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Something about:TikTok

What is Tik Tok (formerly musical.ly)? The quick answer is that it’s anything you want it to be. That simple.

In a world of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. Tik Tok could be just another digital fad in the Social Media space. With a reported 25 million monthly active users in the US alone, 500 million worldwide, this is one huge fad.

So back to the question: What is it?
I think of TokTok as a social media Karaoke platform for creating, sharing and discovering new ways of expressing oneself. My kids seem to enjoy using it to learn new dance moves and show their unique abilities with friends and family.

I too joined in on the fun and started using it myself to gain a better understanding and noticed some interesting things. A large amount of dancing, much of which is provocative, up until you train the AI displaying content to you by skipping past and disliking what some would say is not “safe for the workplace”.

Once I established a cadence with the app I started to see posts that that was interesting to me such a technology, art, politics and fitness. As I said before… Tik Tok could be anything you want it to be.

What Are the Potential Risks?
Users may be exposed to bad language and content of a sexual nature. Users can comment on other videos, this leaves the potential for online bullying or negative comments.

The app does make an attempt to promote positive comments and encourages users to ‘say something nice’, however, if you come across an inappropriate comment there is an option to report abuse. With anything shared online, it’s recommended that you as a parent learn how the app works, check your and your kids privacy settings and always use the Stranger Danger Rule.

Tik Tok does have a Digital Wellbeing center where you can monitor the screentime of your child, however, this is useless if they are permitted (and they are) to create multiple accounts. Link here.

Like all apps and social networks, Tik Tok does have community guidelines, so familiarizing yourself with them is a good idea

Age Restrictions?
TikTok has a minimum user age of 13 years-old. This means that you as a Parent need to monitor your child on this service. As I have done, create an account and use it to watch what your child is doing. It’s not a bad idea to also hold onto the login details and audit their accounts periodically. Again, the stranger danger rule does apply.

Community Guidelines
They are generic at best but you can get more info here: http://support.tiktok.com/en/privacy-safety/community-policy-en

Good Luck and be Safe

Goodbye, Google+

Con te partirò , Google+

It’s been truly a fun ride, from private testing to the public launch. great hopes for Google+ as an alternative to other mainstream social media options.  Campaigning to get friends and family over to the social network,  but getting traction against those other platforms was next to impossible.

This all comes to a head as Google announced the shutting down of Google+ after failing to disclose user data breaches for an undisclosed period of time.  Its reported that the Company didn’t disclose leak for months to avoid a public relations headache and potential regulatory enforcement.

In a blog post about the shutdown, Google disclosed the data leak, which it said potentially affected up to 500,000 accounts. Up to 438 different third-party applications may have had access to private information due to the bug. Google apparently has no way of knowing whether they did because it only maintains logs of API use for two weeks.

“We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any profile data was misused,” Ben Smith, the vice-president of engineering, wrote in the blog post.  Smith defended the decision not to disclose the leak, writing: “Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice.”

Now the question I have: Are these cloud and these large-scale platforms too large to secure and protect our data?  Personally, I started self-hosting, securing my own data and information as much as possible. The attack surface with Facebook, Google, Facebook, cloud storage such as Box, Dropbox, Onedrive and email systems such as Office365, Yahoo, Outlook.

 

 

Download a copy of your Facebook data

Recently we have all have been reading about Facebook’s breach of trust. Even Mark Zuckerberg, admitted that Facebook has made mistakes.

The issue: Cambridge Analytica, a U.K.-based political data-analytics firm hired by the 2016 Trump campaign, got its hands on data for 50 million Facebook users — without the users’ knowledge or consent. At this point, it’s unclear whether the uproar over Cambridge Analytica will lead to new legislation or government regulations but in my circles, I have noticed a significant exodus of companies and users.

Before you make the jump to delete your account.  Download a copy of your Facebook data.

The following steps should help:

  • Go to Facebook.com > Settings > General Account Settings
  • Click “Download a copy of your Facebook data.”
  • Click “Download Archive.”
  • It takes a short period of time for Facebook to generate an archive of your data.
    You will be alerted when the archive is ready.
  • Once notified of its completion, click “Download Archive”, and a zip file will download to your computer.
  • Browse through that archive by opening each file inside the folder.

In the archive, you’ll find your entire history on facebook including messages. In doing so, it’s clear how much Facebook knows about you.

 

Examples of what you will find

  • The index also contains information about every Event invite you got, every Poke and Message you’ve sent or received (even if you are not Facebook friends with the person, or if they are no longer on Facebook), any Facebook applications you installed (even if you don’t use them anymore), and any Facebook “Places” (locations) you may have created.
  • Profile section, you will find some basic information about your profile including any profile names you have had in the past, all your contact info, any pages and interests you liked, groups you joined, and any Facebook pages you are a page administrator for.
  • The Contact Info section contains all the contacts on your mobile phone.
  • The Timeline section contains all your status updates and posts from friends on your timeline. The Photos and Videos sections contain photos and videos you posted; the former also contains code about your Facial Recognition info.
  • The Friends section contains a list of all your Facebook friends along with the date you become friends. It also contains a list of friends you unfriended and when, friend requests you declined, a list of friend requests you sent that are pending being accepted, a list of people who “Follow” you by clicking the follow button on your profile, and anyone you are following.
  • There’s also a Security section tracking IP addresses, devices and browsers you logged in from with dates and timestamps.
  • The Ads section contains a list of Ad Topics you are being targeted for based on interests gleaned from Facebook pages you liked. There’s also a list of the recent ads you clicked on and any advertisers that have your contact information. You can find (and remove) additional ads and ad topics you are being targeted for by visiting: https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences/.

 

My Facebook: Why I recently purged

Today is Monday, January 1, 2018

I just finished what I is the first round of purges of my social media feeds. Mostly on my Facebook accounts.

This was not a task that was simple to do, because many of the persons removed I do like them but no longer maintain a connection outside of seeing them on my friends list.

I wanted to lower my feed footprint and maximize of the value of relationships that have continued to add value to me.

What I mean by connection:

Those that do not show activity on their account or are not responsive to my attempts to interact with them? In addition, we do not maintain any “offline” connection what so ever these days.

There are those from my past  whom I’ve classified as “watches” that simply may be viewing my posts or have me added as just another notch in their friend count.

Limiting information:

I also wanted to limit my information to a more restricted group of people. People I once knew from the past are practical strangers at this point and I wouldn’t allow a stranger to be on my list, so why would I start now.

Those persons who use third-party apps that gather information from them and their friends. Such apps expose details about my account I would not share openly.

The majority of these apps require login to ones Facebook account.

Once logged in the apps are granted a large amount of access to the persons account and details of their friends.

 

That said I had placed these users in limited groups giving them basically “no access” to my feeds, and later removing those connected persons.

Relationships fade:

I believe that its perfectly natural that some relationships fade into distant memory and this happened well before the existence of Facebook.  The only difference is now, that I now have taken affirmative action in severing those ties by removing the persons from my friends list.

Where I can be found:

I have many “public” profiles that those looking to follow me can do so. I have made many of them available so feel free to do so.  List below.

My Blog:  jermsmit.com

My Instagram Accounts:

My Twitter Accounts:

Facebook Pages:

 

Richard Branson: My Tips for Happiness in 2018

We all have influencers in our lives; either by choice or organically. It is those set of influential people who help open our minds to new ways of thinking and going about our day-to-day.  I have followed Richard Branson for a long time and truly admin this man.  Today he posted on LinkedIn a open letter he wrote and I took ever single word in.

Please take a moment and read; most of all enjoy.

 

Dear Stranger,

You don’t know me but I hear you are going through a tough time, and I would like to help you. I want to be open and honest with you, and let you know that happiness isn’t something just afforded to a special few. It can be yours, if you take the time to let it grow.

It’s OK to be stressed, scared and sad, I certainly have been throughout my life. I’ve confronted my biggest fears time and time again. I’ve cheated death on many adventures, seen loved ones pass away, failed in business, minced my words in front of tough audiences, and had my heart broken.

I know I’m fortunate to live an extraordinary life, and that most people would assume my business success, and the wealth that comes with it, have brought me happiness. But they haven’t; in fact it’s the reverse. I am successful, wealthy and connected because I am happy.

So many people get caught up in doing what they think will make them happy but, in my opinion, this is where they fail. Happiness is not about doing, it’s about being. In order to be happy, you need to think consciously about it. Don’t forget the to-do list, but remember to write a to-be list too.

Kids are often asked: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ The world expects grandiose aspirations: ‘I want to be a writer, a doctor, the prime minister.’

They’re told: go to school, go to college, get a job, get married, and then you’ll be happy. But that’s all about doing, not being – and while doing will bring you moments of joy, it won’t necessarily reward you with lasting happiness.

Stop and breathe. Be healthy. Be around your friends and family. Be there for someone, and let someone be there for you. Be bold. Just be for a minute.

If you allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment, happiness will follow. I speak from experience. We’ve built a business empire, joined conversations about the future of our planet, attended many memorable parties and met many unforgettable people. And while these things have brought me great joy, it’s the moments that I stopped just to be, rather than do, that have given me true happiness. Why? Because allowing yourself just to be, puts things into perspective. Try it. Be still. Be present.

For me, it’s watching the flamingos fly across Necker Island at dusk. It’s holding my new grandchildren’s tiny hands. It’s looking up at the stars and dreaming of seeing them up close one day. It’s listening to my family’s dinner-time debates. It’s the smile on a stranger’s face, the smell of rain, the ripple of a wave, the wind across the sand. It’s the first snow fall of winter, and the last storm of summer.

There’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings. As human beings we have the ability to think, move and communicate in a heightened way. We can cooperate, understand, reconcile and love, that’s what sets us apart from most other species. 

Don’t waste your human talents by stressing about nominal things, or that which you cannot change. If you take the time simply to be and appreciate the fruits of life, your stresses will begin to dissolve, and you will be happier.

But don’t just seek happiness when you’re down. Happiness shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a habit. Take the focus off doing, and start being every day. Be loving, be grateful, be helpful, and be a spectator to your own thoughts.

Allow yourself to be in the moment, and appreciate the moment. Take the focus off everything you think you need to do, and start being I promise you, happiness will follow.

Happy regards,

Richard Branson

 

Source: Mind’s book: Dear Stranger, Letters on the subject of happiness.

Ref: https://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/my-tips-happiness-2018