Wearing a condom won’t protect you from social networking disease

by Madeline Laughs

How far will Fi go?Take a good look at the picture attached to this blog post. This is a Public post, which makes it available to anyone with a Facebook account.

This is the definition of irony.

What you see here is a fake profile making a comment about another fake identity that was used to hoodwink a lot of innocent people. It’s being commented on by an admitted fake profile that created the fake identity they are both cockadoodling about.

I was once real life friends with one of the fake profiles.

I talked on the phone to the other one.

I used to believe everything both of them told me.

They are a Sociopathic Duo.

Today I’m going to write about a subject that I do not enjoy writing about. Unfortunately, it seems to be a topic I know quite a bit more about than I want to. I had to learn about it, in order to protect myself. Today I’m going to talk about the pitfalls of social networking and how to protect yourself.

Social networking is a passion of mine. I have been social networking since the Internet was made public. My first experience online was a little website called Prodigy.  

My passion for social networking was nearly destroyed for the first time in 2010. I ended up sitting in a nest of people whose sole intent, it seems, is to hurt and manipulate people online. At the heart of it all were two of the most diabolical sociopaths I have ever seen in my life. They’re connection to me sent me on a quest to figure out how to un-attach myself from them and from people like them.

I have had numerous run-ins with unsavory sorts online. You can’t be online for the number of years I have been online and not have an experience, or two, you can talk about.

This one in 2010 was a real doozy.

I received a message last night from someone I consider to be a dear friend now. I have never met her in person, but hope to one day. I met her through mutual friends on Facebook and since connecting with her I get the privilege everyday of being a part of her humorous and fun, yet sensitive and thoughtful way of managing her own life.

Last night she finally asked me about our mutual friendships and how I knew some of the people that had become her friends online by virtue of being connected to me.

This was something I have given thought to. Not in connection with her, but a while back in connection with the two sociopaths. When I was researching how they came into many of the lives of people that I cared about, I had to dig through a myriad of lies that had been shared with me in order to find the truth about how they became such a large part of our lives.

It was a tangled web they wove.

I read and researched all of the tools Facebook makes available to people being stalked and harassed on their network. I changed privacy settings and informed friends about my dilemma. I shared so much information on what they had done, what they were doing and how to get rid of them, that it eventually did fill a book.

I already know the anxiety of suspecting you have just shared a huge portion of your life with someone that only wants to hurt and abuse you. I know how it feels to confide in someone, only to have them betray you within seconds by telling your secrets to people that don’t like you. I know the feeling of being lied to. I know the feeling of being used for money. I know the feeling of being persecuted and maligned for things I never said and acts I never performed.

I know all of this from simply having a profile on Facebook.

Isn’t that sad?

You might be asking yourself why I continue to stay on Facebook since it has caused me so much grief. That’s a good and valid question and I have an answer for you. I stay on Facebook in spite of those people. Not really to spite them, but because I refuse to allow them to take over.

I am a crusader and this past year I took measures to join groups and befriend people that have a similar quest. Instead of joining up and being a member of the chatty, discussion groups where sociopaths tend to congregate and thrive, I decided to actually do something about cleaning them up and out.

Don’t misunderstand my intent. I enjoy a chatty group just as much as the next person and I love debating my opinions on subjects with like-minded friends. My mission would never be accomplished just talking about it. Instead of running my mouth in a group, I joined groups that are vehicles for making changes and cleaning up the more sinister element on Facebook. If the mood to run my mouth ever strikes, I can, and do, run my mouth ad nauseum on my own profile page.

My own profile page…a place only my friends can see.

That’s a huge revelation and one you should pay attention to.

When you join a group that has a chatty platform where the only thing that occurs is mostly conversational, the one thing you must always consider is that anything you say can and sometimes will, be used against you.

For example:

You join a chatty group with 50 members. The topic of the group can be anything; politics, animal care, beauty opinions or just a bunch of girls talking. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

1. How many people in the group do I have a personal connection with?

2. Who are all of the members in the group?

3. Does everyone know each other? Do any of them know each other in real life? Are they all Facebook friends?

4. Would I want to be friends with all 50 members at some point?

There is nothing wrong with being a member of a chatty group, as long as you have personal boundaries and you adhere to them. If you are not personally connected to a majority of the membership, common sense should warn you not to disclose personal information of any kind. Those things would include:

1. Contact information such as phone numbers, addresses and such.

2. Financial information of any kind! This includes how much your home cost or what kind of taxes you pay!

3. Any personal event that is causing you pain and/or depression.

I added the last one because if there is a sociopath among the fellowship, they will latch onto that like it’s their last meal.

I will also add that even if the group is closed as Secret, it doesn’t mean that what you say in the group is secret. Just because the public campus of Facebook can’t see your comments, it doesn’t mean someone in the group isn’t collecting them to use at a more opportune time.

I was hesitant to add that last paragraph. Even though it’s true that your comments may not be secret, if it hadn’t been for the intuition of a woman collecting pictures and comments in the same manner, I would never have escaped the two sociopaths that set upon me in 2010. While I am eternally grateful, I know this process can go both ways. They can be collected to help someone or to hurt someone. This same thing can be said about what you post on your own profile page, however I would hope if you have been reading anything I’ve ever written on the subject that you have started paying closer attention to your friend list by now.

I’ve heard all of the pooh-poohing about my Facebook concerns from different people. They all have and are entitled to their own opinions and I listen to each one and give each one careful consideration. I’ve been told….

“I only use my Facebook profile to promote my band. I never put my entire life out there for everyone to see and I don’t live my life exclusively online like you seem to do.”

I watched this same person post horrible comments about her own family, make them public so anyone on Facebook, including people that weren’t her friends, could read them. I also watched her post about being a childhood cancer survivor, when I knew for a fact that she had never had cancer.

She did all of this after chastising me.

“Why do you take everything so personally? It’s just Facebook!”

I watched this guy get into an online argument about a woman they were both dating. He made a huge public spectacle about deleting the other guy from his friend list and how he had to block him too. Then he sent everyone he knew, including me, a private message demanding that everyone else delete the guy from their friend list too.

And that wasn’t taking something on Facebook personally?

Sheesh!

I have heard all of the cavalier retorts to my complaints about Facebook and my response is that if your way works for you, then great. Continue on your way! I have never said that anyone has to listen to me or take my advice. It’s all here if you ever need it though.

Today I set about putting my dear friend’s uneasiness to rest. It took some time, but I went through the entire list of the friends we have in common and gave her information about each one. I even checked out my Blocked list and told her why some of our past mutual friends are now Blocked by me. I didn’t give her that information with any malice or to sway her about continuing to be friends with anyone. I just told her why I am not friends with them.

I have an expanded view of what happens on Facebook. I get a lot of odd and various friend requests because of how I manage my social network. There have been times when some of my friends also get some of the same friend requests, and accept them because they have “me” in common.

As I have demonstrated many times, this is not always a good idea. But sometimes it is. It’s up to you who you allow into your social networking world. However, any time you aren’t 100% comfortable accepting an odd friend request, just ask the person you have in common how they feel about the person and how they know them. If you don’t have any friends in common, then never accept it unless you know them in real life. Even then, you’re taking a chance that this person could cause you problems.

It’s easy to go back and figure out how you became friends with someone on Facebook.

Go to their profile page.

Hover your cursor over the Friends tab.

Scroll down to See Friendship.

Click that.

This will show you the entire history of your online friendship, including how long you’ve known them and how you met them. There’s even an option at the bottom you can fill out, and add a picture to, to remind you later how you both became connected.

If you have friends that are people you know only through Facebook, but have never met, I would suggest filling out this box in the See Friendship any time you make friends with someone that you don’t know in real life. Change the privacy options on this memorial so that only your friends can view them before you hit Save.

Social networking, like anything in life these days, has it’s pitfalls. If you work it right it can also be a joy to participate in. This is Madeline Laughs hoping that all of your time spent on Facebook brings you nothing, but joy.

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About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
This entry was posted in All kinds of Advice, Facebook Advice and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Wearing a condom won’t protect you from social networking disease

  1. I learn so very much from reading your stories. I really have never had a problem, but I am sorry that you had to go through such a trauma. I generally have been taken advantage of and used for money in person. It sucks any way you look at it. Thank you for sharing, not everyone is a bad person. There are many good ones out there.

    Like

  2. afteramerica says:

    Reblogged this on AfterAmerica's Blog and commented:
    This may be the most important post that you read in 2013 regarding social networking. Why? About 3 weeks ago I deleted my Facebook Account. It was such a blessing. This was especially important because there are articles coming on in the main stream press about how people who are not on Facebook are mentally ill. Are you kidding me? Then I read an article on Mashable about how Facebook can turn teenagers and make them mentally ill.

    Starting to see the point? There is help on the way and I will tell you what it is. Okay Okay, you know I usually think of Google as the borg right? Well, was I wrong. Google+ (with circles) is way way better than Facebook could ever be.

    You can have friends, family, business associates. You can set the privacy settings so that you choose who sees your information. In addition, Google has really good ways to verify that it is you and not spam. The main one being that you must have a real phone number. My advice? Get the heck off of Facebook and don’t walk, run.

    Here are a couple of articles to look at:
    http://www.pcworld.com/article/234825/sss.html
    http://mashable.com/2012/05/31/google-plus-reasons-to-switch/

    How bad is Facebook? I have a fake account there just so I can see what other people are doing but if I have one more person email me and say “please like my posting, my picture, my video….” I’ll pull my hair out.

    Like

    • Thank you for the re-blog and I love your intro to the piece. I actually like Facebook. I like it more now that I can spot the danger signs easier and I guess that’s why I want to educate others on how to spot them too. Social networking should be a fun thing to do. No one should have to constantly worry about the psychos on there.

      Like

  3. wine-whine-whatever says:

    Another terrific and informative piece. You should write a book. No, really.

    Like

  4. Pingback: There is no Cure for the Sociopath | Spread Information

  5. Pingback: A certain number of friends… | Spread Information

  6. Pingback: Madeline Laughs takes a peek at the Past | Spread Information

  7. Ah, I’m pretty relieved that you weren’t involved in some spooky cult in your daily life. Not that what you went through wasn’t bad, a similar thing has happened to me and it wasn’t fun.

    I would like to ask you some questions about social media. Another writer told me that getting a facebook page was necessary. Is this true? Is all of that interaction something that I will have to participate in? I like WordPress because I get a choice out of wide topics, but it could grow into a time/procrastination problem if I add many more blogs. Also, if I add other things like StumbleUpon and Twitter (which I may already have), will those also suck time from my day?

    Like

  8. If you already have a Facebook account, making a page is not that hard. It can’t hurt, but I have to tell you that without the support of a successful page plugging your new page, finding people to randomly click Like and follow your page is going to be a trial.

    We’ve had our page for 3 years and still only have a little over 200 Likers. And getting just those few took a LOT of work! I don’t know how some pages do it. They have 10,000 fans and it seems they got them overnight.

    We have stumbled our pages too and they get few hits, if any. I like to Stumble myself, but when I think about reading anything on there I have to admit that I won’t do it. Like many Stumblers, I use it as a visual stimulus and I will tell you that it’s addictive. Once you start Stumbling, it’s hard to log out.

    I have a Twitter account, the blog has one too and so does my blogmate. We have the blog account set to auto-add our posts when they publish, so that’s all it’s used for. You might consider setting up an account for your blog, just for the auto-post feature. I tweet sometimes, but not often. In fact, maybe once or twice a year LOL!

    Like

  9. Pingback: There is no Cure for the Sociopath | Madeline Scribes

  10. Pingback: Madeline Laughs takes a peek at the Past | Madeline Scribes

  11. Pingback: A certain number of friends… | Madeline Scribes

  12. A very well presented cautionary tale.

    Liked by 1 person

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