Social Smarts: Privacy, the Internet and YOU! (Graphic Novel)

socialsmarts

 Recently, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada released a very helpful Graphic Novel that outlines how you can be safe on the internet, using social media and still maintain your privacy!  This graphic novel outlines the potential pitfalls, risks and behaviour online that is not safe, and should be avoided at all costs!  The graphic novel, “Social Smarts: Privacy, the Internet and YOU!” can be downloaded as a PDF document, or you can visit their site to watch a video, or look at other resources like teaching guidebooks for educators and parents!  Some of the best tips from this graphic novel are:

  • Locking down your social media accounts so that only pre-approved real-life friends can see your information and activity
  • Be aware of when other people might be taking your photo, and ask them to not post it online, or tag you in any photos. (be sure to look at your settings and dis-allow anyone to ‘tag’ you)
  • Don’t “leave yourself logged in” to any computers, or smartphones that don’t have a password.  Anyone can use the computer/smartphone to pretend to be you!  Always have a password on your smartphone and never “remember my password”!
  • When playing games online, don’t share personal information over your headset, you are speaking to anyone else in the game and they can hear everything you say!
  • Remember that all your activity online, when you “like” something, or your “check-in” some place, this information is collected and stored by companies to profile you and sell you things!
  • If you are using some network or service online that is free, you must remember that you are not a customer, you are a product and are being used by the company or service to make money!
  • Remember that its OK to turn off your smartphone, or step away from the computer to make connections in real-life and to talk and build relationships with the people around you all day long!

Please, watch this excellent video below to learn more, and to check out the Graphic Novel as soon as you can!

Making sure you #care when you #share

Recently, on twitter, many BC educators were discussing how to effectivily use Social Media to encourage students, teachers, parents, and everyone else to show more empathy and caring when networking, connecting, sharing and discussing online.  Too often, social media allows others to be mean, or to be inappropriate, to cut others down, rather than building them up.

It started as a conversation between Chris Wejr (@ChrisWejr) and Carolyn Durley (@okmbio) and quickly others jumped in to add their thoughts and ideas and a new hashtag idea came from Michelle Hiebert (@MauiMickey) to start using #CARE  as a hashtag when tweeting to others to show that you #care when you #share.

#care when you #share

By using #care when you tweet (or even facebook) you can demonstrate that you are encouraging positive, empathetic usage of Social Media.  You are committing to demonstrating friendly, positive interactions online where there are no put-downs or bullying, or mean-spirited debate.  You are committing to making the online social media space as friendly and welcoming as you can.  When we all take a little time to interject some posititivity, some friendliness, some caring and some empathy, it helps spread the good vibes and helps everyone feel that they belong.

So please, take a little time to tweet or share something nice about someone special to you, or even a newly connected member of your social network.  Let them know that you #care and that before you #share anything online, you think about its impacts and if it will help those around you!  If we all commit to #care when we #share, the world can become a lot nicer for everyone!

Who does “Google” think you are?

We have all been warned that our Social Media profiles and online activities through sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus keep track of where we go, what we look at, what we click on, and who we interact with, but its easy to dismiss this “profiling” when it is not very apparent or visible.  Ever wondered why that advertising on your Google search was targeted at exactly the things you like and buy?

Have you ever wondered what kind of “profile” google has created about you?  Well you can  see your advertising “Catagories” and your assumed “Demographics” by clicking on this link:

http://t.co/hSxzJaPf

Its a very insightful experience to say the least.  Now, in order to deconstruct what these “Categories” and “Demographics” are saying, let me share my “profile” for you to see:

Click on image to “embiggen”

As you can see from this image, Google has correctly identified me as a “Male” and although I won’t turn 35 until later this year, they were pretty close to my current age.  Google definitely figured out exactly where I live in the world, and is thus able to target advertising directly at me from local companies in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

The “Categories” that Google has identified as my “key interests” are very insightful!  I think that they have created an accurate ‘picture’ of what I am most interested in, and what topics I am most likely to engage in online.  You can see that I like Movies, Online Video, K-12 Education, Technology, People and Society, and Libraries!  If you knew me in person, you would most definitely agree with this online google “profile”.

What is helpful to note, is that by accessing your own Google Profile, you can “Remove or Edit” any of these categories or demographics at anytime, if you knew about it!  So, please, get informed about your online Google Profile!  If you want to learn more about maintaining your online privacy, there are many other tools and strategies that you can employ to keep yourself from being “targeted” through strategies like google page.    Please see this page to learn how to “Opt out of Everything Online” to remove any profiles or targeted advertising!

Stay informed, and stay in control of your online identity!

Students WANT Social Media!

There is no doubt that Social Media is quickly embedding itself into all aspects of our 21st century lives.  We are increasingly looking at new ways of connecting online, using technology to bridge time and distance that keeps up apart.  This is no different in Schools, where students are desperate to find and use Social Media tools, and to further develop their skills and knowledge on how to best use these new tools and communication avenues.  Many of the tools we explore help students search, find, connect, produce and then share their experiences, knowledge and understanding! So why not at school?

The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) is described as “an educational leadership organization dedicated to advancing best practices and policies for the success of each learner. Our 150,000 members in more than 145 countries are professional educators from all levels and subject areas––superintendents, supervisors, principals, teachers, professors of education, and school board members.” They have produced this amazing infographic that outlines the many different ways that Students want to, and already are, using Social Media! (click to embiggen)

An introduction to Google Plus!

Have you heard about Google Plus?

Google Plus is a new Social Networking tool that the engineers at Google have put together!  It was designed from the ground up to be more secure, private, and easy to use and share your stuff through!  While it has been in “Invite-Only” mode for the last 2 months, they just opened it up for anyone and everyone to sign up. (http://plus.google.com to sign up)

Why should you check out a new social network?  Whats wrong with the ones you use now? (Facebook / Twitter) Well, Google Plus (or G+) is meant to keep your private info, well, private!  You have to actively choose to share your information or posts.  You can connect with lots and lots of people *(like on twitter), but they don’t automatically get access to your private posts or photos that you share only with friends and family.  It is also easily intergrated into other google services, like Gmail, or Gdocs, or Gcalendar.  So, if you are already a Google user, than Google Plus will fit right in.  If you are interested, I highly recommend you check out this short video introduction I made to see how it basically works and how you can start building your circles!

Social Media should be part of your Emergency Plan

The tragic and unimaginable devastation we have all watched and read about in Japan this last weekend has been horrific and terrifying for everyone around the planet.  The people of Japan have had the worst earthquake in their recorded history, followed by a tsunami of immense size that coupled together, caused the most damage they have seen since the end of World War II.  This tragedy cannot be understood in its scale and long-lasting impacts and in the coming days and weeks, we will learn its full devastation.  We can only hope and pray for the people of Japan, so that they are able to recover, grieve and rebuild.  Hopefully, with the world’s help, they can try to rebuild, but they can never replace what they have lost.

One aspect of the recovery and re-organization that the people of Japan have demonstrated is the use of Social Media like Twitter, Facebook and Mixi have enabled survivors to post information about their health, location, condition, status of neighbours and people around them. They are able to use the internet, on their smart phones, when there is no internet access around them.  They have been able to post requests for help, for rescue, to post pictures and videos, and to even report overseas on their conditions.  They can find information on the nearest rescue center and also the condition of the evacuation near the Nuclear Power Plants.

Many news reports from North America are basing their entire Sendai Earthquake reports on Social Media status updates, from tweets and Facebook posts, to blogs to  Skype interviews.  Social Media has been the only reliable communications infrastructure to survive the earthquake and resulting Tsunami.  It has been literary, the lifeline of many to rescue, the only source of information for worried families and the most accurate and up-to-date information for news organizations.

So, the importance of using Social Media as not only a professional tool, or a vanity-based publishing medium is over, as Social Media has proven that it can be a very valuable asset in an Emergency and all of us should plan on using our Social Media Networks in any Crisis in order to stay in touch, report the status of those around us, and to seek and request assistance if we need it.  We all should include a portable cell-phone charger or an extra battery for our phones so that we can still access these important communication avenues in the event of no power for 72 hours.  We should also make sure that we have pre-set our connections in our Social Media Networks so that we don’t have to search for the right people during a crisis.  Having all your family and friends available to you through your Smart Phone and Social Media when the cell phone networks are clogged and/or down will be a live-saver.

I hope that the next few days start to show the Japanese people recovering from this horrific tragedy and that there are stories of rescue, survival and rebuilding.  We can all show our support by donating to the Red Cross and by helping others prepare their own emergency preparedness kits.

Socialnomics – Social Media ain’t a fad!

Below is a Youtube video based on an amazing book that contextualizes a lot of the recent developments in Social Media and how we are all using it. I definitely had to pick my jaw up off my desk with some of these astronomical statistics. This video was made by Erik Qualman who also wrote the book Socialnomics.  This book explores the development of Social Media, its explosive growth, the profound changes it is bringing and how best to leverage these new technologies.

Some of the most amazing statistics from this video that immediately stuck out to me are:

  • 96% of all Millennials have joined a social network
  • If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s 3rd largest (Behind China and India)
  • 80% of companies use Social Media for recruiting new employees
  • The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year old Females.
  • Youtube is now the world’s 2nd largest search engine (after google)

This video is high energy and very enlightening to whats happening all around us.  Sometimes it can be hard to see the forest for the trees, but this video really helps me understand that magnitude of this change and how immense and powerful our new networks, communications and tools are!  I hope that you enjoy this video as well!

I think this video and book really illustrate how important it is for educators to not only acknowledge the important role Social Media plays in our lives and our student’s lives, but how important it is to teach Social Media etiquette, safety and to role model appropriate and balanced Social media behaviours! We all play a role in helping each other navigate these new tools and virtual spaces!

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