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Ok, who doesn’t use social media these days? Even retirement communities report that residents rely heavily on social media for entertainment. Social media sites, such as Facebook can be great, they can help you reconnect with old friends, and keep you up to day on family and loved ones. You can post something for sale on a social media site, and share your favorite recipe, all in a matter of minutes. Ask advice, such as “can someone recommend a reliable dog trainer”, and you will most likely get numerous responses, and before you know it, Fido is trained. There is no doubt, the good that comes from social media is really good, information and updates are very valuable, and can keep you involved in what is going on in the world around you.
Oh the bad, you knew there had to be one. The number one negative attribute of social media is that it can be dangerous. Keeping your information private and unaccessible to strangers is the first step in keeping yourself safe on line. Many people assume only the very young or elderly people are targeted with scams, and that is just not true any longer. Anyone is susceptible to being taken advantage of, or to be scammed, so have fun with social media, but be smart as well. Accepting friend requests from people you don’t know can be risky. If you have no common interest with a person, why would you want to be social media friends with them? You may not know the reason, however they may, and it may not be a good/safe one. The person sending you a friend request may look completely innocent in their online photo, and they may indicate that “your profile looked interesting”. That should be rated right up there with the line from the 70’s that was used in the bars, “what’s your sign”. There is nothing wrong with meeting new friends online, just be cautious, and put your safety ahead of your desire to meet new people.
Yes, indeed there can be some ugly things on social media. All too often it simply involves TMI, too much information. Guess what, no one cares that you cut your toenails, or cleaned your kitchen. Its fine to share information that you would normally call up and share with a friend, however there is a difference in what you might share with a close personal friend, and what you want to share with an online friend that you have never personally met. Even worse, is when someone decides to share a photo of their ingrown toenail, and of course their phone has a great camera that captured every little detail. Now that is ugly! Think about what you are sharing, if someone else posted it, would you be interested, or would you consider them as being totally inappropriate. Sharing photos can be fun, and many photos or videos are appreciated by friends, however watch what you share, and watch what you say, too much information is just plain ugly.