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.


Time to clean up your social media hot mess

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.

Posting content you do not have permission to post can cost you a great deal over time.  Trust is a grand thing.

Social Media Complainers and In-Person Complainers


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:)

A few things this IT gal learned in 2016

Reflecting back on a year can be disturbing, I try not to do it because it usually dampens my spirit for a hopeful new year.  But a few things happened this year that warrant documenting for future alien races who may eventually invade our planet and quickly deplete our precious supply of Brussels sprouts, they are as follows:

Smart humans are still falling for email trickery.  You received an email from a well-known company like UPS but the return address ends in something like .bo.net.zipperola.magnifique? And it says they have a really important package to deliver to you? AND they’ve attached a zip file to the email?  Just delete it and get on with life and find comfort in the knowledge that one day the true instigators of such shenanigans will ultimately end up in a massive volcanic-like pit drowning in their own liquified lies.

There are humans with eyesight that really do steal from humans with no eyesight.  I had seen this horrid behavior play out in movies and I read about it in biographies of blind humans but on some level I just didn’t believe it could actually happen.  Unfortunately it does happen.  I witnessed it for myself in a little café this year.  A well-dressed woman snuck in, looked at the blind employee, snatched a soda and snuck out.  “Sticky fingers” was so focused on the blind employee that she never saw me standing in the middle of the isle watching, in complete shock, her misdeed.

Social media and online comments regarding news articles can sometimes paint a disturbing view of society due to some participants being whackadoodles and at the same time incorrectly assuming they are hiding under a velvety warm cloak of anonymity.  I tried Facebook for a portion of the year, it was a delight but it took up too much of my time and so many folks were posting lengthy tirades that I found negative, draining and unproductive because they often didn’t include possible solutions, just many complaints about various things.  I also tried Twitter this year, this one may be a keeper for me:  I can deal with it in under 15 minutes each day, it is easy to hide useless information and I can swap treasure hunting stories with a cool old dude who is a total stranger in Australia at 2am if I want to – seriously fantastic.

I want a self-driving car.  I doubt I will ever trust it but it would be off-the-charts sweet to knit an entire blanket on a long drive to Ohio (if car sickness doesn’t kill me before I get there).

People have asked to have meetings with me in preparation for another meeting with me.  Oh dear.  This one is so odd I don’t know how to deal with it.

I will never run for political office….of any kind….for any reason…ever….ever…ever….holy moly.

Really? In a cornfield? Come on! [huge huge huge huge eye roll here]

Public ridicule isn’t my thing, primarily because I have to live with myself and I myself have so many flaws that their summation exceeds all numerical values currently defined and undefined combined.  So my rant will be targeting an anonymous entity.

My trip to a spooky cornfield this year did not disappoint.  Sneaking around in the dark with actors trying to scare the holy $$@% out of me is horrifyingly delightful.  It is a seriously fun event and my friends and I always meet new people – you would be surprised how chummy strangers get when they are all terrified 🙂

However, the legal jargon I encountered upon entering the farm this year was a bit of a surprise.  I was expecting the normal warnings regarding health and safety but this place went a step further and posted the most ridiculous message I’ve ever seen, I’ve included a photo so you can see it for yourself:


Really? “…with any/all media without compensation throughout the world” and “You hereby waive, release and forever discharge…”  I can’t believe an actual human wrote and posted this.  Seriously? And how clever to post it for only those who have actually shown up with friends and children so it is too late to back out as to not disappoint the other members of one’s party.

When I visited their web site to get the address prior to departure, you would think such a serious statement regarding FOREVER and THE WORLD would be posted on their web site but I found no such thing.  Instead, under the FAQ section I found several statements regarding the fact that photos and recordings are not allowed.  Say whaaaa?

I am saddened to see that a simple and fun evening, out under the stars, running around in a cornfield with a bunch of nice strangers has turned into a social media reality gorge fest.


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