Social Media, Angel or Demon?

January 15, 2012 at 10:06 pm 4 comments

Why do I do this? Simple, you donate to a childrens charity and comment on this blog about the donation and what you wanted to be when you were 8. Want to know more? Please read the About Lesley page….

I had a brief conversation on Twitter earlier this evening. The discussion centered around one person, gone from Twitter, who abused the trust of many people and caused great hurt. He was a charming person, I met him once when I went to a tweetup in London. We did follow each other and had some conversations but he was closer to many others on the medium. He met many regularly, taking their hospitality and kindness but repaid all this with lies and deceit. There are more specific posts on this person who I will not name. It only triggered in me some thoughts on the concept and possibilities of social media and what it can be or do……

I know I am me on social media. That may sound odd to some of you but social media is a place where you can be someone else. My picture is up there, out of date but it is me. I have my own name on there too. I use social media for fun; I do try to publicize the blog on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Linkedin but I don’t hide that, this blog needs readers and people to write to me so that I can fulfill my blogging aims. The rest of the time I use it for laughs and to learn things.

Many people, however, choose not to share their names and pictures. I don’t see a problem in that, a private life is just that and many like to keep their identities quiet for personal reasons. I know of people who have left social media as work colleagues/relatives have found them and made their lives uncomfortable. I also don’t mind that there are people who want to leave their normal identity behind and adopt a persona for their social media life, that choice is theirs.

Where the problem may lie is how people use that persona. Most people trust and give that trust freely and quickly, I know I do. I may be silly-optimistic but I like to think that people do not want to harm others. Yes, we all have been hurt by other people in life or Twitter, sometimes to heartbreak but is it fair to say that this probably wasn’t the intention from the start? I am sure there are some mean users of people out there but 99% of people work to be decent and fair. I am interested in your thoughts on this one, please write to me if you agree or disagree.

The red-tops often have a ‘shock-horror’ story on the Great Perils of Social Media. They imply that behind every avatar lurks evil personified. I agree that social media has been a gift to those who would groom the vunerable whether they be adults or children. I don’t believe in corporal or capital punishment but these people take me close. The online world is not easy to police and those who aspire to evil are always working hard to circumvent any controls. I have and do warn my children about this; they roll their eyes at their sad mum and mumble something that sounds like ‘we would be more worried about you’. Eh? 🙂

So, how do we protect ourselves from the perils of social media? Isn’t it simple? We be ourselves whether we show a picture and a name or not. Don’t send inappropriate private messages, those can be misleading. I do send private messages but only to people I have regard for. Be rude and funny, just don’t be truly offensive. I follow many people that others could find over-the-top but they are funny and sarcastic and I love them all! I have met people in real life, both in Northern Ireland and England. I think some of my family were worried when I sauntered over to my first tweetup in Derby but I had a fantastic time with a great bunch of people, many of who reciprocated and spent a weekend in Belfast. Last summer I also went to a large tweetup in Regent’s Park and it was awesome. I met people again, new ones too and I regard them as friends. Yes, we all met in public spaces and yes, it took a short while to warm up but then the craic and laughter was high-quality. I will do it again. This may not be to your taste, you perhaps think I am foolish. But know this, I am a sensible person and I act sensibly. I don’t want to look back at my life and think what I could have done, I want to look back and know what I did.

There are liars and cheats in all walks of life. Those who are determined to do so will inevitably have some success until they are found out. I know this, if it seems to good to be true then it likely is too good to be true. I will be me, I will be sensible and I hope that my trust when it is put out there will not be abused. I say be careful out there but don’t forget to have fun too.

I close, as always, with this:-

  • Please donate to a valid children’s charity of your choice.
  • Visit this blog and comment about your donation. Please also tell me what you wanted to be when you were 8. I still want to collect those tales and hope that some child will read about your words and deeds and want to do the same when they are old enough.

I will:-

  • Add your donation to the Totals page on this blog, totals are updated weekly.
  • I will also write some words about the current donations and the charity
  • Store all comments so that everyone can read them.

Thank you for reading.


Entry filed under: Children, Donating, Facebook, Giving, Google +, Life, Linkedin, Social Media, Twitter, wheniwas8. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Mean Girls? Mean Boys? Teenage Kicks… Censored? Moi?

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rob  |  January 16, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Here’s a nice children’s cahrity based in Goa, India. It’s called Educators Trust india

    They are just small so would be delighted for any help


    • 2. when i was 8 i wanted to be....  |  January 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      Hi Rob,

      Think you for letting us know about this lovely charity. I am afraid that new charities only get added when I am told about a donation to the charity. If you do this then please write back and I will be delighted to write about them.

      Take care,

      Lesley xx

  • 3. Iain Montgomery (@H0raceWimp)  |  January 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Sadly, those who have the mindset will always find a way to reach the vulnerable.

    What we need is to be careful for ourselves and for others.

    I have been to all 3 of the tweetups Lesley mentions and met many terrific people, some of whom I value as friends and advisors.

    One or two I didn’t care for, but that would have been the case if I’d bumped into them in the pub. Social media wasn’t the cause in any way.

    I have *become* someone else on twitter, by changing names, as it fitted one part of my twitter image. Those who follow me got it, and it has added a bit of fun to some of the themes.

    I wasn’t hiding, my real name was already out there but if I had picked the character right away everyone would still have *checked me out* through my tweets and timeline. Just like you do with conversation and opinion in Real Life.

    Social media is no better or worse than any other medium, it all comes down to people. We will always be good or bad or inbetween whether we talk, tweet or post.


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