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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / Anti-Social Media – Let’s Face(book) It, Just Say ‘No Thanks’ to Zuckerberg

Anti-Social Media – Let’s Face(book) It, Just Say ‘No Thanks’ to Zuckerberg

by Terry Miller
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By Terry Miller

Now, ask anyone who knows me and you’ll immediately know I’m not really anti-social. In fact, quite the opposite.
In the classic film “Network,” Peter Finch plays “crazed” TV anchorman Howard Beale, who yells to his huge television audience “I want you all to go to your window right now and say… I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore ….” This is the mantra we should be singing to snotty-nosed Zuckerberg and his billion-dollar Facebook Empire.
Some think we have come a very, very long way from the old Telex machine that use to spit out copy all over the world in seconds for journalists and financial whiz-kids. It was an art to read those ticker-tapes (alas, that trade is long dead) and listen to the exciting clicketty-clack sound of news coming in via Associated Press, or any number of news bureaus from around the globe.
When I first started shooting pictures for a newspaper we didn’t even have a FAX machine let alone cell phones. Eventually the newsroom got one but the now-ancient FAX machine was like a baby waiting to have his diaper changed … a constant struggle with software and hardware. People at the other end of a transmission couldn’t read or decipher the sent copy or there wasn’t enough “memory” to send a mere five pages.
Enter email: a wonderful light shone from brilliant minds and summoned users to sign up with AOL … and for hundreds, if not thousands of dotcoms full of hope of a promised-land of internet and email – business was good – for a fleeting minute. Then, BAM, the digital iron curtain fell between 1999-2001, when the bubble burst. Amazon and eBay’s stock went from $107 to $7 dollars a share. A stunned market affected hundreds of thousands of people in the dot.com surge. Alas, ten years later Amazon’s stock rose to $400 per share.
So business started growing big again, especially with laptops, iPads and of course cell phones. Enter SPAM.
Okay, I admit it … I’m fed up with the dribble coming out of peoples’ “Facemouths” … Do I really need to be followed by these people … aren’t they already following me on the freeway as well as on my “Facebook page”? I got sucked into FB, don’t ask me how or why … but I hardly ever go there. Yet, I’m bombarded with people who ‘tag” or “poke” me, or Zuckerberg emails me that a thousand of “my closest friends” have a birthday today or tells me so much has been happening while I was away from my Facebook account. Actually, so much has happened for that very reason. I’m doing something, not yakking about it.
LinkedIn wants me to congratulate people on their new jobs and updated profiles – If I don’t even really know these people, why do I need to do anything? And Twitter is re-tweeting something someone said, in so many words.
Part of learning to be a good friend, confidant, co-worker, etc., is learning how to cooperate with others. This is most definitely not a skill learned on the Internet.
Social media critics say this mania for instant gratification creates “excessive drama and frustration.” “This is because positive messages are read as more neutral than they are intended to be; neutral messages are read as more negative as they are intended to be and one can only imagine what happens with messages that are intended to be negative,” according to a recent report in Psychology Today.
Teenagers, many of whom are already deeply sleep-deprived, are becoming more sleep-deprived because many are up until the wee hours of the night texting or lurking any of the billions of websites designed to distract.
Teens, especially, need to learn to be “present in the moment,” according to the popular magazine. Continually we see teens (and adults) on their “smartphones” when they are in the company of their peers. They lose the ability to interact mindfully in the moment. In fact, it is rare to see anyone not glued to their iPhone (or whatever) at a restaurant, on a plane or even in classrooms and meetings.
A recent example struck me when a woman in front of me at the checkout counter at a local market was completely oblivious to her surroundings due to her sole attention to the dreaded cell phone. She, of course, was glued to her “smartphone,” head tilted to hold the damn thing and with an armful of items in the other ready to purchase. The checker asked her if she had a Vons Card and the ever-so-important woman gruffly retorted, “Can you wait? Can’t you see I’m on the ‘phone?” My reaction was much more acidic than the poor checker’s. I simply said she was remarkably rude. She was – she looked at me as if I was an alien from another planet, speechless (probably as she didn’t have my cell number to text her astonishment at my candor)
The laws trying to prevent us from talking on our phones while driving evidently don’t apply to most people I see on the roads in California. We should have cell phone laws in supermarkets too … especially those using hands-free devices, talking loudly while meandering through myriads of mustards and mayonnaise. Initially, I was convinced these people were talking to themselves. Finally, it dawned on me that these self-absorbed people must truly be influential and I don’t need to respond to their comments primarily thrown into my precious airspace on this planet.
Social media users, remember: your information is being shared with third parties and
privacy settings revert to a less safe default mode after each redesign … Facebook ads may also contain malware- you most certainly don’t want that.
The potential for crime with Social Media is very real. According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, victims of Internet-related crimes lost $559 million in 2009. That was up 110 percent from the previous year. If you’re not careful using Facebook, you are looking at the potential for identity theft, or possibly even something worse. One British police agency recently reported the number of crimes they’ve responded to in the last year involving Facebook climbed 346 percent. These are real threats. Not only can photos be stolen and used by strangers, but many photos, especially those taken by phones or devices with GPS technology, contain tags that reveal exactly where the photos were snapped. In other words, if a parent takes a photo of his or her child playing at home and then posts it online, it’s possible for strangers to know exactly where they live.
A few simple steps can dramatically reduce your chances of falling victim, and there’s no need to give up photo-sharing altogether. Here are a few steps everyone should take to protect themselves and their families when posting photos online:
1. Check your privacy settings. Facebook and many other social networking sites give users options when it comes to who can view their photos and personal information. On Facebook, users can specify that they want only their “friends” to view their photos, or “friends of friends,” or “everyone.” (To check your settings, log in to your account and go to “privacy settings.”)
2. Know who your real friends are.
3. Disable GPS technology before taking photos with a smartphone if you plan to post the photos online.
4. Become an anti-social media supporter, like me. Try it. See if you can go 24 hours without email, cellphone or internet access. Let’s face it; we’re dependent on the damn devices which we believe will enrich our way of life. Actually, we’re at the mercy of Apple, Samsung and subordinate companies that mandate how we live. We need to take back our lives and talk to one another instead of text. We need to visit foreign countries and learn atypical languages. I have 56,987 unanswered emails in one account. Most are probably spam and hopefully not from someone I care about. Please keep this in mind next time you are awaiting a reply, from anyone…especially me.

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