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From the July Newsletter

by Mardie Schroeder

Wendy_PatrickIf all the accomplishments of Dr. Wendy Patrick were listed, there would be no room to write this column. Her subject at the June meeting was on the dangers of living in the modern social media world.

If someone were to knock on the door in the middle of the night, no sane person would answer, let alone open the door and let a perfect stranger in. Yet we do that with social media. Much of our personal information is revealed online through our own postings as well as friends’ postings.

We want to feel connected. We want lots of friends. We want to promote our accomplishments. We want to be validated. We unwittingly put ourselves in a vulnerable position for anyone wanting to take advantage of us, or to harm us.

We reveal our lifestyles, our associations, our goals and interests, and our educational background. And we lower our standards when we are driven by emotion (like shopping when you’re hungry). When time is of the essence, we often aren’t objective.

It is easier for us to accept rather than to be suspicious. We prefer to trust rather than to verify or to seek corroboration whether on or off line. Our guard goes down with familiarity. The person next door is familiar, but who knew he was an ax murderer?

Appearance tells you nothing about a person. Many good-looking people aren’t convicted, even though they are guilty, because of our biases about appearance. The opposite is also true.

A huge positive, according to Wendy, is that many more crimes are solved through social media – police have been able to predict where crimes will take place.

Wendy closed by pointing out, “There are far more good people out there than bad. Just be vigilant.”