Fake, Pointless Gifts to All! We Shouldn't Have to Choose

In a recent post, Petitions: Making the World Go 'Round... in Circles, I expressed a certain disdain towards our current obsession with e-petitions and the false sense of action and participation they tend to provide. They've become so widely abused that they now represent an empty tool to pacify any intolerance, hereby stripping "the petition" and the act of "petitioning" of any real worth and weight.  

Apps and sites now make it easy for anyone to create a far-reaching petition within a few minutes, and as expected, there are plenty of silly petitions and groups out there on the Web. However, today, on Facebook, I stumbled upon what, in my mind, epitomises all of my complaints, especially so due to the meta nature of the cause. So much so, that I had to vent; here we are.

This cause, filed under, “Public Advocacy; Voter Education and Registration”, is the following:
Please do not limit the amount of neighbors you can send gifts to. It's not fair to have to choose.”
The cause description: Most games limit how many names you can send gifts to. Get this changed to unlimited amount of friends.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Facebook, under the obvious layer lies an intricate web of games and virtual worlds and virtual exchanges of all sorts that exploits one’s network. In this parallel world, apparently, there’s a limit to how many virtual gifts—anything from cutsy hearts to pointless, insipid rubbish, including cows and spankings—one is allowed to give to their virtual friends.  
This, what some have called a “worthy cause”, is upsetting users.

If only a handful of misfits had joined the cause, that would be one thing, but, in its short life—barely ten days old—this cause has already garnered 23,283 supporters (at time of posting), having gone semi-viral just in the last few days; over 1000 joined the cause in between the time I became aware of it and the three hours it took me to find the twenty minutes to complain about it.   

Besides the fact that the most vapid, pointless subjects always attract easy attention, what’s really disconcerting here is that people are treating this like a real and viable cause. Albeit the majority of supporters are, no doubt, just voicing a meaningless ‘wish-list’ preference, a clear portion, as seen by the comments and posts, are equating game limitations in a game world with democracy and freedom; people "should have the right to choose the number of friends they want to send [virtual] gifts to"—limitations is oppression and control. And nope, this isn't one of those The Onion moments where you realize it's a joke.  
There’s so much wrong with this picture, and it belittles any real and urgent cause whilst reducing democracy and freedom to: the right to do what I want, anywhere.  

Equally unsettling is the slew of comments which can best be summed up by these two examples: 
“I believe all my good neighbors should get a daily gift from me. It used to get confusing on who did\didn’t get a gift.”
“People have to keep track one way or another of who sent and who didn't and it's not right to have to pick and choose [...] We have enough issues to deal with.”

Right. Of course. Machine-generated love on free applications needs to be made easier. Silly me. Why send a few personalized words or anything that demands just a bit of real effort when, with just a few clicks, you can send totally impersonalized, overly-shared, pixelated virtual kitsch to hundreds of strangers at the same time to show each how much you care?   

Rejoice! Someone was kind enough to post a link to a solution:  behold, GiftAuto! The app that automatically accepts Facebook gifts and sends a gift in return so you can truly show that you do care, without keeping track.    


Keep on clicking!

© 2011, Pascal-Denis Lussier 

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