Name: Nanette Buchanan
Title: There’s a Thorn in Social Media
Any of us who grew up using the library, resource books from home and in our schools, can find both the pros and cons in the world created by Social Media and the infamous web. The speed of technology, the worldwide connections, its resources and rapid growth are overwhelming when compared to the methods we used thirty to forty years ago. However, with the advantages we must become more responsible in our homes, schools and jobs. Social Media has invaded our lives and exposed us to the world, both good and bad. As we browse the internet there are many websites that connect us to others. Fulfilling our needs, we can find any and everything – from business and education to resources, social networking, and a list that has no limit. As we satisfy our needs we often forget that any and all our information of that which we provide becomes available to others.
The average individual who enters this world or is curious may find just by putting their name in the Google browser there is basic information about them on the internet. They don’t have to have a website. Simply putting in the name, the city or job they hold you can find information on a person. Employers use this method for prospective employees and it has also been used to check potential renters or home owners. How one uses the internet can have an impact on how they are evaluated by others. Salaries, location, history, who you’ve lived with, where you’ve work and the ability to zoom in on your home and neighborhood is all on the internet. Your accounts can be searched, sought and hacked. Your safety can be jeopardized without you being a “Social Media Junkie.”
The internet has brought shopping into the homes of many. For merchants it’s an opportunity to put products in the homes of their consumers who many not venture to the store. There are many merchants who don’t have a physical location and the web is their platform for retail sales. Advertisements, coupons, discounts and more are extended to the buyer, and most take advantage of what is offered daily. Payments can be made directly, a convenience but with each purchase there is the possibility of exposing yourself to the hackers that lurk through the waves of the internet. Any public information is available to them, but with your purchase so is your credit information. Yes, every online merchant vows they don’t sell or distribute your information but how else do we receive those promotional ads from others. The pop-ups that appear have found our likes and make offers for us to view their products. This is all done through the sharing of our purchases and our information. From a consumer’s point of view, purchasing through the sites of merchants brings joy and pain. One has the luxury of buying from their home, avoiding traffic on the roads and in the stores, getting discounts not offered in the stores, the excitement of the delivery. On the other hand there is the missed delivery dates, not being able to touch or inspect the purchase before buying and yes, the exposure of your personal information on the web.
Many have found business opportunities and employment on the internet. There are search engines that will direct jobs to your e-mail address. You can post your resume’ and the employer can view it and contact you with a job offer. Entrepreneurs can build a business and reach thousands through social media exposure. Creating a website, joining media groups, and attaching links a new business can advance. One can learn by networking and advance themselves in their business by connecting to a network of people in the same business. A relationship can be built with clientele, something that is hardly done when one goes to the store to purchase.
Entrepreneurs can send out information to the masses, to those they don’t know and would never reach using snail mail or promotion tactics from years ago. However, just as the consumer has to worry about the negatives of the web so does the person who wishes to build their business through web use and networking. Again, one has to fish through the scams and fraudulent websites, worry about being hacked and the bogus postings made in their name. The spam, the constant posts that keep the business vibrant and so much more keeps the business moving also can cause it to fall. It doesn’t push aside the responsibility of the entrepreneur to keep their information and the information of their clients safe.
Resources, education, research, networking, chats, games, and so much more can cause one to become addicted to the web. The interaction with others across the world or next door has become a vital part of our daily lives. Education, research and resources at your fingertips have outweighed the problems of invasion into our personal lives. Some say they stay off the internet not wanting to subject their privacy to be invaded. However, they search sites, research information or simply look up information; they’re connected and don’t realize it. If you own a home, your records are there; if you’re a public employee or servant; if you are involved in community works or organizations, receive an award from an organization; and government records about you are on record. You are a part of this revolving world of technology.
There is protection for your computer, an effort to keep spy-ware, and hackers from getting into your PC or laptop. However, there is no protection from Joe Blow, checking your name, stealing your identity which he can find by digging through the information stored on the web. In most states, identity theft via electronics or technology is now being looked at as an indictable crime. This has been pushed through legislature due to crimes on the internet, ATM transactions in the bank, and cell phone fraud. We have a long way to go and with the expansion of the internet and what it provides for society, it is imperative that we protect ourselves.
Establish one card you use for purchases on the net. Pay-pal a secure payment source is great for security of payment and provides options for you to pay. Monitor the sites your family members are a part of or visit; this is especially a necessity when you have children who use your computer. Change your passwords often and avoid using the same password for all your sites. Monitor your purchases and downloads. Be careful when opening e-mails or links sent to you by unknown addresses. Read the terms and conditions of your purchases. Some of them link to deactivation of your cell phones and services. Monitor your bank deductions to ensure when making online purchases the right amount has been deducted once and not multiple times. Do not share accounts with others, if they get hacked you will be too. Be alert to post on your site. You can and will be held accountable for postings on your site. Hackers will send mail in your name, postings in your name and when or if they are investigating you will be responsible for the content. Any criminal activity should be reported immediately. Each legitimate site will have contact information. They should be made aware of illegal activity done in their name. There are blocks for sites, people and pop ups, however monitoring all other interaction is the responsibility of anyone who uses the luxury of the web.
As we grow in this ever evolving world of technology we have to accept the pros and the cons and be responsible. We owe ourselves and our family protection from invaders of our privacy. Limiting our usage of the internet is not the answer, being responsible while using it is what we must instill in our minds. We can’t be hostages to such a beautiful experience and one where we should be free to gain knowledge on so many levels. Technology has opened our life to the world, but there are some things they just shouldn’t see.