Would you like a pop quiz? Yes? Okay, here goes. What was the first social media platform and when was it started? Extra points if you didn’t google it. In case you couldn’t bother to look it up, the first social media site was SixDegrees.com, born in 1997.

Then we got Friendster (2002), My Space (2003), followed by the king of them all, Facebook. Other popular sites are Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest and a host of others, all having their own set of rules and all keeping us glued to our devices whether we want to or not.

I must confess when I first heard about Facebook I was determined to ignore it as I had done MySpace, but once I began writing professionally, I saw the value of Facebook to help me get the word out about my work. Then I discovered I could establish connections with like-minded individuals, friends and relatives from every corner of the globe and get to know people I would otherwise never meet. Social media is a wonderful tool.

But like everything else, it can be misused. We have heard in recent times about the accounts of prominent officials— not just here in America, but other parts of the world— being suspended. Some see this as an infringement on their freedom of speech; others see it as a necessary means of curtailing activities that can be harmful to individuals or the general public.

As with any freedom we enjoy, speech should be used responsibly. I don’t like it when people send me messages I didn’t invite them to or consider inappropriate, as happened recently. I was able to delete the message but could not block the sender and I didn’t have the time to contact Facebook there and then.

That’s just a small example of the way social media can be abused. I have seen other hate-filled responses directed at someone simply because they did not agree with the post. Social media should not be a battlefield but a place to establish worthwhile connections, exchange ideas and learn from each. So on this social media day, will you contact a friend and tell them you’re thinking of them and you appreciate having them as your friend?

Having said all of that, will you share this post with a friend and follow me on the platforms listed below? Thank you!

Facebook   Twitter    LinkedIn  Book Bub Instagram