Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Blogs, etc.

Ever since my son was a Cub Scout, the only way I have been able to have access to many of his scouting photos (all the way through scouting for more than a decade) is to be a Facebook member. Even typing that term, “Facebook member” makes me cringe, and there are reasons for that. Way back when my son was a little tyke, I was the scout mom who put up the fuss about privacy and security on Facebook for our children. Too many people wanted to just make packs or troops public groups so just anyone could see what was happening. To me, this invited the possibility of people who had no business being involved in pack or troop activities using the information for other than reputable purposes. In those “early” days of all parents except me being overly permissive of allowing anyone to access and/or follow pack or troop events on Facebook, I always ended up being the “bad guy” because I was the one who spoke out against it. In those times, therefore, I did not give permission for my son’s image to be used on any of those pack events that were posted on Facebook, simply for privacy and security. I still wonder to this day why everyone else was just so willing to go along. I felt it was just wrong and opened up the potential for issues. That other parents were not concerned was very discouraging.

As my son got older and joined a scout troop, the same issue cropped up again. Well, I thought, at least my son was older now and maybe I would not have to be as concerned about his privacy and security on Facebook. As a committee member of my son’s troop who, at one point, held two board positions simultaneously, I again presented my case for privacy and security on Facebook by insisting that the troop’s group be closed, or I would not vote for the troop to use a Facebook account. Ultimately, the troop created a closed group as opposed to a public group, and I drafted the waivers for parents to sign for their sons’ photos to be posted in the account. This was something very important to me and I fought for it, creating the waiver just like a legal document. Some may have thought it over the top, however protecting our kids is of utmost importance to me. Someone has to step up and do it, especially when others do not see the significance of it. Unfortunately, too many kids get hurt in situations that could have been prevented with better planning and foresight.

Therefore, way back when, I caved and joined Facebook, but with a twist. I disagree with the CEO’s norms and values used in Facebook, as well as the potential for using and exploiting certain information. Therefore, I do not use my real name, image, or birthdate on Facebook. This is just another way of resisting against the CEO’s intellectual theft employed in creating and establishing Facebook. Are you familiar with the process with which Facebook came about? Basically, it was to be used as a type of dating website among college students, specifically focused on only including women’s photos. And, then, all of the hacking into college databases and stealing others’ ideas to create Facebook should be enough to turn anyone’s stomach. If I was being “forced” to join Facebook simply to obtain access to photos of my son in scouting events, then I would do it on my own terms. To this day, I still do not use my real name, image, or birthdate on Facebook, again as a way of resisting what Facebook stands for.

Many years ago, I also joined Twitter, though over time, my participation in that venue has subsided to nothing. Recently, I actually cancelled my account because I no longer use it and after assessing my use of it, realized that it has been of little to no benefit to me. I remember years ago when Twitter was all the craze and I was very active on it, but then again, I had the time to be active on it. I actually wasted so much time on it – I wish I could get it back now!

Recently, another of my son’s scouting groups required an Instagram account in order to keep up with news, events, and photos. I signed up for Instagram, found it to be a waste, and promptly deactivated my account. I get the same information, though much more minimally, from Facebook. Again, if I am “forced” to already be a member of Facebook, then I was stay with it, but on my own terms.

That brings me to LinkedIn. I was so active on LinkedIn many years ago, acquiring 100s of contacts and following still 100s more influencers. Yes, I would occasionally reach out to other professionals for conversation, seeking advice, sharing information and knowledge, etc. However, over time, I have decreased my activity on LinkedIn since I am so busy with so many other things. I did establish and still maintain four groups on LinkedIn, though I do not keep up with them nearly as well as I should. Really, the only reason I am still active at all on LinkedIn is for those groups. As professionals, it is good to show career and other experience on LinkedIn, but I have to ask, how valuable is it, really, for others to know this information? Maybe in some venues or areas it is helpful, but not in all of them.

Lastly, I do keep two blogs and have maintained them for many years. One includes a lot of family ancestry and baking posts, and the other includes posts about lepidoptera. I have deleted dozens of posts from the more personal-related one over the years because I no longer believe it is helpful to have such information out there. I know others who maintain blogs, including various information in them, and I also know people who are involved very little on the Internet. While many long-lost relatives have contacted me about my blog about family ancestry, expressing their appreciation for the images and information, I have to wonder how good it is to put all of that out there. I have a lot of information that I would like to share, but there is no better venue in which to do that other than a personal blog or website. Then, I see just anybody copying my images and re-posting them on Pinterest or other sites, and that is what I have to accept – others using my photos and/or information without my permission. At any rate, I’m sure that one day, I will take it all down and will lose interest in keeping and maintaining all of it. But, for now, I will keep it going and make yet another post to my blog about some of the many media venues that capture people’s attention.

That reminds me, years ago, I set up a YouTube account to share videos of my son’s school events and performances with family out-of-state. I’m going to search for and delete that if it still exists because I haven’t used it for years. There are just too many accounts and too much to keep up with. It’s time to start downsizing; enough is enough.

Camping in the Great Smokies (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

A Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

A Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Summer is a great time of the year for camping, and this summer is no different.  Last week, my son went camping with a group in the Great Smoky Mountains near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  He hiked, cooked, and photographed the outdoors.  There were many beautiful trees, creeks, rocks, plants, and other wildlife to photograph.

Creek Scene in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Creek Scene in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

At one point during my son’s camping trip, a mother black bear and three of her cubs walked along the outskirts of the camp.  It was quite an experience for the campers and the bears.  One of the cubs got scared and climbed up a tree.  Thankfully, the bears remained at a safe distance from everyone, and vice versa.

Rocks and Boulders in a Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

Rocks and Boulders in a Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, July 26, 2014

My son had a great opportunity for camping in the Great Smokies, and he returned home feeling even more inspired than he already was to conserve nature and protect wildlife.  I’m glad that he had a good experience and was with other campers who were responsible and who looked out for each other.

Thankfully, my son was no longer in the area when lightning storms and tornadoes swept through on the next day, however most of his group remained.  Luckily, everyone was okay.

Note: The photos in this post were taken by my son.