Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018

Fürs Protokoll: Die Ergebnisse einer Befragung amerikanischer Jugendlicher (13 – 17 Jahre) haben jetzt noch einmal unterstrichen, wie sich die Präferenzen verschoben haben. YouTube, Instagram und Snapchat liegen in der Gunst vorne, Facebook folgt auf Platz 4, dann Twitter. Und ohne Smartphones geht im Alltag Jugendlicher nichts mehr. 45 Prozent von ihnen sagen, dass sie rund um die Uhr online sind.
Monica Anderson und Jingjing Jiang, Pew Research Center, 31. Mai 2018

What Facebook knows about me (and you)

This week (March 2018) there has been a lot written about Facebook, the data it collects, the data it ‘sells’ and the data available to developers, marketers, advertisers, etc. I’ll not go into it here but you may want to read these posts to get the general idea, if you don’t already, why everyone is suddenly worried about their Facebook data – here and here and here and here. There are more. Many more. It won’t take long if you want to find more.

I’ve tried, very half-heartedly and without any success, to delete Facebook from my life before. I’ve gone as far as deleting the Facebook apps from all my devices and only use it through a browser interface now on one device. I know this was only a token gesture to take back control of the data I transmit to Facebook and ‘associates’. I try really hard to ignore the quiz and adverts, I pass over the standard ‘copy this to your wall if you …’ chain-statuses, I avoid commenting or ‘liking’ statuses when friends and family post updates saying ‘having a lovely time in …’ when I know it’s advertising their homes as empty for the next week or so.

I am careful what I do share, I don’t say when I’m away or post anything about where I am when I am away, I don’t check-in to places anymore (I used to enjoy Foursquare and Instagram, they’re both history to me now) and I don’t share anything personal. Even saying this, Facebook has algorithms that can take what I do post, and the data I’m transmitting without even knowing it, and build a profile of me based on this and past behaviour. The scary bit is it also knows a lot about all my other online behaviour through my devices and browser, even if I’m not on or been near Facebook for days. 


So, I’ve downloaded my Facebook data archive to see what they have. This will be interesting … I hope it won’t be embarrassing?
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So, I’ve downloaded my Facebook data archive to see what they have. This will be interesting … I hope it won’t be as embarrassing as it was for Jon Porter? For the record, it’s 230mb of data from over 11 years on Facebook. While I look over the data I will have to remember that privacy and settings were different back then, and what I allowed Facebook to do has changed as I’ve grown up (and the platform itself has grown too).

First things first. Once you’ve download your archive you have to unzip it. Once unzipped you’ll have a main ‘index.html’ page and several folders. Open the file in a browser and, well, off you go.

Facebook archive

And here it all is … friends, deleted/un-friended friends, ignored friends, messages, status updates, photos, videos, ad history, which advertisers have my contact info, ad topics, apps, etc. I think it’s fair to say, on looking through this, that this is all based on the current settings (certainly for apps) as there is quite a bit that historically I know to be different. 

Scare #1

What is scary is actually nothing about me, it’t what it knows about you! Or rather, what it knows about me through someone else’s account that somehow I’ve interacted with or been linked to. It’s not even about friends or friends-of-friends. In my archive is mentions to other people who I’ve interacted with over time. I would love to see what this is like for someone who hasn’t locked down their profile and privacy settings as a lot of this looks like it would link elsewhere, to other profiles, etc. 

Scare #2

Even without knowing it, but on some level I guess I did, I was sharing my location. I turned all settings to private and no location sharing ages ago, but it can still take the geolocation data in a photo and use that to plot where I am. Under the ‘security’ page there are lots and lots of IP address from where I’ve logged in, including device, browser time, etc. Not a surprise really, knowing what I do about Facebook already, but still a bit of a shock to see it all listed like that!

If we link this (and this is my own interpretation here based on articles and developments elsewhere in the ‘internet’, to programmes, apps and algorithms) Facebook can take my photo and work out where it was taken, who is in it (even without tagging them) and make assumptions based on it. Lots of photos in the countryside … adverts for hiking, walking, outdoors equipment. Photos of London … adverts or ‘stories’ for London hotels or restaurants. I rarely tag people in my photos so Facebook wont be able to cross-pollenate it’s data that way, but who’s to say what they’re working on behind the scenes?

Scare #3

Data on each photo has the IP address it was loaded using as well as the metadata from the photo file itself .. including ISO speed, exposure, latitude and longitude. Everything there to identify where I am. Even the most careful of us can still be caught out like this is we’re not careful. What I can see is that, for some photos, where I’ve used an app like PhotoShop Express or Prisma, much of this data is stripped. This is good, but often the lat/long coordinates are still there as well as the IP Address. All pointing to where I was. Example below I’m happy to share as it was Barcelona airport on the way back from a work trip.

Scare #4

Messages I’ve sent or received are there in the download too. I can’t quite figure the order out as it doesn’t look to be all of them, certainly my most recent ones aren’t there. It was a surprise to read the one at the top of the list as I don’t remember ever seeing it before. It was from a friend of a friends trying to find each other again. 

Well …?

All in all this wasn’t the big massive scare I was maybe waiting for or been told to expect by the media, but it’s still an eye opener on the massive amount of data I’ve shared willingly over the years. In isolation this data isn’t really outstanding … but link my profile to the profiles of my friends you’ll get a bigger picture of me and my emotions (which advertisers would love to know about to target their ads to me in times of stress or need). Mix my data to that of others who like similar films or sports or go to the same events or watch the same films, you’ll get a different picture. You get the picture now? This is why 50 million profiles is a big deal!

The scare will probably come in the next few weeks or months when we get to hear more about what goes on with this data in the Facebook data centres. Processing, cross-checking and tagging, etc. through friend lists, photos, locations, likes, messages, adverts clicked, etc. This is where the likes of Cambridge Analytica make their mark, by taking the data and using it to profile an individual, a community, a nation, etc. This is where the power in the data lies, this is where we have been taken in recent years and where we ought to be very closely monitoring what is done with our data.

Will this stop me using Facebook? No. Not yet anyway. I’ve always been wary of anything free and what I share openly or privately. I have thought about deleting my profile and account for a few years and will probably continue to procrastinate a while longer. It might be different if I wasn’t already aware and careful of sharing too much online, if my privacy wasn’t already set quite high. 

Will this stop others using Facebook? No doubt about it, it seems many are shelving their accounts in droves, but will it affect the network in general? What kind of volume would Facebook consider enough to warrant worrying about? Many more millions than we think would be my guess. While there’s talk about ‘the end of facebook’ I think as a company and social platform it’ll continue onwards and will recover. Many of us, me included, will never trust them again, like we haven’t really up until now, and will be even more careful than before. But for many many many more they will carry on regardless or even in spite of the Cambridge Analytica expose.

As part of my previous work with students and their use of social media I used to ask them “when was the last time you Googled yourself?” Perhaps that’s too old now (but still relevant), perhaps we should be asking ourselves “when was the last time you reviewed you social posting history?”


'When was the last time you Googled yourself?' is old news. We should be asking 'when was the last time you reviewed you social posting history?'
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Image source: Kārlis Dambrāns (CC BY 2.0)

Sharing

Recent themes to my work has been the nature of how, and what, we share. I wanted to reflect a little on my own ‘sharing’ here, and try and split the sharing from social media, if possible. 

There are obvious easy ways to write about my sharing (per platform) but also I want to think about the why? So, why? I can’t deny one major factor is to reach a wider audience than just those I immediately work with on a day-to-day basis. By sharing my ideas or thoughts or projects or interests I’m obviously creating and managing my brand (me) but I also hope to be of some influence to others working in the same sphere as me.

Blogging

Obviously, there’s this blog. Back when I started writing here I used to write about the day-to-day tasks and tools I used. The last few years has seen me change direction, mainly due to possible conflict of interest with where I’ve worked and the need to keep some commercially sensitive things private. I’ve developed it more recently to be about the why I do things and how I develop myself or my work, my attitude to learning and technology and how use them both. I write here to share experiences and ideas, books I’ve read and reviewed, books I’ve written and curated, etc. I write to have a brain-dump, drop ideas or stress, I write to see what you all think … What do you think?

Twitter

I share my blog posts on Twitter so I can reach more people, and engage the wider field of learning technology. It reaches more people this way and I can engage in conversations beyond my own understanding, therefore helping me widen my appreciation and knowledge for my work. My Twitter activity involved my blog but also other aspects of my work, and sometimes home life too, but mainly my work. I save tweets to my ‘like’ (although I still don’t use it as “ooh, I like this tweet” but rather as a save feature to go back and read or reply to something after the fact) and add people to my lists. Twitter is my go-to place all day and pretty much everyday. My network or followers and those I follow grows and changes all the time, therefore my exposure to new ideas or tools does too.

LinkedIn

I’ve been and gone on LinkedIn before and, at the moment, am back and engaging here again. The audience is different to Twitter, less chat and more ‘sharing’. Perhaps it’s because it’s viewed as more of my online CV, or perhaps because there’s different mechanisms for comments, etc. I don’t know, but LinkedIn is an acquired taste. Currently I like it, but I take it each day at a time with all my sharing. 

Pinterest/Flipboard

I use both these platforms more for searching and reading different themes, less so for my own sharing, but I appreciate the work others are putting into their sharing activities here. For some these are important channels for sharing their work or ideas, and that’s fine.

This is, after all, about what works for you or me. There is no rule that will work for everyone, we are each individual and have different perspectives and needs and likes, and this is what we each bring to the wider community. THIS is what makes our personal (learning) networks so vibrant and interesting. This is why I love to share .. I take so much from the community on all these platforms, I want to add something back in the hope (need?) that it makes a difference to someone like something I’ve just taken. Isn’t sharing great!


Sharing: why and how. It may be a tweet, a blog post, an idea, a photo. This is sharing. For me.
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Facebook

I suppose I ought to add this here too although I’m still thinking of dumping my account here. Facebook has only ever been about family and friends. I dabbled in having a work-type account but realised the audience was the same, but smaller, than my twitter audience so decided it wasn’t worth the extra time to manage and curate it. 

Above all I try and keep my sharing professional. I have interests that creep into my sharing every now and then, mainly on Twitter. Yes, I have two kittens, I drink tea not coffee, I love Lego. But it’s still shared with a view to what my audience may be interested in. I don’t follow celebrities, for the most part, as I’m just not that interested in what they’re doing. Unless they are the kind of people I think are celebrities like Steve Wheeler, Stephen Heppell, Sue Beckingham, Amy Burvall, Maren Deepwell, et al (see the people I’ve been lucky to work with on my books, these are the celebrities in my world!). Then, of course, I’m a groupie and will follow them anywhere I can.

What about you? What is your strategy (if you have one) for sharing?

Image source: iSchumi (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

EPALE-Schwerpunktthema: Soziale Medien in der Erwachsenenbildung

Auf EPALE („E-Plattform für Erwachsenenbildung in Europa“) haben sich im Februar einige Artikel eingefunden, die für den Einsatz von Social Media in der Erwachsenenbildung werben. Die Beispiele stammen aus ganz Europa und unterschiedlichen Bereichen. In einem Beitrag zählt  EPALE Themenkoordinator Andrew McCoshan folgende Vorteile des Einsatzes von Social Media auf: „Flexibility“, „Stimulating collaboration“, „‘Real-world’ connectivity“ und „Involving learners in finding and sharing resources“.

Und er legt noch sechs praktische Einsatzszenarien nach: „1. Group chats“, „2. Sending tweets“, „3. Keeping and collating educational resources“, „4. Using personal blogs“, „5. Sharing photos“ und „6. Recording and posting videos“.
Barbara Hiller, EPALE, 1. Februar 2018

En passant die Trends aus der Weiterbildung entdecken

“Wie Sie Social Media nutzen können, um sich über Weiterbildungstrends auf dem Laufenden zu halten”, so leitet Lutz Goertz (mmb Institut) diese kurze Arbeitshilfe ein. Sie enthält einige Kriterien und konkrete, nützliche Tipps zum Einsatz von Twitter und Xing, versucht allerdings nicht, diese Anmerkungen mit etwas zu verknüpfen, was ich “Persönliches Wissensmanagement” nenne. Dazu würde gehören, das “auf dem Laufenden zu halten” in einen weiteren Zusammenhang von Wissensarbeit und Vernetzung zu stellen.
Lutz Goertz, wb-web/ Blog, 4. Mai 2017

So long Instagram, it was fun

Yesterday I switched off another network, Instagram.

There are a few reasons for this. It was inevitable, really. So how did it get to this and why?

  • Whilst I used to love the filters, and making my relatively mundane photos look fun or interesting, I am fed up with seeing everything else through a filter.
  • The search was pretty useless; you couldn’t save a search, there were accounts or #hashtags I wanted to keep track of but not follow, etc.
  • The app would regularly hog over 1GB of storage, and on a 16GB iPhone that’s a whole heap of space I could use for something else.
  • Until this last week there was no two-factor authentication, and lots of stories of people hacked and locked out of the accounts.
  • Facebook owns it, therefore we’re all feeding into the Facebook approach to security and data access.
  • Spam. At the end I was getting 5-10 likes per photo from spam accounts selling 1000’s of likes or followers, usually using a busty woman as their avatar, and with a randomly generated username. I was also blocking 2-5 accounts per day who started following me. They were inappropriate or accounts (not people, they were mostly bots fishing – of phishing – for followers and likes) I didn’t want to be associated with.
  • I don’t ‘do’ selfies. 
  • Instagram T&Cs state it can use my photos whenever and wherever it wants.
  • Ads. Oh, the bloody ads and promoted accounts. And the fake accounts.
  • Everyone I know/knew on Instagram I am also connected with on either Twitter or Facebook, so I will probably see their (your) filtered snaps at some point.
  • The pressure to post something interesting. Regularly.

I deleted the app a week ago. Initially I missed it, really missed it, as I used to search for things of interest: motorbikes, lifestyle, research places, etc. But I can find the exact same things elsewhere, I don’t actually need Instagram for that. I can still see their Instagram photos using the web interface anyway [wink]. Examples: here and here.

I started using Instagram probably about 6 years ago (I can’t check the exact date now, the account is deceased), shortly after it launched, and used it mainly for conference and workshop activity. Over the years I do less of that now, but still took more photos of family, locations, food, etc. (like everyone else). But, and here’s the real reason, I was becoming more and more desperate to try and find something new to do or somewhere new to go just so I could check-in (I dumped FourSquare back in 2012) or tag myself there, and share a photo even I found pretty boring. My phone stored the original photo and the filtered version so, unless I deleted them off my phone in a vain attempt at recovering some lost storage, I’ve still got the photos.

It’s kind of sad really, this is all that’s left … “Sorry, this page isn’t available.” I kind of wished I had the option to ‘leave a message’ when I disabled the account, leaving one photo as some sort of tribute to the 2.5k or so photos I created in Instagram.

What do other people say about quitting Instagram? Read this and this and this and this. Most search results are of the likes of Bieber (I can’t believe I’ve just included him on my blog. I feel dirty) or Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley, but for reasons of harassment. This is another reason I am considering my online activity. I’ve not been the subject of anything like this – I’ve had a few ‘tough’ tweets from someone who didn’t agree with me, but that’s part and parcel of a generic conversation, not only online activity, so I accept that.

So, if I’ve taken this step, is any other network at risk of being culled? Well, yes, I’ve already written about my (current) mood and Twitter. I’ve also talked about deleting my Facebook account too – I deleted the app a year ago and only use a browser to access it now. I’ve not deleted FB, yet, because there are friends I keep in touch with only through FB. But let’s be honest, it’s not really keeping the friendship alive, it’s just keeping in very-lose touch, stalking them almost. I might just take the plunge, posting one last update saying

“I’m going to delete my Facebook account. if you want to stay in touch you have one week to send me a message or reply saying you want to stay in touch. We’ll exchange phone numbers, email and postal addresses, and stay in touch the nice old way. And arrange to chat and meet up more regularly too. How about it?”

Here are some articles about breaking up with Facebook: here and here

Image source: Pexels (CC0)

How to Build an Engaged Event Community

Programmmanager in der Weiterbildung stehen vor derselben Herausforderung, vor der auch viele Konferenzveranstalter stehen: Wie verwandelt man einen Event (einen Lern-Event) in ein nachhaltiges Erlebnis? Wie werden aus Teilnehmern des Events (des Seminars, des Workshops) engagierte Mitglieder einer Community? Von daher bietet diese Handreichung (11 S.) die richtigen Impulse. Man sollte allerdings beim Lesen im Hinterkopf behalten, dass die Herausgeber sich auf “Event Technology” (Event Apps) spezialisiert haben …
DoubleDutch, 16. März 2016

HR go digital or die?

Wenn HR die digitale Transformation gestalten will, muss es die eigenen Instrumente auf den Prüfstand stellen. Die aktive Auseinandersetzung mit Social Media ist ein Muss, und Harald Schirmer (Continental) füttert diese Auseinandersetzung mit wichtigen Stichworten, Links und Empfehlungen: von “1. Worin liegt der Mehrwert?” bis “8. Do’s and Don’ts bei der Nutzung innerhalb des Unternehmens”.
Harald Schirmer, Blog, 21. März 2016

schirmer_201603.jpg

Is LinkedIn still relevant?

I have a LinkedIn account and profile – here it is: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/davidmhopkins

I think it’s OK – nothing special, nothing outstanding. I’ve put a little effort into making it what it is, making sure it’s up to date, professional, and that I have appropriate and relevant connections. I am fully aware of how this ‘shop window’ into my work can work for or against me at any time, even when I’ve been ignoring it for months on end.

Those who know me will know that I moved from Bournemouth University to the University of Leicester in 2012, and again on to the University of Warwick in 2014. I am certain that online professional persona was used as part of the interview/hiring process (let’s face it, they’d have missed a trick if they didn’t use them!) as well as my CV and application forms – my Twitter feed, my LinkedIn profile, my (under-used) Google+ stream, SlideShare presentations, published books, etc.

This is why it’s important to spend a little time keeping your profile up to date, trim the connections (or not accept those you don’t know in some way), post updates and projects, etc.

This LinkedIn Snakes and Ladders from Sue Beckingham is just perfect for anyone who has a LinkedIn profile, student or staff. Sue makes important suggestions on what will help or hinder your profile, like adding projects, publications, and a professional photo (help) or sharing trivia, posting insensitive or unprofessional updates (hinder).

LinkedIn snakes or ladders? from Sue Beckingham

My question is, do we still need LinkedIn? Are those of use who are active elsewhere (Twitter, FaceBook, Google, blogs, etc.) doing enough already, or do we need this ‘amalgamator’ that is LinkedIn to pull our work together? Do you use LinkedIn to find out about people you encounter?

Note: I don’t use the LinkedIn Premium. Does anyone?

Image source: Patrick Feller (CC BY 2.0)

50 Most Influential HE Professionals Using Social Media #Jisc50social

For a month or two JISC has been asking for names and nominations to a new list they’ve been producing – 50 Most Influential HE Professionals Using Social Media. Well, the time has come and the final list has been announced.

There are some wonderful people on this list I am proud to know and call friends, and some I’m not previously aware of and will be looking at (hmm, sounds a bit stalker’ish, sorry) to learn about what they do, why, and how.

“The final line-up – chosen by a panel of social media experts, including award-winning social media editor for Times Higher Education Chris Parr, Insider Higher Ed journalist and blogger Eric Stoller, and Teacher Training Videos founder Russell Stannard, as well as Jisc’s David Kernohan and Sarah Knight – features an impressive mix of academics alongside vice-chancellors, librarians and IT and support staff.”

The final 50 features outstanding cases of social media use that others could benefit from, and we will be looking to highlight some of this excellent practice in the weeks to come.”

Even more helpful than the list is also the Twitter list, making it easier to follow the work of all those on the list.

Again, it’s an honour to be on the list, and I’d just like to sat how much I enjoy being ‘social’, talking about and sharing ideas and experiences, and above all hearing all about the wonderful things people are doing with students, learning, engagement, collaboration, technology, communication, and each other.