Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tips for Better Living

Today I'm making a statement about social networks - the good, the bad and the ugly of today's shrunken world of electronic communication.

The good: The "A Woman Inspired" Webinar, the network of support found in blogging, tweeting and Facebook status that lets us keep in touch with people we would never normally stay in touch with.... There is a lot to be said for the benefits of social networking.

The bad: Stalkers, lurkers, trolls and spammers. I'm going to focus on some Twitter-weirdness.

I'm new to Twitter. My primary audience is my sisters. I'm tickled to stay in communication with them throughout the day. I also have a few followers that are part of my social circle - people I know through work or church. Then there are a few followers that seem to be part of a marketing experiment.

I love that this person opens their Twitter account with "waiting for my boyfriend" and 2 days later lets us know she signed up for "cupidmarket" - a free dating site. Hmmm. I wonder how the boyfriend feels about that. I've been watching this person's stats for a few days. Four days after opening their account they are following almost 2,000 others. And they have an impressive 278 followers. I believe a large number of those must be folks who blindly follow anyone who follows them. The last 3 updates are all about the marketing campaign. Maybe this is where the money is?

If that example isn't strange enough, there's another one who opened their account a few weeks ago. I've only been tracking for a couple of days, but theirs is a study of the inverse phenomenon:
As they "un-follow" people their following goes up? I'd share some of their witty updates, but apparently they have never posted anything. Nothing. It's all a big blank. Yet they have 703 followers. Am I missing something?

I can see how people get sideways about followers. Imagine being able to measure your popularity "real-time". Imagine that by offering your friendship to thousands, hundreds affirm you. There's no greater criteria than passive interest. This is American Idol gone weird.

The Ugly: Good judgment regarding social constraint seems to be lost in a world where every thought and impulse can be shared with millions. People don't have to be followers to be privy to updates. In fact, we can watch entire wars play out.

I pieced together the back and forth between the two primary warring parties, include a side battle with someone who stepped in to defend one of the parties. The back and forth took up 3 pages of text. I've included a sample. This is the end of the battle. There's a link to Miss B's blog where she emoted all of her anger and angst about the situation. There's a nice note about making up. There's an ironic note about the offensive #magpie that started it all. ... But there was a time when this sort of exchange would have happened privately. I do not think the world is a better place for the sharing of accusations and defenses.

My tip for today: Just because it's easy to share, doesn't make it right.

From Proverbs 14:12, there is a way that seems right, but it leads to death. Spiritual death. Death of our souls. Death by a thousand tweets. Guard yourself and refrain from hitting "publish" when you know in your heart that what you are spreading is poison.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

(How did you know?) I have tasted my foot many times in my life. Meaning, the fauz pas was unintentional. This has happened even in cyberspace, where there were unintended implications from my words. Ouch!

Not tweeting. Commenting less.

(I'm in your town tonight. See your email.)