Social Media vs. Common Sense (Round 1)

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Social Media and Safety

I am an avid Facebook and Twitter user.

I probably check my Facebook account via my Android smartphone five times a day or more. I check my Twitter at least once a day. I post some sort of tweet or status update at least once every two-three days. What follows is not a, “Social media is the devil. It promotes infidelity and is destroying our youth”-type rant.

Social media is a fantastic TOOL, but like any tool, it can be used to build or to destroy. A hammer can hang a beautiful portrait, or it can be a murder weapon. A nailgun can give you a new roof, or it can leave you with scars that the best surgeons in the world could not remove. It is a TOOL – It has no mind or objective of its own except the intent of its user.

Social media used correctly and intelligently can be a wonderful thing. I have been able to reconnect with old friends, build relationships with previously unknown relatives, and stay in touch with my college buds. I have tried to abide by a handful of very common-sense rules, and as such have yet to encounter any Facebook drama or worse. I would like to share these rules with you.

Social Media Temptation #1
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NEVER…never, ever ever tell people you are going on vacation. I know this is a hard one, but you have to remember that more people than just your friends can view your status updates unless you alter your privacy settings. Still, people do crazy things. You may not know everyone on your “Friends” list as well as you think you do. You may not know some of them at all. Telling people you are gone on vacation is like flinging the door to your home wide-open just before you drive away. Even if you have a security system, do you really want thieves to have a free 30 seconds of run-and-grab before the police are even notified?

Social Media Temptation #2
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You do not have to accept everyone. If someone attempts to add you as a Friend on Facebook, and you don’t have a good feeling about accepting them, I have one word of advice for you– Don’t. You may think, “Well, if I don’t accept them, they’ll know it.” Not true–when you do not accept someone as a Friend, Facebook does not notify them and say, “We’re sorry. The person you are trying to reach does not like you. She thinks you’re a dirtbag and she hasn’t forgotten that stunt you pulled in high school. She has notified the police of your harrassment. The KGB will arrive shortly.” As a matter of fact, they receive no notification at all. Facebook just continues to say, “Awaiting response” when they pull up your public profile. That leads me to…

Social Media Temptation #3
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Look at your privacy settings. Take the time to go through them. Give at least half the amount of mental energy you would put toward Farmville toward deciding if you want total strangers viewing pictures of your children or not. I personally recommend choosing the option to be completely unavailable unless the person searching for you is already friends with someone you are friends with. This removes a considerable amount of risk being messaged by rogue/phishing/false Facebook profiles. (By the way, if someone attempts to add you as a friend, and you have never heard of them, and their profile picture is a half-naked girl you’ve never seen, don’t flatter yourself. It’s a phishing profile, and you need to ignore it.)

Social Media Temptation #4
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Be mindful of the pictures you post. I am sorry, but we do live in a perverted world. It may not bother you at all to post pictures of yourself in a bathing suit, or pictures of your children in the bathtub, but I discourage this. It’s simply not a good idea. You may disagree with me, and that is fine. I just want to encourage you to think before you post. This leads me to my conclusion:

NEVER POST SOMETHING TO SOCIAL MEDIA THAT YOU WOULD NOT WANT EVERYONE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD TO SEE. Remember, the Internet was designed to share information, not conceal it. Anyone in the world with a laptop and an Internet connection is capable of seeing everything you post on social media.

Do not be afraid of the Internet; respect it. In turn, it will respect you.

Au revoire,

Scott Davis
Store Manager
Computer Depot, Inc. – Powell Location

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