Sunday Mornings with Rania: The Rania Report

It was early Saturday morning. I noticed that little red circle with that white number pop up near my Facebook icon. The number was unusually high . . . I thought: What did I post most recently? Or more importantly, what post have I been tagged in?

Turns out it was neither. I had received around 100 (actually 102 to be exact) new “friend” requests, almost all from men, almost all unknown to me, within a very short period of time. Many were from Houston and had friends in common but many were out of state with no ties to me or my friends or our city. To be honest, it got me a little nervous.

Like so many, I use Facebook primarily for work and to keep in touch with friends and family who live back home in Boston or around the world. And it’s a wonderful tool to keep in touch. But this weekend, it reminded me that Facebook, like all social media platforms, can take harmless forms of communication and throw them right into the lap of complete and utter strangers . . . I had a mini “come to Jesus moment” with myself.

We talk about it all the time, in the schools and with youth wherever we can:

Be smart!

Turn your locations services off on your smartphone camera!

Don’t post in real time!

Don’t accept friend requests or follow requests from people you do not know.

When was the last time I took my own advice…?

It was time for some action. After declining a majority of those friend requests, I also took it one step further. I decided to create a professional page called “The Rania Report with Rania Mankarious.” A professional page adds a few more safeguards and just seemed to make sense. As for the name, The Rania Report is the username I have used for some time (I had a blog ages ago back in Boston by the same name) and @theraniareport is also my Twitter handle and Instagram username.

This professional Facebook page is a page that I will use to share stories about work, life, public safety finds and messages and hopefully engage with so many of you who are public safety minded. It’s a page that I hope you will like or follow and reach out to me through. I encourage you to post questions, share articles and create discussion.

Since 2006, I have been making the public safety of all my main focus. It started when as an attorney with a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, I walked through the doors of Crime Stoppers of Houston and immediately fell in love with the mission. In fact, while my last job in Boston was running an international publication, I took whatever position Crime Stoppers of Houston had at the time {which by the way was an internship for a few dollars an hour . . . my husband nearly fainted when I told him}.  And I have loved every day since. I love what we do and the results it has for our collective community. I love that I get to work with the best team in Houston. I love that we were the team that got to make history when we opened the first-ever Crime Stoppers headquarters anywhere in the world. And I love what we have lined up for all of you this year. I’ve teased a bit of it online and encourage you to take a peek when you have time.

Through it all, as I wake up each day and think about what public safety message I have for the community, I was recently reminded to take my own medicine. I hope my small incident serves as a reminder for you too . . . in the meantime, I’m looking forward to connecting with all, in a healthy and safe way! 

About the author

Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston