Why The Facebook Cartoon Pictures Make Me Want To Poke My Eye Out With A Fork

Why The Facebook Cartoon Pictures Make Me Want To Poke My Eye Out With A Fork

by Kerry Scott on 5 December 2010

Listen, people.  I need you to log on to Facebook and change your profile picture to a picture of…me.  Yeah, that’s it:  A PICTURE OF ME.  This is to raise awareness of  Crankypants Ranty Angry Person (CRAP) Syndrome, a little-known disease that causes totally mostly occasionally nice people like me to write blog posts that make all of their friends mad.  I hear that pretty much any random schmo can start these little memes, and I said to myself, “Hey!  I’m a random schmo!  Imma start a Facebook meme!”

Now, don’t go sending any money for research on CRAP Syndrome.  I’m not going to tell you anything about how to prevent it or what the symptoms are or anything like that.  No, we’re just raising “awareness” here (and we’ll ignore the irony that we’re raising “awareness” by making everyone go on Twitter and say, “What’s the deal with all of the profile pictures of some random pale chick on Facebook?”  Because like those breast cancer ones where you see a bunch of “I like it over the banister” posts, we don’t want people to be aware of our awareness).  Once you’re aware, there’s nothing you’re supposed to do.  Just be aware.  Or something.

Yeah.  This is an awesome idea.  There’s no chance this system was invented by some drunk moron who said, “I wonder if I can get a bunch of people on Facebook to do something.”  Nope.  This is really going to change the world.

See, this drives me crazy.  CRAZY.  So crazy that I’m writing this ranty post, which will offend 72% of my Facebook friends and has nothing to do with genealogy.

I get wanting to participate in fun memes.  I really do.  In fact, I’m a big fan of Rocky and Bullwinkle, and I’m sorely tempted to change my avatar to a picture of Frostbite Falls (if I could find one that wasn’t copyright protected).  But I’m not going to do it, because dammit, this does NOT help child abuse victims.  It makes their horrible circumstance into a cutsy internet meme, where we all reminisce about our great childhood memories of cartoons to raise “awareness” of people who have horrible childhood memories.    Am I the only one who thinks that’s ironic?  Are abused kids saying to themselves, “Gee, it sucks that my dad beat the crap out of me, but look at that awesome picture of Frostbite Falls!  Thank you, internet, for raising my awareness!”  Are abusive parents saying, “Okay, well, I was going to beat junior senseless tonight, but these pictures of Boris and Natasha have totally changed my mind!  Yay for awareness!”

No.  I don’t think so.  Although at least it’s not as bad as the one where we were raising “awareness” of breast cancer by saying what color our bras were.  Clue: If you’ve had a mastectomy, you need a special bra for your prosthesis, and it doesn’t come in all that many colors.  Breast cancer survivors were essentially excluded from the meme about breast cancer. What genius thought that one up?  Because my money’s on some teenage boy who wanted to see if he could get a bunch of women to talk about their bras.  Also, it took me two days to figure out what the hell people were talking about.  How does making sure people don’t know why you’re doing it raise “awareness?”  Am I in a parallel universe?  Does that REALLY make sense to anyone?


Want to help child abuse victims?  Here are some REAL things you can do:

  1. If you see something, speak up. Find out what’s going on.  Call the police.  Be the person who stuck up for the kid, because lots of people are not that person.  Abuse feeds on silence.
  2. Help somebody get a job. You know what makes some abusive people worse?  Financial trouble.  Nobody turns into a sweetheart when they’ve been unemployed for months and can’t put food on the table.  Help someone write a resume, get an interview, or figure out the online application system.  Give to a food bank.  Do something to alleviate the financial burden that millions of parents are experiencing this holiday season.
  3. Give parents a break. Offer to watch the kids for a while so the parent(s) can have a chance to get some stuff done.  Parents who are less stressed out are less likely to lash out at their kids.
  4. Reach out. Recognize that the holidays are particularly rough for child abuse survivors.  While you’re reminiscing about your holiday traditions or looking forward to flying home to see the folks, they…aren’t.  They have less pleasant holiday memories, and often they have no one to visit, because the folks back home are the people who abused them.  This is the time of year when they need their friends the most.  It kills me that the instructions of this meme say that we’re supposed to see “no human faces, but an invasion of memories.”  Aside from the fact that that word choice sounds a lot like those “I’m stranded in London at a conference I thought would be itch-free, so send me $2,271,” is this what abuse survivors need?  Memories instead of human companionship?  Doesn’t it make more sense that they need the opposite—human companionship to help quell the “invasion of memories?”  Whoever thinks these things up certainly doesn’t suffer from an irony deficiency.
  5. Get help. If you’re a parent who is struggling, there is help out there.  We’re lucky to live in the age of the internet, where we can find things with a few keystrokes.  Parenting is hard.  It’s okay to ask for help.  There is nothing wrong with needing help.
  6. Donate. Find a shelter in your area that gives abuse victims a safe place to run to, and find out what they need.  Then get it for them.  Maybe they just need you to change your Facebook profile picture…but I doubt it.

Want to raise awareness of breast cancer? That one’s even easier.  Instead of posting cryptic stuff like, “I like it over the kitchen table” or “Purple polka-dot,” try, “It’s the first of the month.  Have you done your breast self-exam?”  That’s awareness.  Stuff that ties breast cancer to tittering double entendres is not going to save anyone’s life.

I realize that people do these things for fun, and that I’m a total Debbie Downer party-pooper with a big mouth, and that you totally want to unfriend me now.  I don’t like preachy people either, and I always get mad at myself when I turn into one of them.  I just wish we wouldn’t tie light, frothy internet fun to serious stuff that kills people…and I’d wish we’d think about the real message we’re sending to our friends when we do stuff like this.  When we trivialize their problems, I think sometimes we make them feel unsupported and alone.  That sucks.  I wish we’d stop doing that.

We now return to you your regularly scheduled blog about dead people (who, incidentally, do not do anything on Facebook, which is one of the many reasons I love them so much).

Photo by AntToeKnee

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{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Shaz December 5, 2010 at 7:57 am

Good for you! I’m sick of the cartoons, too. My nieces and nephews are changing their profile daily if not more often, Even my 62-year-old brother is into it! My suggestion – GET A LIFE! Now if I could only get the nerve to send them a link to your post……


Heather W. Rojo December 5, 2010 at 8:14 am

Gee, don’t be mad at me! I changed to a cartoon character because it looked like fun! I didn’t even know it was a “cause”. I got a message with about a dozen little cartoon faces and thought I’d add one to it. I still think the change was fun for a few days, and that there are better ways to support “causes”.


Kerry Scott December 5, 2010 at 8:25 am

Oh, I’m not mad at anyone. I like all my Facebook friends (or I wouldn’t be Facebook friends with them). I’m just mad that people keep starting these memes, and at the message they send.


CorpDaycare December 5, 2010 at 8:19 am

Hmmm…I understand your point; however,…

if adding purple to an avatar starts a discussion on teen suicide with my 14-year daughter or changing my mug for a cartoon character brings about a chat on child abuse – then I think it’s a hell of an idea.

No one is pretending to solve the issue by doing this. I don’t believe that this act diminishes the problem anymore than wearing a poppy marginalizes the sacrifices of war veterans.

As for the “secret” postings (bras, handbags) – that I agree with you on. What’s the point if people don’t know what you are doing.

You also have to keep it in perspective that we are talking about Facebook here – a medium that offers hours of “entertainment” through Farmville.

Just my thoughts.


Kerry Scott December 5, 2010 at 8:25 am

I haven’t seen it bring on any chats about child abuse. In fact, so far, I’ve only seen a couple of *jokes* about child abuse, which…wow.

Poppies and purple ribbons are recognized symbols for those causes. Official organizations have agreed upon those symbols to raise awareness, and are working to ensure that people think immediately of those issues when they see those symbols. That effort…I get that.

But this isn’t that. Half the people doing this don’t even know what it’s for, and for the other half, it won’t matter, because next week it’ll be be a different thing. In fact, this particular meme would be a good way to raise awareness of copyright violations and the mistaken idea that everything on the web is free for the taking…but not child abuse.


kristin December 5, 2010 at 8:24 am

I agree. I think I will link to your post.


Susan December 5, 2010 at 8:40 am

Bravo, Kerry. Thanks for saying what I’ve been thinking.


Steve Boese December 5, 2010 at 9:31 am

Kerry – I am with you on this. I am not a big FB person, but I caught some idea of what was going on and the only thing I could think was the small collection of friends and family I am connected with on FB probably don’t need me making them ‘aware’ that child abuse is wrong, and is a problem. I more targeted, specific, and likely localized approach would to me be more important and valuable.


Susan December 5, 2010 at 9:39 am

I would change my avatar to a picture of you – in a flash.

No one is going to end child abuse as a Smurf on Facebook. It’s real, three-dimensional and hidden.


Debbie December 5, 2010 at 9:41 am

Agreed 100%. Especially about the dead people.


Suzanne Lucas December 5, 2010 at 9:42 am

I love you more and more every day. I loved you when you were writing about job hunting. I loved you when you switched to genealogy. And now I want to link to your blog on my facebook page.

I hate it when people think they are doing “something” but in reality they are doing nothing.


Colleen December 5, 2010 at 9:55 am

I enjoyed reading your post, even if I did change my FB picture to a cartoon character. In the scope of things you’re right. BUT you know what? If this FB meme made ONE PERSON think about child abuse prevention, then it’s worth it, no matter how true this post is (and it is very well thought out, written, and makes perfect sense). I’m a social worker who assesses child safety every day, and what you say about many parents needing a break is correct. I’ll take it a step further and say that overbearing stress — and financial stress is the biggest — can lead your June and Ward Cleaver type parents over the brink and cause havoc with child safety before they even know what happened. So my answer to your post is, BRAVO. But it is also, there is no harm in creating something fun on FB and asking people to think about a cause at the same time. Perhaps without the meme people wouldn’t think about it so there IS something to be gained by it. :).


Suzanne Lucas December 5, 2010 at 10:38 am

Colleen, I have to disagree on the whole “if one child is saved it’s worth it” thing. Sure, it sounds good in theory, but no one actually believes that. It would save a lot of children’s lives if we lowered the speed limit to 15 mph, for instance. We don’t because people value speedy travel.

I just don’t see how posting cartoon pictures will help any child. The person doing the abusing isn’t going to see Wonder Woman and go, “Oh! I just now realized, I shouldn’t abuse my child!” Either they already know it’s wrong and do it anyway, or they think it’s not wrong.

I think it actually endangers children’s lives because people think they are “doing something” for child abuse, when in reality, they have done nothing. So, now their conscience is all happy because they’ve “done something” and in reality, they are less likely to “do something” in the future because they are busy patting themselves on the back for what they’ve done.


Susan Tiner December 5, 2010 at 10:43 am

Thanks for speaking up Kerry!


Kari Quaas December 5, 2010 at 10:54 am

Thanks for being real, Kerry. Guess I’m in the 30% you didn’t make mad. Sad stuff happens and it should be addressed in an open, honest way. Let people share their hurts, joys too. We’ll all be better humans for it.


Erica December 5, 2010 at 11:16 am

Took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you.


Elyse Doerflinger December 5, 2010 at 11:16 am


(Disclosure: I did the bra one, but not to raise breast cancer awareness. I did it to watch my boyfriend and guy friends wonder what the hell “purple polka dot” meant. It was hilarious to watch them squirm).

I must admit that I had no idea that prosthetic breasts required a special bra. I just assumed that you could wear a normal bra, just as people with prosthetic legs can wear normal pants, shorts, etc and people with prosthetic arms can wear normal shirts. I am also shocked that there are only so many colors to choose from. Sounds like something a business should jump onto…

Causes about children always get to me more than anything else. I am a firm believer in standing up for children – and that means creating more programs that actually support parents (rather than create a beauracracy of bull$!%#… but that is another story). It also means fixing our incredibly broken foster care system, because for every 1 amazing foster family, there are at least 5 who are horrible. I knew a girl in high school who REFUSED to stand up to her dad that abused her simply because she was terrified of what a foster family would hold for her. She said that she could handle the abuse her dad sent her way, but couldn’t handle living in a foster home and being “kicked out” on her 18th birthday. Oh, and when I am Queen of the World, I will also be making programs that help foster kids survive until they are on their feet by financially supporting them while they go to college, the military, or a trade school, so that way, they aren’t homeless on their 18th birthday. The sad thing is, that girl who was abused in high school, now couch surfs.


Jill December 5, 2010 at 11:35 am

Thank you Kerry – I posted this to my facebook page.


Colleen December 5, 2010 at 11:40 am

Susan, I didn’t say it might make an abusing or potentially abusing person to see the meme and stop. I said maybe it might make ONE PERSON stop and think about child abuse prevention. That one person who sees the avatar is not likely to be the abuser, but it might be your neighbor, your teacher, anybody.

There’s a little problem in one of Kerry’s suggestions: She said “You know what makes some abusive people worse? Financial Trouble…”. The problem with this is that financial trouble IS one of the biggest contributing factors to child abuse from anyone, NOT just from people who are already abusive. My last job was as a family therapist working with parents who’d been charged with child abuse. And while most of them were on drugs, I had MANY parents just like you and just like me who’d succumbed to the stress of financial doom make one very bad, horrible mistake just one time and BOOM. Life changed for them forever. You may not believe this, but some of them were very good parents.

The other problem with negating the argument of “if one person thinks about this maybe it will be prevented ” is that the people doing the negating of that statement SOMETIMES are only referring to the abusers. I am referring to anyone. If YOU saw the character, learned it was hoping to raise awareness for child abuse prevention, googled “Child Abuse Prevention”, and learned that financial stress is among the highest risk factors that lead to child abuse, PERHAPS you might recognize a friend, a neighbor, a lady on the street with kids who is in financial doom. And perhaps then you could help alleviate that stress by providing a food basket, or better yet, helping that person find a resource in the community that can help them alleviate some of the stress on a consistent basis. And by referring that person to a family support program in your community you might just have prevented child abuse. THAT is the hope for memes like this one: To help the general public understand the signs of the problem so if they SEE those signs in someone else, they might be able to help before it’s too late. The only problem with these memes is that sometimes we change the avatar to raise awareness without posting information about the issue, and therefore we get those who follow along without the benefit of the information. And I aim to fix that problem right now :).


Kerry Scott December 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I think what you’re saying, Colleen, is that these things are good if they spur real discussions about issues. On that I agree with you 100%.

And I also agree that child abusers aren’t all clearly Horrible Monster People. Sometimes they’re regular people who go through a tough time and don’t have the support to cope with it…so they eventually snap. My concern is that these flippant memes make it harder for those good people who need support to find the courage to reach out and ask their friends for help, because their friends are putting up avatars of Homer Simpson choking Bart, or making jokes, or talking about how they’d like to shoot all child abusers (all of which I’ve seen this weekend). People need to think before they say and do stupid stuff like that.

On the whole, though, I hear what you’re saying (and unlike me, you’re actually doing something to stop child abuse daily…so rock on).


Sheri Fenley December 5, 2010 at 11:44 am

You have now earned a place of honor out here in the land of fruits and nuts convent. I dub you Sista Mouthastasia. Thanks for being a voice of reason without resorting to “holier than thou” uppitiness that come across in a few other bloggers out there. Your words surely have alot of people smacking their heads and saying, “Kerry is right, what was I thinking.”


Kerry Scott December 5, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Oh my goodness. I always wanted to be a Sista.

I’m off to make my Sista Mouthastasia sash. There’s a sash, right?


Suzanne Lucas December 5, 2010 at 11:58 am


All the stuff you wrote is great and helpful, but the meme is not great or helpful. It didn’t tell me that financial stress was a leading factor in child abuse, Kerry did. The meme doesn’t say how to think about child abuse, what to do about child abuse or anything similar. It doesn’t give warning signs that an outside person might pick up on. It doesn’t give information on causes. It makes people think they are “aware” but it doesn’t give ANY Information to increase awareness other than “hey, you, child abuse occurs!”

Last month, I had several friends posting things to raise diabetes awareness. They didn’t write, “Change your picture to your favorite high carb food to help make everyone aware of diabetes!” Instead, they wrote about causes, treatments, how it felt to be the parent of a diabetic child, and what their child goes through. That actually did raise my awareness level, as I haven’t ever had direct dealings with type 1 diabetes.

If the meme had said to “Change your picture to a cartoon character to help raise awareness of child abuse. Remember that [fact one] and you [can do x] when you see fact one!” That would be helpful. That would raise actual “awareness” (whatever that means). Otherwise, I already knew child abuse occurred and so did everyone else.


Arwen December 6, 2010 at 10:07 am

I wonder, would Kerry have posted this awesome rantif it hadn’t been for the cartoon avatars? Would any of us be discussing child abuse prevention if it wasn’t for these stupid cartoon’s? Thank you Kerry for the awesme post. I will be sure to share it.


S December 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Well in England it is to raise money for the NSPCC, which is one of the biggest children’s charity organizations in the UK. I think it is a good idea to remind people of the charity and make people want to find out what they do. It looks to me like the americans have caught on without actually thinking about why they are doing it! (I assume you are american?)


Kerry Scott December 5, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I am American, yes. Raising money is good. I haven’t seen anyone doing that here (all of my Facebook friends are American or Canadian).


Greta Koehl December 5, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Thank you, Kerry. I have refused all of these “change your profile picture” memes – because I’m lazy. My husband and I have long been “crankypants” voices, because we have always felt that “raising awareness” is non-starter if it doesn’t point you in the direction of constructive action. “Raising awareness” should consist of: “Here is the problem. Here is how it is affecting people. Here is what you can do if you want to help.” One day my then teenaged daughter came home from a day at school spent in awareness-raising activities: “I’m sick and tired of this c#%p. Everyone spends all their time mouthing platitudes and not a minute doing anything useful.” Just call us the Crankypants Family. (Full confession: My husband did admit that he was tempted to change his Facebook profile picture to Eric Cartman.)


Kelly O December 5, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I have to share this one on Facebook, because the whole thing annoys the CRAP out of me. And any time I say something about it on Facebook while the memes are going on, I am clearly the bastard love child of the Grinch and Leona Helmsley for not wanting to “have fun” and/or not “getting it.”


Cynthia Shenette December 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Thank you for posting this Kerry. I noticed people were changing their facebook pictures to cartoons, but I didn’t know why. For all I knew it could have been copyright/trademark violation weekend. So much for the awareness part of the activity. It was definately lost on me…


richw9090 December 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I wish people would stop with the “meme” stuff. What a totally useless concept. Dawkins did us no favor with that one. A meme is an idea, nothing more nothing less. It has no existence outside of the human mind. The word “idea” adequately covers the concept, and “meme” adds nothing to our understanding.

If raising awareness was so futile, as Suzanee claims, then hundreds of non-profit charities are wasting millions of dollars annually with all the campaigns they do to raise awareness. Advertizing wouldn’t work, and groups like RADD amd MADD would be out of business.Raising awareness is the first step in most fundraising efforts, and a crucial first step.



Kerry Scott December 6, 2010 at 7:30 am

Raising awareness isn’t futile, provided it’s part of an organized effort, with consistent messaging and call to action. This is some drunk high school kid with a tenuous grasp of English who is trying to see if he can get people on Facebook to do something and maybe be on the news.


Aida N December 5, 2010 at 8:55 pm

I think I love you – lol
I saw all those cartoons and thought WTF? Then someone finally had the brains to say why they changed their profile pic in their status (most did not say why) and I just thought “how stupid!”. I just didn’t see how using a cartoon pic as my profile would do any good at all. So yea, I’m totally with you on that.


Liz December 5, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Why are you all even having such a long discussion about this, why can’t you all see this as the fun it is/could be. The fact that some people have placed a cause onto it, can be like Colleen says and maybe make people talk about child abuse and make people more aware. Otherwise why can’t it just be taken in the fun it is, why are there people out there who have to then go out and out the whole peodophile spin onto it. I rarely take part in any of these ‘games’ but this time i saw all the old cartoon characters and remembered my childhood which put a smile on MY face, and decided that i was going to join in, this was before i saw that it was to raise awareness for child abuse. Even so, i would still have done it because it was something FUN to do and is/was not hurting anyone. Come on people, let’s worry about REAL things that are going on in the world that are hurting people rather that what people put on their face book profile image.!


Kerry Scott December 6, 2010 at 7:35 am

I agree with you that there are worse things going on in the world than this.

I disagree that it’s not hurting anyone. I think there are two groups being hurt:

1. The people who own the images you are stealing. Those photos are copyrighted. If you’re using a photo you got on the internet of a commercial cartoon character, you’re stealing. This reinforces the idea that everything on the internet is free for the taking.

2. The people who have suffered from real child abuse, who are watching their friends make it into a kind of a joke. Some of those people now feel isolated and alone, and feel that they can’t talk to their friends about this issues because they seem to think it’s no big deal. I am stunned at how many people found this post last night by googling some variation of “cartoons showing beating kids.” It’s not a joke.

Fun? Sure. Harmless? I don’t think so. I don’t think anyone MEANT any harm, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any.


Summaiyah December 6, 2010 at 7:31 am

I agree with your frustration. I blogged about it yesterday afternoon myself.


Harold Henderson December 6, 2010 at 7:46 am

Thanks, Kerry. I knew there was something haywire about this, but I was too busy researching dead people (NOT TRUE: HE WAS WATCHING LARGE VIOLENT MAN SLAM EACH OTHER TO THE GROUND ON TV) to figure out what it was.


Kerry Scott December 6, 2010 at 7:54 am

HA! Last night I was reading Family Tree Magazine/watching grotesquely Botoxed “housewives” from Beverly Hills snipe at each other.

Clearly we’re seriously scholars.


Yvonne December 6, 2010 at 8:21 am

Bravo, Kerry!!!!


Lynn Palermo December 6, 2010 at 8:46 am

Well said Kerry, you can be my friend!


Cynthia Balzomo December 6, 2010 at 10:32 am

Of course this falls under the perameters of the Ribbons and poppys. the only reason why they are reconized syombles is because we have been told they are. I wonder how many people even know why a Poppy? Which is really important but even if they don’t it doesn’t take from the value.

Second, no it may not do anything for child abuse directly and very likly it was created by people seeing how many people would do it, but there is one thing to keep in mind. If someone being abused does log on to facebook and knows what the cartton thing is about, which is far more likely then this article gives people credit for, then at least they know that they are not alone, they knowthat people do care. That is what the ribbons and the poppys are really saying, that there are others and when you feel all alone someone through a ribbon or whatever is a sign, a reaching out into their world. Call me a sentimental fool, but I know first hand how powerful this sign is, I know how much empowerment it can give someone and that is far more important and worth more than any amount of money.


Rebecca December 6, 2010 at 10:56 am

1. This post is awesome.
2. I think the Facebook thing is dumb, too, and haven’t changed my photo.
3. I’m posting a link to your post on Facebook instead of changing my photo.


JLS December 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Thank you for this blog post. This “campaign” has annoyed me to no end, but I didn’t have enough patience to blog about it.


ginger_wookey December 6, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Hi Kerry

I think this article says everything i have been muttering about for the last few weeks, and I have posted a link on my FB page I hope you don’t mind.

It’s actually rather nice to see the cartoon pics, as one of the other posters said it made me smile to remember childhood viewing. BUT, I 100% agree that awareness without anything practical to do to prevent the issue is pointless and possibly damaging. I posted a link to the NSPCC’s donations page instead at the weekend, and so far I don’t think anyone has clicked through and donated £2 (my suggested donation, as I said “if everyone who has a cartoon profile reposts this link and donates £2 we will raise a shedload of money to help needy children”) I think that says how much awareness has bee raised in the UK by this meme.

Great post, and I will visit your blog again!


susan December 6, 2010 at 6:54 pm

hallelujah!! thanks for taking time out from Farmville (not!!) to voice such insight!! you’ve got my vote.


La Girl December 6, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I was a victim of child abuse, actually childhood sexual abuse, and I participated in the meme.

I didn’t see it as trivializing victims, or anything. I saw it as a chance to remember something happy about my childhood. The fact that it has turned into so many people saying it was a stupid idea bothers me way more than the game itself. For some of us, it made us feel like people know the abuse exists. It actually made me smile to see so many people remembering their favorite shows…I had forgotten about some of them, and I remember that my escape from the horror was the humor and fun that these cartoons provided.

Thank you to Colleen for stating her opinion, and thank you Kerry for this post.


Christina December 7, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I saw on the nightly news that the whole meme about posting the cartoons to raise awareness about child abuse was started by some pedophiles. They thought that kids would be more likely to accept their ‘friend requests’ if they saw a cartoon picture instead of the real person, and that if everyone was using cartoon pics then the children wouldn’t think it was odd for someone to have it as their profile pic. And by gosh, most of the facebook world fell right into their ploy!


Kerry Scott December 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm

In fairness, Snopes and other reliable sources have come out and said that the pedophile angle isn’t true.

But the whole episode does illustrate the fact that if you’re going to participate in something online, it’s a good idea to find out the back story first.


Christina December 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm

thats a relief!


Elizabeth O'Neal December 10, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I don’t have much to add to what the others have said except, “Hear, hear.”


Yvonne December 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm

Just curious, Kerry, is this an all-time high comment post? You hit a nerve! Good job!


Kerry Scott December 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Oh no—in the old days of my blog, I used to get a lot more comments. Job hunting is a more popular topic than genealogy.


Martin December 11, 2010 at 9:35 am

One answer is to not participate in Facebook. Don’t be a lemming. Be a lion.


George Farris January 3, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Kerry, certainly Martin Hollick beat me to the suggestion with his pithy comment, “Don’t be a lemming, be a lion.” You seem to have a pretty full life as it is. Why worry about Facebook? Think of all the research you might accomplish if you just withdrew. You can do it, be one of the 6,391,254,028 humans who aren’t on Facebook!

Capitol regards,
George, in DC


Kerry Scott January 3, 2011 at 4:59 pm

But I didn’t join Facebook for Facebook. I joined it for the people. I’m connected to people I like, and I value the relationships.

There are people who annoy me over the phone, but I’m not planning to cancel my phone service. I get way more good phone calls than bad ones.

I know people who write nasty letters or send junk mail. I’m not planning to remove the mailbox from my house.

Facebook is a communication tool. It’s not to blame for the behavior of humans any more than the phone or the mailbox. Facebook didn’t start this meme; people did. My message is for people.

I value the relationships with the people I’m connected to, and Facebook is a tool for me to interact with them (just like my telephone, my email, my mailbox, my blog, etc.). That’s why I’m there.


George Farris January 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Ouch! But, well-put given your goal. Given the number of e-mail in my inbox I routinely seek ways to reduce additional interaction. Of course, subscribing to “Clue Wagon” has proven for me to be a notable and pleasant exception. Keep-up the good work.

Capitol regards,
George, in DC


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