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The secret of success of social networks

A few weeks ago I have been watching episode 5×22 of the TV show Criminal Minds: “The internet is forever”. It is about a murderer who successfully seeks his victims thru social networks.

OK, that’s a TV show with lots of fiction and thrill. But this episode contains a big portion of realism. Many people are scared of participating in social networks. Many of them probably don’t even know exactly why they are afraid of social networks, they just follow their instincts or have a kind of unspecified phobia that someone could abuse their data in some form.

And they might be right. While social networks provide some great opportunities to “meet” a lot of “remote” people, discover new knowledge, find experts and hints and tips and solutions to problems, boost someone’s own reputation, they also come with a lot of risk as well. If for instance you post by the minute where you are foreigners easily can figure out when you are not at home. If they also found out where that is you should not be surprised that your home has been robbed when you return. Hint # 1: post your travel plans after the fact. Hint # 2: don’t post your address. Nevertheless, you might have posted a photo somewhere of your house which has been geo-tagged and thus one does not have to be a good hacker to find out your address.

This is just one example of a risk. There are many and thus it is vital to use social networks right and smart once you decided to use them at all. But be aware: the more you publish, the higher your risk. And once you have joined there is always some risk that someone abuses your data. You simply have to accept this when joining some social network.

Is it worth it ? Boosting ones own reputation is certainly one motivation to use social networks. Is it the main reason for many ? In this TV show one agent is making an interesting statement: The success of social network lies in the fact that people believe other people are interested in what they are posting.

A nasty statement. Or a true one ? I actually believe there is much truth in that statement. If you are an active participant in social networks, think for yourself: how much do you worry about your own writings and feedback you get ? And how much do you worry about what others write ?

... cross-posted from my blog "Axel's Travelog".

7 blog comments below

Great post amagard. I've been discussing this very topic with friends of mine at work. Someone suggested that Twitter and FaceBook may be a great way of staying in touch. I think the two have become so viral that they have become their own worst obstacle courses. I.e. the tweets from followers in Twitter are like spam. I'm very cautious as far as social networks is concerned. I'm also looking forward to seeing that episode of Criminal Minds. My kind of TV show for sure.
Very Happy
deanhills on Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:10 pm
Hmmm... Didn't I know you from somewhere?

I think it really depends on how people use it. The Police in my country already use social networking to post criminal faces. It's a great help. People just have to use it wisely.

Criminal Minds is no longer airing in my country. I'm always confused between CSI chief and Criminal Minds chief. Which one is Grissom by the way?
loremar on Wed Dec 14, 2011 3:29 pm
It happens! There have been a few horror stories about online activities.

One I can think of is a girl that over time gave out little bits of info here and there. Piecing things together was not that difficult. She liked nature walks. She happened to mention a favorite remote path she like to use. In one chat session she just typed I need to go for a walk and did not come home from it.

I read of another woman that committed suicide and afterwards when her family read her email found out she had been encouraged to do it by some sicko.

Those are the worse case scenarios. Then there are the bullies. Of course one could say the victim is to blame as much as the abuser. At least that is the rational given for some for internet bullying. I don’t agree with that rational but do agree education is always what is needed.

The less dramatic things to watch for in social circles online are simply things like what some people call 'flames' I think, is the term. People in social sites can effect another human being in a bad way.

What gets me is people can make you cry and although you do resist the urge to admit something like that publicly, by thinking that “they would win” , I think in the end the saddest thing is - accepting the fact that some people just do not care.

Maybe nothing to worry about maybe but something we can think about, unless of course we don’t care? On that note, the secret for success in social networks may not be that much of a secret at all?
Bluedoll on Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:33 pm
@Bluedoll. Amazing about the woman and divulging the foot path she was using. I presume that was in Canada? Good lesson for being careful with the kind of information we share with one another, particularly when we are comfortable with those whom we are in communication with, such as at Frihost. When people start over sharing I really get worried for their sake. That is why I admire Bondings as he is the epitome of privacy and a great act to follow.
deanhills on Wed Dec 14, 2011 8:20 pm
@lomeare: Grissom is from CSI.
Many of these shows are available on CBS website for viewing unless of course blocked by a government. If I miss a show when aired, I watch it at my leisure online.

to OP: I think people post too much of their lives online and run greater risk by doing so. Not to mention all the darn viruses your computer can catch there. Trying to fix a girl's computer right on.
standready on Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:22 pm
Right. The viruses are a problem too. I almost thought I had one this morning when my paste function would not work. Thankfully the log in and log out cured that, BUT learned that one can paste by using Shift+Ins as well. Felt like Columbus who had just discovered something new. Very Happy
deanhills on Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:29 am
Thanks for all the comments, folks.
Grissom by the way has been replaced by Dr. Raymond Langston starting with season 10 of CSI Las Vegas.

I don't think viruses are a problem of social-networks, they are a more general problem of the entire internet. Clicking on unsafe links in e-mails or on any web page is key to get your computer infected - or of course downloading executables or other type of files containing executable or script code. As long as you just post on well known social networking sites you should be pretty much on the safe side.

standready, the hint with the CBS site is great, unfortunately I can't access their videos from Germany

Sad .
amagard on Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:51 pm

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