Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the ReadWriteWeb Real-Time Summit in New York City. The unconference was an amazing experience that exposed me to technology and an tremendous network of like-minded individuals. Nick Bicanic, founder of EchoEcho was just one of the many innovative attendees who I enjoyed speaking with. His product is a geo-location service that aims to answer the simple question: “Where are you?”
While other services like Foursquare and Gowalla, keep a record of your check-ins, EchoEcho provides real-time updates to your phone contacts (each location request is a single permission – not a subscription to follow an individual). I found the service to be quite useful and have downloaded it myself. I would promote some upcoming features that Mr. Bicanic and I discussed, but I am unaware if they are public knowledge – so just trust me, there are good things to come (Website).
During my fourth session, titled “Real Time Where”, the discussion turned towards the pros and cons of privacy regarding current social media tools. Bob Wyman (Website), of Google, specifically mentioned his family’s use of Google Latitude to help keep track of their whereabouts; specifically referencing his teenage daughter. While considering that I embrace all new technology, I would not be happy with my mother and father having access to my exact location at all times. To see the session in its entirety (41”), scroll to the bottom of the post (provided by Justin.tv).
This uneasy feeling led me to write this post. The increase in widespread use of social networks has changed our world. Everyday communication between friends, businesses and governments are evolving and changing the norm. Just this morning I was sent a SMS message from one of my father’s business contacts in the format of a formal email. While I appreciate this individual trying to connect with me on a medium he assumed I worked most with, it was very amusing. It reminded me of this satirical video published by The Onion news network late last year:
While the video is quite entertaining, it hits on some pretty serious topics that are still relevant today (9 months later and still relevant – that is remarkable in this fast paced society!). Just last week, CNN Tech journalist, Doug Gross reported on both Facebook and the Parent Teacher Association’s (PTA) concerns over online safety for children. Furthermore, the Nielsen Mobile Kids Insights reported that the majority of our children own their first cell phone before their 10th birthday! While about 50% of parents are attempting to monitor their offspring’s presence online (Mashable), it is simply not enough – MySpace lawsuits continue.
It is vital that parents, as well as other family members, teachers and mentors take the time to sit down and explain the implications of participating in online social networks to children and students. While some short-term and immediate ramifications are understood, the long-term effect of irresponsible conduct online is sometimes overlooked. For example, many recent graduates have found themselves unemployed due to their online profiles. These statistics show just a glimpse of how Human Resource departments are leveraging the power of social media to sift through applicant pools. Potential job candidates’ profiles, if hired, will represent the values of the organization. I don’t think Teach for America wants to be viewed as the life of the party!
I see the need to educate my peers on e-safety and creating a positive online presence. I am currently working on building eBranding Me to be the preeminent resource of information pertaining to personal branding among students for the sole purpose of successfully enrolling in college or securing gainful employment post-graduation.