I gave Facebook my golden years, but what has Facebook ever given me? It has facilitated a lazy approach to keeping in contact with people. Who wants a thoughtfully-written postcard when they can just pop open a message? It has normalised nosiness. It has led my being constantly reminded of those I don't keep in contact with anymore but can't quite bring myself to 'unfriend'.
We are a social-network generation. When I was thirteen we had Bebo and MSN, then it all moved to Facebook. Now we have collectively entered the nascent Instagram era. While Instagram may seem like a picturesque, sepia-tinted way to document our lives, our growing fondness for the app arguably says some very disconcerting things about our 'sharing' habits.
In my part of the world, the Middle East, Facebook is equally popular. In fact there are those who have argued that Facebook played a fundamental role in some of the political changes we have seen in the past couple of years.
Safety aside, as student attitudes to drinking would have it, there is a more basic problem with the kind of drinking exhibited in Neknominate videos. All of those who take part are drinking simply for the sake of drinking, rather than because they want to enjoy a drink.
In this age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. we are increasingly living our lives through the eyes (and comments) of other people. Have you ever stopped to think about how and what this means to you on a personal, emotional level? If someone 'Likes' your post does that give you a boost? Is your sense of self dependent on how many virtual 'friends' or re-tweets you have?
Anyone adverse to blogging and social media might be rather cynical about any initiative linked to improving frontline health and social care that has grown out of a blog post and numerous 140 character interactions between total strangers.
I've already given away my best piece of advice in the title. I want to focus here on the behaviour of social media users but, in all fairness it's probably not a bad approach to adopt in day to day life; which is, in effect, my point...
I suppose nowadays it does not come as a complete surprise when we hear that there's another banking scandal brewing. If its not that most investment banks have been expecting interns and other junior employees to work in excess of 70 hours a week, it will be someone like RBS forcing viable businesses to the wall for its own corporate gain.
Quick: where's your phone? If it's within an arms-reach, you're not alone. (Maybe you're even reading this on your phone!) When this question was asked at a recent networking event I attended, the vast majority of people said their phone was always near them, even while they're sleeping!
Let's go back to the beginning and start with Madonna and me. Against what some people think is the gay 'stereotype', I'm not really one of her fans. However, my actions after watching her arrival on the red carpet and then performance, I played true to stereotype and took to social media to comment on her appearance.
Data has always been important in communications, but it has never been more critical than it is now. In today's world, newspapers are facing increasing pressure to cut costs and produce more news in less time.
One of the regular themes of divorces which I have handled over the years is communication. Spouses either seem to talk to little or too much and, when they do, they are frequently failing to grasp what the other is really saying.
Social sharing has changed drastically over the past year. We, as consumers, no longer exercise a one dimensional approach to social content sharing. Recent research from the global social media impact study (GSMIS) provides a fascinating insight into shifts in social media, but while the focus has so far been on the apparent decline of Facebook, the real story is the diversity in how services are used.
I was born into a generation with the world at my fingertips, raised on the assumption that my financial prospects would be the same, if not greater, than those of my parents but instead the world we were told we could have, is out of reach; that career ladder we were all aiming to get on, is a high-chair away.
There is rarely anything new under the sun. It's useful to remember this when there is great furore over new technologies and the effects they are having on us and the world we live in - especially when the stories are as serious as a teenager taking her life because of the 'toxic digital world' she had become so enmeshed in.
It may seem like I have something against Facebook but that's not the case. It is now, and is likely to remain for some time, the number one social networking site in the world and frankly reaches more people than I can ever hope to. But it's the 'reach' part that is causing me concern.