Five Facebook Memes That Just Won't Go Away
What is a Facebook Meme?
By definition a meme is simply a concept that spreads from person to person via the Internet.
(see definition here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_meme)
Those crazy pictures and quotes you see getting passed around Facebook day in and day out.
Most of the time the quotes are misquoted and the pictures don't match the words. A lot of times you'll see things quoted with a picture of a person, the problem is the person shown didn't say the quote they're being credited with.
Sometimes it's a just fun picture with no real purpose ~ like the popular Grumpy Cat photos or the Ryan Gosling photos with made up quotes on them.
Sometimes it's a "pass this on or XYZ will happen" attached to a random photo - these seem to be the newest version of old fashioned chain-mail. I remember when I was in elementary school crazy things like this were handwritten and passed around. (And now I feel old....) and then in the late 1990's they moved up a bit to e-mail forwarding, and nowadays it seems they just get shared on Facebook 10,000 times a day.
Rumors and gossip get passed around Facebook faster than germs in a Kindergarten classroom.
featured image here at the top of the page is a screenshot of my own Facebook timeline
Share This Or You Shall Die In Three Days
(or you shall lose all your hair, fall into a black hole, get lost in the woods, etc..)
One that springs to mind is the ghost teen who haunts her attackers and seeks revenge on anyone who doesn't share her story, usually called They Hurt Her but sometimes titled as They Pushed Her...
(If you haven't seen this meme recently, you can find a synopsis at Snopes about it; http://www.snopes.com/horrors/ghosts/winstead.asp)
This one just keeps on going and going. The story is a fascinating one and often provokes thoughtful discussions about bullying and mean girls, so on and so forth. However, the story is entirely fiction.
While it makes for a great short story or the lead in to an episode of Pretty Little Liars, it's not something that actually happened. Researchers looked and looked, and they looked some more. No adolescent girl died in the manner described within the timeframe described. They even looked back a few years further - still nothing.
The same is the case with pretty much all of the "do this or you shall die" type of memes on Facebook. No one has ever died from not sharing a post or photo.
The chain letter part comes into play at the end of the story when they tell you that you must share the story with a quote on your timeline or you shall die at the hands of the angry ghost girl who was pushed into a sewer.
"Official Warnings" for Public Safety
98% of them are false, fake, and just causing problems...
These seem to crop up in batches of crazy chaos, more and more of them every day. "Official warnings" to protect yourself, to protect your family, to stay safe. While these are often re-posted and shared with good intentions, the truth is they lead people to do things they shouldn't do in a real emergency situation.
One that springs to mind is the "If You're Being Robbed at an ATM, Enter Your Pin Backwards to Alert Police" .... (read wording examples and variations over at Snopes http://www.snopes.com/business/bank/pinalert.asp)
I actually still see this one pop up in my newsfeed once in awhile. *sigh* This is not true and doing this when a violent person is assaulting you for money at an ATM could actually put you in additional danger.
Yes, there was once a guy who thought this might be a nice feature to put in place - it was never installed or adopted because there weren't enough ways to make it work properly 100% of the time. Many proposals have come and gone about this reverse PIN entering system - so far none have passed successfully, but with technological advancements being what they are these days I'm sure at some point the technology could be improved and put in place.
Even if the technology was there to do this - the banking industry isn't interested. By the time the police arrived on scene the incident would be over and the assailant would be long gone. Banking establishments stand firm that security cameras are far more valuable than a backwards pin number. (And I agree with that...the camera can identify the attacker and in many cases knowing the cameras are there and behind break-proof glass serves as a crime deterrent)
Grumpy Cat Being Grumpy
Grumpy Cat is Nonplussed With Your Internet Mememery
Okay, so I don't really mind this one so much. But those first two memes we talked about up above were just plain depressing and sad, so we needed a little grumpy cat here to liven things up.
Grumpy Cat is one of those memes that's just fun and doesn't serve any real purpose. It's the heart and soul of Facebook - wasting time for the sake of time wasting, taking a moment in the middle of the lunch hour to smile and laugh at something (or not) and just stop being so serious all the darn time.
Can't get enough Grumpy Cat?
Follow her on Facebook; www.facebook.com/TheOfficialGrumpyCat
and check out the blog; GrumpyCats.com
Grumpy Cat + Harlem Shake = Meme Madness
Your Food is Going to Kill You
(or your dish soap, or your lipstick, or some other consumable item)
If you see a picture of something you buy or use often and it has a big red X through it, your first instinct is to stop and see what the heck is going on. You're usually better off scrolling right past it because Facebook is packed full of false information about food, cleaning products, cosmetics, and more....
As an example, one that I remember seeing a few times was that ramen noodles are wax coated with the stuff that makes up styrofoam and will eventually poison you and kill you slowly. (in some cases they say that the wax leaches from the container of microwave instant noodle) Don't panic, it's not even a tiny bit true. Even though they aren't the healthiest food in the grocery store, there is no wax on your instant ramen noodles and our college student population is not in any immediate danger of death by wax poisoning.
There have been crazy stories floating around about fried rats and chicken heads for years now as well. None of them were ever proven to be true. - KFC still serves chicken and not cloned and mutated animals.... for now anyway.
In case you were wondering, no little boys were harmed or killed by drinking soda with a mouth full of Pop Rocks candy (and neither was I.... I love Pop Rocks!)
All that said - sometimes the food and product warnings are real ones
- Cadbury really did recall some of their chocolate eggs distributed in Canada back in 2006 because plastic bits got into the batch. (http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/cadbury.asp)
- Some prepackaged salads really did have e-coli (http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/salad.asp)
- CapriSun drink pouches can ferment and get all gross (http://www.snopes.com/food/warnings/caprisun.asp)
If something pops up in your Facebook feed that you want to know about - search for a reliable and trusted news source to verify the information before you take it seriously or pass it on to others. When in doubt, check sites like Snopes or your favorite local news resources.
Get This Really Shiny Expensive Thing FREE After 50kazillion People Like Our Page!
Because, yeah, people give away iPads 10 times a day for no reason....
I see a ridiculous number of these every time I visit Facebook. If I can see that a person has really shared and commented, and that they're doing these weird things often, I have started hiding that person from my regular newsfeed so I don't get flooded with their crazy freebie posts that are never going to actually come.
If the supposed giveaway asks you to fill out a short survey, close the tab and run away. Many of these survey for entry to win an iPad or iPhone are people promoting a page where they get paid some amount of money every time someone fills out the survey. If a giveaway asks you to click on anything that looks suspicious or is worded strangely, close the tab and run away fast.
A lot of these imaginary promotions say they'll give away $5,000 cash (or 10 iPads, or 10 whatever) when their page reaches some astronomical number of likes and fans. The page never reaches that crazy number so no prize is provided. Usually they tell you're entered just for sharing the photo and caption... (which by the way is completely against Facebook's TOS in regards to running a contest)
Again, that's not to say that there are no real giveaways. Some giveaways are real true contests and promotions by real companies.
Use your best judgement and common sense when entering contests and giveaways on Facebook. Don't be so quick to hit the share button, and double check sources before you enter your information into a form for anything.