Last week we had a fun look at the history of the telephone and our dependence on our cell phones – sometimes to the detriment of our safety. This week we will take a slightly more serious look at our phones and other technology — whatever you might use for social media (if you use social media, which most of us do).
Social media. It started out as a way to connect with friends and family who might live too far away to see very often, so we would share photos on Facebook. And before that, young people connected on My Space (remember that?). From Facebook came Twitter and LinkedIn. Twitter is used for short messages and LinkedIn mostly for professional connections. This post will talk about Facebook and Twitter.
Twitter is used by the ordinary and the famous alike. Everyone can now connect with celebrities and send them tweets. Twitter is used for business, for friendship, and now for news. The fastest way to get any news spread around is to put a short tweet out. Then, everybody who sees the tweet can retweet, multiplying by many times the number of people who see the tweet. You can go to Twitter to see what is trending and what the latest news is. Twitter has definitely changed the way news works. And politics. For the first time in history, candidates are waging wars on Twitter. It seems beneath people running for President of the free world to communicate in tweets, but it is happening! We all know that it is a lot easier to say something in a tweet than to say it face to face. Same as a text! Every politician now has a Twitter account or more than one. You can follow anyone you want, and you can send a tweet to any of them. Who would have thought!
Facebook has certainly changed from its beginnings as well. We used to have — if we were lucky — a few close friends and then several close acquaintances. Now we can have as many as 5000 friends! Oh, of course, we don’t know many of these people, but we can call them friends, nonetheless.
ALERT! Hillary Clinton is announcing her VP pick this afternoon, I just heard on TV, initially as a text message! This is definitely a first — and goes right along with this post. Now back to Facebook . . .
Some people like to know all their Facebook friends, and they keep friends at a minimum. Other people love to have as many friends as possible, some whom they know and others whom they might admire, for example, other writers if you are a writer, artists if you are an artist, etc. Facebook friends might also include radio, TV, and music personalities you might like.
Topics on Facebook have evolved as well. We still communicate with close friends and family, sharing photos: vacations, grandchildren, great food, recipes, and the like. Another common type of posting on Facebook is the inspiration message or beautiful picture with a message. People also, on both personal and business pages, post photos of their new books or paintings or CDs, so Facebook is also used for publicity and sharing one’s accomplishments. Facebook is also used to share news and current events: shootings, earthquakes, fires, etc. And . . .
With the upcoming controversial presidential election, Facebook has become a platform for various political opinions. Perhaps opinions is too calm a word. People are often waging war about their current political picks. It is often downright nasty. People who have been friends (real friends, not just Facebook friends) for years are discovering they have a real difference of opinion about the issues — and sometimes the friendship is put in peril, or ends completely. It is easy to end a friendship via Facebook. You can “block” the person, which also will unfriend them. You will not be able to see anything they post on Facebook, and they will not see your posts.
There are privacy settings on Facebook that you can adjust. You can post as “public,” meaning anyone can go into your profile and see what you post. You can also make your postings visible to your Facebook friends only, or to your Facebook friends and their friends.
I personally have a public profile. It has presented problems on occasion.
Often a third party will get into your conversation. Sometimes this third party disagrees with you and can be very nasty. You don’t even know this person. Depending on your privacy settings, they might be anyone at all on Facebook, or they might be a friend of a friend. Nonetheless, you can easily block anyone whose posting you find offensive. They are not told you have blocked them, but you won’t see anything they say any longer.
Oh, yes, of course this mess can be avoided. There are many people who do not post anything or comment on anything controversial or political on Facebook. They mainly post inspirational messages or photos and news about what they are doing. This is a perfectly fine choice. Other people (me) are more outspoken (or unwise?) and do quite a bit of political posting and commenting. This is also a perfectly fine choice if you know the risks: If you have a business, it could be detrimental, or not. I have a business, and I still post and comment on politics constantly, but not at all on my business page. Another risk is someone posting something horrible about you even though they don’t know you. I recently made a comment about a current news event; I then received a friend request from someone I didn’t know. I looked at her profile and saw that she had not only made a meme of me with something awful written about me, but had found a picture of my daughter and posted that with more offensive comments. I not only blocked her, but complained to Facebook (which you can do), and through that avenue, asked the person to take it down.
As with texting and e-mail, tweeting and Facebook posting don’t allow message recipients to hear the tone of your voice or your body language, so things might be misconstrued.
I love Facebook . . . and because I work at home, I am always connected, so I use it very frequently! But it does have its perils! Have you lost friends, Facebook or otherwise, this political season?
Grammar Diva News:
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