Easy ways to spot fake social media accounts

When a few of my family members started using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, I was quickly reminded of how humans seem to be naturally inclined to believe everything they see in print.   I had to cover a few basics with them once they started interacting on social media platforms because they initially went through a phase where they believed, in some instances, that they were interacting with real people when it fact they were actually just interacting with bots.

Keep the following tips in mind if you are new to social media, they may help you identify fictitious online accounts (and the rule is to just ignore them or if they are posting threats then report them):

  • look at the list of followers the person has and ask yourself: does each follower have a “perfectly beautiful face and model clothing?” – if so then the person is probably not real and neither are any of their followers
  • look at the list of followers the person has and ask yourself: does the person have a very small number of followers (like 10) but they are following thousands of people? – if so, then the person is probably not real
  • does the person only forward existing posts from other people and never actually say anything themselves? – if so, then the person is probably not real
  • does the person only post the same “type” of material all day long? (like they only post quotes from famous people, never posting anything “genuine”) – if so, then the person is probably not real
  • does the person send private messages to you that are generic phrases that would apply to a million scenarios? (like this: “Hey, so nice to meet you, it is a big world out there, I like to connect) – if so, then the person is probably not real
  • does the person post messages at the same interval each day (like at the top of every hour or every day at exactly 2:30pm) then the person is probably not real

Avoid using social media for anything other than socializing.  Obtaining news about current events for your community and nation should be obtained from traditional news organizations who have a track record of many years of attempting to relay facts to the public.

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A tiny gadget is really creeping me out but I want one!

Have you seen the Tile commercial? The gadget demonstrated seems innocent enough: a family tracks down a cute lost teddy bear in a big city for their adorable child via a tiny gadget clipped to the teddy bear. As I watch this sweet moment unfold I can’t help but envision a serial killer sipping coffee at a quiet little coffee shop somewhere in my town, dark thoughts churning through his strained brain. His name is something calm like Robert. He casually walks around the coffee shop, unnoticed in his khaki pants and brown wool pullover, and drops these gadgets in the BAPs (Big *** Purses) of women he wants to track and later dismember in his basement of evil that is obviously wallpapered in disturbing patterns of over-zealous vines climbing the walls. I will write a book about Robert some day.

I realize I have a very active imagination so in all honesty I seriously doubt the coffee horror house of deception is ever going to happen, even if the community of Tile trackers grows exponentially, but just in case it does I will give you this advice: To all the glorious gals out there like me that carry BAPs, actually clean the purses out once a week so you know exactly what is in there at all times. If you happen to find a Tile in there that doesn’t belong to you then be sure to leave it in a public place for the serial killer to later find – maybe create a chalk outline on the ground with white tape and place the Tile in the center of it.

If you have a BAP but have lost the desire to lug it around with you, please reconsider. Pick that bag up and go! It is like walking around with your very own tour bus. Here are a few items I highly recommend adding to your BAP – so dust it off, fill it up and get out there and live:

  • huge bottle of hairspray
  • box of strawberry Pop-Tarts (frosted)
  • paperback murder mystery
  • cozy socks
  • journal and pen
  • jar of peanut butter and baggie full of bird seed (you won’t eat this, this is for when you are in the park – twirl pine cones in the jar then dip the cones in the baggie full of bird seed and leave pine cones on the ground to attract big foot – he gets hungry to you know, stop being so selfish.. what evs)
    framed 8×10 of Betty White

Creepy aside, the Tile is an outstanding product. I’ve seen it in action at my sister’s house, they use it to locate sets of keys. I am especially interested in using the Tile in the arena of stolen vehicle recovery (cars, boats, snowmobiles), especially for older models that do not contain any traceable wireless signals by default. The Tile can easily be permanently concealed within the frame of a vehicle and then utilized for tracking should the vehicle ever be stolen. Just don’t be tempted to track the use of the vehicle if it has not been stolen….you know you want to! Cut it out! Behave! You are such a maniac…

Video gaming descent into nothingness, what is going on?

Cosmo17small
My circle of peeps since as far back as me being a kid in Lima, Ohio, and playing heated games of softball in the boulevard after school, have always been a mixture of active and/or intelligent humans with an over-the-top zest for life.

My first FANTASTIC introduction to video games during my childhood, Atari, never pulled my focus away from living in the real world for long each day and why would it? How could it? With the sun shining, the birds singing, bugs biting and bikes to ride, it never dawned on me (even as an introvert) to hide on the couch and jump into digital make-believe for hours at a time.

I reflect on my childhood now when I read the news and when I listen to some of our friends complain of their children’s descent into long periods of digital nothingness.  I worry humans are becoming more and more detached from society.   I understand the attraction of the digital world because reality is difficult, scary, painful and messy with the rare and perfect sprinkle of fabulous that makes it all worthwhile.  But I also understand, as does the scientific community, what happens to humans and animals long-term when live social interaction is significantly diminished:  physical and mental health deteriorate.

If you or your children are descending into a nothing abyss via the Internet or video gaming highway, make a resolution to makes some changes.  Nothing drastic, it can start with taking a walk each day or pick up the phone and call your Great Grandmother Mildred who is probably cursing you right now because she hasn’t heard from you in 5 years, or get a hamster – http://www.myhamsterzoo.com.  What are you waiting for?

Time to clean up your social media hot mess

BunnyChair

Here is your year-end IT guilt trip if you post content, photos and videos to social media: clean up your hot mess at least once a year by deleting things you should not have posted to begin with like things you did not have explicit permission to post (photos/videos of other people), content that contains false information and content that contains the embarrassing dirty laundry of your 3rd cousins nephews son who got into a fight with another customer at the pack n’ go over the last pack of smokes on the shelf.

Social Media Complainers and In-Person Complainers

complain

I only know a few people that consistently complain in real life as well as on social media regarding topics of pet care all the way to politics. Their level of complaining in-person is high and is fairly consistent with their level of complaining within social media platforms. In the years I have known them I have noted two discouraging behaviors:

  1. They continue to complain regardless of whether the problem they are complaining about is solved or not.
  2. They put forth very little or no effort towards a meaningful resolution to the problem they are complaining about.

These observations, over time, have left me with no patience when listening to or reading complaints from anyone about anything.

A constant barrage of complaints can make for a terribly negative atmosphere where nothing other than rage and impatience are accomplished.  If you find yourself frustrated with complainers in your own life, look to science for solid suggestions on how to change your own behavior to better communicate with unproductive complainers. Science peeps have spent a lot of time studying humans and have really helpful suggestions on how to make things better (example: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201107/how-deal-chronic-complainers).  As opposed to my method which is normally a snarky rebuttal like “you know, I have a feeling you would complain about winning the lottery” which often garners a shocked and hostile response of more complaining. Yes, I am the worst example of how to interact with other humans – this could explain why I don’t leave the house much:)

Tips if you want a computerized sewing, quilting or embroidery machine

Computerized sewing, quilting or embroidery machines are fascinating tools that intimidate some and fill others with crazy glee.  This article is for the intimidated ones:)

If you enjoy sewing and have been out of your crafting cave for any length of time then these machines have probably peaked your interest.  If you have no desire to operate computers, iPads, iPods, iPhones, Androids, PC’s, Surface’s, Alexa’s, VCR’s, toasters, the list goes on and on and on and on and on – then my guess is your curiosity with the machines ended with an eyebrow raise when you saw one on display somewhere.

If you need an extra nudge or if you want to purchase one of these machines for someone in your circle of peeps, then I strongly suggest ignoring all hype, all advertising, all skywriters and all web sites that drone on about how fabulous one is over the other.  I suggest just writing down a list of machines in your price range and then carefully review the user manual for each one and research the reputation of the manufacturer.

If the user manual is easy to understand, has clear diagrams and pictures and has detailed instructions then you will understand how to successfully use the machine, it doesn’t matter if you are tech savvy or not.

I work with so many users who are intimidated by technology, the intimidation crosses over to when they read manuals.  They just refuse to read the manual because they automatically think it will be too hard to understand or too lengthy and boring to dedicate any time to.  The manual is your pathway to understanding a seriously fantastic tool, jump in and do it!

The manual for any device is also important for this main reason:

If you follow the manual to the letter when attempting to use equipment you are not familiar with, and you get a result not covered in the manual, then this is an indicator that something is wrong with the equipment.  Faulty equipment is a rare event but if you understand the manual before using the equipment then you are armed with knowledge that will help you quickly determine if the equipment is functioning well or if the equipment is faulty.  You will also be able to effectively communicate with user support should you encounter problems if you understand the user manual.

There are two computerized embroidery machines I have experience with and I like them both.  I have included direct links to the user manuals for each machine so you can see how well-written they are.  Be sure to read the user manual for any machine you are researching and you will be ready to hit the ground running when you purchase one:

Bernina 500:
https://www.bernina.com/BERNINA/media/Support/Sewing_Quilting_Embroidery/5_Serie_NEW/BERNINA_500/Documents/EN/1028895_0_04_web_B500_2017_08_EN.pdf

Husqvarna Designer Diamond Royale:
http://www.husqvarnaviking.com/getattachment/Machines/DESIGNER-DIAMOND-Royale/Designer_Diamond_Royale_manual_ENG.pdf.aspx

Fitness trackers and their wicked lies:)

It is tempting to believe the cute little mobile app when it tells me me I’ve burned 570 calories in the last hour when I know the only thing I’ve done for the last 60 minutes is laugh on the phone with my sister while eating a snow cone.

Fitness trackers are fabulous though some are not entirely accurate.  Keep this in mind if you use one.  Several studies (this article goes into detail about one: https://www.livescience.com/59242-how-accurate-is-your-fitness-tracker-really.html) have demonstrated just how inaccurate data from fitness trackers can be (like calories burned). Until these mainstream devices are consistently providing valid data, avoid making decisions regarding your health and/or diet based solely on the data received from these devices.   Privacy may also be a concern in regards to the data collected on users of fitness trackers. Data regarding vitals, location and level of activity is valuable and could be used in a variety of ways that you may or may not approve of (e.g. investigations, estimating lifespan, and determining eligibility for programs).

Email Signature Quotes: unleash the hounds of mockery

Here is an example of an email signature quote:

John Doe
Vice President of Marketing, ABC Corporation
mobile: 999-999-9999
desk:  999-999-9999
“Morality is the basis of things and truth is the substance of all morality.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Email signature quotes often include some type of idealistic or moralistic message.  These messages will often receive a very warm reception when they are delivered by those who are globally held in high regard due to their lifetime contributions to society but when they are delivered by a person who does not meet this criteria the tone of the entire email changes.

Take John Doe for instance.  If John is known for gossiping about others or berating employees who take a lunch break then quoting Gandhi in his email signature is probably going to unleash some serious mockery.

Proceed with caution.

ACRONYM

Dear ACRONYM,

Thank you for your consistent overuse in the workplace.  Side effects of no pharmaceutical drugs in our solar system can compare to the thick atmosphere of confusion you create on a daily basis.

I particularly enjoy pausing at various points throughout my workday to reference copious amounts of old documentation in a futile attempt to find your true meaning.

Please keep up the good work.  Continue to blanket my world in meaningless character combinations until one day I snap and speak only in numbers for the remainder of my days.

Sincerely,

 

TCTIGTKY

 

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