Friday, November 26, 2010

The Perils of Social Media

Social media has become part of our everyday lives.  Facebook, Twitter and blogs are just some of the avenues we have at our disposal.  The world now communicates and markets itself in a totally new way.  I have become a fan of Facebook and the benefits it offers and of course I enjoy communicating through my blog.  But for the pros of social media there are also a few cons. 

One of my good friends chose not to have a personal Facebook page.  Someone however, decided he should.  As part of bet with friends this person set up an erroneous page.  The goal of the bet was to see who could have the most friends by the end of a set period.  I was first alerted to this when my friend asked me to become his friend via Facebook page.  I did not accept, feeling something wasn’t right as through prior discussions my friend had stated that he wasn’t interested in having a Facebook presence.  After a quick phone call it was clear my friend was being misrepresented.  His page was gathering lots of friends who were asking questions of him.  In some instances these questions were answered!  I, along with a few other mutual friends reported the site to Facebook via the report/block feature at the bottom of the page.  Another friend went on the page and posted that the page was false.  His posts were removed by the originator of the page!  Despite these efforts the page remained and his list of friends continued to swell.

Finally, the originator of the page contacted my friend via email advising him of what he had done and why.  Hoping that my friend would approve!  This person even suggested to my friend that he continue with the page and what he had set up.  My friends response was swift and to the point.  His privacy, integrity and reputation were placed at risk and my friend asked him to terminate the Facebook page immediately.  My friend also asked for him to contact of the ‘friends’ to let them know that the page was false prior to shutting it down.  Fortunately my friend’s request was granted and the page has since been shut down. The issue resolved to my friend's satisfaction.

So despite the benefits of social media there are still a few out there who have their own unique version of how things should work.  Be wary. If you see or experience something like this yourself take the steps to make sure it stops and if possible so it can’t happen again.  Make sure your privacy settings on Facebook for example are set for what you want the world to see or not see.  Learn all you can it pays to be educated.

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