Social Network with style How-to

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If it does not feel right...

Then, it's probably not right.

We expose ourselves on the Internet more than we know. The more connected, the more vulnerable we are. Once a piece of us floats around cyberspace it will remain there until the end of (the Internet) time. -As far as I know, that hasn't happened yet! This article isn't so much about Internet safely, but it will cover personal privacy. -And that's the vulnerability I'll be discussing.

We all make appropriate choices about how we "social network". Some people only accept friend requests that come from real friends. And some people, like me, surf the Net for reasons beyond just keeping in touch with their families. Whatever your choice, you must never forget always to proceed with certain measured precautions in mind.

The first thing that catches "friends'" attention is a status update. It is so easy to blurt out "What's on your mind?" as FaceBook suggests. If what you have on your mind is what you'd like to share with all the friends on your list -if all of them share the same interests - then go right ahead and share. But, please do not type so fast if your blurb is something rather personal. For example, an acquaintance (who used to be on my friend list) often talked about certain activities she shared with her husband. Such things should be kept absolutely private between them, but she made the choice to share it with her "friends" (and very possibly with the whole world, if she didn't control the privacy setting for her status). Surprised, at first, I giggled. This happened more than once, and although I did not approve of this type of behavior -therefore, I never "liked" or made any other comment- I looked forward to, and couldn't wait to read the next blurb! Not exactly good manners coming from me, but she put it all out there, and it was amusing. I kept the pleasure from reading this person's updates to myself and never mentioned it to our common friends. -Why should I: they saw it, too! Soon, she came to realize that there were people on her list who didn't deserve to read her near-adult-rated updates and dropped me along with a few others. - Good riddance.

I find myself in the habit of saying a few types of things on my FaceBook status: "Coffee," "I am soooooo tired," and, "Goodnight, good morning, have a great day" -type of things. The first and the last ones are okay- boring but okay. But I have to rethink the I-am-tired one. Do I want sympathy from my friends? Do they really care to know whether I'm tired or super-charged? I might come across as whiny, and I hate to be seen that way, so I will have to be more creative next time. In my early FaceBook days, I used to say -on a bad day- "I need a hug," and it felt so good when I got some three hundred cyber ((((hugs)))) within an hour. But even the bright spotlight that shines and makes you feel warm, cozy and important does run out of batteries (or, someone simply flips the switch), and the line does get stale. Not to mention that I hate looking pitiful as a means of getting attention.

Now you know that I don't like looking whiny and pitiful to the world.

Then, when I put on my business suit and introduce a link to the latest article on La CoffeeMelodie Suite -such as this one- I'd lose some friends' interest. Some folks do not wish for my daily link to show up on their walls and drop me off their friends list, and I respect that. I do the same to those that I find don't fit my purpose of FaceBook surfing.

A note to those of you who have fan pages: I usually "conduct" my business once a day, and I don't bother sending personal updates from my fan page (the ones you get in your message tab). A way to lose your audience, aka customers, despite a good effort investment. -Almost nobody reads fan page updates.

Have you ever asked yourself what you'd like to achieve from posting status updates? And, do you have answers? My reason to update my status varies each time I post, and to whom I direct the updates also plays a major role. Whatever the reason, my standard rule for every update is, if I can actually walk up to the next person -even better, any stranger I see in a public place- and say my status update to him, then I'd "share" it on FaceBook.

A helpful tip: It's also good to group your friends in categories. There comes a time when you would like to point your statements to specific people, such as sharing personal information among family members, or posting statement in a language other than English to a particular group of friends. -Although it is not a big deal, not long ago I used to type in Thai, and my fellow country(wo)men automatically understood I was directing my statement to them and responded in the same language; yet, once in a while, my non-Thai friends dropped by to post, "????" and "Huh?" I have learned from this, and now -should the occasion arise- I only let the Thais see it.

Being on a social network such as FaceBook can be very entertaining and may even bring some business gains to you. But, please be aware of the way you carry yourself on the Internet social network. It should be in the same fine and appropriate manner as what you do off the Internet. After all, whether online or offline, it is still you who is responsible for all that you say and do.


La CoffeeMelodie Suite

About us

We are an American father who has lived many years in Thailand, a Thai mother who has lived many years in the United States, and four children- the eldest born in America- who spent the first parts of their lives in Thailand and then moved to the USA. This multiculturalism provides a unique perspective and affords each of us the opportunity to approach things from new directions.

We follow our hearts wherever they take us. We also believe in sharing. If another is enriched then so, too, are we, for the betterment of one is the betterment of us all. We share our ideas, thoughts, knowledge and opinions with the hope that others will find value in them, as well as in the hope that they will pay it forward to make the world a continually better place.

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facebook-status, the Internet, vulnerable, safety, personal privacy

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