We are a society that likes to complain about everything. For those who complain, we have a way to make things right; even if nothing is wrong. This post is triggered by a new petition on Change.org to redo the last season of Game of Thrones. To be honest, I think this is the only petition on the site that has any merit. As with social media, these sites attract mean people attempting to bully an organization.
The basic premise of a petition website in the animal welfare arena is that it is a place where people can throw tempter tantrums and have an audience that will enable your tantrum. People all over the world have nothing better to do that to sign your petition. As a result, petition websites are the worst aspect of social media.
I have been the subject of petitions and I have learned that to create a petition, you can invent any truth to serve your purpose. People want their fifteen minutes of fame and they can gain it by fabricating some story that might strike a nerve is other people.
People go to the website and the site become like a black hole in which the intelligence of the readers are sucked out of them and they will sign their name to any or all of them. Many of the petitions are scams, but if you get enough signatures, they take on reality. It is this reality that we constantly face in animal welfare. In stead of working to solve your community’s problems they decide to armchair quarterback from the comfort of their home computer.
You can do all of the good in the world, only to offend one person and have the entire “change community” shoved down your throat. There is no forgiveness in our business.
What good will changing the final season of Game of Thrones do after that season has so firmly been burned into our heads? I am a strong advocate for change, but let’s be active participants in stead of being those mean folks who become keyboard activists. But if you cannot find yourself climbing up from you keyboard, then at least make sure your claims are righteous. Find the truth, don’t invent it.
Two things that petition sites prove is that some people will believe anything and that they will want to sign their names to it.
Although Petition Sites have no requirement for the poster to be factual, erroneous information follows the “postee” throughout their career. Many jurisdictions will want “clean” applicants for leadership positions and would prefer to have someone without any experience, than to deal with an experienced person who has incurred damaging social media exposure.
If you are doing your job correctly in protecting the public, you will always have this threat hanging over your head because the most common use of petition sites is to attack animal shelter employees for euthanizing aggressive dogs.