Facebook, Stop Breaking My Heart!

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Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook.  I love being able to see all the images of snow from my northern family and looking at pics of my high school buddies and their kids and saying, “Look how big they’re getting!” (Sometimes referring to the parents more than the kids.) But I hate the bombardment of targeted advertising trying to get me to buy the same sweater I just purchased online the day before (it was a gift! I’m not really into women’s cardigans!).  And I have to hide certain people when election season rolls around.

Needless to say, while Facebook is great at keeping me in touch with old friends and long-distance family, it’s not all sunshine and roses. And sometimes, the hard stuff hits you when you least expect it.  Twice in the past two weeks, I’ve stumbled across a truly heartbreaking video that has had me weeping openly from behind my desk.  Not heartwarming videos, though those (like the Garth Brooks/cancer survivor vid) also have a tendency to make me cry. No, these two videos were heartbreaking. Several minutes of pure sadness with no happy ending.

The first caught me by complete surprise. An old camp friend posted a video titled something like “Humans are cruel—see how much more compassionate animals can be”. That’s not the exact title, but just like I don’t plan to link this horrible video in this post, I won’t be googling it to find the proper name.  Look it up if you want, but I’d advise you not to.

The video starts out showing a dog rescuing his canine pal from a busy highway after a traffic accident. Then, it turns graphic as it shows a small girl getting repeatedly run over by cars on a Japanese street while nearby pedestrians do their best to look the other way.  Yes, it actually shows the girl’s death. Like an idiot, I watched the video all the way through—at a certain point, I expected a happy ending to save the day, but it never came.  Now, I can’t unsee those images.

The second Facebook video that broke my heart wasn’t as graphic and is being shared a bit more widely: it’s this video about a man, days after losing his wife, singing to his dying baby.  I know some people could argue that this is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking, but that isn’t how I see it. As a father and husband, this is perhaps the most tragic story I’ve read in years, and the video wrecked me.

Can we just make a rule that only uplifting articles go on Facebook?  If you want to post about dead toddlers and dying babies, go ahead and start the most depressing blog known to man and keep that stuff there.  Sadly, I already have enough friends fighting cancer, losing loved ones and encountering hardship in their own lives that my Facebook feed isn’t without tragedy and trauma. I don’t think we need to bring any in from outside of our circle.  Let CNN.com cover those stories.

In the least, can we maybe come up with a tag that will identify super sad videos so they can be filtered out?  How about using a hashtag like #thiswillruinyourday or attaching an icon depicting a person’s heart being ripped from his/her chest?

Help me get back to a time when the most depressing thing I chose to look at online was my bank account. Is that too much to ask?