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Social media provides good and bad

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I am a user of two social media sites: Facebook and Twitter.


Facebook was launched by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, and Twitter was launched by Jack Dorsey in July 2006. Both of these social media companies are headquartered in California.


It was back in early August 2011 that I started going on Facebook, locating most of my old friends from school whom I hadn’t seen in years. Whenever I send a friend request to someone from my past I sometimes take the initiative to send them a message accompanying the request, in case if they don’t remember me.


It has worked for me a few times, resulting in confirmations. There have also been a few times that I sent such a request to someone from my past and they have responded by asking me how I know them. I reply and try my darnedest to refresh their memories. That has also resulted in several confirmations.


If you’re just starting out on Facebook and you’re sending out friend requests, you may encounter refusals from some of the individuals you submit requests to. The only way to find this out is to check their profiles. The words "add friend" may be seen on them, defining the obvious. If any requests you make are still pending, then the words "friend request sent" is seen on those profiles. There are two ways to know if your requests have been accepted: check your email or go on Facebook.


If other requests you have made go unanswered for months, it’s up to you to cancel them.


Facebook allows you to type whatever is on your mind and post it on the newsfeed aimed at either your friends or the public. You can use links to illustrate whatever you have to say on Facebook. You can also click on the "like" pages for well-known people, businesses and news media outlets.


One of the best uses for Facebook is to express your opinion on something, regardless of whether you are for or against it. An example of that was the recent backlash from a lot of Canadians who spoke up against the controversial online surveillance bill introduced in the House of Commons by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.


One of the less positive uses of Facebook is to express your opinion in a negative fashion which could lead to losing some of your online friends. Any content that might be considered threatening can prompt a concerned user to call the police.


People from all walks of life use Twitter to express opinions on anything. The catch is that you only have 140 characters to do so. When you use Twitter, keep your tweets short, sweet, and to the point. Also, initial someone’s name if you can’t say the whole name. Acronyms and abbreviations are also useful.


I started using Twitter earlier this year, as part of my New Year’s Resolution. It can be addictive in much the same way Facebook is.


The best advice is to be careful regardless of whatever social media you might be using.


Kenneth Davis is a Brooklands-based writer.


Neighbourhood Forum is a readers’ column. If you live in The Times area and would like to contribute to this column, contact jim.timlick@canstarnews.com.

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