Facebook = Internet… or does it?

Michael Wolf, of Activate fame, said recently that Facebook wants to be the internet. He was, of course, referring to a deal between the social media giant and Oculus VR. The question is: How is it going to achieve it?

Img credit: Rishi Bandopadhay on Flickr.com

Img credit: Rishi Bandopadhay on Flickr.com

The internet, and by extension the web, has become central to our day-to-day existence. We use it to communicate with our friends, family and colleagues. We use it to access information that might otherwise elude us. It’s the first thing we think to turn to when it comes to the ever-present question, “What will I make for dinner?” In fact, with the Internet of Things invading our appliances, the day is not too far away that we see the Internet becoming the single most integral element in our everyday life outside of air, food and water.

Facebook sees itself at the centre of this brave new world. Its active hunting and acquisition of smaller companies offering something it wants is just one part of the strategy to offer everything online in just one place.

The Facebook wall has taken over what websites like LiveJournal and MySpace once offered, with Facebook Messenger giving us what Skype can. It’s not creating new opportunities, but more an act of integrating existing offerings and sticking a shiny new Facebook blue badge on it. Games can even be played in Messenger as well! Where will it end?

In Australia, you can now have your memorial online with Facebook. Not even your end will mean an end to your social media presence.

All this plugging in to your general life has left some people concerned.

Some critics of Facebook’s Internet.org say that attempts to provide free internet access to emerging markets by the world’s largest social media platform threatens “…freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation.

Long time readers of this blog and my Twitter feed will know that I am a believer in keeping the net neutral (amongst other things). Now, I’m not saying that Facebook is evil. There are plenty of other people who have written on that subject. All I’m saying is that, as with any form of technology, there are things to be considered when you’re delving into the realm of social media.

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Facebook Ditches Old Settings… Again.

So, the other day I got this email from Facebook.

The Facebook email

I knew the change was coming. I had known for a while but, like most other Facebook changes that are gossiped about, I thought it wisest to leave it until it was officially confirmed by Facebook. I knew exactly why this setting was being removed, even before Facebook decided to tell anyone. What I didn’t count on was no one else picking up on the possible implications of it all.

I logged into Facebook this morning and saw this:

Facebook warning

Well, now it’s on like Donkey Kong.

So, what does the removal of this setting mean for the average Facebook user?

Not much… Unless you like privacy and are lazy in locking down your privacy settings.

Basically, this change is being made to make way for Graph Search. Haven’t heard about Graph Search? Watch this space. I’ll tell you about it real soon. In a nutshell, Facebook’s Graph Search is going to allow for more personalised search terms to be entered into the search bar and yield results which you might think strange.

Rather than searching through your friend list for all your friends who like a certain band, then looking through them to find out who also likes another band, you will just be able to type into the search bar: “friends who like band x and band y” to get your results.

On face value, this seems fairly innocent, right? Right. Except for the fact that this information is being obtained from the 6 petabytes of user information that crosses the Facebook servers every day. If you haven’t already taken a look at your security and privacy settings, to limit who sees what you post, I would suggest doing it now. I would also suggest limiting your past posts. Another thing I would suggest doing, which is going to take you a little time, especially for those of your with large numbers of people in your friend’s list, is to start creating friends lists, if you haven’t done so already. This is going to make sure you can pick and choose who sees what with a little more control.

If you have no care about who can see your personal information, then as you were soldier. If you’re concerned that your personal information might be seen by people you have no association with, then I say to you: Either lock down your profile or get off Facebook altogether.

EDIT:

This morning when I logged in to Facebook, I had this pop-up in front of my newsfeed.

Facebook pop-up

Seems like they’re making sure everyone sees the notification. I’m guessing there’s more to this settings change than most others in the past.. Hmmmmm…

Social Media and Your Dream Job.

"Dream job" by ~hro

Use social media to aim for the stars – image: http://bit.ly/18CZQ43

We spend so much time on social networking sites, but have you used them as tools in the search for your dream job? Here are four tips to get those connections working towards your dream job.

1. Facebook.

Facebook logoMany businesses have referral systems for staffing, meaning existing staff know about openings before jobs are advertised. Letting your Facebook friends know you’re searching for a new job is one of the best ways to score an interview. With almost 40% of new US hires coming from staff referrals, you need to work those friends lists.

2. LinkedIn.

LinkedIn logoLinkedIn is “the world’s largest professional network,” yet many fail to keep their details current. A study by the annual ASX200 Social Media Report, social recruiting is on the rise in Australia, and LinkedIn is the number one site for checking applicants. Make sure you keep your profile fresh and your contact details current.

3. Pinterest.

Pinterest logoIf you’re a creative, you need to be using Pinterest as a portfolio. It isn’t just for cooking and crafts. Creatives in all fields are using Pinterest to showcase their work and funnel traffic back into their websites. Make sure to use appropriate tagging and keep any work you say is your work separate from that of other people.

4. Twitter.

Twitter logoIf you’re in marketing or communications, you should be on Twitter. Short “tweets” show that you get your meaning across quickly. Make your interactions meaningful, or they’ll be lost in the feed. Applying for a position? Follow the company and the executives. It’s the best way of finding out what’s new with the business and preparing for the interview.

Do you have any tips for using social media in the search for a dream job? Share your ideas with others in the comments below.

References:

Facebook.com (2013). http://www.facebook.com/

Jobvite.com. (2013). Recruiting Data Employment Statistics. http://recruiting.jobvite.com/resources/recruiting-data-employment-statistics-by-jobvite-index/

Linkedin.com. (2013). http://www.linkedin.com/

Linkedin.com, (2013). What is LinkedIn? http://www.linkedin.com/static?key=what_is_linkedin

Pinterest.com. (2013). http://pinterest.com/

Smith, Paul. (2013). LinkedIn tops Australian corporate social media, but YouTube on the Rise. http://www.afr.com/p/technology/linkedin_tops_australian_corporate_6zA5xqSFcMhu2zYTXccr3H

Twitter.com. (2013). http://www.twitter.com/

Twitter.com. (2013). Twitter Help Center. https://support.twitter.com/articles/166337-the-twitter-glossary#t

Walbridge, Andrew. (2013). Design Ideas. http://pinterest.com/awalbridge/design-ideas/

AAAAAAARGH!!!!!!

What’s that?

It’s the sound of automated feed filling by a site that only allows you to sign in with a pre-existing social media account. And you know what? I’ve had enough!

ImageThere was a ruling in Germany this week slapping Facebook over the back of the hand in regards to their facial recognition data. They have been told to delete it, because it’s deemed to be against EU regulations, even though it’s perfectly fine by Irish standards, where Facebook’s European offices are located.

So what does this all mean?

Well, at the heart of the matter is the fact that Facebook did not allow users to opt-in for this. Instead, it was forced upon them and they had to opt out. Now, if you remember from when you signed up to Facebook (because we all read the Terms of Service, didn’t we?), we gave them the right to use any and all information we publish on their site in any which way they want. That’s right. We don’t own our own information, they do. So when we are forced to use some kind of facial data recognition, and that data is stored, anything published that employs that until we opt-out of it (which, in some cases is darned hard to find), is therefore theirs and they can use it however they want.

Likewise, other SNSs (Social Networking Sites, for the uninitiated) that only allow you sign up using a pre-existing SNS account are responsible for adding to that information. I am looking at Spotify, Pintrest and other useful sites that are fast becoming part of the social media/community manager Must-Have ToolBag (or, at the very least, we need to know about them in order to explain why we wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole). These you can only sign up to with an existing social media account. I understand that Facebook now owns Spotify, but why can’t I use it without attaching my facebook account to it? I have to download it… and THEN you want me to sign up with my facebook account? WHY?! Why isn’t my email address good enough? And then having automatic posts “on my behalf” (read: “whether you like it or not”) until I go and turn it off.

Now, I know I’m banging on a lot about Facebook and the evils of it when I use it for so much. I know I am just as responsible for the perpetuation of these unethical allowances as any other user. However, I am aware that whatever I put out there is no longer mine, but if it’s so bad and I hate it so much, why don’t I just opt out of Facebook altogether? Well, there’s a simple answer to that. “If you can’t beat them, join them.” I was going to disable my account and shut it all down. Cancelling Facebook alone would have had far-reaching ramifications to my “displacement activities” when assignments were due. In fact, I probably would get more done. Thing is, I accept that it still, for a little time at least, is the number one SNS of the world, which means I need to keep up with what is going on in, on and around it. Also, until my friends understand what I have been saying now for over a year that Facebook will not keep its “top dog” position in the SNS world for too many more years (I’m guessing about seven to ten more years tops), I will miss out on much of the invites to parties, knowledge of life and whatnot. It’s a sad but true fact.

 

So, what do I suggest you do? Stop. Think. And if you really need to sign up to these things, please, for the love of all that is lovely and dear to the people of the world, opt out of those updates STRAIGHT AWAY! Don’t let Automatic Update Syndrome be the thing that turns your friends to opting out of your updates altogether.

FaceBook Beaten Into Submission.

We grumble about it. At each layout change or move of a button, we complain ad nauseum.

So why on earth do we still use FaceBook, if we hate it so much?

For one thing, it has such a large portion of our immediate population attached to it, that in order to know what is going on socially, we need to be on FB. How many times have you heard of an event that invites really only went out on the darn site?

Secondly, in this time-poor world we need all relevant social data in one place so as to minimise time spent trawling for details. It also gives us a nice one-stop-shop for “catching up” with friends in a minimalistic way. Little to no actual applied effort means we can feel good about ourselves for having sent a message to that friend just to see how they are.

However, those constant changes are really annoying. Just as you get used to where one thing is, it gets moved. And what is with all the privacy setting changes? I personally thought that if we made our settings one way, the site we made them on shouldn’t be able to just change them, or if they did, they should have to let us know…? Clearly not, as such information is generally passed on via friend connections.

I have been using an add-on called Social Fixer for a good few months now, to help me manage all the curfuffle that FaceBook seems set on including in my life. I am logged into FaceBook for the better part of most days, so it stands to reason that I make it as easy to use as possible.  It’s free to use, and darned easy. It is not, however, supported for Internet Explorer, though if you’re a real computer user, this shouldn’t be a problem. Let’s face it, no one who has a say about how their computer is run, and knows what a real web browser can do for them, uses IE.

Image

Lifehacker got a hold of Social Fixer and called it “… [an] essentially a panacea for the most common Facebook problems…” so it has to be good, right? Reading the rest of the LifeHacker article also gives you a fair few good ideas on how to simplify your FaceBook presence. Consider adopting frequent “friend” culls. Do you really know all of the people on that list? Also, check the apps you’ve given access to your account. do you still use all of them? If not, cull!

Just as a side-note, personally I think FaceBook only has a few more years left in it before the “next big thing” in social media comes along and steals its thunder. It will go the way of MySpace before too long, so don’t invest too much in it (monetarily or otherwise), and start thinking about slowly adopting a “removal” process to your data. Download those pics, notes, significant details or anything else you think you might miss if FB were to go belly up. You will find the move to the next big thing easier, and less frustrating. Also, it never hurts to have less of yourself on a site that refuses to acknowledge privacy as a real thing that shouldn’t be changeable unless by the end user.