Thursday, October 24, 2013

Public and Permanent

Recently I attended a talk (truly not a lecture, but a talk) given by Richard Guerry.  

Richard is the Executive Director of IROC2 (Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication) and he has devoted himself to the cause of teaching coursed on "Digital Consciousness".  

His idea is brilliant and basic all at the same time.  We are given digital tools with incredible abilities, but no one teaches us the intelligent way to use them.  Oh sure, we can all get a smart phone or tablet and figure out, pretty quickly, how to use it.  The problem is that we don't know how to use it *wisely*.  We've all seen stories of celebrities getting their phones hacked with embarrassing photos then being immediately distributed across the Internet.  Or we've seen stories of people who lose a job or aren't hired for a job due to embarrassing Facebook postings or the like.

So Richard teaches a concept of "Public and Permanent", reminding everyone in attendance that you need to approach the use of digital tools with the idea that whatever you put out there will be public and will never go away.  Once you have that mindset and understanding, the risks are much easier to avoid.

Here's a great example.  One of the most popular photo sharing sites currently is Snapchat.  The idea is you can share a photo to your group of friends and it only exists for 10 seconds then it is deleted from their device.  Because of that safety net, many are sending pics of questionable taste.  However, most users do not realize that the Terms of Service they agree to when signing up states that the photos remain on the company servers.  What happens if one of your photos ever gets loose on the Internet?  If you exercise judgement to start with, you don't even need to worry about it.

That's just one small example, but Richard does a great job of articulating the whole concept.  If you get a chance to hear one of his presentations, I highly advise it.  Even as someone who writes a column called "Technology Evangelist" I gleaned some good info.  Enough, in fact, that I'm recommending the program.

If, however, you can't get to see him, you can head on over to Amazon and download his book for your Kindle or Kindle App.  It's available for $9.95 and well worth the read.  I also think it's worth mentioning that the IROC2 webs tie has tons of useful info.  Richard spends a lot of his time lecturing to kids and parents to help both groups understand and accomplish reasonable electronic privacy goals.  So if you are a parent, there are good tools there to help.

Take a look.  I think you'll get some good info to help either yourself, your family, or both.

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