Social Networks: Not Just For Fun Anymore

   Couldn’t sleep last Monday night…not an unusual thing for me. I got up to get a drink around 2 am…not wanting to laid back down, just to do more tossing and turning, I decided to sit down at the computer. Opening up my Twitter account, I found it exploding with tweets about the happenings at Occupy Wall Street…booted up a live stream offered and sat there watching the insanity unfold in front of my eyes.

  I turned on the TV…checking all the 24 hour news channels I had….nothing ! Back to the computer…A few journalists that I trust and follow were on…tweeting what info they could. The citizen journalists and bloggers at the park were the biggest source of knowledge as they were there…I sat amazed at how each one kept their composure as the chaos around them grew. I watched until the last stream lost feed…

  My sons were up and heading out for the day…when I told them what had happened they were shocked. Like me, they hadn’t learned about the OWS on the news but on the social networks and blogs that they were a part of. Weeks before a media outlet even bothered to speak of it…and here it was again refusing to go away quietly or at all….lighting up the internet globally…

  The happenings good and bad surrounding the Occupy movement as well as several past incidents involving the World Wide Web , such as Palin’s daughters getting into a Facebook war …Rep. Weiner’s Twitter drama…the new reality that you can be in a chat room and say something that starts a barrage of down right rude and crude things hurled in your direction  as well as some Blog-a-pheres that are so far from being fact oriented that the term “applied fiction” really should be placed somewhere on the pages…they’ve all made me take a step back and realize that the original premise of social networks being a fun, cool way to keep in touch with friends, family and perhaps  meet new fun,cool people has pretty much been dropped by the side of the cyber highway….It’s still has so many good aspects but the negatives are definitly catching up.

  Recently I read a wonderful piece by Sree Sreenivasan , a Columbia Journalism professor and a contributing editor for It was about his experience with the infamous James O’Keefe. Mr. Sreenivasan was drawn in to this right wing nuts web through no actions of his own. How he handled himself and his insights were very awesome. I encourage you to follow the link and read it.

  One of his points hit home with me…It was #3 in the list of 5 things he had learned…


People like O’Keefe have it in for professional journalists. Combine that with the fact that everyone has a camera phone these days, we all need to be hyper-aware that what we are saying might be recorded, or tweeted or Facebooked. I am not saying we should be scared to have our own opinions and thoughts, but the possibility that we are being taped is all too real. Here’s what O’Keefe’s site says about its mission: “Project Veritas is committed to training and deploying undercover citizen journalists to expose fraud, corruption and abuse within all organization.”

  There is something hypnotic about sitting in your own personal space tapping out on the keyboard…comments, suggestions and opinions whether based on facts or just subjective bullsh*t formed by the floating fictional slime hovering in cyber space….something surreal about reading other people’s comments, suggestions and opinions then feeling a powerful urge to respond to them…either to agree, disagree or feel that you are the only one in all of the internet who can stand in judgment and set them straight…People you don’t know….will probably never meet…who have no real cause & effect on your life and yet you find yourself at 4 am …tweeting in all large caps how wrong they are on any given subject. I watch such scenarios unfold all the time…and yes I have even been drawn into a few…

  Though I just started this blog…I have been dancing around some the social networks for awhile now. Not as long as others so maybe my missteps were newbie related but I have made them…but my worst was in another direction…Getting caught up with following celebrities…politicians and just plain famous people online  leads one into a whole field of improprieties especially when they are nice enough to share some of themselves with us “common” folks…

  When did it become alright to say things to anyone online that you wouldn’t be caught dead saying to them in-person ? I’d like to think that it’s still alright to flirt but even that can become too extreme if you cross that line of good taste…now it’s even scarier because things you tweet and post can get people in trouble and as we all know….fired!

  I follow a wonderful man on Twitter, who I think more than indulged me my delusions until I did cross a line and even though I did apologize…it didn’t seem like enough when I realized how badly I had behaved. I  learned a most valuable lesson the hard way…They can tweet us…they can leave a nice comment…or a correction of facts but no where does that give us the right to treat them with any less dignity than we would want to be treated…

  My biggest pet pevee of all though, are those hundreds of face-less…name-less…mindless trolls that follow one of these famous people just to berate and insult them…If you don’t like or agree with someone online….famous or not…Don’t follow them !!! Don’t leave crap on their facebook wall !! Don’t go off on nasty ill-tempered rants on news blogs about a famous person that has nothing to do with the content of the article !

  We want civility in our government…in our schools…in our churchs…temples… and mosques…Isn’t it time to want it on our social networks as well ? Just something I thought worthy of making a note of.

One response to “Social Networks: Not Just For Fun Anymore

  1. Thanks J. this was interesting. I’ve had quite a few heated discussions with what the web labels “trolls”. I know it’s futile to try to reason with them but for some reason I still try.

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