It's no news to any of my friends that I turn into a Rotweiller when faced with yet another pointless / manipulative / malicious / downright brainless posting on here. I love Facebook for the social, sharing, inspiring and amusing possibilities it affords, but I suppose it's human nature that there will always be morons who want to spoil it for others.
Some will be seriously harmful (taking you to websites with malicious code). Some will compromise security. Some will be 'likewhores' (gathering as many likes and followers as possible purely in order to sell the pages on at inflated prices). Some will be tasteless and distressing. Whichever category they come into, these are the clutter of social media (the more of the ugly and useless you can discard, the easier it is to find the useful and the beautiful).
So here's a very quick set of tips:
- When you see something SHOCKING and using LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS and EXCLAMATION MARKS! - be suspicious.
- When you see something that urges you to 'share this with all your friends now' - be suspicious.
- When you are asked to do something that seems entirely pointless ("Name a drink without an E in it! I bet you can't!") - be suspicious.
- When something (e.g. a free iPad or Macbook Air, a high-value voucher, a hugely expensive airline ticket) sounds too good to be true... well, you know the rest of that one.
- Google a key phrase from the posting.
- Search Facebook for the real page for the business purporting to give away some high-value prize. It will be there, trust me.
- Check out one of the pages listed below.
- Ask me.
- Above all: please, please don't repost it 'just in case'.
Now: Follow the guys who know. Ensure that these pages' posts turn up in your Timeline and you'll quickly become aware of what's real and what's best avoided.
Just do it. Click through to these, 'like' them, keep an eye out for what they say. It's not hard, it can save us all a lot of irritation and hassle, and it keeps our social media lives the way they should be: fun, informative and generous.
Oh, and if you need to ask a specific question and you want a friendly geek, you know where I am: