Face Value

Face Value

The world is full of scams, pretentious people and gullible believers.

I walked into a public event the other day and was smiling and making new friends, like I usually do. Everyone was so friendly to me and staring at me awkwardly.

Then a man asked me, “What position are you running for?"

"Excuse me?” I replied confused.

"Are you running for office? What position are you running for?"

“No, I’m not running for office…"

Then a lady piped in, "Oh you’re dressed so nice and being so friendly, we thought you were trying to get our votes."

"Let me put you at ease, I have no ulterior motive. I’m actually friendly.”

We all shared a good laugh.

But it got me thinking that often times, taking something at face value without seeking deeper understanding can lead to misunderstandings.

There’s something that happens regularly online these days. Someone posts an urgent message calling for everyone to check in at a location to aid social activists in their quest to:

  • Save water rights at a national park.
  • Save lions who are being hunted.
  • Confuse authorities who are looking for innocent trespassers that are trying to make a difference.
  • You get the point.

Face value is good when you’re meeting someone for the first time. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Get to know them. Seek to understand this new friend.

Face value is good when you're actually face to face. But if you're across the city or ocean peering into someone's social posts, then it can be dangerous. Especially if this surface-level understanding leads you to believe that everything you see online is reality.

Recently, one of these posts went viral when it was rumored that there were people at a national park praying for water rights. The posts for help said something like, "The authorities are looking for these people and we need everyone to check-in at this location to confuse the authorities about who’s really there."

So thousands of people checked in at this place to bring confusion to the authorities.

Was that really happening? Were they trespassing? Who knows, but many people believed the face value of those posts and went about confusing the very authorities who are established to protect the park.

Be careful what face values you allow to form your reality.

There has to be a clarification factor and a clear understanding about the goals we’re trying to accomplish. For every movement to be successful, the goals should be defined and clearly spelled out.

Otherwise you have do-gooders all over the world checking in at a national park preventing the government authorities from finding people who are rumored to be praying for water.

While we’re on the subject, demanding change in the world, but not being willing to change your local neighborhood is also idealistic and not living in reality.

Do you want to make a difference in your world? Work to know your neighbors and make healthy changes in your neighborhood before you try to become a social media, check-in savior.

[By the way, if you’re looking for a great marketing idea for free advertisement for your national park in 2017, see the above…]

(photo via thomas hawk)