Thursday, December 11, 2014

For we like sheep......

Look, I know y’all young and still learning stuff….. and I know I’ve said this before and I also know you’re not stupid…. but that’s kinda my point here.

If Instagram (or anyone really) said to you… “Go and wear a pink nightie and dance in the high street singing “I’m a chicken lover” - would you do it? - Probably not.

But what if they said “You have to do this… and you have to also tell all your friends that they must do it too otherwise their Instagram accounts will be deactivated” - Then you’d be like….. “Wait, this is wack, some muppet is posing as an Instagram official to make me do something pointless…."

You would say “If I go and do it, I will look silly. I’m cleverer than this… I don’t want to play into the hands of the idiot that first invented this stupid idea”. 

So yeah… that’s my pink nightie / chicken scenario…. do you see where I’m going with this?

Now look at this image that (some of) you guys are spreading around. It gives you instructions. Not to dance in the street, but to screenshot and then repost, and also to get everyone else to repost too. Does this look legit to you?

Well, if you didn’t want to look silly, and if you wanted to use your brain…. the first thing you would do would be to (surely) check the authenticity.

How would you do this?

1. Consider the message generally, does it seem plausible? - Is this likely to be a legitimate operating procedure of a multi-national company? Do you smell a rat?
2. Read the text in the post, does it make good sense? Does it have grammatical errors? (BTW, On first pass, I counted 27 errors in the one above)
3. Does the post contain references / website links? If so, have you checked them?
4. Google the phrase “Instagram spam hoax” etc. Check what people are saying online about various spams and scams floating round the web. It’s SO easy to do! Here’s a good place to start.

Guys, look at the cropping in the image, the words that are starting to bump off the page. Also notice that the quality of the text is beginning to artefact. These are common side effects in Instagram if you constantly re-generate screenshots to repost the same image in a chain of users. This perhaps means that lots of people are propagating…. (IE passing it on) - does this mean that folk are perhaps spreading this without using their brains? - Do you want to be one of these people?

Look, I wasn’t "born yesterday”…. (I was born in 1966 dudes!) - but actually, although I have age and wisdom, you youngsters are what is now often called “Digital Natives” - this means that you live and breath this information age - and have done so from birth. This must surely mean that you are quick to spot a turkey. Come on guys. Get with the programme!

You may not have been asked to dance in the… chicken… nightie….. whatever I said earlier….. but how silly does it make you look if you post chain-spam?

Many of you obviously don’t really care - and just post whatever comes your way…. but STOP! - If you’re not a fool… why not avoid looking like one! Spreading false rumours about stuff is damaging.. I grant you that this particular brand of stuff might not be really THAT damaging - but it belongs to the same family. It’s pointless.

Look, I hate bad evil stuff…. but actually I don’t ‘really’ hate pointless spam…. the thing that really annoys me especially is when people just follow other people without thinking. You’re better than this!

And don’t let me catch you saying things like “I know it’s fake but #justtobesafe”. I have a whole bigger rant for that one!

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