Can The Spam: Think Before You Press Send 

By: Ariel Fixler

Before you PRESS SEND think:

Is it helpful?
Is it something that has gone viral and might have already been sent to the recipient?
Is it an image you think will induce instant happiness in everyone (vacation pictures, sunsets, puppy pictures and baby pictures)?
Is that a fair assumption?

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I always appreciated outreach but there were times when everyone was sending me items where I did a double take. I had a sweet childhood and high school friend who would send me anything that went viral after the fact. For example, kind of how our parent’s generation posts about videos and articles as if they just saw it (but they are weeks if not months old). I may have been taking a reprieve from social media, but I still watched all sorts of news and kept as up to date as I could. It was my odd way of staying and being relevant. This friend would always tell me to go on social media to check out someone’s post, a dog video or post gone viral or to see pictures of her kids or our friends kids. So I knew she didn’t really get what a social media reprieve was. Is that the only way to share, connect and bond? So when my friends would send me the serial podcast telling me to check it out, funny or die videos, anything that trended anywhere I felt kind of simplified. Thinking I’m so off the map I had never heard of any of these things or to be happy I had to go on social media or experience these items to be happy. To understand what the masses were enjoying and were engaging in would bring me instant joy and inclusion.

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I had friends who constantly sent me puppy pictures, baby pictures, pictures of their vacations or scenic pictures they took saying, “I know this will cheer you up and make you smile”. Will it? Did it? Talk about putting the faux in FOMO syndrome and missing the mark by putting the “ass” in assumption. I knew they meant NO HARM. They just weren’t thinking. Sure those are images associated with every day smiles, but when you are taken out of the moment and not able to participate in life, those messages miss the supportive mark. I am also older so puppies and babies have a different impact now. I don’t feel the same automatic excitement I would have if I were battling my disease as a child or teenager. See our supportive imagey tab for more help sending images of support.

I think these forms of outreach have such good intentions, but they also fall in the category of saying something when they don’t know what to say. Sometimes it’s better to say nothing or choose an inspirational or supportive image when you do not know what to say. Those type of images associated with “happiness” are discounted during times of illness and times of personal and physical struggle. We need a different form of support than just googled images, photos we think make everyone smile, or viral videos. We need more from you. We need people to be more proactive more than anything.

So don’t spam us when you reach out. We are trying to keep our inboxes and message boxes clean and empty. We literally dread having to click, read, respond in an expedited manner. We need time, we need space, and we need support.

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If something went viral, we probably have about 20 people before you who sent it to us. Want to help? Please send us supportive articles, informative medical, group support or alternative health articles. You can even send us businesses that can aid in our nutritional needs and that deliver locally or nationwide. Think outside the box. Find resources regarding transportation to take us to appointments and procedures. Send us technological items we can have with us in the hospital to make our stay more bearable. Find a way to get us our medication delivered or help with our nausea or fatigue needs. Find ways to make sure our laundry is taken care of, run errands for us or find innovate ways to get our food down and digested. Just think and relate to us along those useful lines, no one likes canned spam in any form.

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