Power Trip

I have had my Facebook since gr. 11 or 12, around the time is was accessible for High School students. Having a last name that is the only one in Ottawa, I felt as if I should refrain from having my last name on Facebook… Hey, I may have been paranoid but you never know who uses these social networking sites when you are first involved. Therefore for the past 4- 5 years I have had a ‘.’ as my last name on Facebook. It was only until recently that Facebook made a big deal about it, it first started a few months ago where there was a box at the top of my account asking me to put in my real last name. I am still the only one in Ottawa with my last name, and I feel as if I should have the right to disclose what information I want to disclose about myself on the internet.

Today, I was trying to access my Facebook account and I was stopped by Facebook before I was able to proceed to my Facebook page. The title is “Pleas Update Your Name on Facebook”. If I do not comply and decide to put my ‘real name’ on Facebook, I am not allowed to access my personal profile on the website. This means that Facebook is taking away my rights of accessing my pictures, information, friends, messages, etc. I feel as if this is an invasion of my privacy because I am unable to access my information… I tried to just press ‘continue’ thinking it  would let me continue, instead this warning came up claiming that my information was invalid and if I try to use another name, they will freeze my account for an hour.

If they think that I am trying to use a fake name, they will freeze my account? This is ridiculous, I do not see why it would make that much of a difference what name I have appearing on Facebook. Another thing is how would Facebook know what my real last name is? Do they have the time to look into every single persons name who uses Facebook? If I do not want my real last name on Facebook, that means that I will never be able to access my Facebook information again… Unless I view my profile through a friends account or make a new account with another e-mail address. Since when does all your information need to be recorded so precisely? The one feature that I really enjoyed on myspace.com was the fact that we were allowed to use alias names and were never told to put our true information. Facebook and the Internet is such an easy tool to access peoples information and I do not feel comfortable with strangers being able to find out where I live due to my last name being on Facebook. I just find it crazy that it took them at least 4 years to notice that I did not have my real last name on their website… why is it so important now?

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Facebook Wont Cooperate with Twitter

Twitter is desperately seeking help from internet dominating website, Facebook. According to Twitter’s co-founder, Evan Williams, Facebook will not allow Twitter users to look up friends on Facebook or send Facebook posts to Twitter. Williams is adamantly pursuing this privilege because he says it will make the Twitter experience better as a whole. He believes that cooperation between social networking websites is the future of web 2.0. And he’s right.

Sam Francisco recently hosted the Web 2.0 Summit. Williams claims that the overall findings from the summit is that there is a lack of over sharing of social information between popular websites such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, Twitter, My Space, Yahoo, etc. What surprises me most about this discovery is that Facebook advocates for a more open internet.  As we’ve previously discussed in this blog, Zuckerberg himself spoke out in favour of turning the internet into a place where user information is more detailed and more readily available to major websites. However, what he forgot to mention is that he really only wants his website to benefit from an openly run internet.

Facebook takes drastic measures to ensure that its wealth of knowledge on its users is kept between Facebook and its outside investors such as marketers, advertisers, and application developers. It is Facebook’s social information that is it’s largest asset. While it may sound justified that the social networking behemoth keep its information from other competing websites, it is hypocritical of its mandate of an open internet. It is unfair that Facebook has access to other websites information while refusing to reciprocate solely because it can. Smaller websites and up and coming websites realize that they can not surpass Facebook’s power and popularity at this time. So, as the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Rather than compete, other website realize that they simply have to give the users what they want, and that is a more efficient way to combine Facebook with other mediums of social networking. Facebook exploits the weaker companies desperation and lack of finances and resources in order to maintain its popularity and control of web 2.0.

In due time, Facebook will be out done by a newer, more innovative and efficient form of social networking. Unfortunately, until that time smaller but arguably near as popular website will have to succumb to the authority and rule of Facebook. Facebook really is a social networking giant that can’t be tamed.

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Women leaves it up to Facebook to name her first child

A lady from Toronto, who is pregnant with her first child was having major difficulties thinking of a perfect name to call her daughter. After looking through baby name books, class lists when she was substituting classes etc… she could not come up with a name that was unique enough for her first child. After talking to one of her friends who works at Fabfinds.com they came up with a way to come up with the perfect name. Her friend, after talking to the company suggested that what they would do is make a contest online on Facebook to have people vote in their favourite unique names. Not only does this mom get to have a unique name for her daughter, but if she proves the birth certificate that she did name the top voted name, she will be able to have a years worth of free deals on the website. The free deals off of Fabfinds.com can be estimated at around $40 000 worth of deals.

The people voting also have an incentive to come up with a name, anyone can vote but if you live in Canada excluding Quebec, you can win up to 25, 000 points towards the website as well.  When voting, you cannot include the same name twice, but you are able to spell it differently to add to the uniqueness. This woman seems a little brave to be putting the fate of her daughters name on Facebook, but she seems very pleased with the idea. The top three names that they have come up with, after receiving 750 submissions the names are: Aria, Melania and Sophia in the third place. Other interesting names in the top 10 include Parsia, Eudaimonia and Fabricia.

This contest shows how much our world is changing and how involved everyone is now towards new technologies and the internet. It is an interesting concept to come up with a new baby name that will suit her daughter, but at the same time it takes away from the tradition of the parents of the child coming up with the name. It would have been interesting if they were able to consider the names themselves, as opposed to having the name given by strangers voting for what they think is a good fit. Most parents I know, were unsure of what they wanted to name their child until they saw them for the first time. Names are something that are stuck with the person for life, and it should be something that you see fitting into society for years to come. If they decide that they do not like the name that was voted, they then lose a chance at gaining $40 000 which would be very helpful for the first year of raising a child. I really hope they do not put the money before the name of their baby…

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You can never truly know a person through their Facebook page

In January the Robin Hood Airport in Britain was closed due to snow a week before man was supposed to fly to Ireland to meet a women in person who he had met on Facebook. He was outraged that the Airport had delays and was anxious that it would still be closed when he was supposed to take his flight. Out of anger he decided to post “‘C***! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your s*** together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!’ on twitter. A security guard fell upon this tweet and called authorities to notify them of the threat.

Chambers was charged £385 and due to all the controversy with this tweet, he also lost his job. He is claiming that the tweet was only supposed to be a joke, and was not to be taken seriously. The fact that it had three exclamations points was supposed to show that it was not a dangerous threat, but a comedic post. A quote from The Independent UK it says; “A week after posting the message on the social networking site, he was arrested under the Terrorism Act and questioned for almost seven hours by detectives who interpreted his post as a security threat.” Even if he was not deciding to actually go through with the bombing, the fact that he posted it means that he had committed a ‘thought crime’. Paul should have had some common knowledge and know that there are people who screen Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites and would see this as a potential threat. He has been banned from the airport for life and is said to be the first person in the UK to have been arrested due to a Twitter post. How are we supposed to know that he was not actually going to bomb the airport?

The article did not say anything about the women he was supposed to meet, but it looks as though she probably deleted him as a Facebook friend. Even if she had not, he has had his Iphone, laptop, really any technology he owned confiscated while they are investigating him, which means it would be harder to get in touch. I do not see how anyone in their right mind would want to associate themselves with someone like that even if they claim to be ‘the most mild tempered person’. The problem with meeting people through social networking sites, is you can only see them through an internet page and it is easy to give yourself a different persona. You can never be too careful when adding someone you do not know, because they can claim to be themselves but there is no way Facebook or Twitter could know what is true and what is false on your profile.


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Is it really necessary?

On Facebook, I never see anyone cyberbullying. Although I do see people post things on their status like “stupid loser spreading lies about me….why don’t you get a hobby or a LIFE so u don’t have to harrass mine……low life SCUM!!!!!!”. Another Facebook friend I have wrote this;OMFG u 2 are pathetic” and LOL FUCK THAT EMAIL WAS HILARIOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PRETTY SURE I PISSED MY PANTS!”. What I do not understand is why they would want their entire Facebook friends list to see that people have been spreading rumours about them. I would have never known they were having problems with someone if they had not posted that on their status and I read it through my news feed.

There is always going to be personality clashes, and people not getting along due to whatever reasons… but there is really no reason to be posting that kind of information on a Facebook status. Are they trying to make it seem like a threat? Or try to get other people to be on their side and get involved? The biggest question I have… is why would they have that person on Facebook if they are spreading rumours and treating them with no respect? If they aren’t friends on Facebook, then is there really a point of broadcasting it to the world? That person won’t know that you are posting it, so it really does not affect them, you are publicly embarrassing yourself. Vent to a friend face to face, instead of venting to the virtual world.

There is no censoring when it comes to Facebook, and you have the choice of posting your entire life if you believe that is necessary and how you want to use your profile. Having Facebook on your phone does not make it any better because you can update your status wherever you are (this was how on of the anonymous people posted their status). Whoever they have ‘beef’ with is none of my business and seems like something that does not need to be broadcasted to the world. It seems to be an immature method to address someone that what they have said about them is hurting their feelings. It only makes the situation worse because too many people get involved by posting on the status or sending the accused person mean messages. The reason for the fight is probably minute compared to the rest of their life and they will forget about it in a year… so is it really necessary to start all this Facebook drama over a personal issue you should resolve in real life? I think were old enough to resolve issues in a respectable manner, and not through some social networking website for everyone to see.

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Facebook Strives to Make the Internet More Open

Facebook’s most recent endeavour is to make the internet more open. This means that Facebook is pushing to see users provide more and more personal information about themselves, their friends, and their family members. If your wondering why Facebook would encourage its users to overshare private information and ultimately put themselves at risk of identity theft, the answer is simple. As Facebook’s knowledge of its users grows so does the company’s net worth.

Facebook shares information on its users such as age, race, interests, gender, etc., with the advertisers and application creators on its website. An article in the Globe and Mail details why this information is so important to these investors. By studying these simple demographics, these outside sources can determine who they should market to in order to achieve the highest rate of success and efficiency. This knowledge is worth almost infinite amounts of money to the advertisers and application creators. At the present time, Facebook’s net worth is over 40 billion dollars and they have over 500 million users worldwide. To most marketers, these statistics make Facebook the number one resource for collecting data on consumers and consumer habits.

But what does all of this mean for the average Facebook user? It means that small innovations that Facebook puts in place are a lot of the time, ploys to gain more information, to encourage users to let down their guards and overshare, and it means that more information on friends “likes” is readily available. Peer to peer interaction and word of mouth is the cheapest and most successful way to advertise. Therefore, over the last few years Facebook has created new tools that make public individual user interests and what products or companies they are “fans” of. My favourite quote from the article that is very applicable is “Controversy is a constant when Facebook innovates.” This perfectly sums up the reaction from any privacy based corporation.

As Facebook continues to push users into sharing for means of economic gain, they gradually push the boundaries of privacy laws. As we have discussed previously, Canada has taken action to prevent Facebook from breaching our privacy act in an attempt to keep Canadians safe from Facebook’s seductive nature. However, in spite of Canada’s best attempts, Facebook continues to win in the battle of privacy.

With more and more knowledge of consumers, advertisements and applications will become more focused and personalized on the individual. Mar Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook states his stand on the matter by saying, “my prediction would be that a few years from now we’ll look back and wonder why there was ever this time when all these websites and applications … weren’t personalized in some way” This clearly sums up Facebook’s intention on getting more information from its members.

With Facebook continuing to push the boundaries of privacy and with inadequate laws regulating the internet it is fair to say that Facebook will achieve its end goal. Therefore, it is up to the public and the individual user to protect themselves from the enticing ways of Facebook and keep their personal information private!

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Personal or Impersonal?

Is Facebook helping you lose friends, as opposed to gaining/ keeping friends? Before Facebook was invented people would go door to door to see if their friends were home or would have their numbers in a phone book. Now it seems as though the new ‘phone book’ is their Facebook account and they rely on their account to connect with people to make plans. In the ‘old’ phone book, if people were not friends anymore they would erase the number easily and no one would be effected… but now if you lose touch with old friends and delete them off of Facebook it is a big deal. Some of my friends have claimed that people will try re adding them after they realized they were deleted. They don’t feel personally hurt due to the de friending, more so the fact that they are unable to creep the people.

Burger King made the de friending almost a game when it came to promoting their fast food restaurant. They created a campaign which was composed of a Facebook user gaining a free whopper if they deleted 10 friends on Facebook, it is called ‘Whopper Sacrifice’. Not only would they receive a free Whopper, but your entire Facebook friends list would see that you had deleted them. In the article on cnet.com news they include; “the funniest part: The “sacrifices” show up in your activity feed. So it’ll say, for example, “Caroline sacrificed Josh Lowensohn for a free Whopper.”” This is almost a way of publicly embarrassing some people because everyone now knows that this person de friended this other person, or maybe it has no effect because they didn’t actually know each other… luckily I am a vegetarian. The virtual world is becoming so impersonal, who knows how many personal face to face friends we will end up having in 5 years. Social Networks are becoming a main resource for social friendly interaction. As one of my friends put it “Si tu aimes le soleil; ferme Facebook’.

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