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To share or not to share heart-wrenching photos

Joyce Walter looks at the good and bad of Facebook
Reflective Moments by Joyce Walter

Their photos are pathetic and heart-wrenching.

The photographic subjects are either elderly, grime-covered, or just a bit ugly on a scale of one to 10 with one being ugly and 10 being the top scale of ugly.

They admit they are not the most loveable looking, sometimes suggesting they are not the smartest puck on the ice, that perhaps they have outlived their usefulness.

And then the clincher: “I bet I don’t get one share.”

As one not entirely sure how Facebook works, or even why I want to be on there except to keep track of our younger family members, it is a mystery to me how and why some items are posted for all the world to see.

It is a great place to share recipes, some that work and others that don’t but one has to take a chance that the recipe doesn’t really have eggs as one would think. Facebook’s groups are also interesting, keeping us informed of coming events, reminding us via photos of days gone by, showing who has what for sale, and engaging interested parties in the news and gossip of the day.

Facebook has a mechanism that reminds friends to wish other friends Happy Birthday — it is indeed pleasant to receive that type of greeting. Facebook also has the ability to provide year-end reminders of what each member did during the past 12 months and conjures up photos as reminders. Scary, freaky, maybe, but still an amazing achievement of someone who knows considerably more than the average person.

Some of the Facebook friends I follow make a habit of posting giggles of the day, jokes that make us laugh at ourselves and with others of like mind. And they post self-help quotations and thought-provoking messages of hope and inspiration.

Unfortunately, Facebook is also a forum for political discussions among people who really aren’t that well-informed — some of whom have a very limited vocabulary and start and end most of their sentences with a four-letter word starting with the sixth letter of the alphabet. Maybe they missed most of their English and grammar lessons in school or were absent for classes on words of more than one syllable.

Those are the postings I zip over, figuring what is being discussed with such profane thought is definitely not a conversation in which my participation would be welcome. And I don’t share any of those conversations.

Nor will I share those heart-wrenching photos mentioned earlier — photos not of humans but of dogs, canines that have wandered into camera range of someone who insists on posting those photos in an attempt to shame and guilt Facebook users into sharing such photos.

I love dogs just as much as the next person, having had several dogs while growing up and wanting a pup in our marriage home. That pup eluded me for several practical reasons but the yearning for a dog at our address has not and will not entice me to share the photos of every pitiful looking animal posted on Facebook.

Did the dogs give their permission to be exploited this way? And if their photos are shared, how will they know and how will they react? Will they suddenly look less mournful, less pitiful, less grimy? Unlikely.

Perhaps it is time to read more books rather than trying to keep up with friends, family and strange dogs in this mystifying manner.

Joyce Walter can be reached at


The views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Moose Jaw Today, the Moose Jaw Express, its management, or its subsidiaries.

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