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Jun 02

Let’s spend some time on Social Networking

When I was growing up there was no such thing as a “Social Network” or “Social Networking”.  Boy, has that changed.  Today, if you’re not “Social Networking” you’re just out of the loop.

As a kid, social networking meant getting my friends together to play softball in the alley between our houses, or playing marbles or “pinky” on the schoolyard.  Our methods were really simple and primitive.  The easiest was to know that every Tuesday after school we played softball.  Everyone knew what time and where.  And if your Mom or Dad didn’t have something else you needed to do (like homework) you showed up.

Then there was the impromptu “social networking” tools.  We never made playdates… we’d go over to a buddy’s house (or apartment as the case may be) and knock on the door.  When his Mom answered you said “Can Bruce come out to play”.  If the answer was yes, great.  If it was no, then on to the next friend’s house (usually within 50 feet of the last place you stopped) until you found a “social network” for the afternoon.

Yeah… we, as kids, were responsible for our own form of social networking.  No such thing as Playdates, Mom and Me, etc. etc. etc. for us.  Today, however, Social Networking has taken over a lot of our interpersonal relationships… something that, even though I’m involved in Social Networking, I kind of miss.

It really started with e-mail, but has evolved to so much more than that.  MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, online forums, and a host of other resources have found a way to connect people like they’ve never been connected before.  It has both it’s positives and negatives.  Over the next few postings, I’d like to spend some time on some of the techniques and networks that I participate it and talk about those pros and cons.  Let’s start with the basics of all social networking today…

E-MAIL

I think I started using email in the early 80’s.  At first it was a novelty.  Then Compuserve and AOL brought email to the mainstream.  People were flocking to these types of services for more than just email.  It brought the web into your home. With a 300 baud dial up connection you were an innovator and the envy of your friends (and the nemesis of your spouse when he or she wanted to use the phone and you were online with your modem.

Today, email is more prevalent than ever, but it’s slowly being replaced by other types of social networking that we’ll be discussing in future posts.

I still use email as my primary source to stay in touch with friends, business associates and others.  I also use it to stay in touch with businesses that keep me posted about their specials — businesses that I’ve asked to put me on their lists.

Unfortunately, I also find myself using email to find out about a host of things that I really don’t need or want to know about.  The amount of SPAM (unwanted email) that I get in a day is unbelievable.  That’s where I want to focus some attention today.  How can you minimize Spam, and is there really a way to get off of some of those mailing lists.

Businesses and spammers are buying email lists day in and day out.  Businesses are easier to deal with than the spammers.  But more importantly, there are things that you can do (but more importantly have your friends do) to keep your email address off of the spammers radar.  When you send out a mass email (a joke to one of your friends, or pictures of your vacation) don’t put the email addresses into the “To” field, put them into the BCC (blind carbon copy) field.

That way, when you send the email, no one’s email address will show up in your email.  Spammers that harvest email addresses won’t be able to get to them and you’ve done your friends a favor.  But what about your buddy who sends mass emails and forwards everything that shows up in his in box.  You know what I’m talking about — the emails that have rows and rows of email addresses from that email being forwarded around the world (hundreds of times).  That’s a gold mine for the spammers.

People think it’s hard to eliminate all those email addresses before they forward it. And, some people are just too lazy to take the extra 10 seconds that it might take to eliminate that list of email addresses.  It’s really simple.  In most email programs if you just highlight the portion of the email that you want to forward (the joke or the picture or whatever) and then hit the forward button, all that extra stuff is gone, the email is clean and easy to read (your friends reading it on smartphones will thank you) and most important of all… you’ve used the BCC field, you’ve eliminated the extra email addresses and you’ve blocked it all from the email harvesters.

3 comments

  1. Maynard

    Good stuff thanks

  2. David Ramsey

    I just bought my own Barracuda Spam and Virus Firewall and filter all my email through it. Granted, that’s probably excessive for most people….

  3. Marty Silbernik

    Yeah, especially for some of the folks using AOL and ATT.net. But there are ways to try to minimize it. But that’s for the next post!

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