With the advent and further proliferation of social media, so come more and more new terms to learn.

Going viral. Hater. Troll. Meme. Blogosphere. Metaverse. Phishing. Clickbait. Vlogger.

Those who use social media frequently know what all of these terms (or most, anyway) mean, but there is a new term that describes actions as old as time.

We know that "phishing" is a way to try to get someone's personal information through trickery, usually by clicking on a malicious download link or by mimicking a familiar website.

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Now there is what is being called "Sadphishing" which, without the internet, would probably just be called "lying".

Tammy Chapman posted on the Nextdoor app recently to bring the action of "sadphishing" to the attention of others users of the app and encourage people to understand what it is.

Chapman posted about sadphishing in response to this post on the neighborhood app:

Again, it's a tale that is as old as time: someone giving a sob story in hopes of receiving charity.

Sadfishing is posting emotional or dramatic personal content to gain sympathy or attention from the online community. Sadfishing is a relatively recent term, but fishing for sympathy on and offline is not new behavior. - Tammy Chapman, Nextdoor

After reading through the comments on the original post by Dan that Chapman was responding to, I realize that Dan was making a joke about the television/government handout. Still, Chapman though it would be a good time to explain sadphishing which, in reality, is not new behavior at all. Sadphishing is so old that there is even an Aesop's Fable written about it. Chapman explains:

The Boy Who Cried Wolf from Aesop's fables was sadfishing when he tricked the villagers into rushing to his aid. - Tammy Chapman, Nextdoor

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You remember that story, right? The kid would say that he was in danger so that others would give him attention or try to help him. Then, when the kid really needed help, others in the village thought he was lying again and would no longer pay heed to his cries for help.

The same thing is happening on social media, mostly for attention.

Sadfishing is increasingly being used to accuse people of attention-seeking and criticize or belittle their online content, whether they were sadfishing or not. - Tammy Chapman, Nextdoor

Some people online are sharing stories of being in hard times and hoping that someone can help them out.

While I feel for those who are having a rough go at it, I also must question some of the stories I've read online - some just seem really out there.

I have no problem with the people who turn to social media for help - I hope that they can find the help they need. What I do have a problem with, though, is those who either exaggerate their circumstances or outright lie to play more heavily on our sympathy.

Facebook, Douglas Menefee
Facebook, Douglas Menefee

As Chapman points out, guilting people into helping isn't acceptable.

To guilt people or take advantage of their kindness into giving money, items, or sympathy for unreal or exaggerating the true events is not acceptable. Not only are they getting attention ~ they are creating animosity among truly wonderful people. This is a goal also of their seeking attention. - Tammy Chapman, Nextdoor

Chapman also has a problem with people who bring religion into the mix.

But to exploit people by sadfishing and playing on their emotions plus speaking of GOD and using the Bible to further gain is also unacceptable.  - Tammy Chapman, Nextdoor

She reminds us of something that we all need to be reminded about from time to time - when you do decide to donate to (what you feel is) a worthy cause, be careful.

Be cautious of how you donate money to people ~ if they are asking for you to send it via an APP ~ Be careful as it can be difficult to get your money back ~ many SCAMMERS have several accounts so they can keep one step ahead ~ close it and use another. - Tammy Chapman, Nextdoor

Chapman says that, with the holidays approaching, this was a good time to be reminded about being responsible with your donations - and your personal information.

She reminds us that if someone uses Bible quotes or religion to try guilt us into a sympathy donation, it's more of a sin than us not donating to a person who would use that tactic.

Protect yourself first ~ it doesn't mean you are heartless or you do not have a relationship with God or do not understand the Bible. - Tammy Chapman, Nextdoor

Tammy, thank you for the information and for the reminder, we appreciate it!

On a related note, if you or anyone you know is in real need of assistance, there are programs available. To find out, call the Helpline at 211. That's the "old" 232-HELP number, it's now an easy-to-remember "211". They can guide you in the right direction to receive the aid to, hopefully, help you get back on your feet.

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