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Social Media has evolved. Have you?

In the world of social media, two years seems like a century.

When Bridget and I started writing this column in October 2008, Twitter was just becoming well-known, Foursquare wasn't, and we were hoping to prevent bosses from friending their subordinates on Facebook.

Well, two out of three isn't bad.

I've been thinking over the past two years of Poked quite a bit this week, since it's my last week working for The Miami Herald. I'm moving to a new job at Chicago Public Radio - and it's made me think quite a bit about how life has changed online.

While I've become more laid-back about letting people into, for example, my Facebook world, it's still only for people I've met in real-life. And all the conversations about Facebook and privacy have confirmed long-held opinions I have about being cautious about anything I put into writing.

A new "Digital Future'' study released last week paints a similar contradictory picture of life online: While the percentage of Americans using the Internet are at an all-time high, the amount of people who say they find information online reliable or trustworthy is at an all-time low. When the information is on a social networking site, even heavy users have a low opinion of the information's reliability and accuracy.

USC's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism has been publishing its Digital Future study annually since 2000. The school noted that during that time, as Internet use had grown and become more mainstream, it would seem logical that people's attitudes about it would also stabilize.

"Yet beginning with our first Digital Future Study in 2000, and in every year since, we have found extraordinary levels of shifting views, new and evolving attitudes about technology, adoption of new media, and casting off of old methods as part of involvement -- or not being involved -- in the online experience,'' the Center for Digital Future's Director, Jeffrey Cole, said in a statement about the study. (Cole was traveling out of the country when I wrote the column for the paper, so we weren't able to communicate in person.)

In the Digital Future study, more than half of the people surveyed said the Internet was important or very important to maintaining social relationships.

For me, maintaining relationships online will be even more important, when I move - but one constant for me will remain: using the digital world to keep these relationships going, whether they were made online through Twitter or maintained through Facebook.

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 02:04 PM on July 27, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

How to avoid your ex online

Breakups are rough. Especially in the age of social media, which require a whole extra level of separation. Enter Blockyourex.com, which makes the whole process much easier:

Thanks to @Skydiver for pointing this one out!

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 05:05 PM on July 19, 2010 in Applications , Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter , Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Posting photos of the kids comes with its own netiquette

Technology has made it easier than ever for parents to document and share every cute kid moment on Facebook.

But that doesn't mean every moment should be shared.

I don't have a child, but I've heard of parents going through a few awkward situations when it comes to posting photos of children. So I spoke to several parents who are active on social networks, and there seems to be a few key issues everyone agrees on.

Keep the bathtub and potty training photos to yourself and the grandparents. Naked photos are too personal to share on Facebook. If you depend on Facebook as the main way to share photos with family, then use privacy settings to limit access just to a select few family members.

Take caution when posting a photo of kids that aren't your own. I've come across a few parents that don't want their children on Facebook at all, so be sure to ask a parent if it's OK to post the pic on Facebook before doing so.

And if you are one of those parents who is worried about what is shared on Facebook, kindly let your friends and family know ahead of time to avoid an awkward situation later.

Out of respect for safety, don't tag a child's full name on Facebook. Some parents told me they never put their own kid's real names online. Some just use an initial when mentioning a child in a status message or in a photo.

If you make your photos public to people outside of immediate family, avoid revealing where the child goes to school. If the child wears a uniform, be sure to crop out the uniform logo in the picture. It's a good way to keep safe from predators. (It's also a policy that the Belen Jesuit Preparatory School in Miami sends home to parents.)

Since most teenagers think their parent is embarrassing, a few parents of tweens and teens gave me some advice on how to avoid being annoying online. Some ask their kid if they can post a photo to Facebook before doing so. Others will post regardless, but let their teen do the tagging.

It used to be that mom and dad got out the dusty photo album to show off baby pictures. Now, a whole generation of kids are growing up in an age where the world sees their baby photos before they can talk. So for those that can't wait to show every adorable moment, just ask yourself, ``Would I be embarrassed if this was posted about me?''

As momblogger Karen Ziemkowski posted on her Twitter account, ``your kid is a person, not a pet.'' She keeps in mind that anything she posts will be around when her son grows up.

So that naked photo of your kid covered in poop . . . yeah, not something that should be shared with the world.

Posted by Bridget Carey at 02:45 PM on July 19, 2010 in Facebook , Pictures , Twitter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

World Cup and Social Media, part II

Ok, so we all know the World Cup has crashed Twitter, with the fail whale appearing with even greater frequency than bad calls by World Cup refs.

But how's Facebook managing it all?

The New York Times has a nifty graphic today detailing which players are getting the most mentions on Facebook every day:


Is this journalism that will change the world? No, but that doesn't stop me from loving it any less. I think it's perfect for the Friday before a holiday weekend.

Happy Fourth!

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 02:32 PM on July 2, 2010 in Current Affairs , Facebook | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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