Christina Hollis, Internet, Online security

Three Warnings For Writers

I’m a bit uneasy about the amount of information available online. There’s something to be found on just about anyone, and it can be accessed by  nearly everyone. Social networking is great fun, but there are three things to keep in mind –

One – Post as though your words were going to be printed in words a foot high and stuck on your front door. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your next-door-neighbour to read – in case they do. They probably will.
Two – It’s safest to assume that, like diamonds,  online words are forever.  Yes, some information has been made to vanish from the net like snow in summer, but that was only because some very big players were involved. Even if your tweet, text or mail can be erased, the saying that a lie can be round the world seven times before the truth is out of bed is as true today as it’s always been. Libel is serious – and expensive.
Three – Not so much a warning as a reminder – if things get too heavy, you can always step away from the computer. Cyber bullying is an ugly concept. It’s a nightmare once you’ve been drawn in, so try and stay well away. At the first sign of trouble, remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: no one can make you feel inferior without your consent, so do the internet equivalent of picking up your ball, and taking it home.
Internet, Online security

Who Can You Trust?

Growth in Internet Usage, By Ke4roh

I’ve been getting a lot of emails lately from Facebook and LinkedIn (allegedly) but some of them have turned out to be extremely clever phishing scams. You have to check very carefully to spot the signs. I suspect these messages are automatically generated in response to requests for access to on-line address books, so the system can trawl for other ‘friends’ to contact. Writing is a solitary business, so keeping in contact online is popular. In my early days of social networking, I would merrily click on friend requests received via email. After the accounts of several friends were hacked, I NEVER do this now. Instead, I accept these requests by logging in directly to the social network sites. Incidentally, apologies to anyone who has ever asked for my birthdate. I never give this out if I can avoid it, as the security measures behind things such as internet banking rely on details like that. 

Social networking has revolutionised life for millions of people. When used for good, it’s great fun and a vital link between people who would otherwise never meet, but it has its downside. Spam, fraud and bullying are common. Have you come across any problems like this? Do you find the benefits of Facebook, Twitter etc outweigh the possible disadvantages?