Sunday, January 11, 2015

Friends, a hack, and me; rules to live by even in social world


Making friends in social media is something new for me.  Sure, I’ve had a Twitter handle for a long time and have been bragging about my kids on Facebook for years.  But until a few months back, I’d logged an unimpressive number of tweets, and never had a real connection with anyone outside my comfort zone. 

All that changed last fall, when I launched an online fundraising campaign on behalf of my 12-year-old, who championed #AutismSpeaks to support a friend.  That was the first time I had a real conversation about anything with meaning and substance outside my old school environment of family, neighbors, and friends…talking on the phone, by email, or in a school gym watching my kids play basketball.  I learned that having a #shareascare campaign around #Halloween brought with it handles like "zombies." And they turned out to be great allies...and never bit once :)

It began my true immersion into social media.  I made mistakes at first (and still do), made new friends…real connections.  They cared about what we were trying to do and were happy to send on updates to their networks.  I had brand new followers artful in the delicate etiquette of social media conversations…forgiving me for retweeting my own tweets, butting into conversations with what I thought was a brand new idea, and sharing their tips along the way!  I never realized the rules of conversation hold true regardless of where they take place:
  • ·      It’s rude to butt into a conversation you weren’t invited to.
  • ·      It’s even worse if you try to change the subject.
  • ·      You have to listen more than you speak, if you want true understanding.
  • ·      If you have to buy your friends, acknowledge that there is no substitution for growing your networks the old fashioned way…one friend at a time.

While I was busy learning I could make real friends in social media, I didn’t notice that I had let my guard down.  And that’s on me.  Last night, my account was hacked.  I forgot the one simple rule that has held true since I was a kid.  You can never trust everyone playing on the playground.  Not everyone is your friend.  If I’m honest, I’d add a few more rules to that: 
  • ·      There will always be bullies.
  • ·      Don’t always be the needy friend; return favors and help others as well. 
  • ·      Remember how good it feels to see your idea travel and spread. 
  • ·      Don’t forget that we all feel that same excitement, when someone finds our thoughts and opinions worth sharing.
  •      Not everyone is as they appear to be.
  • ·      Naively, and sadly…you cannot trust everyone you meet.

So did the bullies win?  After all, my Twitter account was hacked and after I changed my password, I spent a couple of hours deleting hundreds of tweets I hadn’t written, so that I could reduce the risk of my newfound friends falling prey to the same ruse I did.  I’m going to say no…because I found out my account was hacked within hours.  Followers, who I consider friends, quickly alerted me.  And afterwards, a quick message of “no worries” from a follower around the world, left me with a resounding “NO, the bullies did not win.”

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