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The good and bad of social networking

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By Barbara Rutledge

We have become so dependent on social networking that functioning without it would be a real challenge – commercially and personally. We Facebook, Tweet and text almost nonstop. Social networking has so many positive attributes. It also has its bad side.
If you read our July 10 edition of The Lancaster News, you saw some examples of the good and bad of social networking.
David Ensley of Stallings, N.C., owes his life to Facebook. In 2001, Ensley was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. As the disease progressed, his health declined to the point that his kidneys stopped functioning in 2009. He began dialysis and taking more medication and lost more weight.
Ensley was on a donor’s list for three years, but there were no matches. His health continued to decline and earlier this year doctors told Ensley and his wife that he would likely die if there wasn’t an intervention.
In a desperate attempt to save her brother, Ensley’s sister, Jennifer Scoggins, set up a Facebook page called “Looking for a Kidney for My Brother.” While the response was good, there were no matches.
But that was before Indian Land resident Chuck Cunningham saw the page. Turns out that Cunningham was friends with Ensley and his older brother.
Cunnigham showed his wife, Amy, the page. She decided to test to see if she were a match. And she was – a 20-million-to-1 near perfect match. The donation and transplant surgeries were done on July 6. Both are recovering.
Facebook connection in this scenario play several key roles. Chuck and Amy Cunningham were former high school sweethearts who reunited on the site and were married 18 months ago.
Reporter Reece Murphy accessed Facebook to get in touch with Ensley and the Cunninghams for the story.
Another story on the July 10 front page reveals a negative side of social networking. Lancaster native Paige Duke was fired as a Miss Sprint Cup after nude pictures of her surfaced on the Internet during the last few weeks.
Miss Sprint Cups are NASCAR ambassadors who promote the sport, interact with fans and interview drivers on race day. Sprint is NASCAR’s title sponsor.
The pictures were taken six years ago when she was in college and were meant only for her then-boyfriend.
Duke expressed to The Lancaster News and other media the shock and disappointment she felt about her private photos showing up on various sites.
In her discussions, she has been very open and honest about her naivety concerning the photos and her regrets.
She’s also been adamant about warning others before they make the same mistake she did – basically saying don’t take any photos you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see.
While Duke has made a mistake – and we’ve all made them – her mistake caused her to lose a prestigious title she truly loved. She’s to be commended for her straightforward approach and warnings to others. Duke is a beautiful, talented and smart girl with a great future ahead of her. And she will move forward.
Social networking is likened to Clint Eastwood’s movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” These two stories are perfect examples of all three traits.
But no matter how advanced we get in our technology in communication media, the basic guides in life never change – whether they were edged in a stone tablet or posted on the walls of an kindergarten class.
The choice is up to us – the good, the bad, the ugly.