Do you think we have a problem with sharing of private information on social networks sites? (Written by Domonique Meeks)

This was a question on one of my discussion boards for school and it made me think about a potential workshop I would like to do in the future.

In my opinion there is no question that we have a problem with sharing our private information on social media. Furthermore, it becomes more evident with each day that there is no such thing as “private” when it comes to what we share, and anything you do online will live there forever.

Making matters worst Facebook seems to want to know where you are, who you are with, how you are feeling, what you like, what you are doing at every second of the day. While this seemed like an innocent way to share and connect with friends, it became scary when we began to find out that this information was being collected and shared for profit with government agencies, retailers and other entities. Barnes’ article states we post our birthdays, pictures of our families, phone numbers, addresses, locations with no regard to who can use this information.

What does it mean when your online activity becomes an extension or snapshot of our identity? With social media like Facebook and Twitter being such popular networking tools, it is very difficult not to over share when trying to connect. Facebook in my opinion is able to do things Linkedin cannot. More of my friends are on Facebook, most of us graduated together, went through the same financial crisis, and we are working our ways through our 20s, dealing with high unemployment rates, a rough housing market, and watching the world change before our eyes. With that said if I am looking for resource or opportunity this is the first place I would go. It be a job, a mechanic, a dog sitter, or just a good place to have coffee. This is where I feel I would get the best results in a timely manner. I was even e-introduced to my mentors on Facebook.

With no visible line to be crossed, depending on your field having no digital presence can sometimes be just as questionable. I remember applying to the iSchool the first time feeling that I needed to clean up my digital footprint. I created two of everything. Needless to say the profiles with my actual name on it were not nearly as exciting or thought provoking. After not getting in, I went on a quest for self identity and realized if a place does not want to accept you for who you truly are, that probably isn’t the place you want to be. Furthermore I had to find my own mission statement and define who I wanted to be, and really ask myself was I that person? From that day forward I started assigning my real name to my work. I also fully understood that the information I was sharing on my alternate social media outlets was nothing that I would be embarrassed to own up too, stand by and speak upon as Domonique Meeks. Being into social justice and speaking out for equality is what makes me who I am. I asked myself what if Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, or Mohammed Ali decided that when they wanted to fight for equality they would do it under different names in fear of missing out on more lucrative opportunities? Both stood for what they believed in and right or wrong we learned from both of there acts of greatness and short comings. With that said I believe the biggest difference between my first and second application to the iSchool was really me understanding who I was, being honest about what I wanted and being able to articulate that in person, on blog, Twitter, and Facebook while not being afraid to do so.

Where things get tricky and scary is the understanding that I did not find my identity or true voice until I was 25. While there were steps taken to get to this identity years before hand, I am guilty of sharing items I have sinced tried to remove off of social media that probably still live somewhere in a database, or on some ones external hard drive. It is important to explain to people especially the generations after mine who have always known the internet that what you share is forever. Although their age and maturity may say that they might not be old enough to not take things at face value, we must find better ways to explain. Every facebook post, check in, like, tweet, favorite, email, etc. is a paper trail left behind.

Some have argued in recent times the younger generation is not using Facebook as much (Dickey 2013). There is speculation that teens have moved on and spend more time on apps like tumblr, youtube, Snapchat and other mobile friendly sites. As Facebook became a household name grandparents, parents and older generations are using the service. For some teens, sharing too much on Facebook, could prove to be too risky. Along came Snapchat, the service known for being the app that promised your picture and video messages would disappear seconds after they were viewed. My introduction was an article a few years back that said teens were using snap chat to sext, and a few months later from some friends who were using Snapchat to send ridiculous pictures to each other. This all without the mention that phones have a screenshot feature.  In the conversations about how great Snapchat there was never any mention that someone would even think twice about screen-shotting the image or even the fact that the content would live online forever to be used by hackers. This education is needed! Here is why: App Behind The Snapchat Leak Admits It Was Hacked, Apologizes (Links to an external site.).

We must find a way to explain that whatever you put on the internet or over a broadband connection has the potential to be used against you for years to come. It is a scary thought, but unfortunately it is true.

Bibliography:

DICKEY, M. (2013, January 11). Surprise: Teenagers Say Facebook Isn’t Their Most Used Site. Retrieved November 2, 2014, Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/most-used-web-products-tumblr-facebook-2013-1#ixzz3HwfP4dxX

Barnes, Susan B. (2006).  A privacy paradox: Social networking in the United States.  First Monday, 11 (9).  Retrieved (November 1, 2014) from http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1394/1312

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Connecting the dots (Written by AmbassadorNique)

This feels different… This past weekend while spring cleaning I had an epiphany. Forced to think about life, and wondering what could I be doing better to achieve different results than the ones I was getting, I came up with a solution. The issue reached its peak Friday morning when I received a denial letter from the University of Washington’s iSchool for their mid career program. Obviously I was a bit angry and down, but realistically  I definitely applied knowing I didn’t have the years expiereince they were looking for in a ”mid career” student. This is definitely not to say that I couldn’t hang with any other student in their program intellectually, or that my perspectives and experiences could not provide them with new outlooks. I knew I was taking a shot in the dark, and unfortunately I missed. At that point you can either stop shooting and go home, or you can continue to map out a way to make things happen.

What was my epiphany?

My epiphany was I don’t need anyone to validate my vision or my aspirations. Paying $30K+ for a piece of paper is not a down payment on happiness. In my opinion happiness is something we make happen for ourselves. There are things I could be doing NOW to get to where I ultimately want to be.

Furthermore, I started thinking more about identity, and how I’d been blogging my truths and my life under an alias in order to protect myself from those who wouldn’t agree, or take offense to my truths. Was I afraid to share? What would people think? What if I had gramatical errors? lol

I guess through my journey of finding out who I really am I became someone whom could care less about who found my gramatical mistakes, who was offended, and whom just didn’t agree.

Naturally when I separated my government name from my beliefs, it was for acceptance, thinking about the consequences if someone with power found my blog posts on social justice and discussions on race and fighint against institutional oppression? At the time I was unemployed, I just wanted to be someone a job would hire! Wow, how wack is that? I would be embarrassed  but this is my truth and I KNOW that I am not the only one who was hiding.

Great women and men stand behind their words and their truths. They are students and life long learners able to admit what it is that they do not know. My goal is not to be famous, or even to change the world anymore. Today, my goal is to tell my story, tell my truth, express my opinions and find out more about myself. So today I merge my brand with my name and I stand behind my thoughts, my passions, my words, as a progressive and forward thinker. Yes, I still have a lot to learn, but who doesn’t? I predict I will use language that could offend, I will say things that may be incorrect or inaccurate, but I wont be the first and I am sure I won’t be the last.

Today I know who I am, and I know the power of my words, do you?

-Domonique Meeks
AmbassadorNique Productions

Half Empty or Half Full (Written By AmbassadorNique)

One of the hardest parts of staying disciplined is learning to be okay with being selfish. Its hard enough to tell yourself no to certain things, but its even harder to tell the people you hold close that this time you wont be able to come through for them. This is necessary, this is vital and this must happen if I want to make it where I am going. Either separate yourself from what everyone else is doing or live the life that the average person is living.

I cannot honestly say that this week was one of success. I made poor financial decisions, I was not on top of my health, and I did not stay disciplined to working toward my goal of continuing my education. That’s not to say I failed or neglected these things, however just to be honest I could have gone way harder. Seeing the consequences of my behavior will hopefully inspire me. Since I will not be able to hit the gym Monday due to an early morning Orthodontist appointment the goal is to fit that workout in either Sunday or Monday evening. Create a schedule for GRE study time and a budget to SAVE SAVE SAVE! The tickets to Tokyo are currently way to expensive and I can only hope that a deal will appear between now and this summer.

On a brighter note this week wasn’t all bad. I enjoyed good times with some friends at a free luau, and celebrated a birthday with one of my best friends. I also enjoyed the beautiful Jefferson park this morning and wondered why I was paying for a gym when I had such beautiful park less than a mile away (Seattle rain maybe?). There were also tennis courts! I scheduled an appointment with a woman at the University who I hope will lead me in the right direction as far as applying for my Masters is concerned. I’ve also started reading a really good book that I cannot wait to share, and watched a phenomenal documentary about Japanese internment camps called Toyo’s Camera. Overall I have been happy, cooking, and healthy. In life there will always be up’s and downs. Both will continue to inspire me to reach for the stars and both will continue to teach me new lessons. Depending on what angle you look at it, this weak could be considered somewhat of a success.

Is the glass half empty or is it half full? Live long and prosper my friends.

Ambassador