When I was younger, my parents taught me about the importance of words. I was taught to write thank you notes. I learned that cursing will get your mouth washed out with soap (I’m partial to Dove). Now that I’m older and working in a call center, I’m reminded to choose my words carefully. Finally, I’m told to know my audience. This last point makes me giggle. In this day and age, with all of the technology I could ever need, I not only know my audience, I can almost replicate their DNA.
Of course I would never try to use technology for criminal purposes or cyber-stalking. I’m actually very nice, and I’m also an idiot when it comes to applied science, computers, smart phones and the like. I recently traded my obsolete flip phone for a Blackberry, which is described by PC Magazine as ‘still usable’ and channeled my inner techie and figured out how to upload pictures to Facebook. I’m pretty proud of that, because a picture is worth a thousand words. Ironically, that’s now my problem.
While I was surfing the web the way Gidget and Moondoggie surfed the waves at Malibu, I happened on an article about The Department of Homeland Security and Social Networking. The incongruence of this was enough to make me read the article, and I almost fell out of my chair. Homeland Security has compiled and published a list of ‘Government Key Words’ for monitoring social media. In other words, ahem, Homeland Security will be monitoring sites Facebook, Twitter, and the five people who still use Myspace for words that they deem critical and potentially threatening to national security. As word lists go, this one is strange at best. To illustrate the absurdity of this, and share with you some of the offensive words that could earn you a spot on the terror watch list, I have written a brief anecdote, and the danger words are capitalized.
“I must have eaten some bad PORK, because I thought I had FOOD POISONING, or maybe a stomach FLU. I developed a terrible ATTACK of GAS, so EXPLOSIVE in nature that I was afraid I would make my family SICK. I felt ready to BURST, and knew that prolonged EXPOSURE could be TOXIC and HAZARDOUS to my family. Rather than have them call the POLICE for HELP, I decided to take the INITIATIVE to drive to TARGET for some over the counter DRUGS, thinking MITIGATION and PREVENTION would AID in my RECOVERY. I thought it a SMART RESPONSE to my SYMPTOMS. Fortunately, I didn’t COLLAPSE, and with some ICE and ALCOHOL, I found some RELIEF, and the SHOOTING pains stopped. I’m just glad I didn’t have to drive in SNOW.”
So I hope this WARNING has ENRICHED your lives in some way. Going forward, we need to WATCH what we write on our social network sites, for we could easily be deemed a THREAT to GOVERNMENT AGENTS and AGENCIES (pick one.) And while I am keeping my Facebook page, I am going to be very careful what I write. And for HEALTH reasons, I am giving up EXERCISE. When I STRAIN to do sit ups and wear work out clothes, it’s just a RIOT!!!!