Now that social media is everywhere, the world is a different place.

Before Facebook, if you failed to get someone’s contact information when you met them, you had to hope that someone you knew also knew that person and could connect the two of you.  This was true in social settings and business events.

Now, if you meet someone you want to collaborate with or someone you want to pursue a relationship with, all you need to do is look them up on Facebook or LinkedIn.

And even though most people will deny it, we are all ‘Facebook stalkers’ when we see someone in the news.  When we see a news story giving the name of someone who has been arrested, has been killed, or is wanted by the police, the first thing we do is look them up.

First, we want to know if it is someone we or our friends know.  After that, our inner voyeur wants to learn about the person.

While that is kind of creepy, that is not the real issue.

The real problem is people who, when they see someone wanted by the police, DM the person.  Even worse, if their page is open, some people will post accusations on the wall of the wanted person.

Souvik Banerjee, Unsplash
Souvik Banerjee, Unsplash

Stop doing this!

First, it is not your job to engage with those who have been accused of a crime.  That’s the job of law enforcement.

Also, you cannot be completely certain that you are reaching out to the correct person.  Even if it is the right person, you don’t know the whole story.

Recently, I Facebooked the name of someone who came up in the news.  It was someone from my home area, and I thought I might know the person.  On the wall of the first person to come up when that name was searched was a post telling Facebook vigilantes that they were not the wanted person, and asking people to stop sending them threats.

Enjoy social media, but don't abuse it.

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