Take It, Take Another Piece Of Me

I feel like I have sold my soul to Facebook! They have the rights to all the content I currently have on my page, even if I choose to delete it. I cannot be the only one who has a problem with this, but now there is really nothing that can be done because I have agreed to the terms of use.

Facebook has the right to use their users content if they see fit, they can use your images as if they are their own. This seems like it over steps the boundary of what a website should do. College students use this site to keep in touch with friends, but little did we know that we were signing away so many of our rights. Facebook can literally take your image and use it in advertising as described in the link above. Had I known this originally I would have never signed up for Facebook.

If we stopped to read the terms of use policy though, I don’t think many people would understand it anyway. The terminology is very technical and I don’t understand it. That is where the problem is, we either start reading it and its too technical or we don’t even bother and just click I agree and move on. I think that they should just straight up tell us what is going on, maybe have a simple version so that we can actually know what we are looking at.

This problem doesn’t only affect Facebook though, a lot of stuff you do online is saved and can be archived. One thing I never thought about was simple instant messenger conversations. Obviously people can save what you say on those, but some programs even archive your conversations. Google Talk automatically saves your conversations to your Gmail account unless you go into the settings and turn it off. A lot of people probably don’t know this and could get in trouble because their conversations are being saved. Obviously Google isn’t claiming the rights to what you say, but this stuff is being kept around without you knowing about it and it could come back to haunt you when you least expect it.

The point is, know what your signing up for, Facebook doesn’t have to make major changes because people are still signing up without knowing what they are really doing. It sucks, but what is a little piece of your privacy if you can stay connected with your best friend from kindergarten.

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Think before you add

“Hey, aren’t you in one of my classes? Wait which class? Really, why have we never talked before? Lets take a picture, then find me on Facebook and I will tag you.”

This is a typical bar conversation in Chico, and can be overheard almost every night of the week. This has a point though, just because you meet someone once at a bar or party that you happen to have class with do this automatically make you friends? Probably not, these people haven’t changed you or in anyway impacted your life, well other than buying you that drink that may have put you over the edge that night. So why would you want them adding you on Facebook and tagging pictures of you for everyone to see?

People are becoming too loose with what they are allowing on their Facebook profiles and MySpace pages and need to think twice before adding bar pictures or party pictures for everyone to see. Social network profiles are beginning to have long running consequences for students who are entering the job market and even now parents are getting in trouble because of their kids pages.

All I am saying is you need to be careful when it comes to social networks and what you choose to let people see. Sure party pictures are fun to look at among friends, but they don’t need to be put out there for everyone you know to see. This topic has been beaten into the ground but it is still important for people to know. I am guilty of having a Facebook and MySpace with questionable pictures, but I have been trying to clean both up and keep them for only friends to look at.

If the thought of future employers looking at your drunken pictures doesn’t scare you, then be afraid of the possible health risks of spending too much time online or on your social networking profiles.

Community: Real or Virtual?

Growing up, I lived in a neighborhood where generally people looked out for each other and were friends. My friends and I couldn’t get away with anything without our parents knowing almost instantly what we were up too. This to me is the definition of a community, a group of people that look out for one another.

Whether on the Internet or around a neighborhood, communities are set up to spur conversation about common interests or to protect each other. If people are down on their luck, you should come together to help those people out. Whether it is coming together to support a community bank that is in trouble or having a community health center that provides discount health services for community members who are in need. These are essential for communities to thrive.

The Internet may not be a physical community or neighborhood but in a sense it acts the same way. Gaming communities can come together to mourn a loss of a person and even set up a memorial fund in that persons honor. People involved in online communities may have never met each other in person, but still have a strong bond that connects them the same way neighborhoods bond together.

The main idea here is helping each other, surviving on your own is hard and sometimes you need people to help you out and pick you up. Communities provide that because they are the people that are around you on a daily basis. It can be on the Internet or in person, as long as the people feel a connection and friendships grow out of it I don’t see the difference.

I don’t personally belong to any internet communities other than Facebook, but have heard stories from friends who play online games or are on message boards and feel a close connection with the people they interact with daily on there. They feel that those people understand them more than their neighbors or people they attend school with.

Communities are essential in our world; it is basic human nature to want to surround yourself with people you trust and feel a bond with. With today’s economy and the fact that people are struggling to just get by, they are even more essential. There are no basic guidelines for a community, but most people realize when they are part of one.