Confronting the Dark Side

Storm Troopers Like Donuts

morgueFile freephoto, http://mrg.bz/hmbhJl

As I read James Altucher’s mesmerizing post, “I stopped a ten million dollar robbery,” I was struck by the following paragraph:

“A network of lawyers, escrows, fake shares, bank accounts, bogus corporations and banks, all set up to hide them in the shadows. A network of relationships and lies. The dark side of the force.” (Emphasis mine)

Invariably, when I talk to groups about social media and online networks, questions about privacy, predators and security come up. My typical answer goes something like,”Listen, there are bad people out there, so you should do your best to protect your passwords, understand your privacy settings and generally be careful. The online world is like the physical word. There are dangers, but the benefits of engaging with other people in open spaces far outweigh the risks.”

Altucher’s use of “the dark side of the force” brought a new analogy to mind. There is a dark side using the “force” of online networks to do evil. Thieves, predators, governments and corporations can use the power online networks against us, but the solution is not to stop using the “force” ourselves. We need to continue to leverage the power of online networks to benefit ourselves, our families and our communities.

So the next time you read a post or see a media story about the “dark side of the force,” fight the temptation to buy a moisture farm on Tatooine and use the “force” for good.