New Online Safety Lesson: Online Hate Crimes: Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?

March 21, 2012

The 14th installment in the lesson series I’m writing on behalf of iKeepSafe, looks at taking a stand against hate crimes and content groups on the internet.

The vast majority of people in every country oppose hate, hate groups, and hate crimes. Unfortunately however, the number of hate groups around the world is increasing. In the U.S. hate groups have surged by 54% since 2000 when there were 602 hate groups, to 1,018 official hate groups in 2011.

The rise in hate groups isn’t just an American problem; Germany, South Africa, France, Britain, and other countries also struggle with rapidly expanding numbers of hate groups.

To see and use this lesson, the companion presentation, professional development materials, and parent tips click here: Online Hate Crimes: Are you part of the solution or part of the problem?



New Online Safety Lesson: Connecting Technology Across Generations

February 17, 2012

The 11th installment in the lesson series I’m writing on behalf of iKeepSafe, focuses on leveraging the internet to connect generations.

Who says technology is hurting interpersonal relationships? New research shows that the “computer generation” no longer encompasses just the teens who grew up with technology. Seniors are migrating online like never before, which offers new channels for communication between the generations.

Whether texting, Skyping, Facebooking or emailing, seniors and youth have much to gain from each other. Read further for some surprising statistics on how seniors are increasingly embracing current technologies and finding new ways to communicate with their grandchildren and other youth. And, don’t miss out on tips to help deepen interaction between younger and older generations.

To see and use this lesson, the companion presentation, professional development materials, and parent tips click here: Connecting Technology Across Generations 


New Online Safety Lesson: Using Twitter Wisely

February 3, 2012

The 10th installment in the lesson series I’m writing on behalf of iKeepSafe, focuses on teens and Twitter use.

Teens are increasingly turning to Twitter as an alternative or addition to other social media platforms. Like any technology, it has its own language, culture… and risks. How are teens using Twitter and how can they minimize privacy concerns? While you can make your Twitter account “private,” or even use a pseudonym, others may still be watching-including peers, school officials, parents, and even Homeland Security.

As we learn to integrate new technologies into our everyday lives, students and professionals alike grapple with the thorny questions of the boundaries surrounding freedom of speech, appropriate speech, and content censoring. Read on for a primer on Twitter-speak, and find out who’s Twittering… and who’s reading.

To see and use this lesson, the companion presentation, professional development materials, and parent tips click here: Using Twitter Wisely 


The state of the Internet Infographic – Cool Stats to Ponder

August 23, 2011

What makes this  State of the Internet by Mashable [infographic] so interesting is that it is dynamic, you can see the number of new internet users, and new websites coming online, click around the world to see the internet’s role in various countries, and has interesting stats about the videos uploaded each minute, the searches, tweets, and more.

Interesting stats (subject to change by the time you look at them!):

  • Avg. time spent on Facebook per month – 17 hours and 33 minutes
  • Videos watched on YouTube per day – 2 billion
  • 119 Million Tweets sent per day
  • 35 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • 1.2 Million Editors edit 11 million articles per month on Wikipedia
  • The online dating industry is worth $4 billion worldwide
  • Your facebook profile is worth $91

Have fun exploring.


Don’t Want a Twitter Tragedy? Follow this Advice…

March 12, 2011

Call it over exposure, ignorance, or a blatant desire to commit Twittercide, people continue to post things to their Twitter accounts that come back to bite them.

If you aren’t sure where the potential mine fields lay in Twitter comments, a new article-with-slide-show-examples on the Huffington Post titled What Not To Post On Twitter: 11 Things Your Tweeps Don’t Need To Know by Catharine Smith is a good primer.

Here’s an excerpt:

And as search engines like Google and Bing take steps to further integrate Twitter updates into query results, it’s more important than ever to watch what you tweet.

Given the platform’s simplicity and 140-character limit, it can be tempting to dash off Twitter updates without pausing to consider the impact they can have. Experts agree that users should take a moment before tweeting. Especially if your tweets are public, that moment of reconsideration could save you your job, your personal safety or your reputation.

To view the entire article and accompanying slide show, click here.

For more information about smart Tweeting tactics see my blogs:

Think b4 U tweet.


If it’s Personal, or Controversial, Don’t Post it on Twitter

November 28, 2010

In an interview for, Linda Criddle, President LOOKBOTHWAYS and the Safe Internet Alliance outlined the most common mistakes consumers make when posting comments on Twitter.

To read the full article, click here. Read on for an excerpt of Linda’s comments.

Posting on Twitter requires even less time–and therefore, thought–than the average Facebook post. “People say, ‘I’m stuck in traffic,’ or ‘I’m at the mall, saw a great discount,'” says Criddle. “If I look at someone’s Twitter history over time, I’ll notice things like that they tweet from the same Starbucks ( SBUXnews people ) every morning. People give away their daily routines, and that allows me to impersonate you, or ‘coincidentally’ meet you.”

What to do when meeting people in person. Criddle advises Twitter friends meeting in person for the first time to insist upon doing so in a public place. Guarding emotions is important, too. In addition to allowing crooks to feign empathy and build trust with victims, letting people know how you feel can put you at risk for emotional abuse and cyber-bullying, she warns.

Poorly thought-out social media posts can also ruin careers and destroy reputations. “There was the Obama speechwriter who put up the picture of himself groping a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton,” says Criddle. Tweeters and other social network users may also encounter malicious situations where someone else is deliberately trying to tear another person down, and there are unwitting attacks; a friend tweets something that gets you into hot water.”

To read the full article, click here

If Your Tweet’s an Ad, Prepare to be Unfollowed

November 23, 2009

A growing number of Tweeters are jumping on the ad bandwagon to make money off their networks by allowing advertisers to use their identity and tweet their followers., Izea and Peer2 are three key players in this new consumer-to-consumer advertising strategy that is attempting to create an alternate marketing channel in the face of largely ignored ads delivered via print, TV or online media. The idea is that your Twitter followers will pay attention to (and place more trust in) an ad delivered by you as someone they respect.

According to Joey Caroni, co-founder of Peer2, “We don’t want to create an army of spammers, and we are not trying to turn Facebook and Twitter into one giant spam network. All we are trying to do is get consumers to become marketers for us.”

For tweeters with lots of followers, the payout can be significant – up to $10k for a celebrity who pushes a tweet ad – but the bigger opportunity in the minds of these companies is to marry topic experts with smaller brands to push their products. For example a running guru might accept payment to send a ‘tweet’ that promotes a new shoe – and by doing so her followers may choose to buy the product.

Deception and Exploitation

Paying consumers to insert ads in what is supposed to be their own thoughts isn’t new – Izea already has a service called PayPerPost that pays bloggers to pitch products to their readers – when first launched it was not transparent that the ‘posts’ were in fact paid ads, and the company was sharply criticized for the deceptive practice. Now, ads are more clearly marked but the sleaze factor remains.

Most Internet users do not want their online relationships and dialog sullied with commercial content. Even when deception isn’t a factor, why follow someone whose comments are based on profit, or at a bare minimum, sees your relationship as something to financially exploit?

Tech blogger, Robert Scoble, explained it this way in a New York Times article. “It [advertising within your content] interferes with your relationship with your friends and your audience.” Scoble also noted that he “unfollows” people on Twitter who send him ads.

My Promise

No content on, and my twitter account has ever been influenced by profit. We do not, nor will we accept advertising. Right or wrong, the content we provide represents the best advice we have to give.

If I recommend a product, – and I do from time-to-time – it is because I genuinely recommend it. There is no financial compensation for doing so. Period.

When I follow someone’s blog, tweets, or comments, I do so because I want their honest take. If their comments are motivated by ad revenue, the honesty of the interchange is gone and so am I.