Please Facebook Responsibly

facebook-logoFive years and 190,000 students from schools spanning 22 Ontario schools boards and independent schools. This is the incredible journey I’m honoured to live every day as I deliver a student, parent and administrator-focused self-titled workshop, “Facebook 101.” I like Facebook – a lot. I use it every day for a variety of purposes that embrace both personal socializing and professional business use.

With that said, the most common remark I hear from people is how, in some fashion, Facebook was responsible for a breach of their privacy or information (comments, wall posts, photos, etc) and how that breach caused reputation damage, a job loss, scholarship retraction – or more. While I am empathetic to these situations and understand fully the sense of violation that a loss of privacy has in one’s life, it isn’t Facebook’s fault. Really. In fact, here is an excerpt from one of Facebook’s Terms of Use: “WE TRY TO KEEP FACEBOOK UP, BUG-FREE, AND SAFE, BUT YOU USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK. WE DO NOT GUARANTEE THAT FACEBOOK WILL BE SAFE OR SECURE.” That pretty much sums it up – and it’s what allows Facebook to step back when users come after them for tech glitches and ongoing policy changes that affect their lives in less than positive ways.

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Telephones; Remember?

imageBack in the mid-70s we had one phone in our house. A period-appropriate avocado-green dial phone that hung on the wall in the kitchen with a 50’ cord that constantly knotted, it was our family’s sole communication to the outside world. There was an actual busy signal when the phone was in use and the parental phrase that I remember most as a teenager was…GET OFF THE PHONE!!! But that was then…

Today it’s estimated that 92% of people under the age of 30 choose to text when conveying messages or asking for information. Apple says that the majority of its iPhone users use the devices primarily for functions other than for making a phone call. I can tell you that in our home, texting is common; from right within the house! Our 17 year-old will text from another floor, “let me know when dinner is ready.”

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