Social Media: Should we really be sharing so much on these sites?

Social media has never been so popular. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and all of the other various forms, it’s hard not to find yourself being a part of all the hype. Most of these sites are more popular with teenagers and young adults.

There are many pros and cons of deciding to join various social media sites. Some are beneficial to how people perceive us, but others pay portray us having a bad reputation and may pose a risk to us.

Why we choose to use social media

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All forms of social media allow us to connect with our friends in such a simply way. We can also follow celebrities that we wish we knew and find out more about them. Using these sites allow you to show your friends what you have been doing and what your interests are.

Oversharing can simply be seen as annoying to some, but could also potentially threaten your professional career and your safety.

Do we share too much information?

A lot of people do share too much information. If potential employers are looking at you on all of the social media sites that you are a part of, you had better hope that you portray yourself as a respectable individual and not a party animal. Unless that’s what your employer is looking for (which is somewhat unlikely), it could be damaging to your future career.

What do employers see?

There are social media websites like LinkedIn allow you to display your education and work experience in a professional way for potential employers and colleagues to view. In a perfect world, this would be the only website that employers would look on the internet for information about you. However in a lot of cases, this is not what happens.

Some employers may judge you based on your pictures on Facebook or your

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

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tweets on Twitter. Provocative pictures and pictures with alcohol and drugs are a major turn off for employers. But if you don’t have these types of things displayed for everyone to see and you portray yourself as a good person, employers looking at your various profiles may actually help you get a job.

There is a website called Klout that allows you to see how you score on a scale from 1-100. The higher the number, the more influential you are. Some employers have been known to look at Klout Scores when choosing a person for a position at their company. Being a student studying Human Resources Management, deciding on who to hire in this fashion in not procedurally fair. It does not show how qualified the applicants are.

What can everyone else see?

It’s not only your professional career that you could be risking. Internet stalking, known as “cyberstalking” is real and can be extremely dangerous. A recent article called Social media safety compares social media to being in a room full of strangers. Privacy settings should be set accordingly. A good suggestion that this article mentions, is asking yourself if everything you post would be okay for your grandmother to see. Most grandmothers want to be respected and not shocked by what their grandchildren are sharing.

There was a situation earlier this year that ended in a teenager being jailed for a month. The teenage boy posted a comment on his Facebook page that made him come across as a terrorist. Lucky for him, he was not arrested, but this situation shows just how seriously anyone can be taken on the internet.

Should we leave social media completely?

Not necessarily. Although we should consider changing our privacy levels and

Instagram

Instagram (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

share things that would not pose us any potential harm. Once we learn how to control the information that we share with the World Wide Web, we will no longer pose a threat to ourselves.

It’s a good idea to look at the privacy controls that are currently set on your social media profiles. On Facebook and like sites, you can change the levels so that only friends can see them. This would be the safest route, after making sure that you only have friends that you truly know.

While doing research for this blog, I have changed my privacy settings on Facebook to Friends only. It was previously set to Friends of Friends, which allows the friends of my friends to see my whole profile. It occurred to me that I don’t know most of the people my friends are friends with. Knowing that I hadn’t changed my settings to Friends only earlier has opened my eyes. It’s too easy for anyone to find out who you are and what kind of person you are.

In Conclusion

The internet can be a scary place if you don’t know how to use it or how to virtually protect yourself. Nothing should be posted that can harm yourself or threaten others. It is a great place to connect with friends in a respectable manner. Everyone should just be aware that when something is posted on the internet, it may not be able to be taken back; the damage has been done. Share only what you think is acceptable in order to stay safe.

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Media Piracy: Should it really be considered “wrong”?

Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing of media, such as music and movies, that has been protected by copyrights is illegal and has been around since approximately 1999 when Napster went live. Napster was the website that had done it first. It inspired multiple other websites and programs of this nature to be set up and became a trend to download copyrighted content for free.

P2P file sharing is also commonly called copyright infringement, and piracy. It seemed harmless at the time, but now authorities are taking action against this crime more than ever.

The Canadian Copyright Act gives the artists or people who made the media rights to their work. This act does not protect the ideas of a project before they have been put into use, but it covers the final products. Breaking to copyright law is a crime that can result in fines and sometimes imprisonment.

Who is P2P file sharing actually hurting?

Some people may believe that it hurts the economy. In the United States, Congress says that piracy costs their economy hundreds of billions of dollars per year and is responsible for the loss of three quarters of a million jobs.

I don’t believe this, nor do millions of other people. How is it possible to put a number on something that can’t be tracked? It would be extremely hard to calculate the number of people who have downloaded illegal files from the internet and come up with an amount for “losses”.

It seems that struggling artists and music stores that sell physical CDs and records are being hurt the most. Buying a digital file is becoming more and more common as time goes on. It’s a much more convenient way to store music when compared to finding room on a shelf.

Consequences of Copyright Infringement

In the United States, consequences of piracy can include up to $250,000 in fines

Pirate-ship

Pirate-ship (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

and up to five years in prison. In Canada, the maximum fine that can be charged is $20,000. Currently, the government is suggesting reducing the maximum fine to $5,000 and instead only go after the large groups that endorse copyright infringement. These groups could pay up to $1,000,000 if found guilty.

The attempt of enforcement for this law has not stopped the vast majority of the people that participate in piracy.

Why People Pirate

A lot of people that are short on cash are generally more willing to pirate. I know I was. Being a university student doesn’t leave too much extra cash for entertainment purposes.

Then, there are others who simply don’t see it as ethically wrong, and others do it because of political beliefs.

Become Aware of Alternatives to Piracy

Seeing as there is a penalty for committing this crime, it might be best to look into some alternatives. It’s possible that not everyone knows that there are alternatives because there are some reasonable ones out there.

If its money that’s the issue, there are some cheaper options that don’t have you paying full price. Of course, it will cost more that downloading a file on a P2P website, but this way there are no consequences when it comes to copyright infringement. In Canada, there are fewer options than the United States, but more and more are slowly becoming available to us.

Netflix seems to be the most popular program for watching TV shows and movies. For music, there is Rhapsody, Spotify, Rdio, and Google Music.

For all of these websites, a monthly fee is paid. On Netflix, you can watch as many shows and movies as you want as long as you have an internet connection. The music services allow you to basically rent music for as long as you pay for a subscription.

Where do I Stand?

I believe that piracy may actually help the music and movie industries. It’s been proven in a study in Europe that illegally downloading these files ultimately lead to the legitimate purchase of the same items.

Also from personal experience, I believe that this is accurate. How do you know if something is awful or amazing before you listen to/watch it? You don’t! When I find something that I like, I think, “Wow, this is great! I should buy it”, then I delete the torrented file and replace it with a purchased one. When I find something that I don’t like, I think, “Oh, this is terrible. I’m never going to listen to this”, and then I delete the file forever.

At 0:53 on the video posted below, it is discussed how it’s hard to make someone pay for a media file by comparing it to a mariachi band. This young man touches on

many interesting points throughout his video.

So for me, all copyright infringement files that I have downloaded are inevitably deleted. This method helps me find what I like and what I don’t like. I believe that others do the same, too. Sure, there are some people who never plan on paying for anything, but not everyone chooses that path.

In Conclusion

I do not believe that piracy is morally or ethically wrong. There are both positive and negative ways to look at it and it just depends on what side you believe has a stronger argument. Wanting to lower the maximum fine in Canada convinces me that people are aware that the penalties may be too severe right now. Some people may not want to chance their luck and opt for a legal alternative, and some may not. Hopefully over the course of time the piracy debate will work itself out so we can stop worrying about how we obtain our media and just enjoy it.

How Far Google Has Come: It’s hard to think they still have competition

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Nowadays, Google is not just a search engine. It is competing with a number of other well-known companies in various projects that for the most part will make everyday life simpler and more luxurious. For a company that claims to have over

30,000 employees, they definitely have the necessary resources to be researching and developing new technologies.

 

One of the first special features that Google developed was Gmail. At the time, it was not as popular as other e-mail websites. Now, you can sign in and view it when you’re using Google’s search engine. I first had an MSN Hotmail account before I decided to get a Gmail account. To this day, I still use both.

 

If you already have a Gmail account, it makes it a little simpler to create a Google+ account. This can be considered the Facebook of Google. I cannot personally comment on the design or quality of Google+ because I have refused to make an account. There are so many social media sites out there and I thought it would be best to limit myself, especially since I do not know anyone who has a Google+ account. I believe that its competition with Facebook is too hard to win. Very recently, Facebook has announced that they have around 1.11 billion users, while Google­+ has 343 million users. (http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/resource-how-many-people-use-the-top-social-media/)

 

Switching from a Blackberry Pearl to the Samsung Galaxy SII LTE was the best decision I have ever made about cell phones. The Android operating system, which is owned by Google, allows me to do so much more than my Blackberry ever did. I found that this operating system is even more appealing than the iOS on iPhones. Siri appeals a lot to the iPhone users. For Android, there’s Google Now. It’s based on the same concept, but they each have slight differences. There may be competition in the app stores of the two systems, but each can hold their ground.

 

Google Maps is an online interactive map of the world. This may seem like a common idea, but all of the features that Google has added make it very useful for multiple reasons. First, there’s the option to search for any address or business that you want to go to. There’s also Street View, which allows you to see what the road and its surrounding look like in an area you want to explore. You don’t even have to leave your house! Then there’s the route planner. This allows you to find your way from any destination to another. You can view it by roads, walking paths, bike paths, and public transit. I really enjoy the public transit maps when I am going to another city for the weekend. It shows me all the ViaRail, Go bus/train, and greyhound times so I can find what’s best for me. I have yet to come across another map that does this much and works as well. I can even use these maps on my phone for if I’m lost or just want to find a restaurant to eat at.

 

Also available online is Google Translate. I found this useful when I was working my way through French Immersion in high school and taking a Spanish class in university. Google Calendar is another helpful tool that I have used throughout university. It allows me to organize all of the assignments and readings that I need to complete, as well as alerting me of upcoming due dates. The best part is that it automatically syncs with my phone though my Gmail account, so I don’t need to be by my computer to receive an alert! In 2006, Google decided to buy YouTube for $1.6 billion. (http://googlepress.blogspot.ca/2006/10/google-to-acquire-youtube-for-165_09.html ) I manage to use YouTube for homework related topics or for when I’m taking a study break (or procrastinating). The fact that Apple has taken YouTube and Google Maps off of their list of compulsory apps and replacing them with versions of their own suggests that they want to compete with each other.

 

Google’s latest innovations consist of the Smartwatch1, Google Glass2, and autonomous cars. The rumor that Google is making a smartwatch is being spread around, and most find it likely to be true. These smartwatches would be connected with your smartphone to perform various tasks. Companies such as Apple and Samsung are also reported to have these in production. Google Glass is an interactive pair of glasses that is said to be in production. The idea is that you can tell your glasses to take a picture, ask it to say something in another language, take a picture, and much more. It’s like you’re wearing Google Now on your head. If the product is as spectacular as they make it look in the video, I definitely want a pair. The autonomous (self-driving) cars are still in testing, but are proven to work and reduce the risk of accident in certain driving conditions. Along with the autonomous cars, there’s Google Racing3. I’ll let you look at that on your own. It baffles me.

 

 

Sometimes I think that Google is just playing a trick on us, that these things can’t possibly exist! They play an April fool’s joke4 every year, how do we know this isn’t just one waiting to happen? I’m just kidding. But in all seriousness, Google has come a long way for a company that started in a garage. I will continue to consumer their products as they become available and value them higher than their competition.

 

1 http://www.businessinsider.com/rumor-google-to-unveil-smartwatch-2013-5

 

2 http://www.google.com/glass/start/

 

3 http://www.google.com/racing/

 

4 http://www.google.ca/technology/pigeonrank.html