Your Online Privacy is Your Own Responsibility


These children played Chinese Whisper (aka "the gossip game") to raise awareness for autism.


Just found this link to a Mashable post by Ben Parr via Colleen Pence (@colleenpence), a local social media superstar.

Here’s the nutgraf: 

The central problem is that people believe that Facebook and the web in general should be able to protect the information we post online. I argue that this is untrue, because it goes against the fundamental design of Facebook, social media, and the web itself. We should be relying on ourselves for our privacy, and not turning Facebook into our convenient scapegoat.


I do still take issue with having to “remind” FB that I like things kept on the DL, *but* as for content–from pics to comments–getting away from us, well… that’s not exactly “new.” Betcha a buck that when early humans first took quill to papyrus someone decided to get snarky or draw a picture of a pal in a compromising situation that later got shared ’round the campfire. (Wiki for “gossip”)

It’s just that, now, if that picture of you in your undies and a towel during that super awe-some Spring Break trip gets circulated among your friends, it could also land in your prospective boss’s fingertips. Ick. And it doesn’t matter if that image is on an iPhoto or was made back in the day on your buddy’s Polaroid. Double ick.

With that in mind, I don’t think so much that social media killed privacy. I’m pretty sure that privacy was a sketchy idea anyway, the definition made slippery by cultural norms and personal temperament. At the risk of overgeneralizing, what an introvert may consider “over-sharing,” an extrovert may regard as “micro-sharing.” 

Still, social media has reminded us that we’re all responsible for our own comments and actions. It also reminds us that the Golden Rule applies to the Internet as well. Basically, be a thinking grown-up with what you share. Slip up even once and an inappropriate picture or quip can be all over the Internet in an instant–far faster than any innocent, children’s game of gossip could ever demonstrate.

With that in mind, here’s what you need to stop doing on Facebook today.

(Thanks to Dani Greer (@blogbooktours) for that last link, btw.)

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My Fave Texas Social Media Peeps (Plus Some Non-Texans, Too)

“Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon. Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.”— E.M. Forster, Howard’s End

We were isolated, now we’re connected. The typical individual didn’t have the time, the money or the connections to be heard just a few years ago. Today, the door is wide open… but only  the people who can touch us will step over the threshold.”–Seth Godin, Brainwashed


If you landed on this page today, odds are good that you’ve just read about my social media endeavors from the folks at the Austin American-Statesman (@statesman).

I’m deeply honored (and still a little surprised) that my work has been recognized with a Texas Social Media Award (#TSMA). Thanks!

Now I’d like to pay this terrific kindness forward by introducing y’all to a few  scant handful of my favorite Texas-based social media folks. In no particular order, they are: Continue reading “My Fave Texas Social Media Peeps (Plus Some Non-Texans, Too)”

Fluff Up & Promote Your FB Fan Page

A few weeks back, hoping to separate my Facebook (FB) postings into “private” and “public,” I started tweaking my garden-themed blog’s FB fan page .  Planning to use it more this spring, I wanted to work on recruiting new fans, too. Without fans, what’s the point, right? So, I tinkered. Within a week, I tripled the page’s followers–and released my high school chums from all those garden and sustainable living posts! (A few of them came with me to the page, which was very kind.)

Curiously, while I was doing this, ProBlogger was doing the same thing on FB for many of the same reasons. Might this be a trend? Yeah, I think so. Recent changes to Facebook have put fan pages into the news feed, which means independent fan pages get the same basic exposure as MSM. Because of this, as I confessed on Twitter, I’m starting to prefer my FB page to my Twitter account for my daily (over)dose of social media interaction. Shocking! Continue reading “Fluff Up & Promote Your FB Fan Page”