Social Media for Good not Evil

by Nicole Branigan on July 16, 2010 · 5 comments

The paranoid schizophrenic’s guide to using social media.

Cheech MarinParanoia the destroya. It’s hard not to become overwhelmed when every day there is a news article, or a fan page about how Facebook is using your information for profit, or about another scamtastic plot to rob you of millions if you use social media incorrectly.

The other day I found myself getting exceedingly freaked out by targeted ads in my inbox and Facebook page. THEY ARE READING MY MAIL the tiny voice inside me yelped. Slowly, the wheels started turning, and my paranoid alternate personalities became convinced that they were targeting me for some credit ruining scam that would destroy any possibilities of me buying a house or getting a real credit card (not the baby kind with the deposit required.)

If you’re like most people, social media can be scary, because personal information is implied, and advertisements are targeted based on what you say, like, and do. Namaste, my little paranoid friend. Here are some simple guidelines to follow to keep you safe (and sane):

Don’t share too much. Would you put it on your business card? How about scribble it on a napkin and leave it at the bar at a Chilis? If not, then don’t put it on your social media pages (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Digg, you get the idea). Keep yourself safe by limiting the amount of personal information you share.

Save the Drama for…other people. Stop sharing information about your workplace, co-workers, personal relationships and the like to avoid vulnerability in all areas of your life.

He who Spams shall in turn be Spammed. Don’t want it? Don’t do it! Don’t spam people! Don’t flood their inbox, newsfeed or Twitter page. And DON’T scam people out of their hard earned dollars. If you do, you suck. And you deserve to be spammed.

Get Real. If you’re not at least TRYING to engage in real conversations with your target audience, leads, and clients, not only are you missing the point, you’re spewing information to deaf ears, and at worst – spamming them with useless information.

Yes, Facebook, Myspace, etc use the information YOU willingly share to place ads that target things companies think (hope) will interest you. Wouldn’t you prefer to see an ad for something you’re interested in, rather than how to get rid of cellulite? (Editors Note – Writer has never seen a targeted ad about cellulite or weight loss.)

So last but not least, try to chill. Hang out with Cheech Marin, or Redman and save the conspiracy theories for the drum circles…man.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Gale July 16, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Love this. Good info. Agree! especially with those people who clog your email with ‘stuff’ that has been around and comes around again, and again…..

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Nicole July 16, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Thanks for reading, Gale! It seems you and Andrew agree – email is cluttered!

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Andrew July 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Stupid Facebook gives me ads for single Christian girls! I’m agnostic/atheist for Jeebus’s sake!

Also, this post made me think about GMail ads, which are annoying. Sometimes I think GMail is a bit cluttered. All these ads and email threads are like an overload of information to the brain, man.

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Nicole July 16, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Thanks for reading, Andrew. I agree about Gmail. Sometimes I think I use it just because all the “cool” kids do. But it is one of the only web-based emails that allows you to forward multiple email addresses to your 1 gmail account. Le sigh.

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Richard July 17, 2010 at 9:07 am

Nice post mann…you had better get used to those targeted ads if you plan on using Google TV 😀 Ads targeted to certain areas are hot as well since adsense released their geo targeting filters.
As for the email clutter, I don’t use those web based e-mail services. I don’t know if gmail has POP servers, but y’all should try thunderbird. You got me bumpin’ redman at 10am!

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