Please Don’t Post THAT – Dealing with Disturbing Images on Social Media
“What breaks your heart? The warrior knows that her heartbreak is her map. It will lead her toward her purpose, her tribe.”
– Glennon Doyle Melton
Okay, I’m really torn about this, so I’m just throwing it out there in this blog to get some feedback from readers. I am very curious to hear how others feel about the practice of people sharing horrific photos on their FB page, or sending a tweet, for the purpose of raising awareness about an issue.
I was ground to a halt recently when I was scrolling through Facebook. I won’t share with you WHAT I saw other than to say that it involved cruelty to an animal. It was an absolutely horrible photograph and I could not get it out of my mind for days. I was shaken to the core.
Now I happen to know the people who posted this photo – and they are huge animal lovers! In fact, their comments below the photo stated how distraught and livid they were with what had happened to this animal. They had chosen to share the graphic image as a way to bring attention to the issue of cruelty to animals.
But here’s the thing: I already KNOW people are cruel to animals. The mistreatment of animals breaks my heart. I donate to multiple SPCA’s on a regular basis. So for me, did seeing that soul-shattering photograph of an abused animal help the plight of animals in any way?
Well, that’s the thing. I would like to say NO – it did not. But honestly, I’m not so sure. Because here I am writing about a blog about it, more than a week later.
I care deeply about the welfare and treatment of animals – domestic and wild. And quite frankly, maybe if I’d allowed myself to see a few more upsetting photographs over the years, perhaps the anger from seeing those images would have translated into me taking more action that might actually lead to change for the better?
But then get this: the day after I wrote the first draft of the above part of this blog, I was reading the Feb 2017 edition of O Magazine and came across an article that cut to the core of what’d been troubling me (talk about synchronicity!). Here’s an excerpt:
“Ask yourself: ‘What breaks your heart?’ At least once a day, I hear some version of this: ‘Oh, I can’t bear to look at that rescue dog. It breaks my heart…’ As if our hearts were meant to be returned to our maker in pristine condition! No, the heart is like any other muscle: it has to be worked, even ripped apart, in order to grow stronger. We must get familiar with heartbreak, become curious about it, because there we will find essential clues for solving the mystery of who we are intended to be.”
– Glennon Doyle Melton, “Hurts So Good,” O Magazine, Feb 2017
What breaks your heart? (and yes, it can be Trump-related)
What are your thoughts on the practice of sharing disturbing images on social media for the purpose of raising awareness about important causes?
If you see something that really upsets you, does your anger, frustration or compassion inspire you to take action in some way?
Related blogs by Maryanne
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.