Facebook – Emotional Blackmail Chains

FB LogoI stirred up quite a lively discussion on Facebook this week when I stated my views about being asked to copy and paste posts that I see as being nothing short of emotional blackmail.

It usually goes something like this.

Certainly, in the most difficult moments of life you realize who are true friends or the people who really appreciate you . . .

. . . I decided to post this message in support of a very special person to me who fought till the end with firmness and energy. Who taught us how to live each day as if it were the most beautiful day! Who has filled the world with a beautiful smile and a sweet spirit . . .

. . . They all say, “if you need anything, don’t hesitate to call me, I’ll be there to help you”. So, I’m going to make a bet that most who saw this post (maybe even read all the way to the end) won’t, but I believe a select few of my friends will post this, to show their support for their family/friend who may be struggling.

You just have to copy (not share) and paste. I’d like to know who I can count on to take a minute out of their day and actually read my status. Then write “done” in the comments. Thank you.

The idea is that you feel rotten if you don’t support your friend by re-posting all of this, as they did when one of their friends posted it for them to see. You feel obliged to support your friend and their cause. If you fail, they might think less of you.

If you accede to their request by cutting and pasting the post into your own timeline, you are sustaining the chain. You are putting the same pressure on all of your own Facebook friends. That’s not a very friendly thing to do, is it?

Having grown weary of such posts and having ignored many of them, I decided to post the following on my own timeline.

Just so you, my friends, know, much as I do care about all the difficult moments in your lives and how you have been affected by serious illness and even bereavement among those who are very close to you, I do not go in for chain shares on Facebook. I would rather support you as best I can with my personal touch. I don’t believe that sharing your posts on FB really helps you too much. Public airing of our deepest, most personal problems is not the best way to go.

I hope that you understand.

So, I won’t be chaining on personal stuff.

Many people agreed with me. One very good friend kind of agreed with me, but pointed out that he believed that it was a good way for people to promote awareness of something that touches their hearts: a terrible disease or affliction. I can understand that point of view. However, for me, copying and pasting text that has been chained through thousands of Facebook pages is far too impersonal. If something means so much to me, affects me so deeply, I would rather pay my own tribute, public or private, in my own words. If I can help in any way, I will. It is because I really DO care, that I won’t copy and paste to sustain the chain and to put pressure onto my own friends.

This was my further response.

I do care and I do raise awareness. I write my own personal tributes to close friends who have been taken too early by terrible diseases or conditions.

To me, copying and pasting a chain share is not personal and it means less.

What I object to is being told that not copying and pasting shows that I am not a real friend or that I don’t care. That is emotional blackmail.

So it’s personal tributes in my own words for me. That shows how much I really care.

Now it’s your turn. Do you agree with my point of view? Or do you have another slant on this.

I hope that some of you respond and continue the debate.

About Lance Greenfield

Blog: lancegreenfield.wordpress.com email: lancegmitchell@outlook.com I published my debut novel in December 2014: Eleven Miles. My second novel went live in February 2016: Knitting Can Walk!
This entry was posted in facebook, Personal and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Facebook – Emotional Blackmail Chains

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Chaining was always a horrible idea, but fb makes it worse. Good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. drkottaway says:

    I think people want to feel that they are doing something, and copying and posting feel like doing something. But… what does it do? I don’t pass them on either, because I too dislike the message “I will know who is a good person/a true friend/you are someone who cares”. I’d rather post links to articles that I think DO handle difficult topics well, and also I am in the Rotary, so we meet weekly to work on projects for our community and internationally. There are many ways to contribute to each other and community.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ruth says:

    I don’t respond well to emotional blackmail either, so always ignore those chain type posts on facebook – they really do annoy me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mary Scarbrough Rodriguez says:

    I just posted this on my Facebook page – with absolutely no instructions or coercion to copy and paste! I really do hate emotional blackmail or manipulation in any way. The irony is, I’ll probably be “unfriended” by a few “real friends” because I posted this.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ken says:

    I never re-post anything! I have made the mistake of stating that I didn’t like the emotional blackmail repeats. That I cannot look at Facebook with out seeing at least every day.

    Boy, did that bring down a firestorm of angry responses. I will never do that again.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Toni Bunnell says:

    Thanks very much for posting this Lance. I agree with you totally x

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s