The Pit Falls of Social Networking
The internet and social networking is an excellent way to keep in contact with friends, play games or to keep up on news of your favourite company. On the other hand, people need to use these tools with caution.
As humans, we are social creatures that like to interact with each other and share ideas. When we are online and not seeing some of our friends and family, we up load pictures for our friends and family to see. But do we know if it is just our loved ones looking at them? Online privacy is a bit of an oxymoron. As much as we password protect our profiles on Facebook, it still is possible for people who are not our friends to look at our embarrassing photos of our crazy night at the club or that sexy picture we took for a significant other. As a rule of thumb, any photos that you would not want your grandmother to see, do not upload them to your profile. We do not have to only worry about strangers look at our embarrassing profile pictures, but also potential employers. Employers are using Google to search for information and or pictures of applicants to see if they are a ‘right fit’ for the company. If they find any scandalous photos, you could be hurting your chances for getting a job.
With social networking, people or companies can update their Twitter status in real time. It can be a useful tool to let friends see how you are doing, your activities or your feelings. Unfortunately, we are living in an age when there is such thing as too much information or TMI. People have to be careful about what they vent about on Facebook or Twitter. If you are friends with people from your work place or especially your boss, you may want to think twice about what you complain about through your status updates or tweets.
British woman complained about her current boss calling him a ‘pervy wanker’ and forcing her to do, complaining extra work or pointless tasks. She forgot that she added her boss as a friend; therefore he was able to see her status updates. He responded back to her status by telling her that she was fired and she can come pick up her belongings as reported in the article, “Fired Over Facebook: 13 Posts That Got People Canned” by Catharine Smith and Craig Kanalley . In 2011, designer Kenneth Cole used the Arab Spring to promote his spring collection according the article Kenneth Cole's Controversial Social Media Campaign Trivializes Serious Issue, as reported by Jo Piazza (August 18, 2011).
“Millions are in an uproar in #Cairo. Rumour is they heard our new spring collection is available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo.”
Although his followers increased by 3000, most people found the tweet in poor taste and making light of a very tense and violent situation in Egypt. A few hours after the tweet was posted, Kenneth Cole issued an apology via his facebook account.
With more people using the internet, any insulting or controversial comments made by celebrities or radio personalities, have the potential to go viral. Written in the article, Rush Limbaugh vs. Sandra Fluke: A timeline (posted March 7, 2011), conservative shock jock, Rush Limbaugh made some very insulting remarks about Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who testified in congress to subsidize birth control. Limbaugh asked during an interview, "What does that make her?” and he replied, "It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex." Limbaugh apologized about his comments but it was a little too late. People with access to a computer, cell phone, television, etc heard Limbaugh’s insulting remarks, even though some people do not listen to his radio show. As of March the 6, 26 advertisers have pulled their sponsorship of his program.
Social networking can promote a cause or charity and get young people on board because they are constantly using Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. Recently a video on youtube.com was uploaded, about stopping a war criminal Joseph Kony in 2012. The charity, Invisible Children, is behind the video and the campaign to arrest Kony for war crimes and for people to donate money to help the people of Uganda. The charity has been able to get a lot of people to watch the video and donate because Invisible Children has also asked celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Rihanna to tweet #stopkony. There is a backlash against the video because some have claimed that the some of the information in the video is exaggerated. According to the article “Obama Takes on the L.R.A” on Foreign Affairs, (published November 15, 2011) Mareike Schomerus, Tim Allen, and Koen Vlassenroot wrote that the army that Kony is leading, the Lord’s Resistance Army (L.R.A), is weakening and even if with Kony’s arrest, his followers will join other militias or continue their war crimes independently. Also, there are accusations that Invisible Children is using donations for expensive trips and promotional movies. With all the criticisms, Invisible Children claims that all the facts in the video are accurate and donations have not been used inappropriately.
In all the examples shown in the article, it is evident that social media is a powerful tool for communication locally and around the world. But we have to use this tool wisely.