There are lots of annoying things about the various social networks that exist and plenty of reasons to think they are stupid. I've enumerated a number of those reasons on this very blog. But, with all things, there are people who will hate just to hate and sites like Twitter and Facebook often make themselves easy targets. Well, their users do anyway.
Still, there are some tremendous benefits to social media and it has, in fact, changed the way we all exchange information, often for the better. So, while there may be good reasons to poke fun at sites like Twitter and Facebook, there are also a lot of really dumb reasons to hate them. Here are five.
5. If I check in all the time, someone could rob me This complaint is often voiced by the same people who e-mail their relatives with worries that Febreze will kill your pets or Coke is harsher than battery acid. Is there a risk when you overshare your whereabouts on sites like Four Square? Yes, of course there is. But, you are one of hundreds of thousands of people. There is a much greater chance no one will even notice you than take advantage of your absence. Plus, you shouldn't check in all the time anyway.
4. People on social networks are just narcissists who like to talk about themselves This can be true. I was recently reading a series of tweets from someone who shall remain nameless, filled with thinly veiled attempts to elicit compliments from followers. But there are also some great people online who just like to share information, be funny and catch up with friends. Just like the workplace or the gym or church or school or any other place where you socialize with others, there are great people and there are idiots. Twitter and Facebook are no different.
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3. It is a waste of my time Maybe it is. That all depends on your attitude and how you use these Web sites, but you can't really know that until you try them out and see for yourself. Twitter can be remarkably productive. I find out all sorts of things there every day I probably wouldn't have learned otherwise. Additionally, it's probably the fastest way to get breaking news and a great way to track your interests like sports or music. In some ways, it's a far better choice than traditional media. 2. All the updates are dumb and pointless The vast majority of the pleasantries we exchange with friends and co-workers every day are dumb and pointless, but we do them anyway. Are there people who post too much about boring and inane activities? Absolutely. But you don't have to follow those people. And if you do because they are family members, there are plenty of ways to mute them or block them from your feed.
1. It's not the real world This is something that has annoyed me for quite a while now. In fact, social networks are far more real than television, books, movies and the like. Why? Because these are actual people interacting with one another. Sure, some lie and create personas, but so do people in the "real" world. I've found, over many years of interacting with people online, that the vast majority of them are not all that different online than they are offline. And they are just as real.