’ll find a new form of technology to use to irritate others, and we can all stop feeling guilted into telling others what color our bras are.

On the original topic, Sally’s certainly being rude and I’m surprised no one’s pushed back online or in person. But I can also understand (not excuse or condone) why she’s acting this way. I get tired of being bombarded too.

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OP January 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

ITA with EVERYONE about the silly cut/paste status’ and the silly games. I ignore them about 99% of the time as, like most of you, I don’t think they raise any actual awareness. I LOVE the term “slacktivism”!!

The long and short of the problem is that Sally doesn’t ignore them. She ALSO doesn’t ignore the much more poignant and personal “In honor of my beloved father, R.I.P., I will be walking in the annual Let’s Find a Cure for This Horrible Disease walk and would love it if you could donate time/money/talent to same, or even just say a prayer for me on that day.” It’s irksome and insensitive, is all. And over time, I want to shake her and say “do you think before you fire back?”.

Claire – I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about and it was AWFUL!

And hugs to Cat!

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Mary January 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

If changing my Facebook status would cure cancer , then yes I would do it. But all of those guilt inducing messages just get ignored by me. If you don’t like them, ignore them. Plus the cryptic postings that are supposed to have certain meaning are just plain stupid.

I have no problem with someone who is doing a charity walk/run posting about the event and what to do if you are interested in donating. If you don’t want to donate, ignore it. No need to leave a snarky remark about it.

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Paige January 23, 2012 at 11:14 am

I would send Sally a message and in a nice way tell her she shouldn’t feel so obligated to put those comments on people statuses. That they make her seem very rude and insensitive. She may not like it but I guarantee next time she feels inclined to comment in such a way she will think about your message.

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--Lia January 23, 2012 at 11:16 am

Is Sally wrong for doing it? Probably.
Is there anything you can do to get her to understand? Probably not.

This is back to my favorite theme when it comes to facebook. No one knows quite what it is. I don’t feel it necessary to give my public response to every billboard I pass, but I do feel a response is necessary when people talk to me individually. Which is facebook? Billboards or personal communication? Which way does Sally see it? When someone passes on a useless and manipulative request to cut and past, Sally feels like she’s been appealed to personally so she answers with an explanation of why she won’t be complying as asked. When told that she sounds snarky, she replies that she’s just giving her opinion of a billboard. That’s not logical, but I kind of understand where she’s coming from. Facebook is confusing like that. She may be thinking that if she gives snarky answers often enough, people will stop sending her appeals that doesn’t want to get.

Luckily there’s a solution. One can now send statuses to some and not others. Receivers can block or hide senders.

Is Sally snarky in face to face communication? If, in a group of girlfriends, one mentioned her father’s death, would she jump down the woman’s throat, or would she be sympathetic? I’d let the answer to that question guide my decision on how to respond to her on facebook.

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Chocobo January 23, 2012 at 11:16 am

The proper reaction to Facebook status wars is a giant, satisfying eye roll when no one is looking — the politically aggressive “repost” requests are my favorite for a good ocular rotation — and then moving on to things that are actually interesting. Like visiting Etiquettehell.com.

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Athena C January 23, 2012 at 11:19 am

I also dislike the “if you care about X” status copy-and-pastes. As a rule, I don’t repost and add to the spam. But not all of them are so insulting. In fact, I saw one that said “X% of you know someone that was eaten by dragons, but 90% of you won’t copy and paste to your own status.” (There was more to it, and it was a lot funnier, but that was the general gist.) Now THAT one, I reposted, post haste!

@Aje – Wow, that’s … erm … interesting. But I think the larger concern would be “what’s happening with the money people give?” If the money people are giving is actually being used to help the cause, I would think the questionable origins are a side issue.

Also, from a larger perspective, I think the whole “raising awareness” crusade for certain PC-approved causes has gotten out-of-hand. An example – an old friend of mine (who is active on Facebook) announced that she had an auto-immune disorder. Instantly, many people replied with “Oh I’m so sorry to hear you have AIDS,” “I know someone else who is living with HIV,” etc. Now, as my friend pointed out, there are many auto-immune disorders and HIV was not the one she had, but honestly I can hardly blame people from jumping to the HIV / AIDS conclusion, since AIDS awareness is one such cause that has been pushed so hard it basically eclipses everything around it in the public consciousness.

Long story short – if you want to help, then help. “Raising awareness” is good up to a point, but that point was reached about 10 years ago.

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Margaret January 23, 2012 at 11:21 am

That is an abrasive response. However, the OP said that the friend is very confrontational, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone when she responds like that. A simple, “no thanks” to a specific personal request or ignoring a status update would suffice.

I don’t repost things like that, and I actually tell people that if they get one of those “send to ten people or you will die” chain emails, they can send them to me, because I don’t mind breaking them. If they are really funny, then I’ll send them on to a few people, after deleting the pass it on instructions. I think the only facebook status I ever copied was something like, “Post this if someone is alive today because you were too tired to take them out in the woods and bury the body.” I thought it was hilarious.

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Ashley January 23, 2012 at 11:23 am

I flat out refuse to do any of those statuses, because rarely does the “cheeky status update” have anything to do with the actual illness. Furthermore, if it’s supposed to be a girl thing only, it usually says “and remember, DON’T TELL THE BOYS!”. Yes, because it’s so easy to raise awareness for something by posting a status entirely unrelated to the thing at hand, and then if anyone asks why your status is weird, DON’T TELL THEM! >.<

As for your friend responding that way, just stop sending stuff to her.

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alli_wan January 23, 2012 at 11:36 am

Okay, maybe it’s just because I don’t bother with the potential time-waster that is Facebook, but in reading Sally’s response, I get the impression that she is being repeatedly bombarded with these stupid, useless, manipulative messages and her response is to try to get the OP and her buddies to STOP sending them. That the OP knows Sally always sends this message (she probably just forwards out the same one) to EVERY request indicates the OP hasn’t stopped harassing Sally and continues to send them.

Dear OP, Sally is on the charity time waster do not call list. If you and your friends continue to send these messages after recieving a curt (but frankly not rude) explanation as to why she doesn’t want them, YOU are the rude ones.

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MidoriBird January 23, 2012 at 11:37 am

Some years ago I used to be easily guilted into these things; even after I learned to say no to the phone calls or other forms of solicitation, the thought on my mind was that I was perhaps committing a sin by saying no–ignoring someone’s need. My money only stretches so far. (One children’s cancer charity in particular liked to raise the guilt issue, and after suffering that once, I refused to ever listen to them again, saying no politely and hanging up.)

It took a long time to get over the guilt issues; it is not that I am an uncaring person. (Besides, having mild Asperger’s, seeing certain situations for what they really are isn’t always my strong point, because I hate being a “bad” person.) I also refuse to copy and paste almost anything on facebook; if I did that I’d be on the page for hours and hours the way some others I know like to do it. I put my money towards my chosen charity goals (child sponsorship for the past thirteen and a half years in my case) and refuse to feel guilty anymore for not responding to each and every charity solicitation that comes along. I never solicit or suggest charities on my own will either. I’ve yet to see any of my aquaintences, however, respond like your Sally does to anyone else’s attempts. Shame on her.

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many bells down January 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

Totally OT, but was there really a status message for shingles? I laughed at that one. I’ve had shingles, and I’ve had thyroid cancer, and I tell you, I think the shingles was way worse.

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Another Laura January 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

@ aje, I’m pretty sure I know which charity you mean (I really hope there aren’t too many out there like that), and I just can’t bring myself to support that charity either, although I have given to other charities that are looking for a cure to the same disease

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spartiechic January 23, 2012 at 12:10 pm

@Edhla – I know which picture you saw and I can’t agree more with you. It was so disturbing that it made me sick. A little warning would have been appreciated. I really doubt that that post will make anyone that wasn’t aware of animal abuse go out and join the cause.

I’m glad I’m not alone in my irritation at these ridiculous Facebook status charity appeals. Trying to make me feel uncaring and inhumane because I refuse to post spam on my wall is a good way to make me not want to support your charity. It’s alright to say that such and such charity is having an event on such and such date, please come if you can. Don’t put on on the guilt trip and feel like you’ve done something to help when all you did was take two seconds to copy and paste. Donate money or time. You’ll be doing a lot more for the charity you endorse than posting spam and acting like you’ve made a difference.

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Done with it! January 23, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I finally had enough of the silliness that is Facebook that I deactivated my account a few months ago. Reading these posts reminds me that I’m not missing anything!

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OfficeGirl January 23, 2012 at 12:23 pm

People should also consider that even if it is a worthy topic, if someone sent it to their entire circle of friends/addressbook on FB, that group probably overlaps at least a little with yours. If you follow the command and resend, it may be going to the same people over and over again. The irritation gets repeated, yeah!

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Gee January 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm

The worst one I saw was the fake pregnancy announcement in support of breast cancer. As someone who has lost three children to miscarriage, I did not think it was fun or cute. Not to mention, it does nothing to help cure breast cancer. If you really want to help, raise awareness by urging regular self-exams and mammograms. Donate some money. V0lunteer your time at a charity.

One friend called this FB status stuff “slacktavism”. I agree. It makes you feel like you’re helping, but accomplishes nothing.

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Ann January 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Facebook, by its very construction, promotes and generates behaviour which is juvenile and divisive.

In my opinion, anyone who conducts any part of their personal life over Facebook can’t really complain about the duffus behaviour they’ve exposed themselves to.

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Cat Whisperer January 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

First comment: OP asks “….Is there any way that I can get her [Sally] to understand that she doesn’t HAVE TO respond and that her lack of response will serve as her declination AND eliminate the possibility that she look like an insensitive louse?….”

No. OP cannot “get” Sally to change. Sally is perfectly happy and content with her snarky replies to people’s charity-status broadcasts; Sally has undoubtedly been told many times by other people, that her responses are off-putting and unnecessary; and Sally continues to do it. So she isn’t going to change and OP can’t make her.

Second comment: OP says “…Please know that this particular friend is confrontational to the extreme, so treading carefully is absolutely necessary….”

Sally LIKES confrontation. This is very clear. People who are confrontational to the extreme thrive on conflict, they love to bare their fangs and raise their hackles and leap into a fight, and they adore the drama of confrontation and the adrenalin rush of a knock-down, drag-out conflict, no prisoners taken and no surrenders accepted.

People are who they are, and once you figure out who they are, you take them as they are, in their entirety, without attempting to change them. People peculiarities, foibles, flaws and imperfections are a part of them, and it is impossible to perform selective surgery to remove these flaws and make the person into someone you are more comfortable with.

And when you stop and think about it, isn’t the desire to re-make someone really kind of a rude thing to want to do? Even if the person’s characteristic that bugs you is something that causes a great deal of uproar? After all, isn’t it kind of a conceited and self-sentered gradiose thing to believe that we have the right to “remake” someone into a form that is more pleasing to us?

Sally apparently fights like a mama grizzly bear in defense of causes she regards as worthy. And no doubt this is one of the things that people admire about her– when they support the cause that Sally is attacking. Her feistiness and willingness to take on the world in a personal war are characteristics that define her. She is who she is. OP wants to remodel Sally into something other than who Sally is. To me, that’s an odious characteristic. Unless Sally has appealed to OP and asked OP “Please help me, I know I’m alienating people and I don’t know how to tone it down, can you work with me to alter this part of my personality so I get along better with people,” it strikes me as pretty darn high-handed for OP to request assistance in performing personality surgery on Sally to tone her down.

Especially when there is an etiquette-friendly way to deal with Sally’s pugnacious responses to the Facebook charity status issue: DON’T READ THEM. Ignore them.

Is Sally cringe-inducing in her insensitivity sometimes? Apparently so. But that is Sally’s problem unless she chooses to enlist the assistance of others in trying to change.

The way I read this posting, OP cringes at Sally’s insensitivity because OP likes Sally, but she fears that by associating with Sally, people who are offended by Sally’s postings are going to by offended by her association with Sally. Yep, that’s true: when you associate with someone who is not known for their tact and sensitivity, people may decide that you are a tactless and insensitive person yourself.

So what can you do? My take on this is that OP has to decide whether Sally’s good characteristics override the annoying things Sally does. If Sally really is so confrontational and aggressive in her attacks on people/things she doesn’t like that you’re constantly “walking on eggshells” around her for fear of setting her off, if your known association with her is costing you friendships with other people because of your association with Sally, then maybe it’s time to “unfriend” Sally and move on. Sometimes that’s what you have to do with people who for whatever reason just don’t have enough things going for them to keep a relationship positive and rewarding.

Is that unkind? Perhaps. But I think that’s less unkind than deciding that you’re going to turn someone into a home-improvement project and remodel them into someone you find more palatable and easier to get along with.

…And there’s also a final option in this mess: decide that you’re going to conduct your relationships without the facilitation of Facebook. People have managed to have friendships for generations without social networking websites, so you know it can be done. You might even find you “like” it.

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HonorH January 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Much as I dislike most of those things the LW talks about, Sally would be defriended in a heartbeat. She crosses the line into cruelty with her response. Support what you want to support with your money, but there’s no need to act like you can only care about one thing.

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MollySue January 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Oh these spamming slackivist messages, especially those nasty hoax ones (“MyFaceTwitterSoft will donate 3c towards a dunce cap for the idiots that repost this message” type) get on my very last nerve. The ones for breast cancer – bra colours and where you put your handbag etc. – seriously annoy me. Leaving aside that the only thing they do is illuminate people as to the colour of your breast holster, it’s the smug, self-congratulating message that goes with them about how they’ll “raise awareness” about the disease. But ONLY for women. Not only do they want to condemn the men who suffer from it by omission, they provide precious little information on how to detect or find treatment for cancer! Too busy feeling smug to include a link to the relevant cancer care organisation in their country/area.

On the hoaxes, I sometimes wonder if I’m committing a faux pas as I will usually comment under the link that it’s a hoax and a link to the website debunking it, along with pointing out the glaringly obvious clues that it’s a hoax. I know that they don’t want to hear it, but I find the use of images children with birthmarks etc used to mock the gullible heinous in the exteme and I hope (in vain) that they’ll eventually learn to recognise the hoax and not pass it on .

Getting back to the post, I would mention something privately to your friend, ideally in person, that while you admire her work for her charity, that posting that comment under every. single. solitary. charity post isn’t coming across how she hopes, and just ignoring it might be more effective?

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Missy January 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I ignore chain letters and copy & paste guilt trip posts on Facebook and Tumblr.

Sally’s being disrespectful and sooner or later, someone will call her out on it either on Facebook or off-line. I’d also suggest to the poster that s/he deletes Sally’s comment. Maybe then Sally will get the hint.

Also, had would Sally feel if she started something up for Sally’sCause and received the same message?

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lilbearzmom January 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Oh my, I can’t stand those things. So, I ALWAYS ignore them, even if it does happen to be a cause that is near and dear. The guilt trip just makes me feel rebellious.

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Goodness January 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Facebook now allows users to limit the kinds of posts they get from their ‘friends.’
– Hover your mouse over the person’s name; a drop-down menu will appear below it.
– DON’T CLICK; instead slide your mouse to the option “Subscribed” and hover again.
– Another drop down menu will appear with a long list of all the things you get from this person.
– Deselect (by clicking) all the things you don’t want to get. Or if you’re totally sick of them, you can unsubscribe AKA de-friend.

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Gracie C. January 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I ignore all those chain status posts, though get a chuckle out of the versions that mock the serious ones. But I can’t help but wonder if Sally pulls up next to cars with those “Honk if you like abc” bumper stickers to let people know that she does not like abc but instead likes xyz, and will not be honking. Her responses are pointless and rude.

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Cat2 January 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Actually Admin, I think you needed to reply back that your friend’s message absolutely was targeting you since you were one of the 90% who had absolutely no intention of reposting the message. You fall into the category of people who wouldn’t do it, so you were indeed part of the target audience to be “shamed” into doing it. Whether that was *her* intent in posting it is not the point. The result and effect are.

Then ask her to extrapolate that to having 50% or greater of her 90% audience being in a situation like yours – understandable, not lack of caring, and point out that this is who has just heard her message, and is that really what she wants to be telling so many of her friends and family?

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Goodness January 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm

And on another note… Yes, I hate these posts saying “If you agree with my sentiment and/or don’t want everyone to think you’re a cold-blo0oded child killer, you will Share this.” I mentioned on my page how demanding, coercive and bullying I thought this was, and pointed out that it was really no different than those old fashioned chain letters everyone hated. I got many supportive comments, NO negative comments, and now rarely see one with the old wording. And now I occasionally share one, if I feel strongly enough about it.

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Erin January 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm

@ Cat, wow, both those cases are terrible, and I’m very sorry you and your family had to go through them.

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Angeldrac January 23, 2012 at 3:51 pm

As much as I hate these pointless, spammy posts, I don’t publically post my opinion of them because
a) that would be pointless in itself and b) it’s just rude!
Sally IS being very rude here, as admin says, hijacking someone else’s attempt to promote a cause to push her own agenda. Is anyone reminded of that figure in the Bible that prays publically in the street so everyone will see what a good and holy guy is? Cos that’s pretty much what Sally is doing. You know, OP, if I were you, I just may send her a private message pulling her up on this. It really, really is….well, rude.

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Angeldrac January 23, 2012 at 3:55 pm

And it should be pointed out to Sally in the time she took to type her silly response, she could have copied and pasted the spam message to get own status anyway.
I was just rereading the story and I still can’t believe she did that to your friend who lost her father. That’s worth a public scolding, I don’t think she deserves the dignity of a private message telling her how insensitive and rude she’s being.

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Natalie January 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I hate the shallow breast cancer game. A friend claimed they ‘start a conversation’ and ‘raise awareness’ but the only conversation I saw was spreading misinformation. Some girl was discussing how she wants to stop wearing her bra to bed, but doing so would result in ‘saggy boobs’. She couldn’t decide what is worse.

I think there is a correlation between people who hate slacktivism and people concerned with etiquette.

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