Many of us use social media sites every day of our lives.
From Friendster, MySpace and Bebo through to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
I even remember using Friends Reunited back in the day.
The majority of users are law-abiding citizens, sharing things with their friends and family and using social media for their businesses.
But what about the darker side of social media and can it be bad for your health?
Let’s Get Together With Social Media
When riots happened across the UK last year, the news reports I saw on TV shocked me. Many of the faces shown on the screen were teenagers, some were barely even into their teens.
The callous looting of businesses, arson, violence and general disorder was quite unnerving.
And the word on the street? Well, it was spread via social media; Facebook, Twitter and in particular Blackberry Messenger (BBM).
BBM was the social media weapon of choice because any messages sent are private to recipients and are encrypted during transmission.
Great for a group of rioters co-ordinating their followers but a disaster for the police trying to keep law and order.
Blackberry’s key market was originally business users who needed this kind of encrypted security. However, since many of Blackberry’s handsets have become more affordable , they have become the phone of choice for many teenagers.
Whilst I’m sure many rioters knew of this encryption, I think it was really more an unfortunate coincidence.
The one thing that really stuck in my mind from the news reports was of an innocent young Malaysian student who was attacked by rioters.
He was punched in the face and under the guise of helping him, a group of men shamelessly stole things from his bag as he stood there bleeding.
He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Friend Request Accepted
No questions asked. I really hope you’re not a stalker or an internet troll.
I’m sure I recognise you. Were we at school together? I’m sure it will be fine to accept.
Have you ever had a Facebook friend request, thought you kind of knew the person so you accepted?
If you have, did you restrict how much of your personal information the person could see?
No, well you may be all right. 99:1 chance it is a legitimate request do you think?
I’ve always thought that the information found on Facebook about privacy settings can be a little confusing.
I came across a couple of useful articles which give some good advice about how you should go about managing your Facebook privacy settings.
- How to Set Facebook Privacy Settings
- How to Update Your Facebook Privacy Settings
- Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings Every User Needs to Know
And when things go wrong in social media the consequences can be fatal. Death by social media? You guessed it.
Hey, who needs face-to-face any more?
Let’s chat on Facebook, let’s do a Google hangout, how about Skype?
As more and more of us use social media entire families are communicating with each other by social media even when they’re in the same house.
I’ve done it and you probably have too. My wife could be in her office and I’m in the lounge.
Why bother leaving the comfort of my sofa when I could just sign into Facebook chat on my iPhone and speak to her.
I’m not proud of it but it’s a consequence of having the convenience of social media.
But where does this leave the future of face-to-face social interaction? And will we all become social media addicts?
My Last Wish
And if it all goes wrong and the worst happens, there’s even a social network for it.
The ‘My Last Wish’ app is a social network which aims to connect people based on what they want to do before they die.
You can post on a ‘Wish Wall’ and then befriend others who might share your dreams.
I’m not really sure what I think of this. A little creepy perhaps? Morbid? What do you think?
OK, I think you’ve got the picture!
Social media can be fun and a great way to communicate with people.
Most people are sensible about how they use it but just be aware of what you are sharing and who you are sharing it with.
I appreciate any comments you may have on this topic. What do you think about the darker side of social media? Is there a way to control it and if so should we? Is using social media really bad for our health?
Please share this post if you are still feeling social!