Archive for March, 2011

I’m Google Famous!!

                           A few years ago I Googled myself and found one book review I’d written on Amazon, and a personal website I’d maintained for a while to post photos on, and that was it. I Googled myself again last night, and I’ve apparently become a celebrity over the last few years. I clicked through five pages of Google and I pretty much dominated the first three and was generously peppered throughout the last two. Some of this exposure I brought on myself by using my full name for things like my WordPress Blog, Twitter Account, Mind Meister Map, Wikia and Prezi Accounts, etc. But many things posted about me I had nothing to do with. I’ve worked for the United States Forest Service during the summer for quite a few years, and I had no idea that with nearly every event I’d ever assisted in, someone had taken a picture of me and written up a story with my name, job description, coworkers names, and the location of the office where I worked, all posted along with my photograph. There are something like six of these storeys and I have no clue how to get them removed from the website. Another shocker is the church I went to as a kid posts yearly updates on all of its members, including relationship status, where they live, ages and birthdates, and who they’re related too. I’m not a big fraud committer, but this seems like a lot of convenient information even in my law abiding view of things. I’ve also been ratted out by my dead grandmother! My grandma on my Dad’s side of the family died about four years ago, and several newspapers and obituary websites have printed the names and locations of the relatives who survive her… Thanks a lot Grandma. Finally there are all the obvious things that I brought on myself such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Linked in, and my personal Blog, and some how the Beltrami Humane society got my name and phone number and decided it would be a good idea to post them even though I can’t remember the last time I even saw the place let alone visited.  

                  Somehow in the last four or five years, I’ve gone from a relative unknown in the web world, to a low-grade rock star, and I don’t think I had all that much to do with it. Businesses, schools, churches,  and clubs are jumping on the internet bandwagon, and posting information with abandon, and I’m starting to wonder if I shouldn’t be googling myself more often, not for vanities sake, but to watch my virtual back. This gave me a business idea that would help me earn my millions! But then I stumbled onto this Delete Button for the Internet: Tool Removes Personal Info From Google, Facebook, so I’ll have to earn my millions in some other way, but it’s nice to see options evolving to compensate for the apparent de-evolution of Internet security


                      I never trusted Facebook or Myspace from the very beginning. Getting one of these accounts is a little like posting your face and vital statistics on a  billboard along side  an interstate. I joined both sites years ago to see what they where all about, and promptly got bored and forgot about them. occasional I’d be reminded of their existence when I’d get an email informing me that a random acquaintance, or some creeper that I’ve never met really wants to be my pal or worse. I’ve shut off certain parts of facebook to all but my friends, but being social-media-clueless, I really have no idea who’s seeing what when they find my site. I’m almost positive that the information viewable on Facebook is used quite frequently for evil. I know of a few girls who regularly facebook stalk any new guy that they meet, and not only investigate to see if he’s trustworthy or shady, but also to see what kind of person he is and find out is he’s worth their time. I also know that, whether your on facebook or not, someone can take any picture they want of you, and post it with a tag with your name on it. Basically, short of moving to a country that hasn’t managed to acquire photography or electricity yet, you cannot escape the stalking resource that is Facebook. Additionally, it makes a person extra easy to find on internet searches. When I Googled myself, I was amazed to find that nearly three pages of Google results where about me! Number six on that list is facebook, and listed right below my name are many of my facebook friends. So with one search an assassin could locate and wipe out me and all my friends in one fell swoop using one convenient website. Not comforting. A statistical website that I found listed the following numbers

  • 25 percent of households with a Facebook account don’t use the site’s privacy controls or weren’t aware of them.
  • 40 percent of social network users posted their full date of birth online, opening themselves up to identity theft. (I didn’t know this and will have to make an alteration!)
  • 9 percent of social network users dealt with a form of abuse within the past year (e.g., malware, online scams, identity theft or harassment).
  • It’s incredibly easy to get scammed online these days. I had it happen last year, and I know a few people who’ve had the same happen in the last few. The fact of the matter is, none of us truly know how to protect ourselves because everything below a websites flashy skin is a mystery to us. A billion Google searches happen every day, and it’s a little known fact that with every search you do your IP address is recorded, as are your search topics. Supposedly google never sells or misuses this information, but then why are they collection it if they don’t intend to use it? Nearly everything we do online from engine searches to online shopping is recorded and saved, and most of us don’t have a clue as to how secure the things we do really are. When you make an online purchase with a credit card, all you have to sooth your nerves are a few icons like vericheck and others that have become familiar and trusted because the other times we saw these icons during purchases no one stole our credit card information, so we believe that  it must be doing its job, but what the heck does it really do? Couldn’t a thief make up a fake icon that mimics an existed trusted company’s icon and pillage us blind? There are a few trojans floating about the web that mimic a trusted windows antivirus program, but in reality are a trojan that forces its victims pay money to a fraudulent company to get their phony antivirus program off your system. These are getting to be very common, and I’m sure plenty of credit card purchase fraud is ocurring as well. We might not be able to keep up with all the new threats in online security, but this link has a few solutions for the majority of us who don’t know how it all works.


    Interesting chart dealing with social media and security

                                   Facebook isn’t the only problem however. One would think that Twitter, and possibly some large online shopping sites would be next in line, and Amazon is high on the list of sites to leak information about me, but what really shocked me is how exposed my past job with the Forest Service has made me. With every Forest Service related event that I participated, someone took my picture and information on where I worked and what I did, and who I worked with, and posted it in a lively narrative. I had no idea that this was being done with each event untill just a few days ago, and also have no idea how to undo it. Worse still are these reunion websites, one of  which my dad apparently signed up for. It lists him and my mom and their ages and locations, and does the same for me and my sisters.

                       I didn’t sign up for any of the latter things listed. If you do anything at all in America your information will probably end up online. Many people are deleting their facebook and myspace profiles, and I found a top ten list of reasons to do this. Sadly some of my friends have quickly adjusted to and accepted the security threat, and see this sort of thing as a personal insult to them and their friendship with me, so in essence when I delete my Facebook friends, I’ll be deleting, or at least alienating some real friends as well. As for all the other personal information hemorrhaging sites, sometimes there’s nothing you can do, but for the ones you sign up for such as Linkedin, Myspace, and Twitter, this article explains some steps we can take to avoid making too much information about ourselves available to the world. But in many situations, such as with my job, or my parents reunion website, there’s nothing I can do about it short of becoming a hacker or and orphan, so we might as well accept that fact that the whole world is a stage, and we’re the stars, and protect ourselves as much as possible as privacy inevitably continues to erode away.

    Privacy Is Dead and Social Media Holds the Smoking Gun

    Internet Marketing for Lawyers: Social Media & Privacy Expectations

    Is Facebook Eroding Privacy? Or Does Social Media Require Us to Lower Our Expectations?

    Social Media: The Privacy and Security Repercussions

    I’ve found that nearly every popular form of social media is being used in some way to bring aid in the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake.

    Twitter: of all of the social networking site in use, twitter is the one that seems to be the best suited for the situation, and twitters really stepped up. I found multiple news websites with twitter tweats rolling in as part of their news offerings. I also found a website that listed english speaking expatriates who currently live in Japan, and experienced the earthquake and its aftermath first hand. The website included the twitter handles for these each individual so that they can be followed and we can hear information first hand. Twitter also set up a way that their users can use the site to donate money to the cause. To be honest I didn’t think much of twitter in the past, but it seems to be evolving  from a shallow  gossip machine, and into something with atleast some substance and integrety.

    twitter earthquake related hashtags:

    General earthquake information: #Jishin
    Requests for rescue or other aid: #J_j_helpme
    Evacuation information: #Hinan
    Confirmation of safety of individuals, places, etc.: #Anpi
    Medical information for victims: #311care

    Google: Google, as we discussed in class, has added an entire page worth of earthquake related resources. There’s a person finder aplication, person finder hotline, airport flight information, blackout information, lots of ways to donate money to charitys, and information on the status of local masstransit systems. Additionally, right after the earthquake had occured, google defaced it’s famously blank homepage screen with a tsunami alert in red capital letters. Thanks to google, even people who are cutt off from news have a better chance of being aware of impending danger.

    Facebook: Facebook is the devil. I’ve said it many times before and I’m saying it now despite the fact that several support group pages have been set up to help people who are out of range of ordinary support systems cope with the grief brought on by the situation. I also stumbled occross a page created by the International Nuclear Power Councel that was being used by experts to discuss Japans powerplant situation, and to debunk myths. Facebook’s too slow and cumbersom to be used the way twitter is to update and inform us from the inside, but it does seem to be playing a fairly useful roll despite being the devil.

    Utube: Utube has tons of network news broadcasts posted, as well as footage shot by people with camera phones and other devices that found their way to youtube long before the network stations had managed to broadcast much of anything on the topic. Youtube combined with camera phones seems to have spawned an era of do it yourself newsreporting, though as with anything that’s do it yourself, the reliability of the sources is always in question. Youtube also created their own person finder app. It consists of over 80 video messages of earthquake survivors filmed in shelters. People who are looking for a loved one can wade through the videos and possibly be reunited.

    Blogs: Other than the usual proven reliable newsblogs, good blogs seem to be hard to find. While Twitter is doing a great job of connecting us with survivors storys, these survivors don’t appear to be fans of blogging, probobly due to the fact that twitter can be operated from any phone, and blogs require atleast a smartphone. I found reports that some less credible news blogs may be responsible for starting rumors about the dangers we may face as a result of Japans nuclear powerplant rediation leaks. Apparently it spread like wildfire that spinache and milk where tainted even though most of our supplys of both products are local, and nothing on our continent has been affected as of yet.

    Even though things are a bit chaotic on on the social media sites with newsfeeds coming in from every direction, and only a very few having been proven legitimate authoritys on their topics, I still feel that social media is proving to be an invaluable resource these days when things go wrong. Honestly, even it the only legitimate and useful thing to be developed was a person finder, and all the other resources where garbage, it would be well worth tollerating their noise. That isn’t the case however. Nearly every site being used during the disaster seems to be adapting to make themselves more useful, not only durring the disaster, but beyond it. Disasters seems to being out the best in social media, and once we find a way to implement a little quality control, social media could become an incredible and integrated disaster reporting and relief system that traditonal media couldn’t even dream of becoming.


    Well I took a few stabs at what I thought produsage was, and submitted them in an unapproved way, plus I’m not so sure I was right anymore.


    What I said was: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this site is a pretty good example of produsage. Movie reviewers access the rotten tomatoes site after watching a film, and fill out a questionair, while at the same time including an excerpt from, and a link to their review on another site. Each like or dislike is tallied, and a percentage of reviewers who enjoyed the film is computed. Any reviewer can submit a review at anytime and change the product. The only potential problem that I could see is that not just anyone can add to the product, but only people who write movie reviews.

    Now I have my doubts because rottentomatoes is not user created.

    2. I feel a little better about this next one

    What I said was : Produsage? If there’s something, anything at all that you don’t like about the world, and you want to take a stand, come to this site. Anyone can create a petition for any cause they like, then anyone who wants to can go to this site and sign their name in support of the cause. One could look at either the site as the product, and the petitions as what is added to the product, or the individual petitions as products, and the signatures as what the rest of the participants add. The first definition makes it seem a little more like produsage to me than the second.

    Well I’ve changed my mind. The Individual petitions are actually user created, and thus make better examples of produsage.

    3. I also remembered a spoof from the movie family guy where they took the infamous Christian Bale chewing out a light guy audio clip, and eddited in Peter as though he was the original target of Bales frustration. This clip isn’t all family guy, it’s blended with something from off the news. Someone with time on his/her hands could take it, and add some silly unrelated video to it, and pop it back on u-tube where the cycle would be continued… produsage

    4. This video is almost exactly what I described at the end of example 3, except using all of the original audio from the incident with a few words dubbed in to make it apply to the cartoon. It doesn’t work very well, but it’s still produsage. Just a warning,  f-bombs arn’t beeped.

    5. A video about produsage that is produsage and knows it. Wish the background music wern’t so loud though. It has an American narrator, but was made in Autralia apparently. Axel?