Monday, September 6, 2010

One For My Sanity

I've been thinking about the dangers of social networking for some time now. The apprehensions were triggered by an episode of 'Criminal Minds' that I watched lately. In that episode, a man was using social networking sites to befriend women, stalk them (thanks to their constant updates on where they were, what they were doing etc.) & finally kill them!

Then I read about the funny episode when Paris Hilton got done in by her own tweet. Just a few days ago she was arrested for possession of cocaine (it was found in her purse). She claimed the purse did not belong to her and that she had borrowed it from her friend, completely forgetting that just days ago she had tweeted about how excited she was after purchasing the same purse! The attorneys dug that tweet out and used it to rubbish her claim that the purse didn't belong to her.

And we all know the number of times Shashi Tharoor has been done in by his tweets.

Now, overall I think social media is a good thing. I'll even agree that it's a brilliant invention, for obvious reasons. But I'm not quite sure we know how to use it safely. We all know people who indiscriminately add "friends" on Facebook, usually just to seem popular. There are people whose profile, photos, message board etc. are open for public view. And then there are people who post minute-by-minute updates of where they are & what they're doing.

What we don't think about is this - there are a number of psychos on the internet, and by doing the above we may be making ourselves vulnerable to stalkers & putting ourselves in danger. There are more bored, lonely people in this world than we care to imagine who live their entire lives on chat rooms & social networking sites. The stuff we put on the internet is out there forever!

I have a Facebook account but I'm not a Facebook addict by a long shot - I spend probably 10 minutes a day on FB. I don't add people to my Friend's list unless I know them. I don't even add 'Friends of Friends' unless I know them - who has access to my information & photos is more important to me than the possibility of pissing a couple of people off. I don't put minute-by-minute updates of what I'm doing (I don't live under any illusions about the importance of my life to other people). My privacy settings are such that only my friends can access my profile. I rarely log on to Facebook through my cell phone. This last one is mainly b/c I want to retain my sanity.

I'm not active on Twitter either - never was. I created an account but found tweeting to be too boring. I haven't logged on in months!

To be honest, I feel I have way better things to do than to compulsively obsessively check the web all day. There is simply no time for that. I have a life! I'd rather read, watch movies, meet friends, work out than spend my day logged on to a website to see which of my friends is flossing his teeth and who ran out of toilet paper! And I think it's healthy to be able to make that distinction between what's a great tool to help you stay in touch w/ friends & what completely takes over your life. I don't want to be one of those people who spend more time on Facebook than living their life. Not to mention, I can do without the psychos crawling over the world wide web.


The knife said...

This is an interesting one. I live quite a bit of my life on Twitter/ FB. Though more one aspect of it than others. In fact I have tried to keep the two worlds separate - food and personal stuff. But frankly doubt if you can remain completely hidden once you are out on the web. I often do feel that putting a kaala teeka on my blog would help

Moonshine said...

It is scary actually!!! I stopped using orkut for this reason... and then i thought I will add only close friends on FB.. but then You never learn when to stop.. i just ignore requests now!!!!! Time to clear it up.. and I have changed all the settings to "friends only"!!!! It is addictive!! But probably, scarlet, like you said, our life does not really revolve around FB or twitter ..reading, meeting friends.. definitely more fun :)

mêlée said...

Very true. I wish I were a little less addict to web and pay more attention towards other things :/
But then how would have I met such wonderful people via their blogs :)

Scarlett said...

@The Knife - You ARE quite active on FB & Twitter but you limit your status updates to food & your experiences w/ it. I've hardly read any personal updates of yours. I was referring more to people who put their entire personal life on display on social networking sites & add "friends" indiscriminately. They're the real vulnerable ones.

@Moonshine - I think you & I are okay. We use FB mainly to stay in touch w/ people. BTW, I left Orkut for the same reason.

@Melee - Spending time on the web should not be dangerous by itself as long as we're discreet & sensible. The internet is a great tool after all!

The knife said...

I used to be quite active on the personal front once. All that history is there. Problem is when people from the food world want to come on to my FB page. The Finely Chopped page is for them