Posts tagged ‘Facebook’

March 20, 2011

Picture (Un)Perfect

We all remember Myspace, right? If you don’t, then you’re a lucky one. Myspace was one of the first popular social networking sites. It quickly dropped of the radar after Facebook was introduced, and already had a questionable reputation for allowing too much unsolicited contact between older and younger members.

In any event, one aspect of Myspace we can’t seem to shake are unfortunate profile pictures. While having these aren’t necessarily rude, they won’t do anything for your popularity or credibility for that matter.

Instead of telling you what you guys should do, I figured I’d give some examples of what to avoid.

THE DUCK FACE
BrittDubs shows an example of Duck Face
WHERE’S WALDO
Can you find BrittDubs
NOT YOU
Screenshot of the movie Kazaam
BATHROOM/MIRROR
BrittDubs at Rest Stop
CLASSIC MYSPACE POSE
BrittDubs Myspace Post
  • Duck Face – A picture in which the chief goal is to make your lips as pouty as possible. AntiDuckFace is a website with no shortage of examples of this one.
  • Where’s Waldo – A picture where it is difficult to pinpoint where you are
  • Not you – A picture that doesn’t actually depict you. It can be anything from a cartoon to scenery
  • Bathroom/Mirror – A picture taken in a bathroom/and or taken in a mirror (most often taken with a cell phone)
  • Classic Myspace Pose – A picture that is a self portrait taken from above. Notice the lack of picture rotation

Happy Picture Taking!


Advertisements
February 27, 2011

Information of the Personal Sort

“Today anyone on the Internet can find out more about what you read, think, and earn than the secret police of Stalin or Hitler could have learned.” –¬†Robert Scheer

“STALKING”

I have stalking in quotes because while it is a word we toss around a lot, its definition is very serious.

Stalking refers to harassing or threatening behavior that is engaged in repeatedly. – Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Because I’m using stalking here in a more informal and less malicious form, the quotes are necessary. The stalking I’m referring to starts and stops at the information gathering stage and never becomes harassment.

I’ve googled myself. I’ve googled my friends and I’m sure you have to. I’ve done so just to figure out what’s out there, but what about googling people you don’t know? Or using Spokeo or another white/yellow pages site? Many people do casual/impromptu background checks on others (especially in the online dating scene) and with arguably good reason. You never really know who you’re talking to. Knowledge, after all, is supposed to be power, but where do you draw the line? Just because it may be easy to find out about people online, that doesn’t mean you should do it.

I think the issue occurs when you act on the information you’ve found. It’s one thing to “stalk” somebody’s facebook and go through their pictures and quite another to look up their address or telephone number and make unsolicited calls or visits. I hope that example doesn’t sound too extreme because I think it happens more often than we think. On a more basic level, I once received a facebook message from a guy who knew a mutual friend and had “seen me around” with the mutual friend. That was a bit unsettling to say the least.

HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?

Don’t divulge all of your information – names, social security number, passwords, phone numbers, addresses/locations, and photos. These two tips from Psychology Today are just as relevant for teens as they are for adults.

Remember everything you post online is public. It doesn’t matter whether or not you delete the message or text. If you’ve published it it’s traceable. When you post things online your creating a cyber fingerprint.

Don’t give out personal and confidential information online. Never share your full name, home address, phone number, Social Security number, passwords, names of family members, or credit card numbers.

Consider Evan Raitliff’s story – he attempted to vanish while challenging the world to find him. Not to spoil the story, but Evan was found. His pursuers were able to track his whereabouts through technological means – IP addresses, video cameras, and ATM transactions – but they were also able to find him because they knew about his interests. I don’t think any of the people searching for Evan had any malicious intent, but imagine if they had with the kind of information they were able to generate. The sheer volume is both impressive and scary. Even more daunting? It appears that all the information was gathered legally. That isn’t to say you should be George Orwell 1984 paranoid, but it would be remiss not to proceed with caution.

IDENTITY THEFT

Not talked about necessarily within my age group, but I think that putting your info out there also makes you susceptible to identity theft. A study by Carnegie Mellon University found that all a criminal might need is your birth date and location to accurately guess your social security number. Credit cards and other financial information can be stolen as well as something as simple as a picture. Somebody could steal one of your photos and masquerade as you or use your likeness to pretend to be another person.

BE PROACTIVE

When I looked up my mom on Spokeo and found her cell phone number there for the world to see, I immediately set out to figure out how to get the information deleted. If you know what information about yourself is out there, then you’ll be better equipped to figure out how to take it down.

The bottom line is to be smart about not only what information you put out but what you do with the information you are given.

February 6, 2011

To Unfriend or not to Unfriend

Unfriending or defriending has often been hailed as one of the major Facebook don’ts. To unfriend/defriend means to remove (delete) a user from a social networking site. It’s dominant use is in conjunction with Facebook. In the interest of full disclosure, I will state that I unfriend Facebook friends regularly. Every couple of months, I go through my friends list and make cuts where I see fit. I keep my friend list right around 300 people. Most, however, ¬†find unfriending to be petty and passive aggressive. I agree that the action can be quite rude when done impulsively and/or for the wrong reasons.

There are however, some general guidelines to follow while using Facebook. A quick Google search of “Facebook Etiquette” will yield several pages of results. YourTango even offers the following video :

The following tips are a compilation of my own opinions.

FRIENDING

  • Don’t feel obligated to add everyone who requests to be your friend.
  • By the same token, you don’t have to add everyone you know. Finding your best from kindergarten doesn’t necessitate cyber friendship.
  • If a friend is using Facebook in a way you disagree with (updating too often for example), then try to hide them before completely removing them.
  • Don’t be afraid of the Great Facebook Purge, but be weary of trivial removals.
  • Give yourself a least a day before friending people you’ve just met.

PHOTOS

  • Respect requests for photos to be taken down.
  • Tag your friends with caution.
  • Be conscious of taking pictures that may eventually end up on Facebook. If you won’t be proud of the content later, don’t take the picture.
  • Cropping and captioning will improve how your pictures look.
  • There is no need to have repeats of pictures. One is enough.
  • Be courteous and sincere when commenting.
  • Don’t use pictures without permission.

UPDATING YOUR STATUS

  • Do so with a purpose. There probably isn’t a reason to update more than 3 times a day.
  • Don’t be cryptic or use your statuses as a conduit for passive aggressiveness.
  • Credit quotes and music lyrics.

GENERAL TIPS

  • Know and understand your privacy settings.
  • Utilize lists (for coworkers, family members, exes, etc).
  • Don’t comment on a friend’s conversation with a person you don’t know.
  • Limit lengthy photo comment and wall posts conversations.
  • Nobody likes spam. (Games, messages, group requests, etc).
  • Try to avoid profanity/crude jokes on other people’s walls. You never know who might have access.
  • Facebook is a public website. Keep personal information to a minimum.
  • Take conflicts offline. Otherwise the fall-out may be disastrous (or spawn out of control and make you look foolish).

Hopefully this list makes your Facebook experience more enjoyable. And if all else fails, you can always deactivate.