sorry if I’m being a bit of a mother hen…

… but I care about you guys, okay?

In the time I’ve been on the internet, I’ve learned a few useful lessons. I started out pretty naive I guess, just chatting with people on a forum that I stumbled upon and enjoying the friendly banter, without realising that actually we were conducting those friendly conversations in a place where everything we said would be kept forever where anyone in the world could read it… when I signed up to that forum I used my full name as a user name, and it was years later, after the arrival of big brother Google, that I realised that anyone who knew my name could Google me and find all those silly comments… bolting the stable door way too late, I then set up a new user name on that forum.

Here on Multiply I feel much safer, because here I can choose to make some posts public and to keep other posts private – that’s one of the things I value so much about this place, that Multiply does provide us with some excellent privacy settings. However, these settings are absolutely useless if we don’t use them. It’s like having an umbrella in your bag, going out in the pouring rain and saying: I won’t get wet, I’ve got an umbrella in my bag.

There’s a really good tutorial about the Multiply privacy settings here, but one thing I want to point out, as it’s a pretty crucial thing which I think not everybody is aware of, is this:

posting “for everyone” means anyone in the world can read your post.

yes, anyone in the world. that includes your next-door neighbour, it includes the people serving you in your local shops, it includes your second-cousin in some faraway country whom you’ve never spoken to, it includes that guy/girl you used to have a crush on in your teens, it includes the person you’ve secretly fancied for the last decade, it includes your son’s schoolteacher, it includes your boss, your employees, your colleagues, as well as people who don’t know you at all.

I think it’s wonderful the way we can get to know people here, and develop a sense of community online. It’s great. There are people I’ve got to know here that I feel very comfortable sharing personal stuff with, whilst there are some people out there in “real life” who think they know me but in fact all they know is the outward stuff like what I look like, where I live, who my husband is.

so there are things I post just “for contacts” and that’s how I keep these things within the privacy of this community. and there may be things I choose to share just with certain contacts, and Multiply enables me to do that too – so I can post something just for Tom, John and Sarah for example.

and yes, there are many blogs that I post “for everyone” – but when I make that choice, I do it knowing that this means anyone in the world can read them. it means I’m okay about sharing this stuff with my next-door neighbour or my cousin in Australia or my in-laws or my ex-colleagues or whoever.

Multiply has excellent privacy settings – but if we don’t use them, we may find ourselves in some very awkward situations.

22 thoughts on “sorry if I’m being a bit of a mother hen…

  1. you're right Meirav – and the more I see about how Facebook the more I'm sticking with Multiply.I learnt something last night too (this might be stating the obvious for some but….) when you Google something you see a link under the info…and then it says 'cached'….well if you click on that you will see stuff that has gone 'out of date' – a bit like being able to read a book no longer in print. The person talking about it was a sociologist 'of a certain age' he looked himself up and then went to the 'cached' link and found references to papers he'd written that he didn't even know were available online because he wrote them pre-interrnet days.

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  2. oh yes – the cache is something I also found out about back then when I discovered that my comments on that forum could be Googled. it takes a while for stuff to get updated, so even if you remove a public post/comment it doesn't immediately disappear from the Google search :(

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  3. I admit to being naive when I first got the internet and went snooping around, but I had this sense of ummmmmm maybe not a sense but because of things that happened in the past when I was younger, I protected myself by not using my name as an email address (to start off with). When I got snooping in yahoo chat rooms first, my ID wasn't my real name and very few ever learned I was even a Patti. A short version of my ID was great with me otherwise. If I went somewhere and my last name was required (and not a ;-) wink) and if I couldn't opt out of it showing, then I shortened it or I left the site and didn't finish the sign up process. I'm always aware of self-protection because of the past and some of the horror stories you hear about on the news.I haven't tried the cached thing, but I haven't found myself through google off Multiply. Either that, I'm really buried .. somewhere down on the last page lol

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  4. I admit I periodically do a "vanity search" (Google my name) and recently I have requested to have some things removed from private websites – by that I mean websites owned by individuals – which had my full name. There was nothing wrong with any of it, but I used to be a vegetarian and I wrote a number of articles for a vegetarian website. Now that I am no longer strictly vegetarian, I felt that the articles seemed a bit hypocritical.One thing I wish Google would reinstate is the ability to identify our location simply by country. I had listed my zip code as "00000", which gave my location as "United States." I noticed after I went Premium that my state was listed as "Alaska", which is the first on the list, there not being a default with "no state" listed.I see no reason why people should not be able to simply put the country where they live. Multiply can easily check the accuracy of that. There is no need to put more specific information. That can be a safety issue. Of course, you can list a different state from the one in which you actually live, but then people assume you have something in common with them while you don't, really, so that can lead to some sticky situations and awkward explanations.Bottom line: Guard your personal information very, very carefully. If you do that, you can answer silly questionnaires without worrying about whether your RL neighbor knows that it's you answering it.

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  5. I'd also noticed your recent "move" to Alaska, glad to see you've been reinstated in Oklahoma :-)interesting what you say about those articles from your vegetarian era. there are so many things I'd retract if I could go back and remove everything I'd ever published!

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  6. I was fortunate that the website owner was willing to work with me. We had a bit of a falling-out at one time. The site had two or three message boards at the time and he felt it was okay to create "characters" to stir up controversy and thereby increase traffic on the message boards. This was long before he started accepting advertisements and "hits" really meant anything (we're talking 1997-98 here). I felt it was deceptive. At the time, the site was a relatively small, close-knit community, and although people did not necessarily use their real names, I felt most people were pretty honest and trusting, and the site owner should have respected that.Anyway, that was a looong time ago and, as I said, he was cooperative at this point. I still have to check the other website. The most recent email address for the owner is 2007, although my email to him did not bounce back.Do you think it would do any good to request that Multiply allow us to list country only? Why should they force us to reveal anything more specific than that? As long as Multiply's admin/customer service knows where we live, that's all that matters, right?

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  7. We can. I think it's only those living in USA who can't. As for the main issue: I SO don't care. "Be what you wish to seem" is my motto; people can like what I am/say/do/write, or they can lump it. That goes double for the billions I'll never meet or hear of. Sure – I don't post my bank account number for everyone. I gotta find out if my ancient PhD is on the net – if it is, I'm gonna translate it. Hehe.

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  8. OK, if I convert to e.g. Catholicism in 15 years and my new friends find my old pagan posts, I'll have to quote something like "more joy over a sinner who repents …". I can live with that. :)The least you can do to show you have a mind is to change it a few times in a lifetime.

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  9. that's cool – you've chosen not to care, so you're posting things publicly that you are perfectly okay about the rest of the world seeing. I'm not here to tell people what they should or shouldn't share with the rest of the world – just wanting to make sure that people are only doing this when they intend to.I've got the feeling that there are some who post "for everyone" and do not realise what that means – that's the reason for my concern.

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  10. I am concerned about maintaining a certain level of personal anonymity because there are a lot of crazies out there. I've never been "cyber-stalked" but I have friends who have been. When I did my vanity search a couple of weeks ago, I found that the White Pages had not only my current address, but all the cities and states I have lived in since I was born. I haven't done anything about that yet, although I know you can request to "opt out." Who at Multiply would you suggest that I PM regarding the issue of listing our location by state? For some things, I think public forums such as MUDS are appropriate, but this is an issue which I would prefer to address directly with someone who can do something about it, as I feel it involves the safety and security of their members.

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  11. I think you're right. Or they probably know but don't imagine who everyone may include, like the local grocer and your other examples. And I believe you're right in thinking that such a realization would change many people's posting habits. Nice post, chick. :)

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  12. PM sent. Thanks for giving the clueless a clue. ;)You're right that someone could innocently put personal information out there for "everybody" and attracted unwanted attention, whether from someone they know IRL or in the form of a cyberstalker. I know one person whose cyberstalker found out her home address and telephone number and, even though she changed her phone number and made it unlisted, he got hold of that number as well. He would actually cruise by her house, telling her on the phone that he was doing so. She took out a restraining order, but we all know how effective a piece of paper is at stopping violence, if that is the intention of the stalker.

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  13. yes – or just find to their embarrassment that someone now knows some personal stuff about them that they'd rather they didn't. and the trouble with divulging information, is you can't take it back – yes, you can delete your post or edit access settings, but for people who have already read it, you can't remove the information from their heads. (well, not unless… no, let's not go there… lol)

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  14. have you noticed that the very latest version of Firefox now lets you "start private browsing" it switches you to a new window and….in theory you don't leave as many traces of where you've been

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  15. this is what it says…..Firefox won't remember any history for this session.In a Private Browsing session, Firefox won't keep any browser history, search history, download history, web form history, cookies, or temporary internet files. However, files you download and bookmarks you make will be kept. To stop Private Browsing, select Tools > Stop Private Browsing, or close Firefox.

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