We all are familiar now (unless you live under a rock -- without Internet access) with the many social media sites available to anyone online. There is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, FourSquare, to name a few. If you can name any particular subject, there is probably a social media site associated with it. The worrisome trend happening beneath everyone's noses (and keyboards), is that slowly but steadily, we are all giving up our privacy to the world -- and like a herd of buffalo running off the side of a cliff -- we are doing it willingly.
I used to be connected -- really connected. I had my Facebook, I had my Yelp, my Twitter, my whatever. I would spend hours each day answering messages, posting and reposting, photos, jokes, etc. I decided to leave my virtual world after someone one day got upset at me for not answering a post right away. As if I had nothing better to do than to take five minutes and answer a Facebook post. We have all been there; cooking dinner, in a meeting, at a conference, living life, when someone from social media looks for us.
But what we are not seeing is that this is what social media wants us to do. Social media makes us feel guilty for not answering a message, or for not re-tweeting a tweet, or not forwarding a photo. Social media relies on users to perpetuate the machine -- to keep the wheels of social media turning. If that means making your cousin feel bad for not commenting on a birthday party pic, then shame on him! What it also does is make people feel entitled to your reply, to your "LOL," or to your comment. Social media teaches senders to chase or chastise those who don't conform to the social media "flow"... Reply to my joke a day later - how dare you!
In a dark way, on a grand scale, we are all being "had" by the marketing that is social media. Social sites are teaching us that we must keep our virtual worlds alive and kicking, or else suffer the shame and humiliation of not being "connected," which basically means you're saying to the world "I just don't care about people."
Again, shame on you!
But in return for your virtual life, your "real" life becomes public knowledge -- which gives you another moniker besides "person who doesn't care"... you also become a sucker -- a target for anyone who wants to know anything and everything about you. Hackers, stalkers, you name it. Your life doors are now wide open, and you probably don't even realize it.
It's not to say that social media itself is bad. Just realize that anything online is fair game.
Social networking is a great way to be "in the cloud" with friends and family. To commune, to exchange, to share. Just remember that when you share online, there are no walls or windows.
Even the smartest buffalo can find himself following the herd off of the cliff, if he's not careful.