Social networking sites are powerful tools for communication but they only work as well as they do because users have a mostly healthy balance of protocol. If that user-generated social order did not exist, no one would trust nor use Facebook on a regular basis. In other words, like almost everything else on the internet, policing them isn’t going to work; law and order will have to come from within.Facebook underwent another change recently which puts a news feed right in the middle of the page, like Twitter, forcing users to focus heavily on the updates and less on the extras, like groups and notes. It seemed to come at a very bad time, though, because users seemed to be just getting used to the new Facebook. Now, the new NEW Facebook feels like Twitter and the old new Facebook has vanished. With Facebook more like Twitter, there is bound to be chaos erupting in all levels of society. Both were in the news recently for prematurely announcing the intentions of jurors during court cases. That could be the tip of the iceberg, and there is probably some cause for worry. On the other hand, most people who know how to use Twitter or Facebook well would not be stupid enough to divulge information publicly. Anyone stupid enough to divulge information publicly probably shouldn’t be using these sites and most certainly shouldn’t be a juror.This same philosophy will help parents figure out just how much access to these sites their kids should be getting. Preventing them from the evils of the internet is probably going to do them more harm than good; teaching them the way of the net early will help them become responsible, adept users who can be trusted with making private information publicAs for the courts, in order to protect the legal system, it probably is a good idea to operate by the same rule as film screenings: don’t allow jurors cell phones that have apps for Twitter or that can connect to their internet. How is some court clerk doing the check-in going to know? Can’t you just see the line of confusion forming at the front of the line?The bottom line is that there is always a potential for disruption on every level of use where the internet is concerned. One must develop a healthy set of boundaries that keeps people at just enough of a distance to ensure that no real damage can be done. Funnily enough, Facebook and Twitter won’t destroy our society because they’re tampering with our legal system, however they will destroy our society because maybe, just maybe, we’ll forget how to talk each other in real life. One thing we do know is that there is no going back to the way things were before. We only have a long and winding path ahead of us. We must be the keepers and protectors of information, our own and that which is exposed during trials. It’s either that or the government is going to start making laws about use. Imagine that.
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