September 13, 2012 by alexandragreid
I love the internet, or as I affectionally call the wondrous world wide web, “the interwebs” or “the interwebz”. What I think is the one of the greatest features of the interwebs is the ability to communicate with people all over the world. To say that I have more “online friends” than “IRL” (in real life) friends would be more than just a stretch; not only that, many of these folks that I first “met” online I have eventually met in real life and communicate with on a weekly, if not daily basis.
That being said, I clearly could have fallen into quite a number of traps. Not to say that I am a very trusting person by nature (“Mama didn’t raise no fool”), but to haphazardly release personal information to “strangers” on Facebook would sound crazy to some.
It sounds crazy to me.
People have gotten into lots of trouble this way. Trusting a person they thought they could trust, even with something as simple as giving out a phone number on an online dating site. Next thing you know, you’ve got Stalkertoot McGee peeping through your bathroom windows at 3AM. Creepy things happen. Remember the Craigslist Killer? I mean, they made a movie about that guy. Granted, it was a Lifetime Movie, but still. A MOVIE. ABOUT AN ONLINE MURDERER. Because some women were too trusting with their personal information.
So, how do we avoid these dangers and pitfalls (or getting stalked by a peeping tom, or worse)? I can only speak from personal experience, or at least, because this my blog, I’m going to speak from personal experience. Because…interwebs.
1.) Take control of what information you put out there. I mentioned in class earlier that I have a professional online profile and a “personal online personal”. For example, My Facebook is not viewable by the public. While I do have a personal blog that is public, I do not reveal any identifying information on it. Granted, people who have known me since birth might be able to but the pieces together, but an employer? Nah! And I keep it that way for good reason. However, things like my electronic portfolio and my LinkedIn are made public (and squeaky clean) so, well, I can hopefully get a J.O.B. to go along with this Ed.D. when all is said and done.
Here’s a video from an online privacy expert explaining how to set privacy settings on Facebook: http://youtu.be/78cuOlaLEVI
Here’s another on protecting your online reputation online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaHaM20rxuw
2.) If you log onto a site and you get a security pop-up, STAY ALERT. Granted, sometimes legitimate websites forget to update their security certificates and things are safe. This is not always the case. If you are visiting a website for the first time and your browser goes all buck nutty off the hipshack saying “HEY YO THIS SEEMS A BIT FISHY”, you might want to hit the back button.
I think I’ve said enough on these two topics, so I’l move on to the next, eh?Ways to manage information overload. Hm.
This is a terrible question for me to answer, because I don’t often seem very overloaded with information (well, except for when I’m trying to figure out how to make a MySQL script work when it isn’t working and I have about 1298234709234 windows from help desks and message boards up and STILL CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!). Still, when I do get these moments, I find the best thing to do is a little tip I learned in the best (lol) class I ever took during my Master’s program: Educational Research Procedures! Primary and Secondary sources. If you’ve got 28 windows up, try and parse that mess down: which are the windows from .edu, .org, and reputable .com sites? Which windows are from “Toby’s SUPER AWESOME MANGA SITE”? In short: keep your sources primary, and your information will be brief and accurate. Hopefully. That, and set times for your web researching/social media-ing/farting around on the interwebz. Don’t bleed over on those times. Otherwise, you’re going to end up like the Redditor Husband. and that’s just creepy.