Archive for 'Social Media'

Incognito No More!

It used to be that if you wanted to be anonymous, all you needed to do was to sport a pair of glasses. Today our life and essence is stored on numerous databases. Scan your rewards card and your entire purchase history is known. From that information, data experts can assess many things about our family and habits.

Fun fake mask lisolated on white backgroundFacial recognition software is now beginning to infiltrate our lives as well, tracing our every move! This technology has been a part of law enforcement for a while, but now it is becoming part of the social media and marketing worlds as well!

With iPhoto, you can upload photos to your computer and tag faces by adding the person’s name. After a while the program “learns” that face and automatically tags people for you.

I recently uploaded a family photo to Facebook and was surprised that Facebook not only tagged the other Facebook users in that photo, but also included them in my post!

Companies like Wal-Mart, Apple, Facebook and Google are looking now to use this facial recognition technology to personalize marketing strategies. This June the U.S. Department of Commerce will be working with these companies to draft laws governing use of this potentially invasive technology. The Civil Liberties Union wants laws preventing this technology from being used without our knowledge.

This is worth paying attention to, as surveillance cameras are able to take clearer pictures. The benefit from this technology can be great – but so can the potential risk!

To Blog or not to Blog…

BloggingDo you Blog? Should you Blog? What is a Blog?

OK, you are reading this blog, so there’s a good chance you know what a Blog is!  But in case you don’t – simply put, it is a web log, or a type of online diary. Many of you probably think that you have nothing to blog about, but there are many useful reasons to Blog.

First, students are encouraged to blog as a way to develop writing skills. Many teachers utilize this tool in a closed network situation, meaning these blogs are not made available to the general public.

Many people have an expertise in some area – horticulture, camping, cooking, decorating, music etc. Why not share your expertise with others? In addition, if you sell a service, this could help to build your customer base!

Recently, our family was able to keep in touch with a cousin undergoing a serious medical treatment. The hospital had a blogging program that my family members used to disseminate information and allow for messages of encouragement to be shared. This eliminated the family being bombarded with many calls and emails during this stressful time!

There are many places that you can start a blog – Google has a free site called “Blogger”. There is also software called WordPress, which you can use on your site, or you can start a blog through Then there is the “Patch” which offers a spot for you to blog and share ideas with your neighbors!

Question for you, do you know this language?

Young boy using computer at home

DYK Y UR children use acronyms L KPC, HOAS, P911 CTN and CyaL8r? OMG, EMFBI, BTW GL understanding them! OK, enough already!  (translation is at the end!)

Last month, Facebook announced that it is considering opening up it’s social website for those under 13. The bottom line is, there are children under 13 with accounts already! In a recent survey of sixth graders, half of those surveyed admitted to having a Facebook account. Unfortunately, there are too many parents who have abdicated their rights as parents when it comes to the digital world. Many do this out of ignorance – they do not understand it, so they don’t bother. Others believe that “their child would never do anything inappropriate!” Others are just not involved at all!

You are the parent! You “baby proofed” your house when they were toddlers, you held their hand when they crossed the street. If you do not know how to make your home environment safe for your adolescent children, you need to seek out the information! Below are a few suggestions

  1. Talk to your children about appropriate behavior on the Internet – no bullying, posting pictures, giving out personal information. Once something is on the web – it is there FOREVER!
  2. Know their passwords – monitor their accounts – e-mail, Twitter, Facebook etc.
  3. Use the parental controls that came with your computer. Limit their time on the computer.
  4. Make sure the computer is in a central location where you can easily see what they are doing. Under no circumstances should children be alone in their bedroom with a computer that is connected to the Internet. (Would you allow a stranger to be alone with them?)
  5. Use products like OpendnsSafeeyes and others to track and block web usage. More products can be found here…

Remember – your child may not be the one doing anything wrong – but they could end up being a victim! During these nice summer days – it is OK to actually go outside and swim, ride a bike or get involved with sports!

For a comprehensive list of acronyms go to


Translation: Do you know why children use acronymns like “keeping parents clueless”, “hold on a second”, “Parent Alert”, “can’t talk now”, and “see you later?” Oh my gosh, excuse me for butting in, by the way good luck understanding them!

Facebook Email Address Hijacks Mobile Phone Contacts!

Last week Facebook switched your primary email address with your “Facebook” email address. Many people did not notice the change, but what they did notice were their messages seemed to have disappeared! If you look at your account information, under “email” you will now see an @facebook email. What appears before the @ is your Facebook

user name if you updated that, or a series of numbers if you did not.

Facebook Email

With that change, anyone who “messages” you could have the message end up in one of 2 places. We have been used to finding our messages under the “Message” icon  now when you click on Messages, underneath appears an “Other” category.

Depending on how your preferences are set up, messages from friends should appear in your “Message” category, and all others are in your “other” category.


To compound things, it appears that people, who have “linked” their contacts on their phone to Facebook, now have had those email addresses changed to the “Facebook” address. So now when you try to email someone, instead of sending to a work email or home email, it is being sent to the Facebook email!

Facebook has said that its engineers are looking into it. Double-check your phone contacts! You can “hide” the new Facebook email, but you cannot delete it!

Teens and Social Networking

Your teen spends hours on the Internet, but do you know what they are doing? When children a small, we hold their hands to cross the street, we put training wheels on their bicycles and have them wear helmets, we check out the parents of friends they want to visit – but what do we do to protect them in the digital world?

There are too many tragedies of young people sneaking off to meet someone they have talked to in a chat room. Teens are posting pictures of themselves drinking and doing drugs. They post videos of lewd and illegal acts. Where are the parents?

Parents your teens need you to be proactive in this social media. I remember my son saying to me “Why can’t you be like other mothers and not know anything about computers!” You have a responsibility to know what they are doing! There are some simple steps you can take.

  1. Have any computer connected to the Internet in an open area of the house where you can see what they are doing. DO NOT allow them to be alone in their bedroom with an Internet connected device – this includes phones and tablets!
  2. Use parental controls on the computers. Operating systems (Mac & Windows) have these and there is software you can purchase that will control minutes on the computer and sites they can visit.
  3. Know your child’s passwords for email, Facebook, twitter etc. Make sure you are their Facebook “friend” and on their Twitter list.
  4. Have Open DNS on your Internet connection. This is free and can block and monitor sites that all computers and hand held’s visit.
  5. Learn about safe use of the Internet and talk to your minor child about the dangers and safe use.

Not allowing them to use the Internet at home is not an answer; they find a way at school or their friend’s house. Make sure they are not using duplicate accounts – one that you monitor and one you don’t!

Above all – be a parent! They are minors living with you and YOU are responsible.


Why Google +?

Google recently launched it’s own social media platform, Google+. Many people today have Facebook, LinkedIn, why add or switch to  new one? Here are some of the features that Google+ offers:

  • Google+ uses circles to categorize people. You create the circles – friends, co-workers, family etc. People can be in more than one circle. You can share your comments with everyone, or only some circles. In Facebook you have less control over who can see your posts!
  • Sparks – You enter your areas of interest. Google then sends to your + account, articles related to your interest. You can then share these with others. You can easily add or delete interests.
  • Hangout –  Is a group video. When you click the “Start a Hangout” button, it actually reminds you to check your hair and mic! You then can invite others to your hangout!
  • Instant upload – From your cell phone, you can instantly upload photos and videos. Download the Google+ app, and set your permissions, and it will allow for instant uploads!
  • Huddle – is a group chat – like creating a chat room from your circles.

Google+ is in the testing stage and people can join by invitation only. Google has done this with many of it’s projects in the past, like Gmail.

Like any new application, there will be growing pains, but if you are already using social media – or not – it’s worth a look!

Check out this YouTube video to learn more!

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