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Wednesday, 27 July 2011

The Dangers of Social Media



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I love social media – Twitter(you can follow me as @WWisewolf), Linkedin,Facebook etc.  Those I’ve tried, I love, most of the time!
Of course, I’m aware of the dangers and, yes, I have come unstuck before.  There are a number of us using Twitter who were taken in by a fraudster claiming to do good works.  I learned the hard way not to take people at gravatar value.
I know about the dangers of meeting up but by following the rules about first meetings in public, etc, I’ve met some smashing people and made some real friends.
But today I had my first really negative experience.  I realised the power of the medium and felt quite intimidated by it.
I received a series of what I considered to be fairly “spammy” messages from one particular network (not one of those named above).  I tried to unsubscribe from these particular messages but it wasn’t easy and for some reason it didn’t work.  In all honesty I don’t think the originator of the messages intended them to be anything but helpful and good natured.  But I was very tired of it.
So I sent off a fairly abrasive message and copied it to others. Next I get what I found a fairly sinister message from someone pointing out that by sending such a message I might be damaging my business.  Then I get other messages more or less raising questions about my professional judgement and credibility.
I was left feeling very threatened, realising that it wouldn’t be hard for a few words here and a few words there on social networks to be very damaging indeed.
I’ve taken my own actions to remedy this. And as I mention above I don’t think the writer of the original message meant to do anything but good.  However I am left chastened and wary.
There is huge power in these tools that we are beginning to take for granted.  I, for one, will be much more careful how I engage in future and I will certainly research any network I think of joining quite carefully before signing up.
And I think I need to remember another lesson or two, abrasive messages are much better not sent and, if you were foolish enough to send one, please don’t copy them to others!

I am Wendy Mason and I work as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger.  I have worked with many different kinds of people going through personal  and career change. If you would like my help, please email me at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439.  I will be very pleased to hear from you. I offer half an hour’s free telephone coaching to readers of this blog who quote WW1 – email me to arrange.