I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I enjoy posting pictures, seeing updates on my friends’ lives, brainstorming with other folks in groups where we share a common interest. I have learned a lot of helpful things by interfacing with others via Facebook but there’s a lot I dislike about it. Today I want to talk about some of the drawbacks to social media, and Facebook in particular, as well as how to avoid some of the privacy concerns and other things that can compromise your account.
Facebook is a time waster
Ever noticed how you can spend half an hour on Facebook and then come back to “real life” and realize you really had other things you should have been doing instead? Sometimes we just need to set some guidelines about how much time we spend on sites like Facebook. I have friends who spend most of the month off Facebook, but then hop on about one weekend a month to catch up. I like how they’re carefully choosing what they’re investing their time in, and Facebook is simply not high priority.
Facebook destroys relationships
Have you noticed how many people have their faces buried in their phones during a family event or when with friends? How many of us are losing out on our real relationships with our family and friends because we’re attempting to keep up cyber connections? Yes, I find myself guilty of this too. I have to be purposeful to put away my phone or computer. Put away your phone. Have a get together without taking selfies or posting to Instagram or Facebook. Enjoy the people who are with you in real life.
When using Facebook to communicate, it’s good to remember how your words will be perceived when you post them and whether there’s a better way to communicate. Even when your words are intended kindly, remember that tone is often not communicated well when it’s in text, unless you’re taking pains to be very clear. I will often re-word things so as to avoid confusion and unnecessary or unintended offense.
There’s also much to be said about simply keeping unkind words to yourself. Rants usually get you in trouble. It’s also a bad idea to update your status when you’re angry or working through a private matter that should be dealt with privately.
Facebook doesn’t care about privacy
Regardless of your privacy settings, the reality is that anything you post online is never truly private. In the context of Facebook, it’s important to remember that in exchange for using the site, Facebook stalks all users and is an uninvited third-party to all your communication, including any closed groups or private messages. If you post pictures, you’re losing your exclusive ownership to that photo; Facebook may use it if they want to. Their terms of service are considerably more intrusive than many other entities. They can even track your movements via GPS and other technologies.
Facebook can jeopardize your safety
It’s best to avoid posting your current or anticipated location to social media. If you want to post about it, do it after the fact. Why? There are people who will use that information to do you harm. I think it’s also worthwhile to leave your location info blank or use a general area versus a specific location. If you’re going on vacation, post about it after you come back. You don’t need a less-than-trustworthy Facebook friend to know your home will be empty for a week. It’s also good to use caution in what you choose for your profile or cover picture--both of which can be viewed by the public.
Facebook can jeopardize your computer safety
There are so many scams and malicious things that get circulated on Facebook. Facebook tries to keep tabs on those things and allows you to report them, but for as long as there are hackers designing clever ways to get you to click on a link, there will be the potential to acquire a security threat via Facebook. A quality anti-malware product such as Emsisoft will help protect you from these threats.
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