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You might remember the story I recalled about working part-time as a manure wrangler at a garden center in New York between flights to Europe. I did whatever was necessary including watering plants, working the cash register and sweeping. However, carrying 20 pound bags of animal manure on my shoulders out to the car was a big part of the job in the spring.

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When people asked me which was better, sheep shit or cow shit, I always replied, “Well, it’s a matter of taste.” And as far as I’m concerned, what you post on any social media outlet usually amounts to taste.

Or lack thereof.

I read an interesting account months ago on the Huffington Post about Facebook censoring which led me to another search…and another article and yet another. This led me to a blog post that I found disturbing, yet it put things into perspective. It was about the hundreds of people employed to look at FB violations reports. It seems that part of the problem is that one man’s violation is another man’s art. One’s sense of civic duty is another’s senseless display of violence.

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What is offensive? How much is enough? And who the flying hell really cares? Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen some really crappy stuff posted on FB. Some of it is simply tasteless. Some of it hurts. I hate it. But I have yet to turn anyone in to Facebook for posting photos or statements that are personally offensive to me. I simply move on and try to get the horrifying image out of my head.

On the other hand, I was once turned in to FB for posting that “Beans should be boiled for 10 to 15 minutes after soaking for at least 8 hours before serving to birds.”

No. I am not kidding.

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What I posted happens to be the truth.  But there was no telling that to someone who PMd me and informed me that what I posted was essentially “dangerous and that I was killing birds.”  The actual thread is waaay long, so I’ll just cut to the chase:

Here is what was sent to me in part:

“Cooking kidney beans for only 15 mins is dangerous. They need 45 – 60 mins cooking, or the can KILL.Please look this up. I’ve reported your post as it may be lethal to other birdowners, I’m sorry to have done so, but I hope it might save a life.No harm meant to you, I know your intentions are good, but hope you know where I’m coming from.”

I responded by sighting link after link after link of information from respected websites that supported my information; about 8 or 9 in all. I asked if they needed more references  that my information was correct and accurate because I’d be more than happy to provide it if my sources were inadequate.  They responded with:

“Anyway, I contacted you by PM because I’m tired of the lies and arguments, & just wanted you to know the truth.i apologise that that, too, was wrong. Let me kill myself right now…”  

Oh, please don’t.

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They reported me to Facebook? Over beans? And they were wrong, which they admitted? I couldn’t believe it.

After stating they were going to kill themselves, they went off about some rant about GMOs that had absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand. (In hindsight, I probably should have reported her for threatening to commit suicide. If you can’t beat them, join them…)

Good God…

Facebook is dealing with far heavier and more serious things than beans. Trust me.

Unfortunately this complaint hit a queue that probably blew another legitimate, far  more serious issue way down on the list. So let’s see what could have been displaced due to my supposed lack of  “due diligence” regarding my bean facts that were in reality, completely factual.

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Could be some poor little kid had photos of her posted on FB by some creepazoid. She’s scared to death about it and she’s too afraid to tell her parents.

Could be that some teenager is feeling threatened by some posts from someone in school who is threatening to rape her.

Could be someone stumbled onto a statement by some bullies that he was going to be beaten up after the basketball game.

Could be someone sent part of a post they saw to a woman by an ex-husband or wife that they had “…better watch themselves…” because they were going to be hurt. Or a myriad of potentially awful or illegal acts.

Beans? Come on…

My social media article search began months and months ago when my Firm put out a social media policy as well as getting into a legal wrangle with one of its employees over what they saw as a violation and ultimately what the courts viewed as free speech. I was not involved but was facing a possibility of being called in as an expert witness due to a popular Youtube video I own.

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I began looking at the ins and outs of individual rights, social media in general, the First Amendment and what exactly was covered. This led to more and more and more. I know much more than I did before, but it is a rather convoluted issue.

What I have found out, (obviously through this one incident of personal experience…) is that there’s a lot of trivial junk cluttering up the “FB Violations Inbox.”  And by using it to report trivial stuff that only personally offends you is a waste of someone’s time that could be spent on far more serious issues.

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Dr. Sam and Barbara at a Bird Lovers Club Meeting

We are a Nation. A society. A culture. We have a lot in common. One of them is birds. Naturally we disagree about things despite this one thing in common.

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Standing Together…

This reminds me of something a guy I dated decades ago used to ask me when I got upset over the “here and now.”

He would ask, “Is this really going to make a damned bit of difference to anyone a hundred years from now?”   

It makes so much sense now, but when you’re 22, it kind of goes over your head.

I wish people would think about that; roll it around in your head for a bit before getting all weird in a social media forum.

The fights, the bickering, the “Oneupmanship” and petty online wars in the end will be forgotten. Why? Because it simply won’t matter in the end.

Because I simply don’t believe that everything we currently think is crucial, or important or earth-shaking is in the long run, really going to mean a damned thing long after we’re gone unless it has staying power. If it adds to the knowledge of the world, if it’s positive and makes a difference in a person’s life or an animal’s life in the long run, then I think we should be totally supportive of that. And if it doesn’t, well then nobody will remember it as anything other than a waste of time.

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There is the possibility of publishing and sharing so much wonderful, solid information over the internet from your laptop. Please don’t get into pissing matches when there is so precious little of something we cannot manufacture: Time.

Because anything else doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

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