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Technology is not the Enemy (Follow-up)

Posted on February 25, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

 

I didn't really intend for this to be a series, but after yesterday's post on the ways in which technology is impacting our culture positively, I've come across more interesting stories.

 

John Wenzel has an interesting report on Avatars and Academics, on which he describes the ways anthropologists are using online gaming to study our culture. Many people are finding the ability to connect with other like-minded people online in a way that is entertaining and fun to be helpful in developing meaningful relationships.

 

Chris Matyszczyk has an interesting (albeit slightly sarcastic) report on CNET explaining how a many was able to use an application on his Android phone to defend himself in court against a speeding ticket.  In that case, the officer using the radar gun apparently needed further training on the radar gun, and the defendant's phone showed him going at a speed much closer to the speed limit than he was charged.  Without technology, the case would have boiled down to his word vs. the police officer's word.  While it appeared that neither was being untruthful, the result might have been different.

 

In another court battle brewing in Western Oklahoma in which a youth worker is facing seriously inappropriate charges involving inappropriate behavior with teenager.  The way the case is shaping up, it appears that technology (mobile phone usage including text messages) will be a large part of the evidence used to determine who is telling the truth in that case. 

 

What ways have you found that technology has made a significant difference in your world?

 

 


 

Jennifer Pointer

 

Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. 
 

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Technology is not the Enemy

Posted on February 24, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

 

I hear a lot of people expressing frustration with technology these days, especially among people in the 45+ demographic.  To listen to some folks, technology is to blame for childhood obesity, teen violence, cultural ADD, and a plethora of other social ills.  It's also impossible to keep up with (according to the complainers), too invasive into our private lives, and will probably be the reason for the demise of human civilization.

 

OK.  Let's not get carried away, folks.  People said the same thing about rock-and-roll.

 

Yes, there are issues that must be dealt with and some very legitimate concerns, but let's remember that technology is a TOOL.  It does not have an agenda.  It does not have a mind of its own, and it is only as "good" or "bad" as the people using it.

 

I've recently connected with some long-lost friends on Facebook who now live all over the U.S., and we've commented among ourselves that the last time we talked with each other, we could never have imagined anything like Facebook.  We relied on phone calls and letters - both of which were either expensive or time consuming and eventually failed us.  Facebook allows us to connect in a way that is more natural.  We can quickly state what's on our minds in a status update and those friends who have time and who are in the mood to answer will.  The others will catch you later. This is the way we used to connect with each other in real life when we all lived closer and saw each other on a daily basis.  In our case, technology has been a wonderful thing.

 

Josh Rose has a great article on Mashable this week, entitled How Social Media is Positively Impacting Our Culture [OPINION], which is definitely worth a read, and while you're there, check out his post, Why Social Media is Bringing back our Grandparents' Values.  In both of these articles, he describes ways in which technology is being used to strengthen human relationships. 

 


 

Jennifer Pointer

 

Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. 
 

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Breakup Notifier: Why does this just seem like a bad idea?

Posted on February 23, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

 

A new "service" came out this week, and in spite of what it looks like, it is not a Facebook-sanctioned application.  In fact, Facebook is most likely in the process of taking it down, but rest assured there will be numerous copy-cats over the next few weeks.

 

This service is called Breakup Notifier, and it allows you to literally stalk Facebook user profiles, and be notified by e-mail AS SOON as they change their profile status back to single. 

 

I'll leave commenting on the wisdom of getting involved in rebound relationships - or relationship with anyone who feels the need to constantly update their Facebook status as their dating life evolves - to the relationship experts.  Today, let's just address this from a security and social media perspective.

 

First, this is one of those applications we've been cautioning you about for months now.  These applications are not safe, and not secure, and most of them violate Facebook's terms of service. In this case, they violate the privacy of the stalkee and the stalker.  The sole purpose of this type of application is data-harvesting.  Don't do it.

 

Furthermore, it's only a matter of time before this application starts spamming your friends, either in the format of posting something on your wall, or sending them messages from you - a few months ago, after you've totally forgotten about what's-his-name or what's-her-name with whom you are so obsessed right now, are you really going to want anyone to know you participated in this type of activity? Do you think your other friends are going to appreciate wondering if you're stalking them to (or wondering why you're not)? 

 

Online stalking - just say no.

 


 

Jennifer Pointer

 

Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. 
 

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I heart Google Alerts

Posted on February 22, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

 

Google Alerts

Yes, I'm often very critical and/or sarcastic about Google's ongoing mission to take over the world.   The truth is that the reason they're so close to fulfilling that mission is that they are so good at so many of the things they do.  Google Alerts is a good example. 

 

I set up alerts to help track my and my clients' digital reputation (online profile), and to keep up with current events and news that are important to me.  Unlike my feed reader (also on Google), which help me keep up with specific websites and blogs, the alerts allow me to track search terms such as names keywords relating to specific news stories.

 

Setting up alerts is easy.  Go to alerts.google.com, and enter your search term.  Preview the results, and either broaden or narrow down your search to a level that makes sense.  Select your desired frequency, and enter your e-mail address (it doesn't have to be Gmail.)  If you're not using Gmail, and/or you're not signed into your Google account, you'll receive an e-mail asking you to confirm the alert. 

 

After that, you'll receive alerts daily or several times per day (depending on the frequency you have selected) with blog posts, website articles, discussion forum posts, and social networking discussions containing your search term.  Since Google pretty much crawls everything now, the results are pretty comprehensive. 

 

If the story is one you only want to track for a short period of time, you can always stop the alerts at any time by clicking on the link provided with each e-mail. 

 


 

Jennifer Pointer

 

Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. 
 

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What your Clients or Potential Employers Know about You

Posted on February 21, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

This is your life... 

 

One of the first things people do now to find out about other people is "Google" them.  It's cheaper, easier, and more anonymous than running a background check, and tells a potential employer, client (or date) more about your character and lifestyle than a background check (which only shows what you've might have been caught doing that may have been illegal). After all, just because someone doesn't have a criminal record doesn't mean they're trustworthy - right?

 

In the course of my work, I occasionally need to research to find out who people are, and what they're about, so I'm going to share with you some of the first places that someone who wants to know more about you will look.  Scared yet?  ;-)  Read on if you dare, and follow these steps to find out what other people can easily find out about you on the web.

 

Google: Search for your name on Google, of course, but not just your name.  Unless you have a really unusual name, there are probably several people who share the same name, so type your name and the name of any previous employers  or anything else you may be known for (e.g. "Jennifer Pointer social media").  Be sure to click through all of the links on the first three pages, to see what is out there, and take down anything you can that is embarrassingly out-dated or inappropriate - if you can.

 

Facebook: Most people under age 50 have Facebook accounts, now and this is another common place to search for information about people.  For this it helps to have an alternate Facebook account or someone you know in real life with a Facebook account that has not friended you on the site.  Under that other account (not your own or one of your Facebook friends), search for your name on Facebook. This will give you a better idea of what a random stranger is able to see about you.  You might want to take this opportunity to tighten down your privacy settings

 

123People: This is a fantastic place to find out what is known about a person from a variety of common social networks, search engines, and online directories, including e-mail addresses, pictures, videos, and even a tag cloud. Of course, the database will pull this information for anyone with that name, and any photos that people have posted, so some of the information might not be relevant.  This site, however, does have an uncanny ability to dredge up old stuff that you've forgotten about, giving you an opportunity, hopefully, to clean up some loose ends on your digital profile.

 

YouTube: This is the biggest and most well-known video site, if there are any videos on the site tagged with your name, you'll really want to see them before a potential employer or client does.  

 


 

Jennifer Pointer

 

Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. 
 

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Oh, good. Someone found a new way to sell spyware.

Posted on February 18, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer

 

Spyware

 

Yes, that was sarcasm in the title.  Why is it that we will go to tremendous lengths to rid our computers of spyware, then voluntary download it if it is packaged as a "convenience" to us.  In some cases, we will even pay for the spyware, if someone manages to convince us that it'll protect children online (see: This software can protect children online...are you KIDDING me?!)

 

Now a company has found a way to provide you with additional spyware for FREE (imagine that!).  My6Sense promises to learn your reading habits based and pick the items out of your RSS reader that will be most interesting to you.  If that's not the definition of spyware, what is?

 

This would never work for me, because my reading habits change on a daily basis.  One day I may be interested in reading about current events in Egypt, and the next, about a dread disease one of my friends thinks she might have.  By the end of the week, I may be focused on entertainment news, and/or a blizzard that is happening in some place I want to travel to.  This does NOT mean I want to read about all of these things on a daily basis.  Also, I have a few links in my feed reader of friends who only post occasionally.  I want to read all of their posts - even if they only post twice per year, and the spyware would not understand that.

 

Yes, I can see how this would work for some people in certain circumstances.   Just be aware that this is a data-harvesting application, and the company is eventually going to need to make money - most likely through targeted ads - but there is no telling where that data will eventually end up. 

 

Download wisely, and have a nice weekend!

 

 

 


 

Jennifer Pointer

 

Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. 
 

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