Tag Archives: facebook friends

Facebook Privacy and Bucks for Bytes – The Under 13’s Guide


Nephews, nieces and cousins under 13 years of age who want to be your facebook friend!

ATT: Everyone

The above image is courtesy of Matt McKeon. If you visit the blog you can see Matt’s cool visual interactive interpretation of the evolution of privacy on facebook (2005 to 2010).

THE PROBLEMPrivate or public information?

This is a hot topic at the moment. It reaches a vast array of common social and business issues. And it also carries a heavy undercurrent of personal and universal themes.

The content on my facebook page is populated by hundreds of facebook friends which means I cannot monitor everything that is posted (unless I sit there and monitor it 24/7).

What do you do when a 13-year-old nephew sends a facebook friend request? It can be anyone you classify as under-age in your selective world (a relative under 13, a colleague’s child) whom sends you a facebook friend request.

There are good reasons be exclusive and say no – or ignore the friend request. And there are as many reasons to be inclusive and say yes – accept the friend request. The problem is both options do not offer a satisfying solution.

Have a think about it for a second. Imagine saying no and then imagine how you would deal with it down the line. Then imagine saying yes and dealing with it down the line.

At the crux of this issue are several things for example: internet censorship and taking responsibility for the content, taking responsibility for the audience and taking responsibility for the messages in your personal digital space.

Digital Content. Audience. Messages.

THE SOLUTIONChange the settings

I confronted this problem a few years ago and decided to say yes to the friend request from my 13 year old nephew. And then very quickly interrogated my facebook privacy settings and figured out how to select who can and can’t access areas of my facebook profile.

Once the new settings were activated I tested it out.

First, I advised my nephew’s mother that I had accepted her son’s friend request and granted very limited access to the content on my facebook page. She was relieved and thanked me profusely.

From there it has been much easier to understand where my digital borders start and end. It has also been possible to move them as and when needed. From this point I decided to play and tweak every facebook privacy  – on, off, up, down. I followed this up with testing the result with different friends and associates.

THE LEARNINGControl your space

Before this happened I had an ignorant viewpoint on internet censorship, and now I firmly believe parents are responsible for what their kids do on computers in their own home. And uncles and aunts (or adult relatives) also share this responsibility to a degree.

This article is not about internet censorship, or family values, nor is it an instruction booklet on how you should raise your kids. And I am not going to engage in any conversation about these things online.

This article is about giving consideration toward facebook as a the common denominator amongst the majority of people online. And acknowledging facebook has opened its ‘walled garden’ and made almost everything that was once private, public. Whether this is good or bad is not the issue. What you can do about it is the point.

Take control of your digital space.

Analogically imagine your photo album and personal items available on your front lawn for everyone to see. Conceptually, fifteen minutes of fame will soon be ‘fifteen minutes of privacy’.

You don’t have to take notice of this if you don’t want, however most people will need to learn how to manage their own personal digital space. You will need to start thinking about how to manage your unprotected data, how to lock and unlock things online. And you will need to figure out where are your digital borders and how much does it cost to manage your bytes.

THE BUSINESS – “Bucks for bytes” – IDC Analyze the Future

Courtesy of IDC (via Sean Kelly) you can take a look into the future of the digital universe.

“..In 2009 the world spent nearly $4 trillion on stuff to manage our digital universe. As this spending grows from now to 2020, the cost of managing each byte will drop steadily too, which is an incentive to create more information…”.

Here are a couple of graphs to help visualise all this stuff – Figure 8 and 9.

According to IDC, some tools we will see more of include:

  • Migration to cloud services
  • End user self service
  • Sophisticated data centres
  • Bottle necks in real time processing
  • Manage-more-with-less stress

Manage this stress better than competitors and you will have the advantage.

Written by Mitesh Solanki

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