Tag Archives: Facebook

Do you know what you’re giving up?

We’ve all seen it… the little pop up window that stops us in our tracks before we get to the page, game, or software program we want to use…the “terms and conditions” or “terms of service.” Some simply let you check off the “I agree” box, while others will make you scroll through the mini document before you are given the option to check off the “I agree” box. Either way, how many of us have actually read through the whole document before we accept the contract?
The few times I’ve actually scrolled through the document and skimmed it over, it took forever (okay maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit). So, you guessed it, I rarely ever actually read through the terms. I’m sure a number of us are either too busy to read it or don’t want to spend the time to do so! We’re eager t
o get to the page or game that we want to actually read or play instead. But, do we know what we’re agreeing to when we hit that “I accept” button? And how about apps on our phones? More often than not, the terms are compiled into a short list that’s easy for us to go through if we spend a few extra minutes to explore what we’re agreeing to.

I did a little bit of research and found this article which was published in December 2014. One of the most interesting lines I read was “ Out of all the TOS [Terms of Service] I have dealt with in 20 years, Facebook’s are the most intrusive. To be granted rights to track an individual’s movements, and thus the people that would be with those individuals, and to potentially commercially exploit without permission all pictures posted on Facebook without specific consent, is breath-taking. Users must take responsibility for their data. Facebook’s ability to exploit our data is contingent upon our allowing them to do so. It is up to us to value our privacy and to spend a few minutes setting some restrictions on the privacy settings.”

Out of all the TOS [Terms of Service] I have dealt with in 20 years, Facebook’s are the most intrusive.

After reading this, my main concern is the fact that privacy seems like an issue of the past. I remember when my parents used to store our SIN cards in a secure place, but I’m finding that a lot of people carry these in their wallets all the time! Nowadays, on Facebook alone, we share our birth date, gender, sexual orientation, home address, phone number, education, work, pictures (social and/or personal), our likes, dislikes, and more! I’ve even seen people post their driver’s license online — in my opinion, that’s asking for identity theft. But these days, it seems like people are simply not as worried about their privacy as even 10 years ago. More often than not, users value the use of social media sites such as Facebook over their own privacy, so we end up blindly giving away rights to our privacy just to be active online.

Have you ever noticed that when you’re logged into your Facebook while you’re shopping online, you start seeing a lot of advertisements from that specific site that you’ve been shopping on? I sure have, and many of my friends have also experienced this. They’ll either come up as “suggested pages” or there’ll be an advertisement snuck in there somewhere on your newsfeed. I’m not going to lie, I’m guilty of clicking on one of these links and I end up buying that item that I was eyeing, but decided against it before. It’s very interesting once you start to notice what’s really going on here. You’ve basically put together a profile, full of your demographics, your beliefs, and your values. It’s a dream for companies – they don’t have to seek you out because you’ve already put yourself out there. So, welcome to the world of non-stop advertisements, a place where your photos can be shared with anybody, and anybody can get into contact with you. Just takes one click.

Bottom line is, protect yourself and control what hits the internet because once it gets uploaded, there’s a high likelihood of it being there forever.  I’d be a hypocrite if I said I read all of the terms before agreeing. I’d be a hypocrite of I said I always kept up with the new privacy settings. So, as one user to another, I encourage that we all at least try to become more conscious about the changes that a website goes through and what we agree to before we actually hit that “I agree” button.

21st Century Relationships

For the better part of the 23 years that I’ve been on the planet, most of my relationships have been maintained through computers and different social media sites.  Gone are the days of meeting friends at the nearby park and playing tag or on the jungle gym until the street lights come on.  Now – and by “now”, I’m referring to 2015 and the last decade – kids, teenagers, and adults seem to rely on building and maintaining relationships through social media sites, video games, and cellular devices.

I jumped into the modern relationship machine when I was in the seventh grade and I created my first MSN Messenger account.  Remember those?  Where how much you liked someone depended on how many smiley emoticons you sent?

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 2.04.24 PM

It was on MSN Messenger that many of my relationships – both romantic and friendly – were put publicly on display for others to see.  The trend of putting your boy/girlfriend’s name in your “status” blew up and was seen in almost every single conversation when you scrolled down the page.

 😀 ~*~*~* I <3 YOU M@++ ~*~*~ 😀

Disclaimer: I don’t actually love Matt – I don’t even know a Matt.  Little did I know – way back in 2003 – that  the initiation of my MSN account would forever change the way I, and everyone else in the modern world, built and managed relationships.

Let’s just get this modern day relationship building site out of the way – online dating.  Ew, there . . . I said it.  I know, I know – don’t knock it ’til you try it.  theholidayWell, I have tried it and it proved to be a horrible way at finding a semi-decent relationship and it never worked.  Online dating, for me, wasn’t good for anything except the occasional conversation with someone until they moved onto the next “Plenty of Fish.”  In general, this machine we call “dating” is a site where women and men can judge one another based on a simple photo and a small description of who they are and what they like to do.  How can someone truly value you and a relationship based on a description of who you are?  I personally think that every single person is worth more and is more amazing than any 140 character blurb could ever describe.  Yet, online dating sites seem to be the number one way for singles to find “meaningful” relationships – and hey, sometimes it works!  But if I’ve learned one thing in my life, it’s not to judge a book by it’s cover – in this case, a person by their profile picture – yet that seems to be the motto of all dating sites.  How can you build any relationship off of something like that?

One of the only social media sites that I have continued to use over the last decade (crazy…) is Facebook.  As someone who studied media communications in university and has had the chance to work with Facebook both personally and professionally, despite the odd privacy flaw, it hfacebookas stood the test of time as the most popular relationship building sites in the world.  While the purpose of my Facebook account has changed over the years – there was a time where I posted a new status every few minutes – I mostly use my account to remain in contact with the friends and family members I don’t have the chance to see throughout the year.  Yes, it is disappointing that sometimes at Christmas, the conversations with my cousins will begin with “So, I saw on Facebook that you . . . “, I can’t deny that Facebook has allowed me to still be a part of my family members lives digitally since I can’t be there physically.  Don’t you agree?

Despite all of the benefits that Facebook has in aiding us to be in two, three, four places at once with our friends and family members, the disappointing fact is that we live in world where relationships no longer rely on and grow in face-to-face situations.  Before we even meet a person, we can look them up on Facebook and “prepare” ourselves with a quick overview of who they are – or at least what we think they are based on their online selves.  How are we ever going to have genuine conversations with our family members or friends? There are no surprises in life anymore.  Every important life event is posted on Facebook – engagements, weddings, babies – that we no longer wait for the “Oh my gosh, I’m engaged!” phone call.  Do we truly get to know a person when we meet or see them?  Do we think that we already know everything there is to know about them – their likes, dislikes, past, present, future dreams – based on their Facebook?

I take back what I said about Facebook’s only flaw being their security issues – Facebook has a lot of flaws.  For a site that was created to connect us all, despite time zones and distance, it has certainly disconnected us in many more ways.  Recently, I’ve  made a conscious effort to stop “Liking” so many of my friends posts on Facebook.  Why?  I want to make sure that I can genuinely talk to them about exciting things that happen in their lives when we see one another face-to-face.  I want them to tell me, not Facebook.  Some of my friends were shocked (which is weird…) by my choice and have a hard time understanding why I have Facebook if I don’t “Like” things.  I like to think that my likes and dislikes on Facebook and other social media sites don’t determine how much I like or dislike my friends – or anyone else for that matter.  Life isn’t MSN Messenger, anymore.



Public Posting: Two Sides to the Story

The Aww, The Oh! & The Ugly

Written by Carolyn Fast, YWCA Niagara Region

I guess I am a fence sitter when it comes to social media.  Mine is the generation that pioneered the phrase, “You’ve Got Mail”, or was that Meg Ryan?  Certainly it was our longsuffering that lead the way from dial up to wireless.  Yet, I must admit, that the speed at which social media has evolved since then has left me a little breathless, as I shake off the dust and saddle up for my next mobile experience.  My most recent adventure as Community & Public Relations Coordinator here at the YW is an interesting twist to say the least.  I feel the weight and responsibility of watching my words on a daily basis as I attempt to cohesively and intentionally reflect the voice of an organization that is far reaching in its scope and incredible capacity to empower women.

Public posting on a personal level is another matter all together-or is it?

Making the headlines not that long ago, was the shut down of Toronto mother, Heather Bays, Instagram account.  In case you aren’t entirely sure what Instagram is, let me save you the trouble of looking it up.  Instagram, according to their home page, is “a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your life with friends and family.”  Heather, a professional photographer, posted the black and white photo that her husband snapped to mark the breastfeeding-image-deletedend of her breastfeeding days, as her child was in the process of weaning.  While her breast is certainly distinguishable, I have to say that it is the smile on her face that captivates my attention.  Many Instragram users came to her defence, protesting that there were far more revealing photos posted throughout the site that did not cause people to bat an eye.  In particular, photos of models showing some skin seemed to be accepted as completely appropriate and viewer friendly.

Then there are the more sinister sides of public posting as in the case of Phillip Scott Burgess, whose messages on Facebook encouraging people to riot and “put Manchester Riot-police-stand-in-fron-004_largeon the map” landed him 3 years in the slammer.  To be fair to Mr. Burgess, his posts fell within the context of other riots that were rippling throughout the UK at the time, in response to the shooting of 29 year old Mark Duggar. Yet the judge determined that Burgess’s posts incited hostility that directly intensified the raiding, looting and violence that erupted in August 2011.

Bullying through social media has reached new heights as the list of young people taking their own lives continues to grow.  In 2010, Amanda Todd, a seventh grader from Port Coquitlam, was lured by a stranger to bare her breasts via a webcam during a video chat.  That was when the nightmare began, as the man who possessed the images relentlessly stalked and bullied Amanda online for the next two amanda_todd_by_evelynsixx-d5tjy2myears.  After two years of changing schools, relocating to another city, cutting, attempted suicide and more bullying, Amanda, now 15 years old, made a final video post on You Tube entitled My Story: Struggling, bullying, suicide and self-harm.  Using a series of flashcards, the teen shared how bullying had impacted her, foreshadowing her painful exit from the planet.  This April, two years after her death, Dutch police arrested a 35 year old man believed to be connected to the exploitation and extortion of AmandaTodd.

Bottom line- there is a price to pay for posting.

Good or bad, there is an outcome that occurs when we engage with social media.  Often we, like the Toronto breastfeeding mom on Instagram, think nothing of posting pics of everyday moments that mean something to us for all to see.  Our everyday excursions to Pinterest, daily jaunts through the internet and  momentary Tweets create a virtual reality that can feel pretty cozy.  Cozy, until reality rears its ugly head and we are reminded, as in the case of Amanda Todd, that there are predators skirting through chat rooms searching for their next victim.  It is a fine line to walk for a fence sitter like me.  In closing, I  am reminded of the wisdom of the old adage  “Do Unto Others ..”,  and I wonder about its application within our current space in time.  I may be grasping at straws but I think it could read something like this:

“Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.”  Erin Bury, Community Manager at Sprouter, erinbury.com 

Images used courtesy of Google Images and evelynslxx.

What’s Public & What’s the Limit?

Written by Carli Taylor, YWCA Niagara Region

public-privateWe’ve all been there. Scrolling through one of our various social media forums when all of a sudden there before you is a picture. A picture with power. One that induces emotion. And my how those emotions range depending on the content.

It seems lately that there is no limit to what people will post. As it seems there is also no limit to what people will react to- whether good or bad, and often with a healthy dose of both. It would also seem that many feel entitled to insert their opinion or stir the pot, add a word of encouragement or slap someone down with their superiority. All because it was posted in “public.”

I for one try to keep my opinion to myself. Unless it really ticks me off—or really makes me all gooey inside. HA!

I’ll lend you my last two examples:

A beautiful new mother is sharing a beautiful moment with her newborn—she is breastfeeding him. My opinion is that this picture is beautiful, natural, healthy and needed in a society as self-obsessed as ours. That, it in fact, shows less than the Sears catalogue bra section. Another person’s opinion is that she is a terrible mother. That she is sexualizing breastfeeding. That she is disgusting.

And then there is Adam Levine. Totally and completely naked. Standing there with both a smirk and a little embarrassment in his eyes.  Behind him, there is a pair of female hands, snaking in between his legs ‘covering’ his…maleness… (for lack of a better word.) The rest of the woman is hidden from view, nowhere to be seen. My initial reaction? Oh my… yum.

But then this uncomfortable feeling sets in. Realization. Anger.  And now I’m offended. Offended? Yes. I’m offended that it’s completely okay to post something this graphic, and hardly a word is said about it, but a woman feeding her child can get her banned from that same site. Posting a picture of a woman giving sustenance can and does open the door to criticism, demoralization, name calling and disgust.

 Most times I can pass by something and ask myself if it’s truly worth getting involved in- if it truly affects me. Sometimes I have an absolute need to express my opinion. I’m no better than anyone else. Though they are often well thought out, censored and re-read a few times before hitting enter, I do however, occasionally give in.  I too feel that by posting something for the world to see, it opens the door for people, strangers to comment on it.

I’m not a blaze the trail kind of girl…in fact I can be very private for the most part. So odds are, you aren’t going to find a picture of me that invites too much opinion. However, I am the kind of girl who can live and let live.  Although I am the kind of girl that feels posting something that invites negative and lengthy conversation probably isn’t worth it, I can certainly applaud those that do.