How to stop shock-posts going viral — 5 essential tips for sharing articles online
I am passionate about truth. Because it is only truth that is informative and useful, even if we don’t like it. Lies spread hate, anger and…
I am passionate about truth. Because it is only truth that is informative and useful, even if we don’t like it. Lies spread hate, anger and misinformation. They breed confusion. And right now, the internet full of hate, rage, anger, misinformation and confusion. Not just around the latest goings on in America, but around all warfare, politics, health, spiritualty and science. Everyone’s emotional reaction is being seen, and the truth lies threaded in, but mostly beneath it all, and sometimes goes unheard.
There has been a build-up of deep distrust created around traditional news reporting sites, however the articles we are sharing, like wildfire, are not necessarily the truth either — something written triggers an emotional reaction in us, something that pushes deep buttons and makes us feel, with urgency, that we need to share it and be validated in our own experience of the issue, whatever that is.
Please. Stop. And. Think. About. What. You. Are. Doing.
We need to see ourselves as the watchdogs of the Internet. Everything we share on the internet has an impact. Everything we say, do, think or feel has an energy that can either add to the mess of confusion, or create clarity. Please don’t be caught in sensational headlines and let them trigger you. I call this shock-posting. If you slow down and make a few checks before you react, you can make better choices and help clean up the Internet.
Here are some tips I think should become essential checklist that you use before you share articles and videos on any social media site.
1. Check the date of the article. How old is it? It could still be valid and true, but it is no longer sensational news, even though the headline is sensational. For example, we did lose a lot of talented creative people in 2016. But I saw many people shock-posting articles about people that had died in 2015, or even in 2014. You might not have been aware they died, but please get-off of the shock-posting bandwagon and check the date.
2. Check the source. Click-bait websites thrive on sensationalism, their articles are designed to go viral through shock-posting because they make money from advertising, based on the number of people that visit their site. If an article is jam packed full of advertising this probably means it is a click-bait website and probably less likely to be accurate report.
3. Read the original post. If you do like the article and the original author and link is given, follow that link and check the original before you post. How are you to know if this “repost” on the click bait has not been altered? Re-read the original to be sure that it is what you think it is.
4. Share the original post and not the click-bait. As a writer I believe that most other writers don’t write to sell advertising, they write because they have something to say that they want to be heard. So let’s share them, and give them the full credit for what they said, instead of their name as a footnote. It’s also easier to read an original article that is not littered by advertising!
5. Say why you are sharing it. This one is optional — when you share an article, state why you are sharing it. What was it about the article that touched you? Moved you? What is your call to action? Tell us why you think this person is saying what we need to hear, put it into context. Let’s have a conversation, let’s grow and educate each other.
If we all step away from shock-posting and become more discerning about what we share, click-bait sensational propaganda-type posts will wither away, and truth will prevail. And ask yourself before you share something that upsets you if sharing it is going to be useful or more upsetting.
If we take the time and think before we post, we will have conversations on social media instead of arguments. There will be education instead of anger and confusion, and new friendships made with understanding instead of people blocking each other out of fear and rage.
Just like in any relationship where we need to think before we act, we now need to think before we post. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this — please do leave a comment below.