Social suicide. 7 key issues with being too much social on the networking sites.

Social Networking - Boon or Bane ?

There were times when the .com (dotcom) bubble was in the making. Every one was involved to get his second name changed to .com; but there is a great difference between those days and today. Those were the days when we loved to join random Yahoo chat rooms and chat with each others with virtual names like cooldude32, happypam_1981. The chats had no sense. Surprisingly we never asked anybody’s name and the first question to shoot was ASL? Times have changed. We have restored our real names. We post to thousands (rather tweet to thousands we don’t know) and let them know what are we doing? (Strange huh!) We show the world how we look and places we visit. In the good old days there was a constant fear that your picture would be morphed with some other’s body and you will be defamed to eternity. Today it’s a happening thing to share. With all these advantages comes in great problems. Today if I ask a person walking up the street as to where he is going, the first look would be of suspicion and the next answer would be to get rid or to lie. This same fellow before leaving his home has already tweeted where he is headed and post getting back his orkut / facebook / flickr will have tons of images to know what he did there.

It’s a grave mistake to be too social. Just to highlight the seriousness of the issue, here’s a list of 7 mishaps due to social networking. The problem with being too social

  1. Anyone can track you – Who you are, your friends, and your background. Anything and everything. And hey! It’s damn reliable information about you, because nobody but you said it. From the horse’s mouth, right? Today it might not seem to be an issue, but if it seems tomorrow don’t expect to get this undone in a jiffy.
  2. Can affect your career. – People know your company, educational background, your level of seriousness. Your attitude and your taste, by just looking and digging out those scraps and tweets you have been doing. This has great impact on your career. While writing this I am reading an article of Associated Press reprimanding their employees about what they post online. You can block those sites in office, where will you track them at home and how many will you track, and how much?
  3. No Reason to network– The question I ask many of my friends as to why did they join Twitter. The answer, “Because it is cool”. I ask them “Why do you feel so (even without joining Twitter)”. “Because I read that in the Newspaper!” We join networks without any reason. If you receive a friend request, the network might be great, for your friend, but not necessarily for you.
  4. Ultimate time killer – I believe this is one point that needs no great description. Another insane thing is that we generally find same friends everywhere. The same connections and you scrap one day and you tweet the other. Rather there are hefty cases of just scraping someone sitting in the next cubicle. Just for the sake of doing it is a time killer.
  5. Low ROI – Refer point 3. When there’s no reason, no sense saying much about the return on the time invested. And incase if you do have good reason using social networks, understand the benefit you get back from the time invested. If the ratio doesn’t seem to work, you need to re-think on that.
  6. Kills your IQ – Search, tweet, and the answer is ready. There are many out there to help you. And yet most of the times you are still with that same doubts. Networking sites have also turned out to be great dumping grounds for spammers who just want to make that extra buck. In whatever way possible. The next-gen applications help you connect and learn faster but that kills the whole point of yourself researching your own subject. There was Internet, filled with tons of information, how many needed these social networks?
  7. Who reads the Terms – Last but not the least this is the biggest drawback of being human. We love simplicity. Who cares to dig the rules and regulations, the terms that are hidden behind those links? How many times have you simply accepted the Terms and Conditions on the registration form? “OK but this is not very much related to social networking” you say. There have been innumerous issues of identity thefts, mishandling data, using data pertaining to the users for personal benefit and many more that you and I are not even aware of.
  8. Many many more – Recently a British spy’s wife posted his photos on Facebook, this was tagged as a serious security issue and removed immediately. Not even that, Guy Kawasaki’s Twitter account got recently hacked and simply to put, porn links were tweeted from his account by the hacker.

When HR consultants can peek-a-boo in your profiles to get a prospective recruit; isn’t it easier even for terrorists to know you and your network, (it may seem a petty issue until a new problem emerges out of it) or at least to know the places without being there. There are many issues, quiet obvious, which are still stacked up and yet to be handled. They pose a great threat to us.

Social Networking is powerful; but how to direct this power only for the right cause is still a debatable issue worth some thoughts.

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks. ~Author Unknown
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Onkar July 18, 2009 at 1:33 pm

good one …

Chanda Himanshu August 3, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Thanks Onkar. Will post a follow up article on the same topic soon.

Ashwani Sharma July 20, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Nice one yr we have to think about it…

pickgreen July 20, 2009 at 11:09 pm

I believe most have multiple identities over the internet so the problem is not so huge…

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