Tag Archives: Internet

Be Careful What You Click (or you just might get it)

28 Sep

The dangers of clicking before thinking have reached a whole new level during the recent years. Before, we needed to be careful with what we were clicking because:

  1. We could be led to a site we didn’t want to view like a porn site. Or,
  2. Viruses could enter our computers’ systems which would eventually make the whole system crash.

But now, due to the use and popularity of social networking sites (SNS) we need to think before we click because we could be leaking personal information about ourselves to total strangers.

I will use Facebook-related matters as my example.

The “liking” phenomenon

There was a period in Facebook where fanpages suddenly got popular. People kept clicking the “like” option when they saw a fanpage name that they agreed too. Some examples are: 5 minutes of sleep really DOES matter, Drunkenness reveals what soberness conceals, Guys who still open doors for girls and many more! There were also legitimate fanpages of products and institutions such as Krispe Kreme, McDonalds, Sanuk Philippines and many more.

It was pretty tempting I tell ‘ya. I confess that I did get into the liking mania which is why I have 635 likes in Facebook.

I have to admit though, I should’ve thought about what I “liked” more carefully. Why? After “liking” all those fanpages, all that I saw in my feed was tons of nonsensical content that were totally unrelated to the fanpages that were posting them. What’s worse, at times I would get tagged in vulgar or disgusting pictures which of course became visible in my Facebook wall.

Application after application

There was also a time when the use of applications were at a peak. Suddenly everyone was using applications that predicted their future using Tarot cards or applications that gave quotes for the day or even applications that told you who your secret admirer was. There were many pretty interesting ones, like quizzes that would tell you what your personality type is or what your birthday month says about you.

Do not copy me. Now I have to remove these 100+ apps one by one. Think before you click!

And of course, I also got into the spirit of that, and tried many apps. But, there was a catch. Many applications, especially the more recent ones, request permission to access your whole account such as pictures, videos, status updates, etc. I’m sure many of us are guilty of just clicking “yes” because we’re excited about the results, but we should be more wary of giving permission to access our accounts.

Different organizations are using what they pull from our accounts for their market research. But, do we really want strangers to have access to our photo albums, videos, notes, and the like? I personally don’t.

Manage and think

It has been established that we should think before we click on anything on the internet. But, more that we should inform ourselves about privacy settings and how to manage the applications (if any) on the different social networking sites that we use.

In Facebook, applications can be managed by simply going to the application settings under the account tab in your page. From there you can manage which applications you really want to allow access to your information. All it takes is time and patience, especially if you’ve gone through a clicking-frenzy stage (like me).

Hashtags 101

25 Sep

In a previous post about Twitter, I mentioned about hashtags. Surprisingly, many of the people I know who use twitter still don’t know about hashtags. That’s why I decided to make a post about it.

What are hashtags?

Hashtags are the words or acronyms with the # symbol in front of them. Twitter support defines this as tags similar to web tags. It adds tweets to categories and makes it easier for people to look for tweets of similar categories. The name hashtags comes from the use of the hash or pound symbol in the start of the tags.

Community creation

More than categorizing tweets, hashtags were developed as a means to create groupings or communities in Twitter without having to change the basic service or system. The hashtags feature is not an official feature that Twitter offers, but due to its popularity, hashtags appear on Twitter search.

Using hashtags

When you use hashtags, and you have a public account, any individual who searches for a certain hashtag may see your tweet. In essence, any word with a # symbol in front of it becomes a hashtag, but there are commonly used hashtags that you may wish to use.

You may want to check out Hashtags.org for popular hashtag activities.

Some advice on etiquette

Since hastags are relatively new, there are no formal rules on its use or etiquette surrounding it.

A good rule of thumb to follow though would be to actually focus on the content of your tweet rather than the tags you can add to it. As with anything, too much is bad, and overuse of tags may cause irritation for others.

So Stumble if you’re bored.

24 Sep

The term to “stumble” or “stumbling” is not anymore limited to the act of tripping and almost falling. It is now an online jargon, a term which describes the act of jumping from one randomly generated site to another based on topic preferences that you have pre-selected.

The term stumbling comes from the name of a discovery engine named StumbleUpon. The application is free to download. You just have to register at their site. No payments needed, just your e-mail to verify that you are an existing person. You can choose to stumble via the website but I find that downloading the application toolbar is a whole lot better.

The application toolbar allows you to stumble through sites with just a click of a button. It also gives you easy access to your favorites, and even gives you the option to share it in your social networking sites.

How it works

Log in to your StumbleUpon account. In there you can choose which topics interest you. There’s a wide variety of categories and topics to choose from such as Arts/History, Commerce, Computers, Health, Hobbies, Media, Food/Cooking, Humor, Internet, Puzzles, Beer, Cats, and many more I tell you. Just tick on the box that corresponds to your topics of interest and then save your preferences.

And then when you finally decide to stumble, the discovery engine will take you to sites related to your preferences. You can keep on stumbling and stumbling until you find sites that interest you. Plus, depending on your mood, you can change your interests any time you wish.

You can choose topics that interest you, and manage your preferences.

I personally like to cook and do crafts and such, so when I stumble I usually end up in craft forums, tutorial pages or in food blogs. It was thanks to stumble that I found a new hobby — reading through food blogs!

The fun of it

What makes this so great is that it feels like the internet universe is so big yet small at the same time. You realize that there’s so much in the web that you haven’t explored yet. Through stumbling I’ve seen travel blogs of people from different backgrounds and cultures. I’ve seen photo diaries of people with different perspectives in life. I’ve seen the “humor” of other countries, like what’s funny to them and what’s not. And, thanks to discovery engines such as StumbleUpon, we have the means to reaching the before “unreachable” parts of the internet universe. It’s an eye opener, really. It makes you appreciate the many different points of views out there, and makes you rethink about your own.

Another great thing about this is the aspect of SHARING. When you rate sites that you enjoyed, you’re increasing the probability of that site to be known by other people. And, if you “like” a site that hasn’t been bookmarked before, that can be your contribution to StumbleUpon and to the other users. It’s also a way to get local sites or local blogs to get known by other people from different parts of the world. People can visit your favorites and find them there.

Other users can visit your page on StumbleUpon and view your favorites.

People who like your bookmarks may choose to follow you, and you can also choose to follow people with interesting favorites.

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So you see friends, boring doesn’t have to be unproductive. In fact, surfing doesn’t have to be boring at all! With discovery engines such as StumbleUpon, you can hop from different sites all catered to your interests. You can learn something new with just a click of a button.

There are also other discovery engines, but I like the simplicity of StumbleUpon’s system as well as the interface of the site and toolbar. Other discovery engines you may want to try are SpinSnap, Yoono and Fichey. Note though that the other discovery engines have different interfaces, and work differently compared to StumbleUpon.

E-burol: A way to view your relative’s wake online

5 Jul

Yes this is real

I swear that when my boyfriend showed me this picture I told him it was edited. I thought that surely it was just some person’s witty idea of expressing how everything seems to be available online these days. I was wrong. This “E-burol” service does indeed exist.

St. Peter’s is offering this E-burol service for the relatives and friends who cannot go to the wake of their deceased. This service will allow them to view the wake online via the St. Peter’s website. As privacy is indeed very important, only select people (real relatives and friends) will be given the details on how to access the service. For more details you can check here. You can even download their “manual” that has step by step instructions on how you can use their service.

So what does this unique and revolutionary service show us? What implications does this kind of service have on our lives? Why should we care?

Everything is going digital.

It may not be the case now but we’re definitely going there. Discovering this E-burol service made me see that even more. We are now living in a digital age where we can talk to people who are halfway across the world. All in real time. We can now share photos, videos, news and opinions with just a few clicks here and there.

Business people are now looking at how they can use the internet and social media to their advantage. E-burol is most likely a product of the same line of thought. The owners of St. Peter’s must have seen and heard many of their customers talking about relatives who could not make it to wakes because of the burdens of traveling, whether it be from abroad or from a relatively far place here in our country. They saw the clients’ needs, saw that no other funeral services offered it, and since the technology needed for this project was available E-burol was created. I find this project simple yet effective because of it’s practicality and effort to bring people closer during vital times.

Adapt to survive.

Humankind is facing another big change, and that is of the digital change. With the advent of technology, we are discovering new ways to do things everyday. During this time, we must not let ourselves get left behind. I recognize the importance of valuing and preserving the traditional way of doing things, but we must not close our minds to the possibilities that technology will bring. It is inevitable that technology will be a huge part in our way of living in the near future (more than it is now). And, instead of fighting the inevitable we must learn to adapt to these changes.

Being a part of the Net generation, we can develop this adaptive nature by frequently updating ourselves about the new technologies in the market. There are tons of articles available online about anything you can possibly ask for about the internet, social media, online trends, and many more. Reading up regularly and testing out the things that we read about will keep us in the loop of this digital age development. We can also help our parents (and even grandparents) by explaining the things that we know, and teaching them the basics in using certain technologies.

As a future professional…

On a personal note, this E-burol means to me that as a future professional I should not be too dependent on what I learn in school. The University will only provide me with a good foundation, but after graduation my environment will be my teacher. I must make an effort to listen and to observe the environment that I will be in (office, community, etc.). I should also learn how to distinguish which new knowledge will be beneficial to me. I will surely not be one to “jump the gun” as they may say.

I certainly look forward to many new “surprises” such as this. Personally, I am determined to keep an open mind about new technologies and new services.

I end this post with my last thought, maybe you have thoughts on this (I’m sure many of you do): “Kelan kaya maiimbento ang E-numan?”


The Internet: Of the good and the bad

22 Jun

I would be lying if I said that I hate the internet. Heck, I even experience withdrawal after just 2 days without an internet connection or access to the net. To me the internet is my research buddy, my unlimited phone line to my friends and loved ones, my diary, my entertainment and even at times my teacher (on various things). It is my stalking instrument and my gossip agent. Through social networking sites (SNS) I can get the latest scoop on my friends and yes even people I dislike. I can get bored and yet spend numerous hours on the web just randomly surfing about any random thing that comes to my mind. This is what the internet is to me.

I do admit that although I don’t hate it, there are certain aspects/effects of the internet that I don’t like.

Easier connections make us belittle communication.

Bill Gates (2000), in his essay about the internet said that “the internet makes the world smaller.” Through it people from different parts of the world can easily communicate with each other. This is most certainly true today where you can get answers and comments in your Facebook or Twitter in real time, chat with people online and even have a video conversation through Skype.

True enough that the internet indeed makes communication easier, but with that I believe that it also makes us belittle communication somehow. Belittle in a sense that since we know that we can easily communicate with people on our own terms and our own times, we procrastinate and put aside talking to some people. Think about it. In your social networking sites, how many out of your 350+ contacts do you purposely talk to when you’re online? If you talk to half or even more than half of your contacts then, wow! I admire you.

The question of privacy

How private is “private” on the internet? As Bill Gates predicted 10 years ago, we are now relying on the internet in sharing and exchanging sensitive personal information with different parties that we communicate with. We share financial information when we purchase products online, share our home addresses and contact information when subscribing to magazines or signing up for promos, and even share secrets with chat-mates or in forums. Even with the promise of privacy and anonymity in certain cases, how sure are we that the information that we share on the web is really protected?

I believe that this is one of the more serious issues that we have to face about the internet and technology as a whole. More than privacy settings that certain sites now offer, more discussions and laws (international and/or country specific) should be created. Until that time comes, we as the internet users should be more careful about the information that we share online. We should also be extra critical of the online services that we use.

It breaks barriers and yet creates new divisions.

If I wanted to I could chat with someone geographically living millions of miles away from here in real time. And it would be easy to do so. I can also get the same information from the same online articles that a doctor or a teacher or a CEO would read. I can find out about a certain place without having to actually go there. I can find out how a person looks like without actually having to meet them physically. And again, it would be easy to do so. These are only some of the many barriers that the internet has broken.

But what if I don’t have access to the internet? What if I don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter or a Tumblr account? What if I don’t play Farmville or Restaurant City? What if I can’t use the computer at all?

Now there is a division between internet users and non-internet users. This can be classified under the phenomenon known as the digital divide which is the gap between people who have effective access to technology & digital information, and people who have limited or no access at all. It is a fact that not everyone can use the internet. There are people who don’t have the resources to access the net, and at times they are looked down on because of this.  I also believe that there is a division between internet users that use social networking sites and those who don’t. Especially with the younger generations, those who do use SNS are considered to be in the loop while those who don’t have accounts in SNS often feel left out.

Even with what it has become today, I believe that the internet is still relatively young. In the many years to come there will most certainly be more developments which I really want to live long for. Despite all the issues, I believe that it’s all worth it. The internet is indeed a revolutionary being that can change the way humans live. The fact that people are aware of these issues shows that these are being talked about, and pretty soon solutions will be made.

Change cannot be done overnight so what we can do is to update ourselves on new developments, educate ourselves with the new technologies and reflect on how all of these things affect our lives. We should avoid focusing on the negatives and instead have a more positive view about things. Moreover, we should all keep an open mind for the things to come. We should all keep moving forward.