All Your Friends and All Your Privacy

Who has the time to sit and read all of that fine print when you set up a new social media account? If you have time after your account is set up, do you know how to find the privacy policy? I can tell you from my own experience it is easier to just google search, “Facebook privacy policy” then it is to go directly through Facebooks and randomly click on tabs to see if you can find it.
So great, you have time and are now reading the privacy policy. You read a few things that catch your eye like photo privacy, comments, profile, etc. You find that your profile is completely open to a completely new level of exposure to the public realm. Facebook has some fine print that can really get you on the edge of publishing information about yourself, for instance,” Certain categories of information such as your name, profile photo, list of friends and pages you are a fan of, gender, and networks you belong to are considered publicly available, and therefore do not have privacy settings.” Yes, that is right! You might want to reconsider the things that you like on Facebook; not only does it reveal your personal information, but it also helps advertisers target you more effectively.
On that note, have you noticed that the ads on Facebook tend to be directed toward you? You are not imagining things, this is actually something that is tailored for you. In an excerpt from their Facebook policy it states, “We occasionally pair advertisements we serve with relevant information we have about you and your friends to make advertisements more interesting and more tailored to you and your friends.” This is definitely a little concerning, but there are many ways to limit this ad tracking, you can go to Digital Advertising Alliance, but you will first need to disable cookies and/or ad blocker. Once you click on the Digital Advertising Alliance, you can click on the “Companies Customizing Ads for Your Browser,” then scroll down until you see Facebook and click on it. This will prevent ads from being tailored toward your social media trends. If you want more information about how to protect your identity on social media platforms, message me and I will help you protect yourself as much as possible.
In summary, I find that the privacy policy has a tendency to be long and legalesed on purpose. Go ahead and call me a conspiracy theorist, but in all honesty, the things that can really leave you exposed should be something highlighted and easily understood. Lastly, I think that it is extremely helpful to google, “Facebook privacy policy facts,” and then you can find some extremely helpful information to protect yourself on a new level.
Here is one last thing that I can help you with to check to see if someone else is using your Facebook pictures (or any pictures that have been posted to the internet) and if anyone of your pictures is visible to the public. First you need a picture(s) and either Google Image Search or Tineye open. Right click on your picture from Facebook or other social media platforms and click “Copy image URL” (Google) or “Copy link location” (Firefox).  The last step is to open Google image search and look for the camera icon on the search bar, click it, and paste your picture URL in the space and hit enter. In addition, it is important to note that you may want to click on “All sizes” as this will widen the search for your pictures.
I did this and found some high school boy was using my picture as his Facebook profile picture. This is a very effective tool to protect you, as well as deterring fraud.

-D.J.

 

Facebook’s full Privacy Policy: Link

Facebook’s Privacy Policy Facts: Link

Location Based: To the Underdog! Open Letter to Find my Friends App

Oh, Find My Friend (FMF), how long have I not even realized that you were a social networking application? The baffling interface and the risk of my privacy kept me away from you. Nevertheless, here we are. I have decided to start learning more about you and after my preliminary analysis, my conclusion has not changed much. I still feel that location based social networks can only leave you with a tiny voice in your head that says, “Who is tracking me?” or “Did I forget to put my location on private?” I am sure with some practice with the software, I will be able to get the hang of it and become a very productive tool. FMF, can you tell me why you will not let me communicate with my friends through the app? Am I supposed to stalk them, come up from behind, and say, “I have been following you”? To be honest, I can see why you’re close to being on the dump list of social networking, even though you are ranked 19th in the free social networking charts. You catch me as being plagued with so many problems that your reviews have complaints about being unable to use the same iCloud account, locations of friends being off, notifications not working, and the fact that you need an Apple device to function. Do not despair, my friend, there is a plus side to this. I read that you were able to track down people’s phones after they were stolen, give locations to family members when there’s an accident, and help locate friends or find friends that you did not know were nearby. Let us not despair. I am actually going to try you for a month and see if there’s any differences appearing in my social life. I can see the negatives and the positives to your location based way. My overall bias with social networking is solely on my conscience – as I feel that they tend to focus on the passive communication between people (I like to relate this as the lazy way to communicate with others). With your location based social networking, I am actually intrigued to see if I can resolve this and create more face-to-face communication with my friends. I know I have had instances where I was at the same place as my friends and we did not even realize it. Therefore, let us try this for a month and see if my love for your platform can mature.
Sincerely,
D.J.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/04/apple-find-my-friends-app_n_994480.html

http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/apps-to-recover-stolen-lost-iphone/

Blogging

For me personally, I had no desire to blog and that could have been for many reasons, e.g. lack of knowledge, the amount of time, and being vulnerable to criticism.  After reading a few great articles, I have begun to see the benefits of blogging, the possibilities that it can open up, and the freedom that can be unleashed from within.

Melanie Neilson with bloggingbasics101.com has a great article titled: Choosing a Blogging Niche.  The blog explains a lot about how it is important to not only find a ‘niche’ but to find what drives you, your desires, what voice you can add to the blogging world. So, this leads me to why we blog; to blog is to express one’s self.  If we blog about something that is of little interest to ourselves or we “…..choose a niche solely because you think it’s profitable, you’re bound to run into burnout and dissatisfaction.” I for one absolutely hate going to a blog where I am hassled with “sign up with your email,” or I am at a loss to where the blog articles is because everything is pointed to paying money, like this blog: http://www.chrisg.com/. This reminds me too much of a pushy salesperson that is only interested in making money off you and merely treating you as part of the herd. Okay, I digressed. I know that everyone has a niche and that everyone has different passions in life and, if we can find those passions, by following the many great examples that are in Melanie’s blog, you/we are bound to find something worth writing about.

Another great website is Jeffbullas.com. He wrote a fantastic article about secrets for setting up a professional blog; you can find the blog here. The one thing that really stood out for me was the word “self-expression”; after all, that is what blogging is mostly about. Blogging is simply a great way to get our word out there, to feel the freedom that modern technology has given us, and the fact that we no longer need to wait to be discovered; we have the power to make a name for ourselves. In the blog, he expresses the need for branding. It is interesting to think that a person needs to create a brand, but it is extremely important if you want to create awareness and visibility. If you can create a name that is memorable and easy than you are on the right path of creating a successful blog and possibly even finding your new employer, You! I highly recommend reading the blog because he gives so many great examples of having a blog and he shares a little bit about how it has really opened up his world.

D.J.

Links:

Choosing a Blogging Niche by Melanie Nelson http://www.bloggingbasics101.com/choosing-a-blogging-niche/

What are the 10 Secrets Benefits of Blogging by Jeff Bullas http://www.jeffbullas.com/2012/07/06/what-are-the-10-secret-benefits-of-blogging/

Social Media Change

Happy Birthday! It’s that time of the year where your Facebook page lights up with notifications letting you know that people are congratulating on living another year. This year I decided to look how people communicated my birthday wishes. Now, I already had a preconceived notion which one would prevail and of course I was pretty spot on. As it broke down, I noticed I only received a handful of text messages, phone calls and private messages, but the main stream of congratulations was from none other than Facebook’s ‘wall post’. This really made me think about how distant social media has pushed our interpersonal communications and how we are now, in some form, communicating by means of a third-party. I am not here to say that I am an exception to the rule, however, I can see the path that lies ahead.
Since social media is so convenient and popular, it is easy to say that it is a mainstay for our generation, but what does that mean for our face-to-face communication? I believe that social media has opened a new level of communication and has made it easier than ever to connect with long-lost friends, close the gap with distant relationships, and can act as a great ice-breaker. However, this communication is all virtual, yes an emoticon may tell us that they are happy or excited, but it becomes difficult to really see how they truly feel. What I mean is this – social media has taken a lot of the essential aspects we have evolved to use for communication, for instance, body language, eye contact, touch, natural instinct, etc. and as we continually evolve, those instincts will diminish. I believe that we could really be looking at a world where some of us will live vicariously through surrogates or virtual avatars and our face-to-face communication will be replaced with a virtual pop-up of “$@ud!Pr!nc30fB3llAiR wants to talk to you privately in his castle on top of candy mountain!”
Now for the optimistic side- I find it hard for everyone to turn completely virtual and I know that there is a great balance that can come from social media and face-to-face communication. With that, a part of me feels that even though we converging with social media/electronics, we will still have the drive for physical communication and that will stay with us as long as we are still human.

D.J.