Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, Sheep, Wolf, Sheep?

Is social media good or evil? A boon to democracy or a complete invasion of our privacy? I can give you excellent examples of each.

Everyday, people tell me how wonderful/stupid Facebook and Twitter are. What’s interesting is that the people with the least knowledge are the ones with the strongest opinions. I ask my friends, colleagues, students, clients and anyone else who will listen to:

  • Understand that social media is about building relationships (just like in real life)
  • Know that if you act like an idiot (or a bigot or company that doesn’t care), people will find out about it much faster than ever before

People ask me if they should:

  • Connect to people they don’t know on Linked In
  • Combine their personal and professional Facebook accounts
  • Say yes to the offer to get 2,000 twitter followers in 3 days

Let’s see. In real life would you invite 2,000 strangers to your house for coffee? Probably not. Would you invite everyone from your office to your house for a barbeque? Hmm, no. So why would you do any of the above? Twitter isn’t stupid if you follow smart people. Facebook can be a wonderful way to connect to people you care about.

If you follow the simple idea that you are looking to build trust, then the decisions about who to follow, friend, fan, like, or connect to becomes clearer.

But let’s face it. Stupid is as stupid does. If you act like the people in the stories below, things probably will turn out badly for you and you know what… you deserve it.

Evesham Township PA posting photos of suspects on their Facebook page.

Woman with an Order of Protection gets help when “friended” on Facebook.

Company shows it’s incredible insensitivity and loses (thank goodness).