Is social media sucking your life force?

Well, I’ve been trying to find time to write something for my blog. The longer the time goes that I don’t get to write, the more empty I feel. Writing is a way for me to let out all that is on my mind (there is no shortage of topics for me to weigh in on) but for my blog, I like to keep it technology related.

Today, I finally get to start on my new series about social media, and its affect on life. Today I’ll start with a broad brush, and discuss ways that social media is sucking your life force, and limiting how people are able to recharge their batteries so to speak.

Even as recently as 5 years ago, people would have a time away from the internet (sounds wierd) but we would focus on things that we enjoyed, and ACTUALLY do them. We would find time to sleep, boredom is actually a signal your body is telling you to rest. Fast forward to today however, and we are endlessly plugged into an overload of information. 

Our phones, be they Android, iPhone, Blackberry, or Windows phone, have a 100% connection to the internet, and thus constant updates bombard us from ALL our social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) our Email, Instant Messages, Text Messages, phone calls, and any number of other updates that those networks and services think are “important” to us.

I noticed a little while back, I was getting severely stressed out over things that were essentially meaningless. Simply taking time to play with my kids, or talk to my wife felt like it was a burden because there was always something else coming that I would need to respond to, someone trying to get a hold of me. I finally had a sort of “digital nervous breakdown” and deleted my Facebook pages. I stopped logging into Google+, and only responded to “urgent” email or voicemails.

I have one simple question for you to consider; Why are you investing so much time, and effort on social media? It comes with the idea that it will make communication with friends and family easier, but does it really? the level of communication has suffered as the ease of “small talk” has increased. 

Nobody seems to have anything important to contribute anymore, because they’d rather sum their thoughts up in 140 characters or less. Kids attention spans are worse than mine, and I’m severely ADHD. Everyone seems to take content on social media way to seriously. You get offended at what someone says online, but then don’t confront them because it wouldn’t be “nice” or “Politically Correct” and that would get everyone else on your case, harrassing you, simply because your opinion differs..

The solution is simple. Unplug, Don’t give a single fuck about what anyone else thinks, Own your life. If you still decide to use social media, do it intelligently. Hold yourself to a higher standard, and don’t allow yourself to get sucked into the “need” to post things. or the worry that someone will be offended if you don’t respond to a “birthday” reminder on facebook. seriously if its my birthday, the LAST fucking thing i want is another “happy birthday” post on my wall… if its not important enough to just call me, or email me.. fuck off.

If you don’t have anything of value to say to me: Fuck off. If you want to hate on me, for not buying into your “facade” … you guessed it… FUCK OFF.

I use twitter, and VERY VERY occasionally Google+ but that is ONLY to speak to people that ADD something to my day.

THINK! Use your Mind, remember to take time to unplug and focus on what really matters before you find yourself alone, and miserable with a handful of “online” friends but nothing in life that actually MEANS anything.

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Always, ALWAYS be mindful of what you share online.

With your privacy under attack by so many organizations, and governments; it is important to remember that anything you share can come back to haunt you. Facebook recently changed its privacy policies to include a statement that anything you post (be it pictures, posts, stories, poems, status updates, etc…) is owned by Facebook, and can be used as they please because all users are capital entities.

I also just read about an iPhone/iPad app called “snapchat” that purports to automatically delete pictures sent after a max of 10 seconds since it was received. This is done in an effort to protect teens from “accidently” sharing photos of themselves that could cause trouble for them (think the Amanda Todd incident) however, there is nothing stopping anyone from taking a screenshot of the picture or even doing a few other ways of capturing the content before it is auto deleted.

It is important to stay educated when sharing anything online, as once it has been released in a digital format, there will ALWAYS be a trace of it somewhere on the internet. The only way to truly protect your pictures, or information is to keep it off the web to begin with.

If you are worried about maintaining your copyright for your works that you post online, make sure you carefully read ALL the privacy and content notices under the end user license agreements for any company or website that you use. In a best case scenario you would be using your own private server, and private storage that would allow you to maintain ownership of all your intellectual property.

Privacy and intellectual property is a huge concern in today’s world. Governments, and companies will seek to profit and use your information for their gain, and most times with little concern for how it impacts you.

Facebook: If you don’t use it, why have it?

Today at work I was lucky enough to attend an InfoSec session, and the speaker was very knowledgeable. The target audience was a less tech-savvy crowed, and mainly focused on teaching the basics of how to avoid the “human” factor in getting taken advantage of on-line.

One of the things that came up, is something I’ve been thinking for quite some time. Regarding social media sites and the myriad accounts that most people have. Technology is a great thing, and the access to information we have today is simply amazing, but with all the access, all the smart phones, all the computers, and websites you have also increased your on-line footprint, and made yourself a much larger target for ID theft, Scamming, or any other possible attack.

Some of the points I’ve touched on before:
1. Don’t use public wireless networks
2. On your phone, disable wifi. Use the 3g/4g data, because most phones just connect to an open wireless without warning
3. Be careful what you put on your public facing profiles
4. Don’t simply click links in emails, open your browser and MANUALLY go to the site.

But the final point that finally sank home with me, was regarding Facebook and other sites like LinkedIn. Most people use those sites to connect with “trusted friends”, but don’t stop to think who else can access that information. With the recent hack of LinkedIn, millions of users user-names/passwords/email etc was leaked to the public simply because someone got bored and wanted some excitement (it will be plenty exciting for them in prison, but thats another story). But just think for a second, how likely is it that many of the users that were compromised, don’t log in and use the service? Now their account is compromised along with all the personal information therein and they will never know. It begs the question:

If you aren’t going to use a service, why have an account at all?

The simple answer is, “Don’t” why leave personal information out there? By default most sites will simply only “deactivate” your account, and will still retain all your data. You will need to hunt for the permanently delete, but its there, sites are required to have it, just not required to make it easy.

So today, I finally did what I’ve wrestled with for some time, and DELETED all the accounts I never use. There is no need for extra accounts, if someone wants to reach you, they likely already know how.

Just some more food for thought.