Social Networks and Crying for Help

One of the more disconcerting aspects of social networks, at least for me, are the postings that seem to shout-out for help. For example, someone may post, "I hate this place. I wish I could run away and not come back." Or, I just want to disappear forever."

You get the idea. These kinds of postings especially bother me when they come from "friends" on Facebook. If the person is a friend in the "real world" I can deal with the post by calling them up or checking in with them. But, what if they are only Facebook friends and I don't know them that well?

I don't always know if they are crying out for help, looking for attention or just trying to be provocative. It is even more difficult to determine motivation for Twitter posts since you usually don't know the person as well as a "Friend."

I've made the decision to deal with my concerns as if the person said these things directly to me. I either call them or send them a private email. Sometimes I've had people laugh and say they are fine and they were just venting. A couple of times, they needed to talk.

As social networking grows, I think we need to remember that the words we use and the pictures we post have the same power and repercussions online as they do in your "real world." Even more so as they can be resent millions of times with a click of a mouse.

It's very much okay to ask for help anytime.

It's very uncool to post something that sounds like a cry for help just to get Facebook attention. A friend online or in real life doesn't jerk you around like that.

If you do, you'll find yourself being ignored when you really do need that help.

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