Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Posts tagged 'facebook'

The Wired Mom: Facebook and Privacy

Yet again, on Facebook, there’s a slew of copy/paste statuses claiming to protect your privacy. It seems to happen about once a year, and out of the 300+ people I follow, I wind up seeing a fair amount of these.

This time, this is the post that’s going around:

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates

Is it true? NO. Just by searching for Facebook privacy copyright brings up a definitive no.

Essentially, when you signed up for Facebook you agree to their Terms of Service, which includes the assignment of IP and privacy. While Facebook does keep adjusting their terms (and they do! Most sites do, though they typically warn you of it), there’s nothing you can do to to say you don’t approve of the changes after initially accepting their terms. Well, you can always delete your Facebook account.

If you see a copy/paste message pop up on Facebook, please do yourself, your friends and your family a favor before you copy/paste it. Google the text of the message with the word hoax. Odds are, that will lead you to some news posts or a Snopes story indicating whether it’s real or it isn’t. Taking that 5 minutes (at most) is all it takes to save you from spreading misinformation.

And if you don’t want to listen to me, listen to Boromir:

And now I wish I had a Ned Stark “Brace yourself” meme for this, too.

Really, Facebook?

As I’ve said here many times, one of the things that frustrates me to no end is Facebook’s policy of changing your settings without telling you. They’ve done it many times already (I tend to do a check of my settings around the first of the month, even though I don’t really post much of anything there anymore). And they’ve done it again.

Facebook is putting your facebook email address on your profile/timeline. I know, Facebook has email? Sort of. Facebook has assigned everyone an email address based on their username, and if someone emails it, it will go into your message inbox.

Of course, their messages aren’t really great for email. One, they’re all threaded by who sent the message, so it makes it hard to find any particular message other than the most recent. So if you were looking for something your sister said, you’d have to look through EVERY message she’s sent you. Also, you can’t back them up.

Back to the real issue- Facebook’s settings now list your facebook email on your profile/timeline, even if you had it set so that it wouldn’t show your email. Where you’ll go to fix it depends on whether or not you’re using Timeline.

For people using the older profile, go to your profile page, and where it lists your personal information at the top, click on Edit Profile. Then, from the menu on the left, select Contact Information. Your email addresses will be listed at the top. You can adjust who can see your email addresses (the closest you can come to opting out is by setting it to “Only Me”) and next to it you can pick whether or not it will list it on your profile/timeline.

If you have Timeline, click on the Update Info button. Scroll down to the Contact Info box and click on Edit. Then you can adjust who can see your email addresses, and set whether or not you want to list them on your timeline.

For me, it’s frustrating that Facebook continues to change settings. If their IPO has proved anything, it’s that they aren’t as in demand as they think. Most people I know didn’t buy their stock because they remember the dotcom bubble bursting. They’ve seen websites come and go- remember when everyone had AOL? Now they’re struggling to stay relevant!

They like to think that they’re what people can’t do without, but all it takes is one website to give people what they want, and they’ll leave. That’s what happened to Myspace and Friendster. People left ICQ for AIM, then AIM for texting. It’s only a matter of time before one of two scenarios happens- either FB crosses a line with privacy that people are uncomfortable with, or someone creates a new site that makes you opt-in when they release new features.

I’m Not In Love with the New Facebook

This post has been a long time coming. Okay, a couple of weeks. Not that long ago, Facebook unleashed a giant update to their site a couple days before announcing their new profile- the Timeline.

With most large sites, when they’re about to roll out a big update, they let you know. Remember “New Twitter”? Twitter had a link at the top of the page asking if you wanted to try it. They also talked about the changes on their blog. Whenever Gmail rolls out new features, it’s the same deal- links at the top of the page and in depth explanations on the blog, usually with videos to help explain the features.

Facebook tells you that they’ve added one feature, while neglecting to tell you that they’ve completely redone the back end of the site.

This update was no different. It added the Ticker, a constantly scrolling mini-Feed in the upper right of the corner, which had already appeared as a Game Ticker when playing games in Facebook. It added subscriptions, which allows people to follow you (or you to follow people) like you can on Twitter or Google+, no mutual relationship involved. But more importantly, it completely shifts the way that your privacy is handled.

Subscriptions. I actually like this- it allows people have one account (as opposed to a Facebook Page & personal account) and simply decide what’s put out their by using the “Public” privacy setting, and using lists to control who sees the rest. Not only that, but you can decide what sort of posts you like to see from your friends. Say you have a friend who plays FarmVille all day long, and you just want to see when she posts pictures of her kids? You can turn off the subscription to her game posts- or decide you just want to see “important posts.” Or, say you have a person you only added for game posts, you can say that you don’t want to see anything but their game posts.

There are a few ways to play around with your subscriptions. You can go to your friend’s profile page and in the upper right corner, you can adjust what you subscribe to by hovering over the subscribe button. Or you can hover over a friend’s profile picture in your news feed and up will pop a screen with the subscription button (you can also unfriend people this way as well). The last way is to scroll down to the bottom of the facebook page. You’ll see a bar that has two links. One to load more updates and on the right to “Edit Options”, which is what you want to click on. A window will pop up with a list of your friends, and there’ll be another link for “Manage Subscriptions”. This will show an entire page of your friends, so that you can just scroll down and adjust what you see. The first thumbnail in this paragraph will take you to a screenshot of where to find the Edit Options and Manage Subscriptions. The second thumbnail will show you an overview of the subscriptions page itself.

I have two problems with how subscriptions were rolled out. First, Facebook decided that you want to see “Most Updates” from your friends, instead of “All Updates.” So if you want to see everything, you’re going to have to change that. But the bigger problem is that they don’t have a way to change your subscriptions globally. Meaning, if you want to see “All Updates” – you’re going to have to change it friend by friend.

Privacy. There has been a huge shift in privacy with this New Facebook. Instead of you being able to control precisely who sees what, a lot of the privacy settings are now in your friends’ hands. My default status post privacy setting is “Friends Only”. Say you comment on a status of mine. Facebook will broadcast that you’ve commented on that post within our mutual circle of friends. Now, say it’s a post that I’ve set to “Public.” It will broadcast to all of your friends both in their news feed and ticker that you commented on a post of mine. There is no way for you to opt-out of this yourself. You either have to ask your friends to turn off “Comments and Likes” from their subscriptions options, ask them to stop posting with the Public setting, or only post comments on posts that you’re comfortable with the whole world possibly knowing what you said.

The Game Ticker. This went live about a month ago, and is actually sort of helpful. You can see when your friends are playing, and when they’re likely to help out by sending you things. But at the same time, if you’re playing while at work, you’re also broadcasting to the world that you aren’t actually working. Or that you’re playing Fluffy Princess Monkey Ninjas (I just made that up, but feel free to use it for a game).

Unfortunately, Facebook didn’t make it easy to opt-out of this either, but there is a way. While you’re in a game, you’ll see posts pop up on the right. Hover over the post that says that you’re playing whatever game it is. It’ll expand it, just the way the big ticker works. From there you can mouse over the upper right of the window and click on the little arrow button. A drop down will appear. Click on “Don’t Publish is playing ‘Game Name’ posts”. And voila! All of those posts will be gone. (The thumbnail here shows you what I mean)

Of course, you’ll have to do it game by game. But at least you can hide them.

Facebook, I expect changes. I don’t care about changes, as I expect them regularly- but if you’re going to dump a major change on your users, make sure that you keep something the same. The privacy controls are completely different, in addition to the changes that were made. And make it so that you have detailed walkthroughs so that users can actually see how to handle what they’re doing. While I don’t want to help you too much, you’re letting your users get information on how to use your product from tech bloggers. You roll out product changes, expecting the power users to figure it out (which they do), but alienate your base of users by not warning them or explaining what you’ve done.

To the users out there, if you’re unhappy with the shift in privacy and want to try something else- there’s always Google Plus. It’s in open beta now (you won’t need an invite), and all you’ll need is a gmail address/google log in.

As a final note, I hate blogging about Facebook. It takes FOREVER to hide all the names and user pictures. So I hope you enjoyed my Gaussian blurring and pixelating.

The Wired Mom: Social Networking Stuff.

First, there’s a repost going around Facebook that’s sort of overstating a new feature. Secondly, Twitter got a bit of a revamp- let’s call it New New Twitter (Which I guess would make it the Ramona of Twitter versions). But let’s go over Facebook first.

ALL THE PHONE NUMBERS of your contacts are now on facebook! go to the top right of the screen, click on ACCOUNT, click on EDIT FRIENDS, left side of screen and click CONTACTS. you will see ALL PHONE NUMBERS FROM YOUR CELL PHONE (FB friends or not) have been published. TO REMOVE, go to the right column below Phonebook Contacts, and click on “this page.” please repost this on your status, so your friends can remove their numbers and thus prevent abuse if they do not want them published. -The copy/paste I’ve been seeing all day.

When you use Facebook’s app on your mobile, it’ll ask if you want to sync your contacts with Facebook. If you decided to do this, all the contacts from your phone will show up in Facebook. That way, when you get phone calls from FB friends, you’ll see their profile pics. And when your future contacts sign up for FB, it’ll let you suggest you add them.

This information is not viewable to the world. The page that you see with the numbers is only visible to you. If you want to opt-out, go to your FB app and turn off the sync feature. Then, follow the directions in the message and your phone’s contacts will no longer be listed.

You’ll still be able to see anyone who put their cell phone number in FB and shared it with you. If you’d prefer that nobody see your phone number, from the Accounts drop down menu, click on Privacy Preferences, click on customize settings, and if you scroll all the way down, it’ll let you select who can see your phone number. This applies to your profile and to who can see it from the Contacts list. It keeps pulling it from my mobile app, so I set it to be visible to “Only Me”. Voila. I even had TheBoy verify it for me.

The other news story of the day is that New Twitter got an upgrade to New New Twitter. Remember how you used to have a tab for @mentions and another to browse through Retweets (you could see all RT’s, posts of yours that were RT’d and RT’s by others)? No more. Now the @username tab has absolutely anything that has to do with you. Yes, it is now the most narcissistic (yet utterly useless) tab you’ll find. In it, you can see a stream of every @mention, who followed you, and who retweeted or favorited your tweets.

I will say that the new @username tab has a lot of good information- but there’s no way to refine it. I liked being able to see a list of what tweets of mine were retweeted, as well as all my @mentions & @replies together. Twitter, if you see this, a drop down would be nice.

There’s also the activity tab. Want to see who the people you follow, retweet and favorite? Now you can spy on them. I use this phrase intentionally, because it’s more than a little creepy. Do you really think that Wil Wheaton wants everyone to see someone he follows? No. Hopefully there’s an opt out for that that doesn’t make you make your entire profile private. (Yes, I know I can just see who they follow by clicking on their profile… but then that means I have to want to spy, not just have it handed to me by Twitter)

Obviously, I’m not entirely happy with these changes. I don’t mind the @mememe tab as I’m calling it. I just wish there was a way to refine it so that I can see what I’m looking for right now, not everything.

Your thoughts? I don’t mind changes to websites- but the lack of refinement and spying factor of the Activity tab make the Twitter changes a bit odd to me.

Update 8/11: I logged in this morning to find that I no longer have New New Twitter with my account. Obviously, I can’t say what’s going on with it- if maybe they’re testing it through different accounts. But at least I can find what I’m looking for quickly. Phew!

Update 11/8: New Twitter is back. And the @username tab now has a button you can check to only show mentions.

Copy/paste, or do something?

I still use Facebook. Many of my friends jumped ship the last time they changed their privacy agreements, but I didn’t. Partly because it does make it easier for me to keep in touch with my friends scattered across the country, but because I’ve made new friends through Facebook. I’m sure that for those of you who use it, you’ve seen people repost statuses. Some are meant to promote awareness, meant to thank groups of people… and some are meant to be silly. There’s a particularly funny one about people being eaten by dragons.

But last night a guy I really only know from a game I used to play on Mafia Wars posted the following (unedited):

For you Mr. President:Doesn’t make much sense, does it??: Homeless go without eating. Elderly go without needed medicines. Mentally ill go without treatment. Troops go without proper equipment. Veterans go without benefits that were promised. Yet we donate billions to other countries before helping our own first. 1% will re-post and 99% won’t. Have the guts to re-post this. I KNOW I’m in the 1%

It bothered me so much, that I defriended him. Bothered me on a few levels. The biggest one was the notion that we shouldn’t help others.

Let’s examine where those billions went in foreign aid- the bulk of the money was for disaster relief in Pakistan and Haiti. It’s easy to say that we shouldn’t help other countries, but when you think of the general poverty of those nations before the floods hit Pakistan, and Haiti was hit with the earthquakes… they completely lacked the capablities to help themselves. Not only that, in both of those instances, millions of people were impacted. Women, children… and in the case of Pakistan, plenty of people who have nothing to do with their political leanings.

I’m all for taking care of the US first, but at some point in time you have to look at where we stand and where someone else stands, and help them even if you don’t have much to give. Which is what the US does- not because we want everyone to think we’re flush with money. But because it’s the right thing to do.

Now, about the Obama bashing. I admit, there are a lot of things I wish he’d tackled- but ultimately, a lot of the problems that the status faults him for has nothing to do with him. Obama pushed for health care reform, which would help take care of the elderly medication issue. But tackling homelessness, benefits and increased military spending for equipment? He could introduce bills, but it would still have to pass through Congress. A Congress which was barely able to pass anything because they were too interested in holding party lines than doing what was right. So before we start pointing fingers, can we at least learn the basics about how our government works?

…but the thing that really got me was the bit goading you into reposting by saying that only 1% has the GUTS to do it. How is copy/pasting a lame message powerful?

Ultimately, this is what bothers me about the statuses that urge you to repost, or campaigns to get you to post something to “spread awareness.” It’s all passive. How does copy/pasting a message that says you’re unhappy with the government right now do anything? If you’re really unhappy, contact your Congressperson and tell them how you fell. How does posting a statement saying that you’re honoring Veterans do anything?

Let’s start a campaign of activism. I’m not talking about marching for causes- but something simple. When you see people sending those copy/pastes and it’s something you feel strongly about… take a few minutes and google a relevant link. Find a Veterans’ charity that helps soldiers acclimate to civilian life. Find a charity that fights to protect abused children… well, you get the idea.

To those who fear change…

To those who fear change,

Why do new things scare you so? Do you lack the spirit of an adventurer? Or are you simply afraid that a life that doesn’t change means bad things won’t happen to you?

Not all changes in life are bad. Change brings wonderful things like marriage and children. Change brings the new seasons- changing a dark cold winter into a gentle spring. Or the hot summer to a mild fall. Change gives us the chance to wipe the slate clean and start anew- whether it’s learning something new, losing weight, or simply making a new friend.

Can’t we agree that change is what life is about?

I’m glad you agree. Now can we all stop bitching about the new profile on Facebook? Kthxbai!!

Read More…

The Power of Social Networking

'You underestimate the Power of Social Networking.'

Wow, last week was a slow blogging week. Not intentional, I assure you. As I blogged, the little guy had a rough week, which meant that I had less computer time and mostly wanted to go straight to bed as soon as they were in bed.

He seems to be doing better- either that or I finally figured out how to help expedite the end of his tantrums. I’m not sure. But somehow we’ve settled into a groove.

But that has nothing to do with social networking. This does. Yesterday morning, a food stylist was on a flight and was pulled from it for questioning before take off. Why? A passenger had noted his “Atom Bomb” tattoo across his fingers and felt he was a flight risk. He explained that Atom Bomb was a nickname, and was allowed back on the flight. But he tweeted about it. His followers shared it, and it spread like wildfire. I’ve yet to see any sort of statement from Delta.

When I shared this link, a family friend shared that she sat next to someone who had recently been reading a book on Islam, but left it at home because he knew someone who’d been pulled off a flight for doing so. I understand that people are still afraid of terrorism, but we’ve become so terrified of something that isn’t so much a risk anymore that now we’re profiling individuals based on their appearance.

Honestly, I probably would have let this slide if it had been the flight crew who were concerned. Or if there had been some sort of comment that was paired with his tattoo that made the passenger think he might be a risk. But it wasn’t. It was one person who looked at him with his tattoos and judged him based on it.

Another friend of mine brought up that like Kevin Smith and SouthWest Airlines, that this was aided by his status as a well known food stylist who was followed on Twitter by celebrity chefs. I’m sure it caused it to spread more quickly, but it’s not like individuals haven’t had their stories heard because they weren’t celebrities. All it took was a catchy video, and the musician whose guitar was destroyed by United Airlines was making the morning news circuit. And Monica Gaudio wasn’t anyone- but it only took a few days for her story about Cooks Source stealing her material to spread across the internet and ruin the magazine.

I’m sure that being a celebrity helps- but honestly, so long as your story is relatable it doesn’t take much for it to go viral. After all, you just have to click Retweet or Share and suddenly, you’re sharing it with all of your friends/followers who can pass it on just as easily. See? That’s the power of social networking. (Admittedly, not all of us regularly crash websites like Neil Gaiman, but you know- we all have reach)

Skimming tweets? Why?

Just a few minutes ago, I logged into Facebook to see that one of my favorite ex-Jungle Cruise Skippers, Dr. David Marley (comedian/professor) had posted this:

So the GOP’s plan on stopping Kagan from getting on the Supreme Court is by attacking Thurgood Marshall, the nation’s first African-American Justice. Way to keep it racist, GOP!

Why am I posting this? Almost immediately, two women that I don’t know personally replied that they weren’t racist. Which would be a valid response if he had remotely been calling out Republicans as a whole. Marley does tend to make fun of the GOP a fair amount, but obviously, this was geared towards the Republican senators at Kagan’s confirmation hearing that were using the proceedings to bash Thurgood Marshall.

I was going to write about how common it’s become for people to automatically defend their political party without always reading the original post they’re trying to defend, but I’ve noticed that it’s becoming more and more common for people to skim Facebook status updates and tweets and simply respond.

In the last two weeks, I saw someone comment that they went to the Apple store for a wireless mouse, and someone asked what they bought. I’ve said that I made strawberry ice cream for dessert, and someone asked me what kind of ice cream I made. These weren’t verbose blog posts- they were short status updates or tweets that were around 140 characters. But somehow, reading them in their entirety was too much for people.

Obviously, I don’t believe that 140 characters is too many. I’m a big fan of Twitter, enjoy browsing Facebook statuses, and hope that you’ll read this much longer blog post. But honestly, if someone’s writing something that short- you might as well read it twice just to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Spin it, Facebook Exec!

Just a couple days ago, I posted my thoughts on the latest Facebook changes. While I tackled the privacy issues first and foremost, there are other concerns. All my interest information is public- and there’s no way to opt out of that, other than to delete it entirely. Not only that, Facebook adjusted how my personal data is used with advertising as well as how it can interact with other sites. Rather than give the opportunity to set those controls manually, Facebook assume that I’d want to join their new program and let my friends share all my information with websites.

So when I saw that the NY Times had Facebook Executive Elliot Schrage (vice president for public policy) sit down for a Q&A session in which he’d answer questions that they’d selected from reader questions, I wanted to see how he’d respond. Read More…

Dear Dad, Sorry I introduced you to Facebook

Dear Dad,

I’m sorry I introduced you to Facebook. No, I don’t mean it like that! While I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about family members who overshare, post embarrasing photos, you’ve been wonderful. Honestly, it isn’t you at all.

It’s Facebook. When I recommended that you join Facebook, it was because it was the top ranked social network. True, they did have a history of changing interfaces, but those are easy to get used to. True, they did say that anything you uploaded on Facebook would be their property for all time- but a lot of people complained, and they rolled that change back.

I thought they’d learn, but clearly Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t. He’s stated openly that he believes that privacy isn’t the way of the future. Even as they introduced privacy controls to allow users to decide who sees what statuses, they sneakily reset everyone’s privacy controls to default to allowing Everyone to see what you post.

Read More…

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