LONDON - JULY 10: In this photo illustration a girl browses the social networking site Facebook on July 10, 2007 in London, England. Facebook has been rapidly catching up on MySpace as the premier social networking website and as of July 2007 was the secondmost visited such site on the World Wide Web. Started by 22 year old Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg, the website is responsible for 1% of all internet traffic and is the sixth most visited site in the USA. (Photo Illustration by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

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I’ve been doing things on the Internet almost since day one. I have one of the oldest continuous web sites on the net going back to 1998.

When social media came along however I was a late bloomer. MySpace was the first big social online party that I remember. While MySpace is still online, it’s long since been eclipsed by Facebook, Twitter and others.

Facebook Was A Good Start

Over one billion people use Facebook on a regular basis. Facebook started out pretty innocent by people posting about their daily activities. Where they were and what they were doing. Then pictures and video came along and everything changed — for the worse.

Now profanities, hate speech, and intolerance are the order of the day. If you disagree with a post be prepared to be personally or professionally attacked and vilified.

It’s the adult version of the “playground bullies.” It’s my way or the highway. I will not only unfriend you but crush you if I can. Not exactly social.

Twitter and Others

Twitter has somewhat followed suit. We often hear of celebrities going at each other in Twitter battles. Thankfully with Twitter they only have 140 characters and spaces to spew their venom.

But in many cases that’s more than enough if you are really out to get someone.

LinkedIn Is Different

Although there is still some of the same negative verbal discourse on LinkedIn, it’s considerably less than other social media sites. Probably because LinkedIn is comprised of many groups of people who agree rather than disagree on a specific topic or cause.

You invite people to join your friends group based more on the education, and economic standing than where they stand politically or their favorite NFL team.

There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn you can join thus creating a network of contacts that can help you advance your career or theirs.

While Facebook and Twitter are more like mob rule, LinkedIn is more like a frat party where everyone there knows future contacts are often more valuable than education.

Some Final Thoughts

Face to face most of us are kind and considerate of others. But in that dark room late at night with the protection of the monitor glass the worst in some people often comes out.

If you are going to tackle social media, my best advice is to develop a thick skin. Sooner or later you are going to post something you think is perfectly innocent and get your bell rung for doing it.

Social media can be a great tool for keeping in touch with loved ones separated by distance. I have found many college and high school friends that I would probably never contact without social media and that’s a good thing. It is a double-edged sword. Use the positive blade.

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