Posts tagged ‘netiquette’

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!


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March 6, 2011

Digital Decorum Glossary

The lexicon of our digital age is constantly growing and expanding. “Text” and “facebook” have become well known verbs. I will admit that I’ve actually said “LOL” out loud before. The lingo of the digital world has transplanted itself into the non-digital is some very striking ways. Below I’ve given the definition (thank you Wikipedia!) to a few words that I think have a particular significance (one that is unfortunately negative) when it comes to digital decorum.

  • Fail Whale* – A user who uses Twitter “improperly”
  • Fisking** – point-by-point criticism that highlights perceived errors, or disputes the analysis in a statement, article, or essay.
  • Flaming – also known as bashing, is hostile and insulting interaction between Internet users.
  • Google bomb/Googlewashing – practices intended to influence the ranking of particular pages in results returned by the Google search engine, in order to increase the likelihood of people finding and clicking on selections in which the individual or other entity engaging in this practice is interested.
  • Hack – refers to the re-configuring or re-programming of a system to function in ways not facilitated by the owner, administrator, or designer.
  • Hate site – A website that uses hate speech. Most of these sites contain Internet forums and news briefs that emphasize a particular viewpoint.
  • Owned – originated among 1990s hackers, where it referred to “rooting” or gaining administrative control over someone else’s computer.
  • Shock site – a website that is intended to be offensive, disgusting and/or disturbing to its viewers, containing materials of high shock value which is also considered distasteful and crude, and is generally of a pornographic, scatological, extremely violent, insulting, painful, profane, or otherwise provocative nature.
  • Spam – the use of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.
  • Troll – is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

 

Zero Tolerance to Spammers, Stalkers, & Trolls

(Graphic via Flayme shared via Creative Commons)

 

*This is a term I’ve made up and defined myself.

**This term was brought to my attention from my professor.


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 20, 2011

Beware the Fail Whale

Twitter's Fail Whale

Fail Whale actually refers to the above image – displayed (with unmitigated frequency in the past) to alert Twitter users that the site was over capacity. Sarah Perez offers a fuller Story of the Fail Whale.

For my purposes, I’m defining a fail whale as a user who disregards the following rules/commandments for proper Twitter usage. As always the Twitter etiquette (Twitequette) are my beliefs and the compilation of prevailing opinions. Hopefully these will help users avoid not only other fail whales but prevent them from becoming fail whales themselves.

I. Be You – If you’re going to be a fake say so, but it is probably better to leave the parodying to the big boys – Lord Voldemort, DaggumRoy, etc.

II. Always leave them wanting more – You don’t have to post everything (or anything at all). Don’t forsake real face to face conversation.

III. Direct Messaging – Avoid direct messaging people you don’t know. Messages from strangers are typically unwanted, as are mass messages and automatic messages.

IV. Following/Unfollowing – Unfollowing is a bit less intense than defriending, so don’t feel obligated to continue to follow people. Just because somebody follows you doesn’t mean you have to follow them.

V. Think Before You Tweet – Once it’s gone. It’s gone. You can’t get back what you tweet, even if you delete it. (The Library of Congress is archiving all public Tweets). Don’t put your digital foot in your mouth and shy away from twit-fights.

Generally –

  • Everything in moderation (tweets, RTs, @s, #s).
  • Spam is bad.
  • Time and place are everything. You wouldn’t tweet from a funeral would you?
  • Be mindful of the 140 character limit. You’ll have to keep your content short & concise. Modified grammar rules just for Twitter can help.
  • Be weary of the mob mentality. Just because everybody else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to do it too.
  • Don’t perpetuate wrong or unverified news like the death of celebrities.

For more check out:

10 Commandments of Twitter Usage

Tweeterland – How to Use Twitter

Margaret Mason – 14 Ways to Use Twitter Politely

9 Essentials of Twitter Etiquette

What rules would you give for proper Twitter Etiquette?

(Fail Whale Picture via All Things Paper, shared via Creative Commons.)

February 13, 2011

Digi-Dating

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cartoon couple cuddled, looking at a heart

Plenty of Fish, E-Harmony, Match.com, etc. Those websites might be familiar to you as popular dating websites. That list, however, is far from complete – the number of dating sites is exhaustive, each offering to serve specific needs (JDate – “The Premier Jewish Community Online for Dating Jewish Singles,” for instance). The prevalence of those sites and others has even sparked interest in academia.

In addition to the websites to help you find a date, there is no shortage of ways to communicate with that date digitally – texting, instant messaging, emailing, skyping. It certainly is easier to keep in touch with others, butwhether or not technology’s influence on matters of the heart will ultimately be positive remains to be seen. What about new dating dilemmas? That, however, isn’t exactly the question I’m looking to answer. I’m more concerned about how to stay cordial in the face of ever changing tools of communication.

Traditional social codes have been supplanted by choices, risks and uncertainties that are a component of the consumer society. – Anthony Giddens as cited in “The Formation of Social Rules for Digital Interactions

Kristina Grish’s book The Joy of Text – Dating, Mating, and Techno-Relating, is interested in just that – how the rules of etiquette having changed. Her advice does seem to be geared solely to women. Sorry fellas. A more balanced approach may be found on the Dating Digital Podcast.

FINDING A DATE ON A DATING SITE

  • Have a good idea of what you’re looking for. Romance, Friendship, or something else.
  • Be upfront about who you are. Don’t “fudge” personal details or be misleading.
  • There is no need to post all of your personal information.
    • After you send something out, you don’t have control over who sees it or how it is dealt with.
  • Don’t feel obligated to go on a date with every person that shows interest.
  • Avoid stalking.

ON A DATE

  • Keep an open mind.
  • Don’t call or text excessively. Focus on your date – not your technology (phone, iPod, etc).
  • Be respectful of your date’s concerns, opinions, and beliefs.

GENERAL TIPS

  • Don’t rely only on texting, emailing, and the like if you can help it.
  • Understand that tone can be lost in the text format.
  • Lack of instant responses doesn’t mean lack of interest. Be patient.
  • Keep the details of your relationship off Facebook if you want that information private.
  • Don’t update your social media with disparaging things. If you have an issue, go directly to your partner.
  • Break up in person. (Unless your situation makes this impossible).
  • Beware of sexting –

The act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones – Wikipedia.

¤ Keep these private. (A friend of mine gave me her old phone and forgot to delete a few texts of a rather personal nature).

¤ Make sure the recipient actually wants content of a sexually explicit nature.

Caroline Giegerich also wrote an article for Huffington Post with more helpful tips. Nobody wants technology to sabotage their relationship.

♥ The main thing to remember is to be yourself and be open & honest.


(Graphic via The Digital Scratch Pad, shared via Creative Commons)


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.