Chris J Powell

Social Media Mondays – The Real Dangers of Social Media

I love Social Media and the democratizing effect that it has on everyone.  There is no “Social Elite” when it comes to the fact that content is king but I have been thinking about the risks and the dangers that are associated with Social Media and some of the real reasons why I don’t share EVERYTHING on Social Media.

There is of course the real danger that Social Media takes us away from the real social interaction that places humanity at the top of the food change.  In a study conducted last October, Social Media and the Internet now reaches more than 1.2 Billion People and in that month, more than 6.7 Billion Hours where spent on Social Media Along!  Averaged out that is more than 5.8 hours per month or about 15 minutes per day and this has been on the rise dramatically more than tripling over the past 2 years.

Now 15 minutes does not seem like a lot, and it isn’t in the grand scheme of things but from what I saw that does not take into account Mobile internet usage!

It can be argued that the substitute of real interaction for social interaction is a false statement and I would agree for the most part but for Social Media Addicts out there…there is a  real chance of getting lost in the Virtual World of Social Media.

I have gone on record on through Facebook by saying that it is time to Slap the Stupid out of the Society…but then I sit back and think…did we create this new role of Stupid?  Are we to blame for the lack of personal interaction skills?  Is this Blog and my Social Media efforts contributing to this? The reality is yes in a little way.

We look to information as a FREE Resource to be shared, retweeted and passed along to our friends and “followers” and this is a great thing…most of the time.

Cyber Criminals love that Share Button on Blog Posts and Websites are a boon and have become quite good at building their connections and finding their next victims through the use of Social Media.  Whether it be Online Predators looking to make a connection with our young Teen Aged children, or Phishing Scams meant to catch the unaware with a quick Online Quiz that eats away at your personal privacy.

For every danger of Social Media though there is a plus side.  Here in London, Ontario our city was held hostage by the actions of idiots last March 17 during the “Fleming Riots” but our local Police were able to leverage the use of Social Media to  arrest 52 suspects who now face more than 152 Criminal Charges.

There is also the real chance of Negative Influences coming from Social Media.  This does not matter if you are a big Corporation, a solo Blogger or John Q. Public.  Bad Press in Social Media can be damning.

Look to the really bad Press that Shell has been having over what it thought was a fun and interesting Social Experiment they called Shell is Prepared!   In a rather interesting Article over at AdWeek, there are many opportunities for companies to have a #BrandFail.  Some come from bad Social Management, others come from a Socially Conscious public while others are just out right fails.

This is the same for people like me who head out to build a Personal Brand.  It takes a lot of work to maintain the presence required but what about for John Q. Public.  A bad review will not make it harder for them to get a job but their own stupidity for posting the photo series of their Drunk Fest sure could come back to bite them as employers are more and more going to Social Media to do back ground checks on potential employees and the reality is…don’t think that no social presence is a good thing…it is your reputation…maintain it like you would your Credit Score!!!

This really leads to the final main Danger of Social Media.  The risk to the Reputation of a Brand, or an Individual is real, very real.  There is a reason why I don’t plaster who my Employer is all over my Blog.  These are MY Opinions not anyone else and while the main purpose of My own Social Media project is to expand and connect with more and new people…it was determined very early on that keeping the relationship I have at work at arms length from the Rants of Krispy…is a good thing.

I do like to Rant.  Almost as much as I like to complain (just ask my wife or co-workers) but the reality of Social Media is (at least in my opinion) provides far more good than it does harm.  There are dangers out there though and the biggest danger is also its greatest benefit.  Transparency.  Who I am is out there for the world to see.  24/7/365 and for Krispy the Sales Guy…this is a good thing…for Krispy the husband and father…well the jury is still out on that one.

Have a great week everyone.  Two more days and then the wild ride for me at work is over.  Just 16 hours or 960 minutes.  Let’s get this party started shall we!

Chris J Powell

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