What the Tech? Social Media Day - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

What the Tech? Social Media Day

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The next time you log onto Facebook (which may be before you finish reading this story) you'll see the news that over 2 billion people are now using the social network. Considering that the world population is around 7.5 billion people, that's a pretty huge number.

According to Facebook, it's responsible for cutting the six degrees of separation down to 3.5. That's the number of people it takes to connect you to every single person in the world. Facebook is so ingrained in our lives now that very few things happen that's not mentioned in a Facebook post.

Friday is Social Media Day, a made-up holiday where people around the world celebrate everything Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat has done over the past decade or so.

Families and friends use Facebook to stay connected. Crooks use it to figure out who's on vacation and who isn't home. Police departments use Facebook to catch some of those crooks.

Like the airplane, the car, the printing press and the internet, Facebook has changed the world. It's rekindled friendships and romance. It's broken up relationships and marriages. According to social media expert Mailynne Calvin it's done more than that.

"It's changed our behavior, which has come with some positives and negatives," she said.

The positives, she said is that it's made communication easier and changed the way we present ourselves to others. It might have led to some people learning how to be tactful when dealing with others on controversial subjects. It's also given a voice to people who are vocal about social, cultural and political events. As we experienced in the past two presidential elections.

"Social media can have that effect on people. It can have an emotional effect if you don't put some parameters and boundaries around how you're using it every day," she said.

Facebook and other social media sites have also given parents something else to worry about. Popular social sites have age restrictions of 13 years old but it's no surprise to anyone that children much younger than that have created accounts.

Calvin said parents are still trying to figure out how to protect their children online and has some advice for new parents and parents of young children with smartphones and a computer.

"I think regularly checking their social media platforms, if they have a cellphone, you're checking who their contacts are; being on top of who they're communicating with and the platforms they're on, and being on them yourself is important."

Social media has been around a relatively a short amount of time. We all have more to learn and the networks continue to add features that make that difficult.

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