Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Protect Your Privacy on Social Networks

Social networks are not just for teenagers anymore. The popular web sites that let you connect with people who have shared interests or activities, are now helping adults like Sheilah Etheridge turn up business leads from her home-based accounting and consulting firm in Anchorage, Alaska. But Etheridge will only use select social networking sites because she worries about the privacy of her personal informa"tion.

"Everything we post on the web is obviously out there for all the world to see and it’s out there for eternity,” says Etheridge, a 50-year-old mother of two grown children, ages 22 and 26. She favors networking on LinkedIn because the site pledges not to share her information with anyone other than her “connections.” “The thing that people need to understand is that you’re not only protecting your own privacy but protecting your friends’ privacy, as well."

Some members of the popular social networking site Facebook were in for a rude awakening about privacy as they prepared for the holidays last November. Facebook had launched a new advertising program called Beacon with its retail partners. As a result, details of some members’ private online purchases showed up unbeknownst to them on the Facebook pages of their friends and family members -- spilling the beans about holiday gifts in some cases and embarrassing purchasers. After thousands of Facebook members protested, the company allowed members to “opt out” and keep their purchase information private.

The incident, however, underscored the privacy concerns of social networkers. As adults take up social networking, it’s important to be aware of potential privacy risks to the information that is posted for all to see. Below are top privacy issues that adults -- as well as teens -- need to take into account before posting information (or pictures or video) on the most popular social networks.

Privacy Threat No. 1: Strangers seeing your personal data

The Risk: Having sensitive -- or just embarrassing -- information fall into the hands of identity thieves, prospective employers, college recruiters or even potential mates.

How to protect yourself: Be careful about the information you choose to post on social networks because you don’t always know who is viewing it. “People should assume the content they put online is going to be public,” says Jeremiah Owyang, a senior analyst for Forrester Research who reports on social networking and online communities. That means you should use common sense before you publish sensitive information, such as your birth date, your physical address or your employer.
This includes photos, too. “People don’t always look closely at what’s in the photos that they upload,” says Paul Gillin, author of the upcoming book about social networks, Secrets of Social Media Marketing. “Maybe it’s a photo of them doing something they don’t want other people to know about.”

Privacy Threat No. 2: People seeing what you're doing

The Risk: Stalkers, jealous spouses or suspicious employers keeping an eye on your every move.

How to protect yourself: Turn on privacy settings to select “who” can see “what” in your profile. Many photos and entries of information are time-stamped, meaning that the date and time you post it is recorded and shared with your network of friends or connections. This means your boss may be able to find how much time you spent on Facebook while at work. Or your significant other might see photos you posted frolicking in Miami while you were supposed to be on a business-only trip. Some sites, such as LinkedIn, have adopted privacy policies to never share your information with other users without your consent.

Take advantage of privacy settings on other sites such as Facebook and MySpace. These settings can allow you to limit time stamping, who can view your information, who can see your birth date, or who gets notification when you add friends or applications, also known as web widgets.

Privacy Threat No. 3: Personal data used for marketing

The Risk: Your private data may be used for commercial reasons to target you with online advertising -- and maybe even junk mail -- based on your preferences and activities.

How to protect yourself: Read the fine print before you sign up for any service. Most social networking sites are for-profit companies, and advertising keeps membership free. “The purpose behind social networking sites is supposed to be to enable you to connect with friends and colleagues and do these networking activities,” says John Verdi, staff attorney at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a non-profit privacy advocacy group in Washington, D.C. “What they don’t say is that ‘our real purpose is to mine your data and sell it to the highest bidder.’”

Facebook got a black eye after allowing partners to target ads in a personal way by letting users know what products their friends were buying -- now you can opt out before such data is shared. LinkedIn’s privacy policy says it will never rent or sell your personal information to third parties for marketing purposes, but they allow advertisers to target some ads to general profiles, such as “product managers in Texas.” MySpace allows advertising partners to set web “cookies” on your browser, which track some of your surfing habits, in order to target your advertising. Yet another concern is what personal data is distributed to developers of applications or web widgets that you sign up for on your profile page, such as a world clock or movie trivia contests. “They are third-party applications,” says Verdi. “The social networks don’t vouch for any of them.”

Privacy Threat No. 4: Difficulty deleting information

The Risk: Being haunted by your old social network posts that never die.

How to protect yourself: Make sure you understand the policies of social networking sites when it comes to deleting your personal information or profile content. For example, there was some controversy with Facebook over users not being able to completely delete their profiles. Facebook says it wanted to store the information in case someone wanted to revive their profile, but has caved in under pressure from users to allow for easier deleting. MySpace and LinkedIn will allow users to delete their profiles. Understand, however, that postings you sent to other users, or content friends copied off your profile or blog, can remain online for eternity. “There are going to be remnants or ghosts,” Owyang says. “Assume that everything you put online is forever.”
Etheridge has one other helpful tip before you put yourself out there on a specific social network: “Speak to other users you know and trust before joining some sites.” In other words, network a bit before you sign up for a network so you can learn more about how the site protects your info -- or doesn’t.

Written by Elizabeth Wasserman known as a freelance writer and editor based in Fairfax, Va. She writes for a variety of publications including Congressional Quarterly Inc. magazine, and she edits the online publication CIO Strategy Center.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I've Learn That....

I've found this lovely poem from one of my friends' notes. Just wanna share it here also. I hope you all like it ^_*
Pssst, I bold the quote that I love most ^_*. How about you? Which words of this poem that you love most?? :)So, let's read it first, shall we? :)

I've learned that ...

I've learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.

I've learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don't care back

I've learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.

I've learned that it's not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.

I've learned that you can get by on charm for about 15 minutes. After that, you'd better know something.

I've learned that you shouldn't compare yourself to the best others can do, but to the best you can do.

I've learned that it's not what happens to people that's important. It's what they do about it.

I've learned that no matter how thin you slice it, there are always two sides.

I've learned that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I've learned that it's a lot easier to react than it is to think.

I've learned that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I've learned that you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I've learned that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I've learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I've learned that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place. (Amen to that!)

I've learned that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I've learned that learning to forgive takes practice.

I've learned that there are people who love you dearly, but just don't know how to show it.

I've learned that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I've learned that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I've learned that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I've learned that I'm getting more and more like my grandma, and I'm kinda happy about it.

I've learned that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I've learned that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I've learned that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

I've learned that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I've learned that you should never tell a child her dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what a tragedy it would be if she believed it

I've learned that your family won't always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren't related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren't biological.

I've learned that no matter how good a friend someone is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I've learned that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I've learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I've learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I've learned that sometimes when my friends fight, I'm forced to choose sides even when I don't want to.

I've learned that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.

I've learned that sometimes you have to put the individual ahead of their actions.

I've learned that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I've learned that if you don't want to forget something, stick it in your underwear drawer.

I've learned that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I've learned that the clothes I like best are the ones with the most holes in them.

I've learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I've learned that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will hurt in the process.

I've learned that there are many ways of falling and staying in love.

I've learned that no matter the consequences, those who are honest with themselves, get farther in life.

I've learned that many things can be powered by the mind, the trick is self-control.

I've learned that no matter how many friends you have, if you are their pillar, you will feel lonely and lost at the times you need them most.

I've learned that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I've learned that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

I've learned that writing, as well as talking, can ease emotional pains.

I've learned that the paradigm we live in is not all that is offered to us.

I've learned that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I've learned that the people you care most about in life are taken from you too soon.

I've learned that although the word "love" can have many different meaning, it loses value when overly used.

I've learned that it's hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people's feelings and standing up for what you believe.