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I am a little behind the times when it comes to social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, MySpace, etc.) and except for YouTube, I rarely use it. I was introduced to Facebook in 2006, but didn't start to use it until 2010! I jumped on the YouTube bandwaggon in 2008 and set up a Twitter account in 2010. Social media is a powerful tool if used correctly. I strongly believe that social media should be mainly used for the following purposes:
- marketing and promoting a business
- promoting awareness of worthy cause or certain social issues
- making or saving money
- researching products, services, health information, etc.
- networking and keeping contact with people that matter
Of course, you don't have to use social media for these purposes and you can probably come up with some positive uses for it.
However, I feel that most people tend to abuse and misuse social media and it ends up as a huge time suck. When I was introduced to Facebook, I got caught up in spending hours playing games like Bejeweled. I truly regret wasting my time. These are precious hours of my life that I will never get back. It is time that I could have used to do something more productive.
Another bone of contention that I have with social media is the privacy issues. People have a false perception about their privacy and the internet. With the computers and the internet, there is no real privacy anymore. Some people don't get it, so they share their personal information freely over social networks. They reveal everything that they can think of about themselves in status updates. People upload family photos and files to the internet and once it is there, it remains on the social networks' s server until they decide to remove it (which probably means forever).
If you will recall, a years ago, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg was exposed for saying some pretty harsh things about the people that trusted him in the early days of his Facebook prototype. He called the users of his social network, "dumb phucks" for trusting him with their private information. What does that tell you about how much he values Facebook users privacy?
There are other people that choose to engage in social media warfare and trolling. You would think that adults would find something else better to do with their time, but it is fascinating how many adults exhibit child like behaviors on the Internet. Take for instance this woman that I know. I will call her Naomi. She was very active at one time on MySpace and she attracted a few haters.
Some of the haters would drop by and leave a negative comment or two in order to agitate her. Well, one of Naomi's haters rubbed her the wrong way with a negative remark, so she went all out in her revenge. Naomi set up a fake MySpace profile and used her hater's profile picture as an Avatar.
The fake MySpace profile, basically depicted Naomi's hater as a whore or slut, replete with pornographic images. Several men responded to the fake profile and Naomi maintained the account as if she were a real person behind the fake profile.
The crazy thing is that these two women don't know each other and have never met face-to-face. Yet, Naomi allowed herself to become so consumed with rage against her hater. Naomi's response was extremely immature. If it were me, I would have simply deleted the offensive remark, blocked the hater, and kept it moving. Who really has time to waste on that type of negativity and foolishness?
Social media also tends to makes us more impersonal. We sometimes call people that we have never met before "friends" on social media networks. We don't know very much about some of these people that we call "friends". It may be that some of these "friends" aren't who they say they are. It can be difficult to determine whether a Facebook friend is misrepresenting himself/herself. Whereas, if you meet someone face-to-face, you have a better feel for assessing that person's character.
© Copyright 2013 Susan Broadbelt