I won't share inspirational pictures that feel more judgmental than inspirational. Those messages that deliver a judgmental punch in the face, telling us all the ways we are failing at life, while cloaked in a veil of inspiration aren't helping anyone.
I won't share pictures that ask me to click like or share if I truly love Jesus. I do love Jesus; I don't need to interact with this picture to prove it. Especially when this picture probably originated on a facebook page that has nothing to do with Jesus, and is just trying to build up their interaction by preying on your sense of religious guilt.
I won't share a picture of food with the entire recipe written out in the description. This is partly due to the fact I don't cook, so recipes aren't useful for me, but mostly because these pictures and recipes have often been stolen from bloggers. There are many facebook pages out there who get all of their recipe content from blogs without asking permission or giving credit to the photographer/recipe author in any way. A red flag for this kind of theft is when the description says, "Share this picture so it will be saved on your timeline." They just want you to share it to increase the engagement rates on their page, not so you can easily find it later.
If you shared a story about child abuse, and I didn't hit that share button, it is probably due to one of these reasons:
- There is a graphic picture of the abused child.
- There is no link to an actual news story, but rather, a graphic picture of an abused child with a story written out on facebook without verifiable details.
- It contains a video of parents abusing their child - especially one that plays automatically in my newsfeed.
I don't believe it is appropriate for the picture of a child taken during or after an abusive and traumatizing event to be distributed on social media without the child's consent. Especially when it is accompanied by identifying details like their name or location. I don't believe this is in any way giving a voice to the child. When you share these pictures, you are actually taking away the child's right to choose when and how their story will be shared.
If an abuse survivor has pictures of themselves with bruises or scars, and wants to share them to help tell their personal story, I am supportive of that. I can share the link to their story while ensuring the pictures do not show up in the link preview, and state in my link description that there are potentially triggering pictures accompanying the article if they are graphic. I don't want to silence abuse survivors in any way, but I also want to be sensitive to other survivors who might not need to see graphic pictures pop up in their newsfeed, as well as to people who may have children in the room who don't need to be exposed to those pictures.
When there is a picture being shared and reshared on facebook with a shocking story written in the description, I am wary of the truthfulness of the picture and account. More than once I have had friends share these kinds of pictures, and with a very small amount of research, I have found them to be hoaxes. But even if the picture and story are true, I just go back to my first point, that I will not contribute to the distribution of a child's picture when it immortalizes a period or moment of trauma in their life, and when it was most likely not shared with the child's consent. It is possible to share a story of abuse, to bring it into the light, without identifying the victim through pictures, names, and locations.
I've seen several youtube videos floating around lately that have parents abusing their children. I will not share this. I do not need nor want to see children being abused to know it is happening. This is not an effective tool to combat abuse; it is nothing more than a constant revictimization of the child.
Those are just a few of my social media sharing boundaries, and the things I will not share. What are you not sharing on social media?