I read an alarming news story posted by somebody on Facebook about a spring snowstorm that was on its way.
“Eight inches, oh my gosh,” I thought. “I have to repost this.”
Everyone likes to share bad news.
It took about four seconds before someone wrote back, “Hey, dummy, that story is from last year.”
Damn it – fooled again. Aaargh, you people – and you know who you are – stop posting old news articles on Facebook that I assume are new and repost because, well, who the heck would post an old weather article?
Seriously, why do people do that, and how does it start? Is it Google? Do people overhear something about a storm coming and rush to Google for a confirming story only to get one from two years ago? If so, what the heck is wrong with Google? Why don’t they rank articles by date?
That must be how it begins because as horrible as some people can be I can’t see them intentionally posting an old article just to annoy or alarm people. Other than Donald Trump, I mean. Him I can see doing it just for fun. Or ISIS. Maybe that’s their way of spreading anger and disruption online. If they could cats would definitely do it just to amuse themselves. Cats are pure evil. It’s a known fact. I read that on Facebook once.
In any case, false or out of date posts are everyone’s biggest pet peeve about Facebook, even worse than people who incessantly post cute kittens photos or write things like “This is a test to find out if anyone reads my posts. Please respond with ONE word about how great I am.”
“The ones that get me are celebrity deaths – people who have been dead for years,” one Facebook friend wrote under my bogus weather post. “I saw one recently for Bob Denver.”
That’s the skinny guy who played Gilligan. He died in 2005.
Another friend wrote, “I just read Don Knotts died. I had to relive my grief for Barney Fife yet again!”
Knotts died in 2006. Can you imagine how hard it is on his relatives to see every few months that he’s died again?
Something has to be done about this but I’m not sure what.
I suppose we could institute harsh penalties, up to and including prison sentences. “What are you in for? “Murder and bank robbery.” “What about you?” “Posting an old article on Facebook.”
I could see that. But the jails are already so crowded.
Public shaming is probably our best bet. It worked with me. After my weather story gaffe, people were merciless in telling me I got it wrong and that I was posting old news.
“This just in: Columbus discovered a new world!” wrote one.
“You can add weather historian to your long list of accomplishments,” wrote another.
“Bob Denver… still dead.”
Yeah, OK, I deserved that.