Tag Archives: facebook

Privacy in Social Networks: Updates for August 16

In the age of 1’s and 0’s, things happen in a flash. Privacy controls, security settings, and terms of service (TOS) change before we can bat an eye. They happen whether we do our best to stay on top changes or whether we click “Yes, I’ve read and understand the gazillion-word long TOS”  …even when we, at best, skim the first couple paragraphs and check “I agree”.

So, here are a couple of updates to help you stay on top of the ever-changing digital landscape of privacy and security…

Here’s How To Remove Your Contacts’ Phone Numbers From Facebook’s Clutches, by Mat Honan of Gizmodo

“Facebook loves doing unexpected things with your data. Now it’s culling numbers from your phone and adding them to its online database to ‘help you’ find contacts. Don’t trust Facebook with your mom’s number? Here’s how to fix it.

If you’re syncing, Facebook’s iPhone app will pull the numbers in your phone’s contact file and upload them to Facebook. While it notes that these numbers are only visible to you, Facebook has a way of, let’s say, shifting its policies.

Worse, for many users these numbers are already in its database, and if you’re not comfortable with that (and I’m not) you’re going to need to manually purge them.”

>>See Gizmodo’s full post for step-by step details.

Important: Check your Facebook and LinkedIn security settings, by Maddie Grant of SocialFish

“Two quick things we advise you to deal with ASAP:

LinkedIn has automatically defaulted you to be included in their Social Ads (more here). To opt out of this, hover over your name at the top right and go to Settings, then Account. Under “Manage Social Advertising”, UNCHECK the box that says “LinkedIn may use my name, photo in social advertising.”

Facebook has defaulted everyone to non secure browsing (www or http instead of https). To fix it, go to Account at the top right, then Account Settings, then Security Settings on the left. Check the box for secure browsing.”

>> See the full post by SocialFish

Photo by Rob Pongsajapan


Posted by on August 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Seniors and Location-Based Services

Foursquare and Facebook Places are among the most popular location-based applications, but how many seniors do you think are “checking in” and earning Foursquare badges? According to recently published comScore data, people 65+ make up only 1.7% of total check-in service users. People 55 to 64 make up 3%.

But there’s more to location-based services than Facebook and Foursquare.

Where’s the grocery store?

There are countless apps that can provide an inside scoop on all-things-local in a matter of a few screen taps. Mobile applications such as AroundMe, Where and Google Places (just to name a few) are all GPS enabled. In seconds, they’ll map out the nearest grocery store, theater, pharmacy, gas station and more.  A storehouse of local information at one’s fingertips can be especially useful for seniors who have relocated to be closer to family.

Of course, to use these apps, one does need a smartphone. And, before making a snap judgement about how many seniors actually use a smartphone, let me provide the stats. Last April, Mashable published data that indicates as many as 15% of people age 55+ are using smartphones.

GeoTagged Photos

Geotagging links a photo to the precise location it was taken. Conveniently enough, most smartphones automatically attach geographical information to photos and videos. Depending upon the device, it may require a simple click to view images on a map. Alternatively, photo sharing sites like Flickr and Picasa both support geotagged photos.

Health & Safety

Location-based services can play an important role in the health and safety of older adults. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association developed Comfort Zone, a web-based location service that allows families to remotely monitor a person with Alzheimer’s. Families can receive automated alerts when a person has travelled beyond a preset safety zone.

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Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Uncategorized


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3 Important Facebook Privacy Questions

Last May I started teaching social media classes for seniors through OASIS. Each and every time, participants have presented a host of super-savvy questions related to privacy and security. Here are three main questions raised about privacy settings and Facebook:

  1. Who can see my personal information and updates?
  2. Why did Facebook raid my personal email address book?
  3. What if I don’t want to accept a friend request?

1. Who can see my personal information and updates?

This is a gargantuan question that deserves a course all to itself. The most important thing to remember is that users have some pretty serious control over who can see what in Facebook. The golden key is Facebook’s Privacy Setting page. (You find this page using the “Account” drop-down menu located in the upper right hand corner of your main FB window.) The degree of control offered through these settings is immense — and poses a double-edged sword. Put simply, the sheer number of privacy options can drive a person crazy.

Here some big-picture highlights on controlling personal information and updates:

  • You can control whether content is shared with everyone, friends of friends, or friends only. Content you share includes your status, photos, bio, birthday, contact info, etc. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, you can organize your friends into lists and set certain content to be visible only to the specific list you’ve defined. Control over these sharing settings can be found at Account > Privacy Settings > Sharing on Facebook
  • You can control how people find you on Facebook. These settings allow you to determine who can search for you on FB, who can send you friend requests and messages as well as who can see your education, work, city and hometown. These settings can be specified to friends only, friends of friends, and everyone. Be careful: If you set everything to the strictest available privacy setting, people may have a harder time finding you on Facebook. Control over these settings are at Account > Privacy Settings > Connecting on Facebook.
  • You can control whether people can find your Facebook listing using public search (like Google). When this setting is enabled, someone can “Google” you and obtain a preview of your public profile. Without proper privacy settings in place, this could be quite revealing. To tighten privacy, this option can be turned off. (Alternatively, you can set privacy controls to determine what information is visible via public search.) You can turn public search settings on and off at Account > Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites > Public Search.

For an in-depth look at Facebook privacy settings, take a look at Mashable’s post Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings Every User Needs to Know. Their post provides a fantastic run-down of privacy settings complete with helpful screenshots.

2. Why did Facebook raid my personal email address book?

I hear this one a lot. Some people are under the impression that once you sign up for Facebook, FB will automatically rummage through your personal email address book and send a mass email to everyone. One woman shared that FB did this to her and the result: Facebook sent friend requests on her behalf to everyone in her email address book.  Please Note: Facebook will NOT *automatically* raid your personal email address book!

What’s happening in these cases is the result of suggestive action through design. (Check out the overly exaggerated example to the left.) When someone first signs up for an account, they have the option of granting Facebook temporary access to a personal email address book. The page design for this step of the process is set up so that the address book option appears to be a mandatory next step. It’s not. Someone can sign up for a Facebook account without going through this process.

But, Facebook is a social platform, so it just works better when you’re connected to people you know. What this option actually does is pretty simple.  With your permission, Facebook uses email addresses in your address book to let you know which of your email contacts are also on Facebook. After seeing which of your email contacts are also on Facebook, you then have the option of individually selecting contacts who you would like to (a) connect with on Facebook and/or (b) receive an invite to join Facebook, if they don’t already have an account.

3. What if I don’t want to accept a friend request?

At first glance, this is pretty simple and straightforward.  If you don’t have a Facebook account and don’t want one, you can pretty much just ignore the invite. If you are on Facebook, you’ll have the option of either “confirming” and accepting the friend request, or clicking “not now”.

Important Privacy Information: This is where things start getting a little tricky.  If you click “Not Now”, the friend request will be tucked away in “Hidden Requests”. This means that everyone tucked away in “hidden requests” can see your public (“Everyone”) posts in their personal news feed.

The solution: Either decide to permanently delete the friend request or confirm the request. Also, it’s important to know that “hidden request” people can only see your “Everyone” posts. So, if you’ve got privacy settings ratcheted down to friends only, “hidden request” people will not see your updates. TechCrunch has an excellent post about this Facebook Defacto Follow Feature.


Posted by on March 11, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Facebook’s New Pages: What’s Different?

Facebook is rolling out a bunch of new changes to the way Pages work. Some of these changes will mirror the latest profile page overhauls — like a nifty photo stream placed right above the wall. Other changes give Page Administrators way more functionality — like notifications when fans interact on your page. A much overdue function.

Here are a few new functions that we’ve been wanting for a while now…

  • Get notifications when fans interact with your page or posts
  • Make comments as your page on other pages
  • Post to your page as yourself or your page

Here’s a rundown of the other changes — obtained directly from a helpful, user-friendly interface that Facebook provides as an introduction to the new Pages.

Photos. The most recent photos that you post to your Wall or photos that you tag your Page in will appear in a photo stream right above your wall. This area will not include any photos posted by your fans.

Navigation. Navigation links are now on the left, just like on people’s profiles.

Wall Filters. You now have two Wall filters. You can show posts by your page and top posts from Everyone, a new way for people to see the most interesting stories first. As an admin, you’ll have additional filters for viewing posts on your page.

Admin View. You now have the flexibility to interact with the other areas of Facebook as a page.  And, you can get notifications when fans interact with your page or posts, see activity from the pages you like in your news feed, like other pages and feature them on your page, AND make comments as your page on other pages.

New Settings. You can set defaults for your email notifications and how you post to your page – as yourself or your page. You can also select which featured pages appear in the left column.

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Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Teaching Seniors About Social Media: Target goals & lessons learned

Earlier this year, I started leading presentations and short classes for seniors on social media.  The purpose of these presentations is to demystify some of the buzz words that have become such an integrated part of our culture — Facebook, Twitter, tweet, blog… and the list goes on.

I think this goal proposes an important distinction — social media education for the purpose of developing a broad-based understanding, not necessarily for the purpose of jumping straight in and starting an account.

The classes I’ve taught are most often comprised of three participant groups:

  • People who started a social media account (usually Facebook) but who aren’t quite sure how it works or what to do with their new account. Here, the target goal for social media education is to help participants develop an understanding of basic functions and features within the social network they’re interested in.
  • People who are thinking about maybe starting a social media account (again, usually Facebook) but aren’t sure about what benefits social media could offer them. The target goal with this group is to highlight the practical uses for social media.  An approach that is particularly useful is to compare and contrast a specific social media feature with a similar feature of a more “traditional” communication medium.  (e.g. comparing a traditional hard-copy journal to a blog and it’s powerful ability to support sharing and interactive communication)
  • People who have no interest in starting a social media account but who are interested in learning about social networks. The goal with this group is to build vocabulary as well as a basic understanding of why people use social media and what benefits can be derived from social media. In contemporary society, television, radio, and print are flooded with references to Facebook and Twitter.  Although this group may have absolutely no interest in using social media, developing a basic vocabulary and understanding can be extremely empowering.  Having an understanding of these platforms — even if one chooses not to jump in and start and account — empowers seniors to understand and participate in conversations which may reference or allude to social media.

In order to deliver content that helps meet the needs of each of these groups, I’ve found it useful to structure classes/presentations in a way that allows participants to guide and direct content.  Classes are not hands on, but instead are informational presentations driven by participant questions.  (For groups two & three above, a hands-on lab class would be way too much information — and not necessarily the right information.)  A participant-driven format means that seniors have much more power and control over the learning process.  Handing control over to participants is especially useful in helping seniors to develop an understanding of a topic which may otherwise cause them to feel disempowered or “out of the loop”.

While presentations are driven by participant questions, it’s certainly practical to use slides and handouts as (a) a general guide and outline and (b) a take-home resource for seniors.  Here are the slides I use for the Social Media 101 class…

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Posted by on September 19, 2010 in Uncategorized


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