A Few Of The Social Network Sites Out There

Social Networking Sites
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Social Networking Is Here To Stay

I came to the game a little bit late.  I never owned a computer until 2006, I think.  I did have an account on Myspace before I managed to score a computer.  Oh the Myspace I used to love is long dead, it killed itself, really; and then Facebook took up the mantle, and continues to stink up the web.  Oh don't get me wrong.  I love my Facebook account, I just find it less amiable than I found Myspace.

Before there was Myspace there was a thing called Friendster, and a whole slew of other sites that no one hardly remembers  I never saw the Friendster era, I was busy living a ridiculous life void of social networking, and completely internet free.  These days if a man or woman doesn't have some sort of social networking link to the world they're truly endorsing an alternative lifestyle.  Of course the other options are they're 1. too young, or 2. retired and uninterested.  I find that even the hard hitting worker bees among us, those persons who never have a second to spare for social networking, they've still got a profile on Facebook.  Why?  Facebook is super convenient for getting in touch with persons you know but maybe don't want to talk to on the telephone; and for a thousand other reasons.

It's bizarre, but social networking has become such a huge part of our daily lives that persons without an internet presence are sometimes thought to be "potential domestic terrorists."  Then, of course, everyone knows everything we say on social networks is being monitored by nefarious government agencies that can't seem to stop anyone from doing anything regardless. If you've a business and you want it to succeed, well, you aren't doing your all for your business if it doesn't have a social networking page.  These social networks are just huge parts of our lives now; and there's no end in sight to any of it[1].  Since I joined Myspace, in 2005 I've spent a ridiculous number of hours online on social networking sites; and here are the ten most important things I've learned.

Online Friendships
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1. You Can Make Lasting Friendships On The Web

It doesn't matter if you live in a poor farming community in India, or if you are a high flying lawyer in one of the big cities in the USA; everyone wants to feel loved and appreciated.  Oh there are theories that the internet causes isolation.  The internet causes NOTHING.  The internet is an inanimate thing, it takes humans to cause their own isolation.

I've made a huge number of lasting friendships on the social networks.  I've got to meet several of these persons; and let me tell you, there's little I like more than getting to hang out with someone who'd previously only been a little thumbnail image on a screen and the text that accompanies it.  Oh it's all real, the threat of stalkers on the web; and those stalkers come in both sexes, and their stalking of you may not be sexually related at all.  Things are less scary than you may think though.  You can block someone on Facebook, and you can effectively control your posts, and you can find out exactly what the visibility settings are in various and sundry groups you may get invited to or join on a whim.

I'm a big believer in my own instincts.  I'm a big believer in your ability to hear your inner voice too.  Trust your instincts with online friendships.  If someone gives you warm fuzzy feelings of the friendship kind, well, you should probably settle down a bit, and wait to see if the friendship sustains itself.  If someone gives you the creepy crawly feelings, just block them right away, and forget they exist.

Combat Debates - Little Ever Changes

Wrong On The Internet
Credit: http://www.atheistrev.com/2012/08/how-to-disagree-in-atheist-community.html

2. You Can Learn A LOT Debating Online

Oh it's kinda cliché, arguing on the web; and most often, it is a complete waste of your time, and whoever you are politely conversing with's time too.  You are conversing politely, right?  I thought not, but the thing is, you really should be.  Yes, I just won hypocrite of the internet universe awards with that previous sentence.  I'll not argue THAT.

Debating online can pass the lonely evenings.  It can also get you so angry you misbehave and make a fool of yourself.  If you find yourself getting too worked up or maybe getting a headache; just step away and realize you're doing yourself more harm than good.

There are loads of people who simply can not be reached.  Most people are so steeped in their own biases they'll never in a thousand years see beyond them.  Thing is, you can learn something from those persons too.  You can identify who exactly they are, what their biases are, and you can then figure out where and how they got them.  You can also run into those rare folks who can say something that blows your head open, excites your mind with new possibilities, and for crying out loud, teaches you something you didn't already know.

Learn Your Four Major Logical Fallacies

Logical Fallacies
Credit: http://www.professordarnell.com/2012/05/09/fallacies-101/

3. Just Because You Can Crush Someone In Debate, It Doesn't Mean You Should

Listen, it should go without saying; but it must be stated:  The internet is full of all kinds of persons.  Some of these people you get into it with online are clearly and without a doubt so mentally unbalanced there is no repairing them.  If you're determined to show everyone how brilliant you are by debating on the web, please do keep in mind that you might be so brilliant you forget to be kind.  When you've seen your non-sexually motivated hate filled stalker threaten to kill himself for you slamming his arguments and personality to bits in front of a large group, it's maybe time to do the right thing, and simply block the person, or at the very least, take off the Hannibal Lector mask, and let it rest.

You simply can not know what some random person you know of online is truly like unless you've met that person, and even having met someone, the individual may have all sorts of mental disorders, emotional problems, and weird things going on inside their heads which you are simply not privy to.  Recently I was doing my whole deal, spinning someone on their head for a seriously flawed perspective of the world, and the person freaked out and started accusing me of all manner of things which were either 1. attention seeking ploys, or 2. signs of serious mental illness.  Oh I could surely defend my "righteous honor," and reveal my majestic white shining steed....but at some points with some people, it is forever best for you and them to simply walk away.

Wasted Time - You Can't Get It back

Wasting Time
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4. You should Probably Be Doing Something Productive Instead

Again, I'm captain hypocrite, but I know for certain I waste far too much time on social networks.  I'm willing to bet you do as well.  You can't get that time back, you never ever will.  You are never ever EVER going to convince an atheist their nonsensical biases are nonsensical, and you are never ever EVER going to convince a fundamentalist Christian they don't know jack about theology, and are scientifically illiterate.  You're not going to convince a communist that capitalism isn't evil, and you're not going to ever get enough funny pictures of cats. Sarcastic raptor memes, sarcastic Willy Wonka memes, memes with "the most interesting man in the world," none of those things reach saturation point for the social network junkie; and as you peruse the streams, the feeds, the groups, your life is passing you by.

Social networking is the most popular online activity in the world.  Three of every four minutes spent in the world on social networks is on Facebook.  Shouldn't you be visiting your parents, spending time with your kids, or working on the great American novel?  I thought so.

5. Be Who You Are, Or You Are NOBODY

There's been so much fear about corporate groups paying people to spread propaganda on the web through social networks.  There is even more fear concerning rogue fascist domestic terrorist groups like the CIA, NSA, FBI[2], so forth and so on, using fake profiles to gather info and such it's everywhere.  You know what?  All that is ridiculous.  I can smell a loser federal cop ten miles away, and I'm willing to bet you can too.  No one is able to keep up that dime store mask they might wear online for long.  These people who work for these terrorist federal agencies, or even the (likely nonexistent) rogue private sector terrorist groups - those people are about as intelligent as the proverbial box of hair.

When you worry about the fake profiles spying on you, you lose due to the fear itself.  If you trust yourself, and just delete/block sketchy people online who really aren't your friends, you can't do anything but WIN.  These corporate groups, interest groups, and federal government domestic terrorist groups like the NSA, DHS, those are all idiots, and they target idiots.  Are you an idiot?  I thought not.

People respond to genuine persons.  People respect the same things people have always respected, a straight forward, honest person who shows consistency and integrity.  Be that person, be the change you want to see in this world, and be that person online as well as off line.

Offended
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6. You Should NEVER Be Concerned With Offending Someone Online

Listen, if you haven't offended someone, you're probably just sharing grumpy cat pictures, or you only befriend persons who are robotic drooling mirror images of yourself.  This might sound strange, I think it is strange, but it is the truth -I've made a huge number of friends, good friends, trustworthy genuine friends, and online, by first offending them.  Hey, I often find myself having been blocked by persons who were previously Facebook "friends," and I have no clue why they blocked me, I have no memory of ill words between us; and so...all I can do is laugh at them for having blocked me.  I surely can't be offended.  I surely can't care.  I know my real friends will overlook my ever present flaws, and will love me for the good things I do have to offer to them and everyone else.

If you aren't offending someone online, then my bet is you're not making much, if any, positive difference in this world.  If you're not offending someone online, then my bets are that you're not causing anyone to think something they didn't already think, and so, you've done nothing much good for the growth of their mind.  I'm not saying you should EVER look to offend people, I'm saying you should be straight up and honest at all times online...except when you're being sarcastic and hilarious.  People will be able to judge your character and see the difference.  People are not as dumb as you think all the time, they catch on in time, and they'll either see that you are serious and have serious reasons for being who you are, or they're not worth spending time online with.

7. Learn To Work Your Privacy Settings, Or Else!

Look, if you haven't realized by now the entire world can see your posts on Facebook or Twitter unless you stop them from it, it is your own fault.  Your employer or your prospective employer is going to look at your social media posts to decide on whether or not you are the type of corporate robot they want to employee[3].  Oh it is true places like Facebook will chang your privacy settings because they never once cared about you.  Why would you think an international corporation like Facebook would care about you ...ever?  I'm sorry if you thought that, you've got some serious catching up to do.  They don't care about you, they never did, all they care about is their sponsors.  It is up to YOU to keep on top of your social networking privacy settings, and they're always going to be provided to you by someone wise who DOES care[4].

8. People are Going To Surprise You

There is no end to the surprises you'll encounter on the social networks.  That person you thought was your rock solid friend might turn out to hate you.  The person you thought was your enemy, well, that person might really have more friendship to offer you than the persons you expected the most friendship from.  The social networks are full of surprises.  It's best to take it all as it comes, and with a grain of salt.  Expectations are sort of like chains when they're not met, they'll only bring you down.  It's best to just go with the flow, and let relationships evolve as you evolve.

9. People Will Up And Die On You.

This goes without saying, or should, but we're all mortal.  Every single one of us has been born, and having been born, we only have ONE thing we must do, and that one thing is...we have to die.  You don't have to pay taxes, nobody is going to force you to work or earn income, the only thing anyone has to do having been born is they have to die.  Why would it be different on the social networks?  It isn't.  You can lose your good friends on social networks in a twinkling of an eye, it is best to forever be straight forward with them, if you love someone, tell them you love them.  If you fail to tell someone you love them if you do, and then they die; that loss is forever.

So Much Fun
Credit: http://kotaku.com/5901313/how-fun-is-your-country-online-find-out/

10. You Can Have An Absolute Blast On Social Networking Sites

It doesn't matter if you're a Twitter person, a Facebook junkie, or even a Google Plus survivor, you can have some seriously good times online.  You only need to not expect things, just let things happen.  You should use all your best instincts to determine who is or isn't cool to hang with on the web; and you should tune anyone else's opinion about another out completely unless you seriously need or feel you need some backup on the issue.  Don't stress about the web, my friends, I realize I'm male and kinda dumb, but I'll put my address right out in front of people online.  I'm not afraid, there's nothing to BE afraid of if you trust yourself, and you know you're mature enough to recognize wisdom and folly.  The web is seriously serious business, but there's nothing to fear but fear itself.  Thanks for reading.