I’ve always been rather timid about social networking sites. Blogging is about the most “networking” I do. Yet, even with that, I try to remain anonymous. Is it out of fear of repercussions? Probably.
Anyhow, I never joined MySpace. Back when it first came in and a classmate tried to encourage everyone to visit him there, we thought they were computer geeks. But it grew like a cancer.
Then came Facebook. It sounded even more intimidating, and when I first visited it, the block at the front made me feel I was about to enter into a secret society, like the Masons or a witch’s coven. At least MySpace gave you the feeling that everyone was out in the open and you can browse around. Of course, that also made it more accessible to the criminal minds. I left Facebook. I will admit that I did recently join Facebook at the express invitation of a family member. I was not comfortable with it and I am still not comfortable with it. I have had some friends find me and we communicated. But I still worrry about what I say. I can’t tell what can and can’t be read/seen by everyone else. It’s not like emailing (though, of course, those messages can go wayward, or be sent/forwarded to the wrong people as well).
Of course, the latest is Twitter. I’ll say this, I just don’t get it. I understand the concept. I just don’t understand the craze. Social networking is a worldwide phenomenon and it sure makes the world a whole lot smaller. I suppose that if I wanted to feel social, I would make physical contact, rather than virtual contact. I don’t mind staying in touch with friends via the internet, but to make new friends through these sites is not something that inspires confidence in me.
To add to that, employers are monitoring their own employees via these social networking sites. There have been stories of people being fired for something they said or did while on Facebook or Twitter. Surely, that must make people more careful of what they do and say now. Some people are angry about Street View, others wish they get rid of CCTV. There are advantages to these technologies, and one bad case in a million is not worth talking about. But it does feel like a Big Brother society when everything we do in public and private is being monitored anonymously.
The latest story is the probe into a teacher in Scotland. I agree with the schools that those social network sites are prohibited during school hours, and the teacher is not very professional if she is Twittering while she is at work. If I found out our MPs were doing that while at Westminster, I’d feel the same way. What a waste of time. I don’t care what she says about her students as long as she does not reveal any sensitive information. I’m sure we all talk about people we know without revealing their identities. I disagree, however, with the school’s stance that teacher are not allowed to have their own blogs. As long as they are blogging in their own time, why should this be a problem to the school? If she has her own blog to discuss dogs or cats or being a parent, is this wrong? I’m glad I’m not a teacher.