The Future of Social Interaction

“Just text me, I don’t answer my phone.” How many times have you heard that phrase? How many times have you said that phrase? Of course we all know of the days before texts and even the days before phones. It’s almost hard to imagine having to send a letter or to physically travel to someone in order to deliver a message. It’s becoming less uncommon to even pick up the phone to take or make a call; we’re too busy, or it’s less convenient, or it takes too much time. Whatever it is we have become a culture of instant gratification thanks to social media outlets and text messaging this is something that I see compounding rather than receding as technology grows. In some aspects it’s not a bad thing, apps like groupme are great for organizing plans with a group of people. Groupme is a chat application that allows a user to create a group of select users, then when you send messages in that chat it goes out to the group and keeps everything in order. But there is a lack of face-to-face communication that gets lost in translation when using any text-based media. Non-verbal communication, body language in this instance, is integral to communication as a whole. With a text you can make a sad face or a happy face, but so much of that can either be fake or slightly off. For example, if you were upset about a situation but you tried to smile anyway the person you were interacting with would likely pick up on the nonverbal cues that you are upset. However if you were to text something and insert a smiley face the receiver would likely not know that there was anything wrong. I do believe that it is pretty well understood that there is a loss of communication with text, but I don’t think that will slow anything down. I’m sure they said the same things when the telephone was introduced.

“So then I jumped out -” “Oh yeah, I read that on your facebook!” “Oh.” The biggest conversation killer is being cut off because the listener has already read your story on facebook. Now what do you talk about? Elaborate on the story? What if that’s already happened in the comments? The ability for us to tell our story and narrative to the world in a few keystrokes and a click of a button has both negative and positive implications. Self-expression and sharing can allow others an insight into your life and the distance of face-to-face communication can greatly increase a person’s self-disclosure. Sometimes that’s good and can allow feelings to be shared that may otherwise not have been shared. Other times we get a little too much self-disclosure and it’s not good. With the future of social interaction I feel that people may be able to open up more and more with each other online, but that maybe people will not know how to open up with someone face to face. I think overall its fine right now, but I do think that social skills are on the decline. And why wouldn’t they be? Practice makes perfect they say, and social interactions are learned behaviors overall. Sure all kids smile, but it’s only through learned behavior that we learn when it’s inappropriate to smile. Maybe I’m rambling now, but I do want to impart that I do not think that society is doomed, I’ll leave that to those older and grumpier than I. But I do think it’s important that we remember that face-to-face interaction is important and despite convenience it should be practiced and learned when possible.

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L.A. jury awards $150 million to 13-year-old-girl whose family died in freeway crash.

On Nov. 22, 2009, the Asam’s were heading to see family for the holidays when her father collided with the back of a semi-truck in the early morning, which was illegally pulled over on the shoulder of the highway. Kylie who was then only 9-years-old and her 11-year-old brother were able to get out of the burning SUV, but watched their older brother and parents burn alive as they were trapped in the car.

The attorney for the Asam’s wrongful death suit claimed that the truck driver, Ortiz, had ignored signs and pulled over in an emergency area without leaving on a light or signal. While the defense alleged that he had stopped to take medication for a severe headache, which they felt constituted an emergency, Ortiz and his trucking company were  found jointly liable.  The father was also found to be negligent, but the jury felt his actions were not as significant as the Ortiz’s.

A jury has awarded upwards of $150 million  to a now 13-year-old Kylie Asam. Sadly, Blaine the youngest Asam brother committed suicide on his mothers birthday before the trial and the $8.75 million that would have gone to him will now be awarded to his sister.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57609785/l.a-jury-awards-$150-million-to-13-year-old-girl-whose-family-died-in-freeway-crash/

 

And now for a tear jerker….

http://gawker.com/baby-girl-gets-all-emotional-listening-to-her-mother-si-1453946289

Online Reputation Management

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How often do you google yourself? Do you google yourself? You probably know that googling is the act of using the online search engine Google.com to look up information, so googling yourself is the act of looking up information about yourself. Googling yourself is a great way to manage your online reputation. People can find out so much information about a person by simply googling your name or even your email. They may find anything from your facebook profile to any other profiles you may have on other websites. Googling your name may also come up with any mentions you’ve had in a newspaper or if your friends have mentioned you in their social media. These things are important to know about for several reasons and the one I would like to outline today is the effect that your online presence can have on what prospective and current employers may find. According to the Huffington post, “A survey commissioned by the online employment website CareerBuilder has found that 37 percent of hiring managers use social networking sites to research job applicants.” Especially when applying for jobs it’s important to know what information you have visible to potential employers. A company may have anywhere from a handful of applicants to 100 applicants; if your profile picture on facebook is a picture of you drinking, or your top comment is “I **** hate my job,” then you’ve just made yourself immediately dismissible by that employer.

Social media sites like facebook, twitter or personal blogs are a wealth of information distributed by ourselves about ourselves. There are some good things about these sites – they are a great way to show your interests and to give people a better view of what kind of person you are. However sometimes this information can be negative depending on what kind of content filters onto your pages. If you make your profile picture a professional headshot that is obviously going to look better to an employer than a photo of you smoking and drinking. If you frequently post about how you hate your job a potential employer, or currently employer, that would not reflect well on your work ethic. I used to work as a waitress at an Italian chain restaurant and one of my co-workers called out sick; the mistake that this co-worker made was that she posted on her facebook that she was going out with friends. Even though a supervisor did not have access to her facebook another colleague did and disclosed this information to our employer which led to a more serious discussion later and said employee lost a promotion opportunity.

When posting to social media it’s important to keep the long-term effects in mind as well as the immediate effects. Everything that is posted online is permanent, even if you “delete it.” Often the more embarrassing the photo or post the more likely it is to be saved or screen captured to be saved by someone who viewed it. Even if that’s an unlikely scenario the information you post is not necessarily deleted when you click the delete button. Information is often copied and kept by search engines so there is that chance that it is still somewhere out there. But all hope is not lost! For the most part you can mitigate damage done in the past and more importantly you can begin to manage your social media image more carefully now and in the future. Start by searching yourself and then deleting any unwanted content and unwanted accounts. Go through any images that you or your friends have tagged you in and untag any undesirable photos and ask friends to remove them. The information may still be out there, but this is about as far as an average user can go for now. For the future make sure to monitor your accounts more carefully; you can make your facebook account private but that can still be hazardous as you can see with my co-worker who had another co-worker show her account to a supervisor. Which brings me to this – be careful who you’re messaging, and remember it’s best to not announce on social media that you hate your boss or that you’re playing hooky. Just don’t say it at all because you don’t know how that information can get back around. It’s likely that we’ve all at some point had a boss that we didn’t like and that we’ve at some point played hooky at work, but if you post it online it’s permanent and in text where it can be found. Just don’t do it. So to wrap it all up, be careful about the things that you post online because it doesn’t go away and it can cost you a lot more than it’s worth. Make separate accounts if you need to, one for personal and one for professional. But make sure the professional accounts have content on them, a prospective employer still wants to get some kind of idea about you, it might like odd if you don’t have a social presence.

 

Step 1: Google yourself.

Step 2: Post smart.

Step 3: Get a job/keep a job.

Step 4: Profit.

Podcast – Privacy in Social Media – Cara Chaet & Nickolette Lannan

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The advances in technology today have impacted information privacy in a variety of ways involving the amount of personal information available, the speed our information can be transferred from one computer to the next, the duration of time that computers memory can retain our information, and the kinds of information available.

Has social media degraded our societal view of personal privacy?

Today, there are hundreds of social media outlets with billions of users worldwide, Facebook alone has 1.26 billion users, and Youtube’s 1 billion users watch over 4 billion videos per day.  Nearly 70% of Facebook users, and over 50% of Google users admit to being concerned about their information privacy, yet they still continue to use social media services, thus surrendering their rights to their information by publishing it for the world to see.

When new users create an account with Twitter, Google, Facebook, or any other social media outlet, you are directed to a page containing Terms and Conditions or a Privacy Policy.  These conditions and policies, commonly written by high-paid attorneys with an expertise in privacy law, are often difficult for the average social media user to fully comprehend. ”Consumers generally do not understand who’s getting access to their data and for what purpose,” says Ryan Calo, director of the Consumer Privacy Project at the Stanford University Center for Internet and Society.

Facebook’s current Data Use Policy states; “We use the information we receive about you in connection with the services and features we provide to you and other users like your friends, our partners, the advertisers that purchase ads on the site, and the developers that build the games, applications, and websites you use.” The policy goes on to include; “Granting us this permission not only allows us to provide Facebook as it exists today, but it also allows us to provide you with innovative features and services we develop in the future that use the information we receive about you in new ways.” Google’s Privacy/Data Use Policy uses similar language stating; “We use the information we collect from all of our services to provide, maintain, protect and improve them, to develop new ones, and to protect Google and our users.”

Unfortunately, majority of social media users agree to these lengthy terms and conditions before even brushing over the material covered.  Currently, iTunes Terms and Conditions is over 56 pages long! Social media has become so popular, and useful in our daily personal and professional lives that most users relinquish the control and flow of their personal information and autonomy without even understanding what they’ve agreed to.

To some social media users, their perceived sense of privacy and safety on Facebook and Google even cost them their jobs. Ashley Payne of Georgia, lost her teaching position, due to an anonymous email sent to the school board in 2010, for posting a photo of herself holding a glass of beer and a glass of wine while on vacation in Europe, she was of the legal age to drink, and she thought her profile had been set to private.  Sister Maria Jesus Galan was asked to leave her convent of 35 years, in Santo Dominigo el Real in Spain, just for simply having a Facebook. In an article from NBC Health a transplant team came to a crossroads with whether or not to allow a man to receive a liver transplant. The young man was set to receive a  liver transplant and had confirmed that he had not been drinking, a stipulation of being allowed on the recommendation list. The team was ready to make a recommendation for him to the liver transplant program, when they received an email with a picture of the patient surrounded by booze and hoisting a beer above himself. Should doctors be allowed to deny patients services based on evidence that the patient had not been honest about their habits? Currently, there are no laws preventing a doctor from basing their decision off on evidence they find on social media. However, social media provides an outlet for doctors to assess patients answers and behaviors outside of the exam room.

As social media becomes a more common practice for people we must continue to be  extremely careful about what we are posting and to accept the fact that various fields are starting to integrate social media into decision making like doctors, college admission boards and prospective or current employers. Though only about 4% of adults have experienced misrepresentation, embarrassing information leaks, or negative effects from social media online, the potential for our information to fall into the wrong hands is very high, even novice hackers can infiltrate our Facebook account or Twitter page, leaving us exposed and virtually unable to protect ourselves.  Is social media worth the forfeit of our information privacy?