"The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself, but the inexperienced (naive*) keep right on going and suffer the consequences." - Proverbs 27:12
"How many of them have secret lives they don't want the world to know? How many of them wear masks wherever they go...?" - Kelsey Sutton (author)
When I first joined poetry soup as tommyboy some years ago (gee, has it been that long?) it was, in part, because of my dissatisfaction with other sites that cater to poetry and storytelling. For those like me who have been around, this community is different in some important ways, ie, no porno, family friendly and generally supportive.
Nevertheless, I also noticed some issues that I took to task by means of blog posts. Issues such as no audio feature, the rating system, poet sponsored contests etal. Happily, PS addressed some of those issues resulting in (imho) an improved experience. We now have an audio option, the rating system has been abyssed, short stories have their own place on the site and a youtube feature was added.
Even more fun were the blog posts on science and the Bible (Ha! good times) and the now infamous one on trolls, which, by the way, had one of the longest running threads in recent memory, though some failed to get the self-deprecating humor and the blog along with a certain poet who shall remain nameless were sent to Poetry Soup purgatory for a time (though I suspect the blog was condemned to oblivion).
I also wrote a blog on the dangers of social media which drew a variety of comments, some in support, some against. Recent events have moved me to once again highlight some of the potential dangers of this form of communication. While the statements may cause a polarization of viewpoints and feelings it is hoped that at least some will see the need to exercise a certain amount of caution. After all, we want our social media experience to be a pleasant one.
1. It is a fact that some use social media to set up liaisons with minors for perverted purposes. Thankfully, many of these dimwits are lured into a trap by the authorities and are taken away in handcuffs upon arrival. Yet how many are never caught? Young ones, please, please, please be careful!
2. It is a fact that many who utilize social media are not who they claim to be. Under cover of relative anonymity they may invent personality traits they do not possess or post photos of themselves that are inaccurate, distorted or outright false. It is important to keep a certain emotional distance from someone you do not and cannot really know. Exercise caution when giving out personal information and if anyone makes you feel uncomfortable you can always use the block feature.
3. Some poets are especially talented at writing and it is easy to fall in love with someone's poetry. Please be careful not to confuse the love you have for their awesome writes with personal attachment. True love is founded on intimate knowledge of a person gained over a significant period of real life face-time. On the other hand, infatuation is shallow and based on things like looks, talent, charisma and etc. Some will say that their best friends can be found on social media. But ask yourself, how well do I really know this person? Many so-called social media friends have become cyber bullies to the very same persons they formerly embraced as a "friend." And sadly some have even left their spouse and family to chase an online lover who turns out to be nothing like what they imagined.
4. Finally, social media is one of many modern tools available for communication. When used with a proper amount of caution and without undue paranoia social media can be a useful and entertaining experience for most.
This post is not meant to offend, condescend or annoy, nor is this a lame attempt to set myself up as some sort of expert or internet guru. The statements made above have been well documented by researchers.
Wishing you all a great week!
* my addition in parenthesis