Imagine that on Facebook, a “friend” you don’t know at all writes a post that says, “I love pretty daffodils!” alongside a picture of a daffodil. A really pretty daffodil.
You “like” it, or “love” it, and reply “Me too!” without even thinking much about it.
Because who doesn’t love daffodils?
You never thought about it before, but you do love daffodils! They’re like little bursts of sunshine in the garden. Their vibrant yellow petals just scream happiness and joy. Picture this: a field filled with these lovely flowers, swaying gently in the breeze, their delicate trumpet-shaped blooms reaching towards the sky. They have this enchanting fragrance that tickles your senses and makes you feel alive. And let’s not forget about their graceful green stems that hold them upright, like nature’s own little cheerleaders. Daffodils are pretty because they bring warmth and beauty to any space they grace, reminding you that spring is here and brighter days are ahead. And a picture of pretty daffodils in the dead of a rainy winter reminds you that spring is coming, someday, not so far in the future, so you should just wait out the rainy winter and things will get better.
You’re having a pretty bad day, and then someone you really don’t even know — someone on Facebook who friended you a long time ago, you don’t remember why — someone puts up a picture of a daffodil, just to brighten up your day and everyone’s day, just to bring a little sunshine into everyone’s life with a little gesture. It makes you feel a little better about life.
Probably this friend you don’t really know would get a hundred likes, because her post brightened everyone’s day. You don’t think about it, you don’t check back on the post later to see what people are saying. You don’t even remember it by the end of the day, but you feel a little happier.
Then this Facebook friend you don’t know edits the post and changes it to say, “I think we should defund the Jew-funded police” or “I would never hire a Black person to work for me!” and she adds some kind of horrible racist caricature.
All the likes and loves and supportive comments, including yours, would still be there, except now it looks like you are a terrible racist, rather than a nice person who loves flowers, especially daffodils. Your comment, “Me too!” now has an entirely different meaning. You’ve said on social media that you would never hire a Black person, or that you hate Jews.
Your boss might see it, because a co-worker of yours who doesn’t like you took a screen-shot of the post and sent it to HR. Or a co-worker of yours who doesn’t like you sends it to Fox News (if the post is about hating Jews) or to CNBC (if the post is about hating Black people), and then all of America wakes up to internet headlines and cable news anchors screaming, “Why is a Compliance officer at the Fiduciary Advisors Group endorsing racist Facebook posts?”
What would you say, how would you explain it?
Even if you do manage to clear your name — you can show that the post was edited, after all, but not before CNBC or Fox News has smeared you for an entire 24-hour news cycle — your boss will say, “Why do you spend your time fucking around on social media? It shows a real lack of judgment.”
Because according to your boss, if something shitty happened to you, it’s because you didn’t take the necessary steps to prevent that shitty thing from happening to you.
“I never spend time fucking around social media, because I know this kind of thing happens,” your boss says, “and putting yourself in that kind of position shows a real lack of judgment.”
And who would want someone like that working on their team? is the unspoken corollary.
You object: “I just wanted to say that I love pretty daffodils.” Your voice cracks a little bit; you’re thinking about your current predicament, sure, but you also remember the prettiness of the daffodils, which still moves you.
Your boss is busy and tells you the meeting is over, and advises you to show better judgment next time.
Nothing will ever be the same, even if you do manage to keep your job.
You go back on the web and look up this Facebook friend to try to ask why she did this, but her profile is gone, and when you ask people from your high school about her, no one knows what you’re talking about. You never knew her in the first place, she was just someone whose profile said she went to your high school and graduated your year, but maybe she made all of that up.
Something new to worry about.
Content by Oblivioni. Image by Kareni / Pixabay.