Some online tips for 2017

New Year’s resolutions are running like maple sap on a warm early spring day in a Northwest Michigan sugar bush.

The gyms are full, and even the early bird lap-swim crew at the Y seems to have picked up a handful of new paddlers.

Not to be outdone, social media traffic seems also to have accelerated, though much of the content remains uninspiring. That is, unless you have some creative online friends who recognize a compelling, even educational video or gee-whiz factoid that demands a wider shared audience.

For you wannabe sharers of sound online advice, here are some things to be mindful of as 2017 promises to be a year like no other:

  • In responding to an email, do not hit “reply all” unless there’s good reason.
  • Be extra careful of passing on spurious cyberhighway stories. Unless you’re an expert in something and with firsthand knowledge, best to check Snopes before passing it on as gospel.
  • ·Don’t believe everything you read online. In fact, be skeptical of most of it. People get paid to write faux, titillating online stories. And at no time in our country’s history has there been more baseless "alternative facts” than now.
  • Before sending an email in response to a post that requires some thought, think! Reread it. Is this what you meant? Then before hitting the send button, pause and reconsider one last time. We’ve all sent emails we wish we could recall, eh?
  • Do not, do not, type in all caps. That’s reserved for electronic media types and short ‘rip ‘n read’ on-air news releases.
  • When your computer is cranky, shut down and restart. Still having problems? Head to a non-tracking help site like duckduckgo and key your question. You’re not alone. There are others in the cyber world having similar problems.
  • ·Use data backup. With hacker attacks on the uptick, the comfort of having your data secured feels like a glass of milk and slice of warm raspberry pie on a cold winter’s night. Sleep tight!
  • And finally, everything you do online is being recorded somewhere. Yes, we live in Orwellian times.