After the Zapruder film, I was done.
Done with sharing graphic images on social media.
WARNING: We are going to briefly describe some of those images in this month's TinyLetter. You are welcome to click through to the "How to Internet" tips for your own self care. You know what you can handle.
It all had started with the MH17 plane crash in Ukraine. I was following lists of journalists and media outlets covering the conflict in Ukraine that we already had vetted at the newspaper where I worked as social media editor, aggregating and sharing updates as news of the crash broke in July 2014. As the details began to trickle in, so did the photos. One was the first photo from the scene by a trusted new organization, twisted metal indistinguishable from charred earth.
I clicked on it for a closer look. Yup, that was a plane crash alright.
I shared it.
And then I read the comments.
Honestly, there weren't many. Most people grabbed it and shared it as quickly as I had. But a few expressed outrage because HOW COULD YOU SHARE THAT YOU CAN SEE BODY PARTS.
Looking at it again, really seeing it this time, the humanity slowly began to take shape. This wasn't just breaking news. These were 298 lives.
Not long after, the nation observed the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination. I read all the articles in the paper. I brushed up on all the conspiracy theories. I even watched the Zapruder film to see if "back and to the left" and the grassy knoll and curved bullet were supported by evidence. Several times. Until I realized with horror what I was watching was a man's head exploding – a real human being's death caught on video.
And I was done.
Or at least I was very careful and intentional about the graphic images I chose to share.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Photo: Made using Unsplash and Canva.