What drives us to ask strangers for help online?

That Facebook Page may look friendly–but does that mean we should ask it any question we have?

Maybe it’s offline too; I just notice this behavior online because I run three Facebook business pages.

Two of the pages are about providing people with resources to help them in turn provide the best care they can for persons with special needs.

The third page is, quite simply, guinea pig pictures.

And I get questions that really should be asked of a physician–or a vet!–questions where it’s actually quite alarming that the person hasn’t thought of asking a medical professional at all (I know this because they are often surprised at our response).

One person said (about her guinea pig) that she couldn’t afford a vet. You can, however, still Google for “free vet care” and see what options are available in your area, and find discounted if not free services from shelters and other animal welfare organizations.

Which is what I ended up doing for her because while I know some things about guinea pigs, I also only know enough to know when to say, “Ask a vet.” I wouldn’t want to give any advice that could inadvertently harm the animal.

Same with people.¬†Because here’s the risk: If the page owners/business you are contacting are not qualified to give you the help you need, there’s a lot more at stake if they tried to anyway.

So while we wish we could help everybody, sometimes we literally can’t, and that can feel frustrating–and the person on the other end probably feels just as frustrated for not getting what they want.

I do appreciate that people think this friendly Facebook Page they stumbled across can answer anything!


What would make you ask a veritable stranger for help online?


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