Saturday, October 17, 2009

Do You Know Who You're Chatting With?

The word 'identity' is simply put as the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another ( So what does identity have to do with the internet? Well, the internet creates an environment in which users can become whoever they want to be, without anyone ever knowing the difference.
So when a user is presented with a new account or profile, it can be compared to having a blank canvas to work with. In creating this new online identity the media is very influential in the development of this.

It will be sufficed to say that in creating a social network account whether, it is to the likes of Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Gmail or any other internet society, our identity can and will be easily altered by the 'media/internet-saturated’ society we live in. This invariably means we can become who we want, when we want with new identities shaped by what we see, read, hear or discover along the path of the digital era.

In real life young children can change their identity throughout puberty and then have different identities when they cross the line into adulthood. Moreover, in the virtual world our identity is something constructed over time and subsequently can be frequently updated or revamped according to our personal preferences.

Within this philosophy however, it is crucial to understand that identity is not a fixed thing and is just as difficult to maintain as it is in creating one in the first instance. Actually, a second life seems to offer us many things that we are deprived of in our first, mainly being liberty to portray ourselves through our avatars in any way which we may so desire.

So friends I leave you with the notion that while it may be fun creating new identities as a regular means of self expression or even escapism it can also be dangerous to the effect that often striking a balance between the personal identity and the virtual identity may become somewhat difficult.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

How private is Private?

gregorrohrig May 29, 2007 (Youtube)

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Does joining a site like Facebook automatically mean that you relinquish all rights to privacy? Why not when the very nature of the site is to place what ever personal information you wish online. Is it not your choice to put up what ever information you please on this type of social networking site? Then why is Facebook faced with so much criticism relating to the privacy setting?

It is universally known that Facebook is the place where you can read about any bacchanalia going on between friends, watch the pictures and videos of certain misbehaving individuals at the “lime” you missed out on last night, or the place where you get instant updates on the relationship status of your friends and family so that you know when is a good time to make a move on that cute girl or guy. Obviously we do have the choice of not placing any personal information on the site but then would Facebook as we know it be Facebook? Would it be as fun and as entertaining as it is? Would it be as popular as it is if we refused to put personal information on the site? Facebook is about updating, sharing and adding friends and the more we do it the more fun the actual site is. Let’s face it, if every individual were to administer the most stringent privacy setting Facebook might as well be dead and buried.

Even though we do have a choice, are we not being taken advantage of by the social networks? What exactly happens to the information entered into Facebook? Take for example joining a network. Facebook recognizes the network you have joined and sends a stream of advertisements specific to your particular network. Clearly our information is being used by Facebook to target us and encourage us to spend money.

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Facebook users usually think because they have the highest form of security on there profile means that they are safe, however you should always think twice about sharing photos. These photos can easily be copied by a person who has access to your facebook page and broadcast to the entire online world. Even with the highest form of security photos of you can be exposed to friends and family and eventually, once you have realized that you have been tagged in a photo it is too late the online world has already bared witness to the most likely scandalous photos you would rather no one have seen. But how many of us have actually taken the time to implement Facebook’s solution to this problem? Their solution to block everyone from viewing tagged photo. How many of us even know of such a privacy setting?

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You know those funny pointless quizzes and games that we all enjoy playing on Facebook? Well these applications we love so much have full access to data on our Facebook profiles. This is perhaps the most annoying issue faced with this site. Just what exactly would these third party developers want with our private information? Maybe this is how Facebook makes its millions, by selling our private information to third party developers.

Usually these third party developers want demographic information like our age, country, profession, relationship status, pictures and how often we use Facebook so they have a better idea of who uses their applications and how often they use it. However, is it fair that we are being sold just so that Facebook can have a new and improved quiz titled “What kind of drunk are you?”

Many people would try to remedy the problem by deleting Facebook, but does deleting your Facebook account really mean you’re safe from privacy issues? Well, deletion of a Facebook account removes all information you have placed on the site and essentially you cease to exist in the Facebook world or do you? We can’t be positively sure if our online lives have really been removed from Facebook’s database or if the social networking site has their own private files on every single one of its users at the tips of their fingers.

In the past Facebook has even had annoying “viruses” via Facebook chat that threatened the privacy of its users. Ever been off Facebook completely but yet your friend receive a variety of messages from you via Facebook chat advertising a product along with a link to another website? Or maybe you were on the other end of the stick and received a series of messages from one or many people? We must take the time to consider was this really just a mistake that the seasoned Facebook developers let slip or were these Facebook chat advertisement deliberately allowed by the developers in order to make an easy million?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Digital World and Security

The new age reality that plagues our generation is compacted in every digital device known to mankind. Digitization has replaced tradition; classes can be held online via webcams, movies can now be seen in the palm of our hands and hundreds of files which once needed many filing cabinets are easily stored on a device the size of your finger. This is the reality in which we live, and everyone from four to one hundred and four years of age is moving with the ever changing trends of the rapidly growing digital world.