How Social Media Use Affects Students

Social media has seamlessly integrated into our lives, and I guess especially among the younger generations. I only have to look at my own students, virtually without exception they all have use Facebook.  But the ubiquity of social media in a student’s life has some serious positive and negative effects.

You decide where the balance is.

The infographic below which was sent to me through for further publication, weighs the pros and cons of social media application in a daily student routine.

Is Social Media Ruining Students?

It is clear though that given the large numbers of students on Facebook, and by now we understand that ‘students’ may well include people from seven years and up, we can no longer ignore it. I guess families as well as educational institutions may want to look at this reality and see where they can come up with creative ways to  curb the negative effects. If social media, Facebook,  is part of our youngsters realities we’ll have to make it part of our realities.

Personally, I like Facebook, it has been of great use during the immediate time after the earthquake and I have found it useful to keep in contact with students. More than once I have had students telling me that they prefer to be contacted via facebook as opposed to normal email or mobile phone even. So I go with it and have fun with it. At the same time I realize how easy it is to get sucked in and end up losing precious time (lots of it) to find you never got done what you set out to do. So if anything finding the right balance and priority is important.

What are your thoughts?

Slideshare Zeitgeist 2010

Slideshare posted its annual Zeitgeist with some remarkable observations and findings and links to the most popular slide shares of the year. If you use slide share for whatever reason you will find some helpful data in there.

Some obeservations:

  • Popular presentations have more slides. While most presentations are short popular presentations are longer (63 slides on average).
  • Popular presentations use fewer words.
  • On average women use fewer slides than men.
  • Coleur Locale also applies to presentation length.
    Japanese language presenters use the most slides on average—42 slides per presentation. English language presenters, on the other hand, use the fewest slides per presentation—19.
  • Apple Keynote users make popular presentations. While Keynote was only used by 2% of the presenters, 16% of the most popular presentations were made using Keynote.
  • Business, trends and statistics dominate popular tags. Tags are words used to describe presentations on SlideShare. The most popular presentation tags for 2010 included business, market, trends, research, social media and statistics.
  • Popular presentations don’t use serifs. While 10% of popular presentations used the serif font Times New Roman, the majority of popular presentations included fonts without serifs such as Arial and Helvetica.

Personally I found that going through the most popular slide share presentations (links are in the slide share above) a helpful exercise in presentation technique.

Related Articles

85 tips for keeping safe online

A list of points to keep in mind in relation to computer and internet security. This is of course far from complete but makes a good start. Please help further extend this list. Leave a comment with your suggestions (full credit of course to good suggestions).

Security (1 of 1)SECURE YOUR SYSTEM

  1. Run anti-virus software on your home computer, maintain and update regularly.
  2. Use a personal firewall.
  3. Run and maintain spyware an adware protection products and update regularly. More on IObit products (free) that can help you here >>>
  4. Don’t run or install programs from an unknown origin unless you are sure that it can be trusted.
  5. Secure your passwords.
  6. Don’t give out your password to anyone.
  7. Change your internet banking passwords regularly (some banks automatically have you change your password periodically).
  8. Use strong passwords and avoid using passwords that relate to your personal details, especially when some of them are on line publicly (name, name partner, children, date of birth). Consider a password generator.
  9. Avoid storing your passwords on your computer (unless in a password manager with good encryption).
  10. Be sure to install  patches, fixes for your operating system and software, especially security updates.
  11. BACK UP YOUR WHAT YOU WANT TO KEEP. Keep a copy of that work on a separate storage device.
  12. Create a bootup disk, so you can recover things when your computer crashes. For a howto:
  13. Buy a board that protects against unexpected power surges, especially if where you live the power supply is less stable.
  14. When you are not using your computer, turn it of, that enhances security and saves power.
  15. Change passwords regularly, make them strong and impossible to guess.


  1. Check email regularly so you can reply quickly.
  2. Emails that ask you to forward an email you receive to everyone you know may can conveniently be ignored. They are usually hoaxes. If in doubt check at
  3. Don’t give out other’s email addresses when sending the same mail to a number of recipients, don’t use CC, USE BCC (blind carbon copy).
  4. Remember that words can read differently than they were meant to be in a normal conversation where you have the advantage of tonal and facial expression. If you do still feel rush, count to ten at least befor hitting any reply button.
  5. Whilst like texting email is very quick in terms of communication, keep the normal human gestures like a greeting and a farewell in mind especially in more formal communications.
  6. Before forwarding someone’s email to another party, consider how they would feel about you giving out their email address. Consider taking out those details (copy and paste the body of the message into a newly composed email).
  7. Make sure when your reply to an email that has been sent to many, that you reply to that particular person and not to the whole group unless it is deliberate.
  8. Don’t open attachments in emails from people you don’t know or an email you were not expecting. This is amongst others how viruses are spread.
  9. Keep in mind that viruses and those spreading viruses are getting smarter and smarter. The apparent sender of the mail even when that is a familiar name person, may very well not be the actual sender. Email addresses are gabbed from email address books all the time.
  10. Use a good spam filter.
  11. Never send out credit card or online banking details via email, treat emails like an open postcard.
  12. If you are extremely concerned about your email safety consider using encryption.


  1. Remember that what you read on the web is not always accurate. Keep that in mind especially when looking around for reference material. Check sources before you use the material; site owner, author, edited or not, does it corroborate with other INDEPENDENT sources.
  2. Be careful about what you write about others, liability for defamation could be the result of your actions, or loss of employment. Also remember that once you post it, it is there forever.
  3. If you keep a family site, remember that anyone can pass by and see it. That’s great for family and friends but when there is a lot of graphic material on there it may well be great for burglars as well. Review your site in relation to personal information in the broader sense, or consider setting it it up as a private site (for instance using ning) where you are in control who has access or not.
  4. Keep an eye on a site’s privacy policy, the requirements may differ substantially from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. For sites you visit regularly, keep an eye out for changes to these policies.
  5. When you download software (especially freeware) make sure you read and understand the EUA, to avoid unpleasant surprises and agreeing to other software being installed as well.
  6. Copyright is increasingly turning into a minefield as the internet is getting more popular. Be careful about using other’s materials especially when it is copyright material. Sometimes you need to ask for permission which can be obtained by one simple email. Otherwise, consider  using small fractions/quotes and refer to the original source.
  7. Be suspicious about (unsolicited) offers that seem to good to be true. WHEN IT SOUNDS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT USUALLY IS. Never give out confidential details.
  8. Be careful when typing web addresses (url’s) typo’s can get you in undesired places on the web (such as porn sites or malicious attack sites).
  9. Keep your browser updated as this may assist in such undesired sites opening up in your browser.
  10. When you sign up for web based mail (see above) don’t automatically let yourself get listed in the site’s directory. Check the tick boxes and make conscious choices.
  11. Update your software regularly, don’t automatically follow links that are sent by email, use the software’s own update functions preferably.
  12. Don’t assume that people won’t break into your computer (what is there to get anyway….YOU’D BE SURPRISED!). Confidential data is big business. And for the wireless users in regions where data caps apply: a piggy back rider may turn an expensive experience. Get a firewall and use it and secure your wireless internet access. A firewall not only protects you from traffic trying to come in but more importantly about programs trying to connect to the internet you were not aware of. My personal favorite personal firewall: Zonealarm
    (, free version is available.
  13. Gadgets in the latest webbrowsers are great but some have some concerns, especially about Java and Active X.
  14. Be in control of your cookies.  I delete them all after every time I have been online. More about the ins and outs of cookies at
  15. Check yourself online periodically to see what personal stuff is out there. Google your own name.
  16. Be careful with adult sites that offer free videos but ask you to download and install software to view these videos, you may end up with a lot of nasties on your computer or disconnects you from your ISP to replace your connection with one abroad that turns out to be charged as a toll call to the ISP in that country. You won’t like your next telco bill.


  1. You don’t need to use you real name at all times, nicknames are an accepted practice and can help protecting your privacy for instance in chat rooms and on forums and newsgroups. Consider using a web based email address (, etc).
  2. Think carefully before giving out personal information during IM, in chat rooms, newsgroups etc. You don’t always (very often if not always) know who you are talking to.
  3. Remember that people can change their identity or lie about who they really are.
  4. If you want to meet someone you met in a chat room in person, talk on the phone first, meet in a public place and let someone else know what you are doing.
  5. Be careful what you post on your profile at for instance myspace, facebook, hi5, hyves, and consider your privacy options.
  6. If your sharing photos online, check the meta data you are sending out and if necessary remove it. Depending on the camera you used there could be private information on there you may not want to share.
  7. Bloggers and tweeters, keep in mind that people have gotten in trouble about what they post with third parties and employers. Think before you hit the publish button or consider blogging anonymously.


  1. Reconcile your accounts frequently and regularly. If you have any suspicions that something or someone got hold of your account details and is accessing your account: immediately contact your bank;
  2. Delete emails in which you are asked to provide your confidential  details. No bank sends out emails like that.
  3. Change your internet banking passwords regularly;
  4. Check that your connection to a website is a secure one (https connection, in which the s stands for secure) You will also see a small padlock icon at the bottom of your window. Double clicking the padlock icon should show you the owner of the certificate that verifies the identity of the site);
  5. Follow your own path to a site instead of links sent in emails, which could be false and could lead you to fraudulent sites that may look very bona fide but are not. Consider first whether the message you have received, seemingly from your bank, is one that your would expect to receive. Incorrect spelling or grammar are a red flag or indicator of a suspicious email or website;
  6. Buy online from business that you know and can be trusted. If you are not sure, check for a physical address of the online business, a phone number and return policy. Ask around to see if others have dealt with the business before or search the net for comsumer reactions (see for instance,,
  7. Do not buy from a website if it does not properly protect the confidential information you provide in the process, such as credit card details. The padlock at the bottom of the screen is already a good indicator. If in doubt, contact the website and ask whether they use secure server and if they can prove it.
  8. Don’t let price be the only thing you care about, convenience and trust are equally important. Have a good look at the freight/shipping costs as they may differ substantially and sometimes there are good shipping saver bagains you may want to take into consideration.
  9. Keep a close eye on your credit card statements to ensure nothing out of the ordinary is recorded on there. Remember that when you buy from overseas there may be taxes due upon arrival of the goods.
  10. When you buy from overseas, check the currency prices first. I usually use
  11. Check what the store’s policy is regarding insurance, refunds, returns. Keep print outs of all your online transaction just in case you need proof of purchase.
  12. Warranties need to be checked especially when buying from an overseas store. Ensure that any warranty applies if something happens where you are.
  13. If you have any questions about the product or sale, contact the site and wait for a satisfactory reponse. If that does not eventuate keep look around for an alternative supplier. It also gives you an immediate impression about the shop’s customer service. No response, don’t buy there.
  14. As you go through checkout, you may be asked to sign up for newletters. Make sure you actually want them, think carefully before agreeing to anything.
  15. Check the store’s privacy policy before you give out an email address to be sure that it will not be passed on to other parties that end up flooding your inbox with junk and other unsolicited mail.


  1. Place the computer where you can see it.
  2. Set clear rules, which may include time spent online and what is and is not allowed online. Punishing inappropriate behavior afterward. may not be the best solution if there were no clear rules upfront. Banning your child from the net may lead to them finding ways to access the internet out of sight and your control (at a friend’s place, the library an internet cafe).
  3. Make sure you know the password of your children so you can check what they have been doing and where they have been.
  4. Don’t scare your children away from the net and explain that like in the real world there are some fruit loops out there that they may run into.
  5. Take an interest in your child’s activities online, even if you don’t feel confident about your own abilities, encourage them to open communication.
  6. Encourage your child to report anything out of the ordinary or unpleasant they encounter online an be seen to follow up on it.
  7. Do not be intimidated by technology, ASK IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. The dumbest question is the one not asked.
  8. Don’t overreact. Not every incident is as serious as it may appear. Try to determine if incidents are of an isolated, coincidental nature and best to be ignored or a signal of potential trouble that needs closer monitoring. (Keep the communication open see 5.)
  9. Keep credit cards away / out of reach of your children, you could end up with unpleasant surprises.
  10. Check whether any chat rooms your children use are moderated (for instance the Penquin Club). This means that the site has arrenged for someone overlooking the chat sessions and throw anyone out that is a nuisance.
  11. Discourage your kids from having one-on-one conversations as opposed to addressing the complete chat room.
  12. Instant messaging = one-on-one and if you find your child doing that, make sure you know who the person on the other side is. Preferably allow this only with people they and you know.
  13. Consider installing a content filtering system or join with an ISP that tries to filter websites. Remember that there are no 100% fail safe systems so don’t get complacent or a false sense of security.
  14. If possible check your child’s surf history and keep in mind that computer savvy kids may be able to get rid of what they don’t want you to see. If you are of a paranoid nature, consider having all your child’s email coming through an email address under your control.
  15. Don’t think children are just curious about sex and porn, there is a wealth of stuff out there that will be interesting to the explorative youngster including things such as drugs, hacking an cracking, illegal downloading, and even things like making bombs.
  16. Don’t isolate talks with your children from the rest of life, it is all part of the same bigger picture of safety in general.
  17. The internet may be able to assist your child in learning about a lot of things including life but IT CAN NOT BE A REPLACEMENT FOR PARENTAL GUIDANCE.
  18. Don’t automatically assume that inappropriate behaviour is your child’s fault. Building trust and confidence may well be more constructive.
  19. Keep yourself informed about what is going on on the net.
  20. Don’t forget that mobile phones may have internet access as well. If your child has a mobile, make sure you set similarly clear ground rules

If you have more please leave a comment so I can update this list.

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Seth’s Blog: Four videos about noise, social and decency

Seth Godin, one of my favorites to read. Check out this blog post as it will or should change your perspective on the social net. Four videos that will give you all you need to rethink your strategy.

Posted via web from John Dierckx

Social Media as an Investigative Tool


The rise in numbers and users of social networking sites was bound always bound to bring new developments. Some years ago headlines were made with a story of a woman that fired after blogging about her employer and more case have followed. More recently I have seen the rise of articles explaining how employers, lawyers and investigators are using the social web in their arsenal of tools: for background checks on job candidates, jury members, and even clients.

In Australia we saw the emergence 8 months ago of a country’s first company promoting it actively monitors social networking sites on behalf of companies.” The company, SR7, specializes in what they call “online risk and reputation management.”

Whilst there may be some doubts raised by the director of the UNSW’s Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, I think we can safely assume that this kind of development will be seen more and more in the future and in my view this is the logical expansion of already existing media monitoring. More and more companies are allowing their employees to make use of these sites during work time as part of their efforts to get a social media strategy going. The divide between public, commercial and private is not always as clear anymore. At the same time what employees publish may have reptational effects on your business. In legal terms it is often not clear as to what is allowed and what not: where it concerns employees’ use of these facilities and publishing about workd as well as how the information is being used.

Recently some KFC workers were fired for publishing shots of them bathing in a KFC basin on MySpace.
Telstra has been disciplining an employee for Twitter comments.

Domino Pizza employees have seen what happens if you post video’s about your abuse. And while the videos were taken of Youtube they can all still be seen here >>> Their video lead to a “manhunt” by users of and through using google the store in which these employees were working was located. The employees in question are fired, charged with criminal offences and a civil claim is expected.

About two years ago I was involved myself in an insurance fraud case where a video posted on Google video by “friends” of the claimed led to declining the claim and besides that prosecution for filing a false, fraudulent claim.

A 27-year-old Australian woman, who did not want to be named, said about six months ago her employer – a large online technology company – started disciplinary action against her over a “generic” comment she wrote on the Facebook wall of a friend, who did not work at the company, outside of work hours. In this case it was not even the boss itself but a fellow employee that had seen her remarks and passed it on to her employer.

It cannot be denied that social networking sites are offering a wealth of information on people and businesses.
It can also not be denied that by now users of these sites, regardless off an expectation of privacy, should keep in mind that once things are out there they are and that there is at all times a risk of others seeing what you put out on the internet. There is at this stage unclarity about whether and how the information may be used. At the same time however, it has become a reality that employers more and more make social media research part of their employment screeing processes. I guess we can say that the days are gone when die diligence, or even a litigation backgrond check amounted to reviewing a resume and some public records or even just “googling a person.” Besides employers more and more lawyers are using the ‘new’ options for their practice, to do a background check on witnnesses, to locate experts or get a picture of an expert hired by the other side, check the backgrounds of jurors.

More and more I get requests that also include a check of the most used social networking sites sich as Linkedin, Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and a few others. And in all honesty, social networking activity may at times be revealing and provide information that adds to getting a more complete, indepth picture of potential hires or jury members. It is less formal and therefore more than once pribides additional insight into a person. The self-generated content, along with comments can provide inisght in a person’s character, values, current and past activities, prejudices, political preferences, relationship information and self-image and if not more often than not it provides good leads for additional research and/or investigations.

I have been active in the field of social networking for the past 8 years. Initially to get to know new people and for business purposes. I guess it was when I found out how linkedin works in terms of search capabilities I realized that there could be a case for being more active in this field. I remember the days well where fellow colleagues were somewhat resistant and virtually not present on these sites, that has changed quickly over the past years. I have iused social networking sites to get my hands on a range of types of information, including but not limited to:

  • developing a profile on witnesses and prospective employees as well as potential business partners and investors/investments;
  • tracing people that had moved, for insurance companies, civil procedures, to locate heirs and missing persons;
  • to obtain more insight in the actual state of a marital status;
  • reviewing pictures and movies to get a more clear insight in family members, friends and others;
  • to perform a network analysis and to identify potential conflicts of interest.

In many countries facebook and myspace are amongst the most popular networks, in New Zealand Bebo has a strong following and in the Netherlands, hyves is a good place to start despite the fact that facebook is growing in importance. More and more I find people active on Twitter. Linkedin is a great site that is actively being used by a wide variety of professionals. Ecademy, whilst missing the critical mass of some of the other networks, is growing still and has a lot of professionals united. Many people tend to have a profile on more than one social or business networking site. I have found it particualrly useful to not just browse around profile pages of the siubjects involved but also on pages, blogs etc where these subjects left comments. More than once it is there that they reveal more than they would on their own site which may very well offer not much more than a nicely groomed profile.

More and more those sites are incorporating better privacy controls and under circumstances that may mean that specific profile pages are not as easily accessible. At the same time once you get a hold of email addresses and other information (some of which is often already provided by the client) it is relatively easy to get a way more complete picture. The next question, and that is the one lawyers are discussing is how you use that information, whilst the question of social networking pretexts may also come in question.

Personally I think it would be a good thing if employers especially started to accept the reality of social networking and ensure that a policy is incorporated in the staff handbook as well as in (new) employment contracts. This does not just refer to using these sites but also ownership of a network and profile. At the same time, I think that it is somewhat difficult that just say that employers are running risks when they use the information in hiring decisions and for reasons of discipline and even to dismiss certain employees. But there is another side of this coin of course. Social networking content is often referred to as self generated content. Whilst I do not deny that there is a good reason to consider human rights, at the same time it could be argued that whatever you put out there as a prospect or employee is relatively public and at the same time it could seriously affect the business /corporate image and reputation of your employer. Where employers would be wise to take legal advice in relation to social media, employees would be wise to consider the potential effect of their publications an at times even rants since you are also a face for the company that pays your check every month. There is however a large gray area where one should be able to express oneself without having to fear for repercussions.

There is however a double edged sword that appears to be going through all of this. Employers are held to be more and more careful in whom they are hiring and at the same time are not allowed to “discriminate” on certain grounds. Besides that it is argued that as an employee you should be able to let off steam, and while some do that in the pub others do that on the net.

I guess that is where the real legal battlefields will end up being. In the meantime, and for those that have an interest, on the ARCIS Fraud Discovery & Exposure Centre website you can find a listing of around a hundred popular social and business networking sites to give you an idea. The number of these sites are growing by the day and probably and I see invites for new ones pass by at least a few times a month.

In the next part I will go into more detail with some case examples and in part 3 we will look at some legal issues so hang in there. No time to waste? Why not contact us to see what we can do for you.