Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Sinister Purpose to Social Media?

"So-called Social Media started out as fun and games for the kids but it acquired a far different purpose during the Arab Spring, and it has attracted a far more sinister and dangerous audience. " - Robert Klassen

I have written before about how Social Media has really turned into nothing but a sales and marketing tool for many people, as well as an invasion of one's privacy, but I also complained about how it has ruined people’s manners:
Today the rules on manners and how friends, acquaintances and strangers alike are treated have been turned on its head. It’s as if one has any sort of Internet membership or email account, that automatically makes them open game for people to bombard them with junk.
It astounds me how bad the manners have become. Imagine what it will be like in a few hundred, nay! A few thousand years... Imagine if they had Socail Media in the days of Socrates!

Socrates would have written, "The children now love luxury and their Facebook; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. While they protest using Twitter. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.” If he were alive today, he’d have added, “Facebook has taken place of any real human communication and true interaction and taught our children to be even worse brats than we could have ever done by ourselves...”
I also added:

The rules of common courtesy used to dictate silly things like don't call people up at home after eleven pm... Eleven? I remember when it was nine pm!... They also emphasized the importance of an introduction from a mutually trusted and respected friend... Now, if by some chance someone get's your email address, you become fair game for a litany of junk mail and memberships into clubs and associations that you've never asked for nor, in many cases, have you ever even heard of!

It gets worse, because it’s not just the people who have bad manners and invade your privacy, the Social Media helps them do it , and makes it easier for them to do it too!

I think it is worse than that when it is not just people prying on you, but the Social Media itself is actually primarily designed for such purposes! The secondary ('bait') purpose and the reason people start using it is to allow you to meet and stay in touch with old friends and family.

But that's not what the designers of the service created it for... Nor what it has evolved into.

Of course there will always be people with bad manners... Having Social Media is like giving a kid a hammer: the whole world becomes a nail.
It used to be that when you as a businessman, say, left a nice restaurant or bar, you might leave a business card in a tray in order to get a free lunch or a free drink or some special gift from the establishment sometimes. 

You'd welcome such contact from the establishment. But what if, from leaving your card in such a tray, you got an unexpected call or approach from a salesman or marketeer asking you to buy this or join that? 

Wouldn't you be annoyed? I would. I do. How about some privacy? Just because I left a card, doesn't mean someone can pick it up and use it as they wish after I've left.

But, with Social Media, it gets worse, folks. Much worse. How would you like it if, upon leaving said establishment, people started following you? How about if they started following your kids? Get this: Facebook does just that! Facebook  tracks your every move, even after logging out! 
"The social media empire Facebook has unveiled some new “features” on its platform in recent days that many allege are a total and compete privacy-breaching nightmare. But one hidden feature, discovered by a guy named Nik Cubrilovic, an Australian entrepreneur and writer, that few people are aware of is the fact that Facebook now monitors your online activity, even when you are not logged in to the service." 
As my friend Robert Klassen says at the quote at the top of this article, it does seem to me, and I'm sure some will argue, but their are a very many people using Social Media for other purposes than what it was originally designed for. Be those purposes the spread sales, propaganda, ideas or other, more - for lack of a better term - dangerous goals.
"Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you." - Luke 6:31
Perhaps it is time, not for government censorship, but for more critical analysis of Social Media by us as to purposes and beneficial uses.... Especially by parents with teenage young-adults.

I don't think I like the idea of my teenage daughter being "followed" on Facebook, even after she logs out, and I certainly don't like the idea of a marketing service spying on her as their Guinea Pig for research. I can't imagine any other parent would either.

Adults can do as they wish and are free, of course, to decide.

I don't think, for example, joining Facebook so you can share with family and old friends, should be a Carte Blanche for them - or a marketing company - or government - to spy on your every move.

Facebook is going to be the end of the honeymoon for social media - stay away from it!


Anonymous said...

I deleted my facebook last year and never looked back. Reminds me of a funny fakes news report about facebook

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