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Tag Archives: Google buzz

Channeled my anger at Google Buzz into a post: #buzzoff

Please RT!

On February 9th Google have unvailed Google Buzz, a service that involuntarily transforms every Gmail user’s private contact list into a public social network. While Google has suffered from privacy concerns in the past, Buzz is considered by many angry users to be crossing a line. Many loyal Google users including myself have hence chosen to disable the service. I present a list of reasons why you and your contact list should do that too.

Read on (and feel free to comment) here: #BuzzOff: 10 reasons to turn Google Buzz off

Twitter and Geotagging: The Conclusion

This travalogue began several weeks ago with a simple question: Should I enable geotagging on my personal Twitter account?

In my research about what some of the risks could be for users who did enable geotagging, I identified several groups of people that could be risk. They included political activists whose tweets may be used for identification and prosecution of participation in political rallies, young people who may be at risk from lecherous marketers, and sexual predators, and high-profile individuals, such as celebrities, politicians etc who are often targets of the news media, the paparazzi and so called cyber-stalkers.

Although I do not belong to any of the above groups, I’ve decided not to enable geotagging on Twitter. I’m not denying there are benefits to geotagging, many of which I think Nadine has covered in her research on Ushahidi, however the circumstances that people find themselves in those types of situations that may benefit from it are different from my circumstances.

According to this article on The Next Web, only .23% of tweets are geotagged (this article was from January and I couldn’t find any more recent data, but I wonder if this number has jumped significantly). Regardless of whether other people enable geotagging, my main concern is about the ability of this software to track people’s locations with respect to personal privacy. I understand I’m inherently giving up my privacy by participating in Twitter to begin with, but I’m not comfortable with enabling people to track my specific location. I think I would begin to self-censor my tweets if I did enable geotagging, and that’s counter to the way that I want to be using Twitter. Even though Twitter allows its users to delete their geotagged tweets, it takes up to 30 minutes before this can take effect, plus the location information that has been gathered by third-party applications is not necessarily deleted. Plus, geotagged information is exact and links to Google Maps. I also don’t use third-party applications that benefit from enabling this kind of geotagging information, applications such as FourSquare, Birdfeed, Twidroid etc.

This short video from YouTube demonstrates how to locate a random person on Twitter that has their geotagging setting enabled and sums up in under two minutes why I don’t want to enable geotagging.YouTube Preview Image

Clearly I am concerned about privacy, and therefore I think Twitter should be commended for making sure that this service is opt-in. As we’ve discussed several times in class, people rarely change privacy settings that are default, and I think they’ve done a good thing making this something people have to consciously decide to do. This is what annoyed me about Google Buzz – they made it automatic! Twitter also allow users to selectively geotag, which means if I do find myself in a situation where I’d like to reveal my location (eg I’m in some sort of emergency), I would be able to do that.

Lastly I recognize that this issue of geotagging is not limited to the culture of Twitter but has larger implications in various aspects of our society and our given media environment. For example, every time I take a picture with my iPhone it asks if I want to record the location where the picture was taken from (I say no – so at least I tend to be consistent so far!) This travalogue has made me think more seriously about the use of location-based technology more generally, when I swipe my credit card for example I realize its effectively mapping my location at that certain point in time, but in that case only my credit card company has access to it. It reminds me of The Trap, and that I have to come to terms with the fact that I’m mapping my location to a large extent regardless of whether or not I enable geotagging on Twitter. But for now, since I still have a choice, I will choose not to further allow my location to be specified without seeing a specific benefit. I don’t see the benefit of enabling other people to pinpoint my location.

MySpace and FB – Who has the better layout? Why? 2/7

February 7, 2010

Today I would like to discuss the difference in layouts between MySpace and Facebook.

What I have I have learned about this new media environment, or “SNS” Social Networking Site is that the design or “layout” is very crucial to acquiring specific types of users.

First I would like to analyse the Facebook layout – I found a very helpful image as you can see below. Due to the terms and conditions of Facebook, you MUST have a profile photo (or else they will pester you to upload on) and it must be  a photo of you, and not a Doppleganger :) The user has the following abilities on Facebook:

  1. Update their status
  2. Upload a current photo
  3. Apply for network membership (location – which they plan to remove)

I also found a site that outlines the limitations to Facebook, click here for more info.

MySpace layout is a bit more complicated but their is good reason for this. I personally don’t find the design to be very appealing because it is cluttered on their home page.

Clay Shirky brings up a great point during his lecture, “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations, “

His example of Bronze Beta and the simplistic design of it was successful. Also, because the group, had a collective nature, it was held together by the affection for one another. The saavy mood of no design, it wasn’t about the technology, it was about the content, more features would have been a distraction.

But as for the user  in “MYSPACE” themselves, users have the ability to express themselves by implementing code and changing their background images, adding music, basically implementing their own personal feel and personality into their pages. It is a great tool for those who don’t have the knowledge to build their own website and use the social networking site to express themselves.

The MySpace Profiles has the following:

  1. Friends
  2. Profile Picture
  3. Age
  4. Date of Last Login
  5. Mood
  6. Online or Not

A lot of celebrities, more specifically artists in the music industry promote themselves on MySpace due to the creative freedom the site provides. Several celebrities also have fan pages on Facebook, but find the limitations to the layout restrict their expression they want to broadcast to their fans. Facebook is a great communication tool in order to actually speak to those who you thought would never gain a chance to. MySpace allows users to connect creatively with their favorite artists. By posting things on their pages other than text…

  • Your Friends List, and the posts made by your friends and photo albums. You have the ability to control what is being seen by certain groups of people. You would be surprised to find how many cyberstalkers or lurkers are ou their roaming through your page. danah boyd actually put this into perspective for me by stating
  • “Abstract While it is common to face strangers in public life, our eyes provide a good sense of who can overhear our expressions. In mediated publics, not only are lurkers invisible, but persistence, searchability, and replicability introduce audiences that were never present at the time when the expression was created.

    I was wondering if any of the classmates had any input as to what type of questions could be asked as far as this topic is concerned or should I travel onto another platform – or relate these SNSes to issues that have erupted in the news (ie: use of facebook profiles in trials, twitter activity, etc.. Any constructive criticism, will be greatly appreciated.