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What in the name of Mark Zuckerberg just happened?

June 22, 2011 - Steve Murch
I'm not a real social networker. I have nothing against it, and in a limited way I do it (tweets for work, which doesn't have much social nor networking involved). I'm not on Facebook, though the newspaper does have a page and I'm one of the people who keeps an eye on it.

I just don't need to know everybody's business, nor share mine. I understand there are those who love, love, love social networking. There are those who have reconnected with people, and there are families who stay in touch when they are spread out all over the country and world. I get it and think it's great. Again, just not my thing.

Then there is the look-at-me aspect of it. There are way too many people who use social networking to show off. Or think we all need to know every last detail of their life.

Which brings me to Jason Valdez. His Facebook status is likely to read “Incarcerated” if that is an option. And apparently, Valdez believes the world will want to know that fact. The lead paragraph of an Associated Press story frames the story perfectly:

“SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Jason Valdez is no stranger to Utah police. His latest brush with the law, however, may have been the most public.”

Turns out that as Valdez was holed up in a motel holding a woman hostage during a 16-hour standoff, he was updating his friends, and the world if anyone was paying attention, on Facebook. In fact, a buddy kept Valdez updated on SWAT activities outside. Inside, Valdez added at least a half-dozen posts, including one that had two photos of him and his hostage. To give this story the “oh, God” factor, he added at least a dozen friends. What the Sam Hill where THEY thinking?

Now I'm sure Mark Zuckerberg never envisioned his pride and joy potentially could be an accessory in a crime just like the masterminds behind the Internet never thought it would become a major porn trafficker, but Valdez's buddy almost used Facebook to help out. I'd be willing to bet that if the friend saw an opening, he'd have let Valdez know of a possible escape.

It just shows that when it comes to Internet, if there is a will there's a way. Someone is going to find a different way to use it.


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