Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door

I know. I know some people don’t seem to have any brains. But I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to you. You have plenty of brains. But you live in a world that tempts people daily to check their brains at the door. Thousands upon thousands of people give in to that temptation. Don’t let it happen to you!

Copyright (c) 9-2007 by wmackie
Case in point: The message about Facebook charging a fee. Don’t play dumb. You know what I’m talking about. You’ve seen the same, copied messages in your friends’ status updates probably a hundred times in the last week. Maybe a thousand times. Maybe a million times. This number is not as far-fetched as it sounds, because some of your friends posted it at least twice or three times. Mine did.

Like any chain letter, Internet rumor, or fake email scam, these Facebook messages get great circulation for one reason and one reason only:  People read the message, accept it at face value, and then forward it instead of checking it out for themselves first to see if it’s accurate.

That’s why you’ve seen so many of your friends and family warning you in CAPITAL LETTERS that Facebook is going to start charging you a fee for its service. First of all, it’s not true (here’s the real dope).

Second of all, if it ever becomes true, let me remind you of this simple economic truth: You can’t have everything for free all the time. Other people have to make a living. If Facebook ever charges you for its services and it doesn’t fit in your budget, then go ahead and leave Facebook. It’s not the end of the world. It’s just an online software program. You’ll be okay whether you use it or not.

Unlike water, which you actually do need every day to survive. And you willingly pay for that at an average of $2 a bottle, right?

By the way, what’s with the idea that if you pass on the message, your profile is going to turn blue and Facebook will be free for you? That makes no sense. There’s no profit in it. But you have to think about it to see that…which is why I say, don’t check your brains at the door. Instead, use them. It’s good for your brains to do some work once in a while.

Enuff Z Nuff: the one band I never
listened to in the 80s. Photo courtesy
When your brains are at work, you can figure out when something is actually useful, and how exactly to make use of it. Case in point: Hovering your mouse over the name of a friend on Facebook and deselecting "Comments and Likes." When you do this, it doesn't protect your privacy, even though that's what the messages being passed around by your friends might suggest.) Here's how to protect your privacy better, courtesy of Naked Security.)

What it does do, though, is it makes your home page more manageable and pleasant for you. It allows you to choose what you do and do not what to see in your news and timeline. So if you're tired of seeing it every time your spandex-loving friend clicks "like" on a post by 80s rockers Enuff Z Nuff, then go ahead and uncheck "Comments and Likes" for that friend.

Now, when you use your brains instead of leaving them at the door, you can work out the truth behind a lot of these rumors and misconceptions. But if your brains need help (mine do sometimes), you can always do a Google search to find out more information. Or visit the Help page on Facebook. Or you can follow computer experts like the people at Sophos to see what those in the know are saying. There's always help out there. So go get help from people qualified to give it. (That's probably not your third cousin who is a nice guy, even though he was inbred.)

Bottom line: Don't be tempted to pass along information unless you've checked it out first to see if it's true. You'll save yourself a whole lot of trouble. And you'll look as brilliant as Einstein compared to the people who don't think about what they're copying and pasting and forwarding. Remember, a mind is a terrible thing to waste...especially if it's yours.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. AMEN!(in all caps so you know it's real)

    Also - it appears that the two gentlemen in the the center of the photo are conjoined. Who knew? :)


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