Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

social-media-icon-setI was in the Toronto airport recently and had some time to reflect on how much power, whether good or bad, society has been given by social media. Be it Instagram, FaceBook, Yelp or Twitter, anything you do, anyone you meet, and anywhere you want to go, people have messaged about it and those messages and posts can make or break an event/place/person.

President Obama has been in the news a lot lately discussing truth in news and how FB and Google need to ensure facts are being reported … If we can’t discriminate between serious arguments and propaganda, then we have serious problems.

To a lesser extent the same is true about the average Joe/Josephine and their use of social media.  How do we filter out the facts from the fiction?  The first thing many people do upon experiencing something new (I am guilty of this myself) is post about it.  More often than not, it is the negatives that get posted.  When you have a problem, you want to complain and think someone, anyone, is listening.  Social media to the rescue.  A platform with no real checks and balances, and more often than not the first place we go to find out what others think of something we are thinking of doing, or to “research” a place we are thinking of going to. (I am guilty of this too, especially when it comes to hotels and restaurants)

So often I have heard the same comments about a place, only to find out, it was because one person experienced it and then everyone else just regurgitated what they read, retweeted, reposted, etc without actually experiencing it themselves.

Take for instance a prime example that just happened this morning in my office.  Restaurant ABC gets a bad review on yelp and is taken as gospel because it had more than one bad rating, and as such the person I was talking to said they would not be trying it out.  Who knows, it could have been a bad day, it could have been an isolated problem, it may have been just not quite what was expected, or the person giving the bad review was just being petty.  Disgruntled worker maybe?  You can learn from others mistakes or experiences, but that doesn’t mean that they will have the same experience as you.  With restaurants especially, the particular cook can make or break a meal, your palate is different from someone else’s, maybe you like salt more than sweet for instance, etc., there are a myriad of possible reasons.  And hey, who knows maybe it does legitimately suck.

Everything you post should be understood and interpreted as “in my limited opinion and experience at this particular time and location” but rarely it is.  A few negative comments can quickly become a tidal wave simply due to our inherent nature of listening and trusting others opinions – It was on yelp/Facebook/Google/Twitter/ etc, so it must be true.  We can’t prevent the rants and negativity but we can learn to take it with a grain of salt and realize it for what it is, free advice.  And as with any advice, you usually get what you paid for.

One final note, getting back to the airport again.  Chef Roger Mooking has a new (or at least new to me) restaurant in Pearson.  Having eaten at another chef’s restaurant there, Massimo Capra’s Boccone, and thoroughly enjoying it we thought we’d try “Twist“.  Lets just say I hope chef Mooking pops in again soon to make sure they are preparing his menu properly since his “not so philly cheesesteak” to use some of his own words when judging on Chopped, is a one note, dry offering, in need of some sauce.  But that is just my opinion, well that and my traveling companion.  So two free opinions.  Take it with a grain of salt, … which wouldn’t have helped this sandwich.

barkerp

 

We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.”
― Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange

This quote and the meaning behind it rings all too true in today’s connected world.  Everything you put out there, stays out there.  The internet does not forget, people might, but then they can always find it again on the internet later to remind themselves.

Taste your words before you spit them out.” Its funny, I saw that piece of wisdom on a service station sign as I was driving past.  Made me think, and does really hit home the same message as the Anthony Burgess quote.  Think before you speak, or more precisely nowadays, think before you send/post.  There are no do-overs when it comes to what you put out there, and its easier to not say something than to try to fix it afterward or retract it.  Ask pretty much any politician.  Doesn’t matter if it’s a seemingly innocent tweet, an email, or a blog post, or comment on a website.  It can be retrieved and potentially used against you.

You never know, you may end up running for public office someday and all those shoe-fetish photos you “liked” could come back to bite you in the ass… so to speak.

I’m barkerp and I approve this message.

All the hype this past week about the supposed tracking of your whereabouts by a “hidden file” on your iPhone, made me need to rant a little, so bear with me this should be a short ride.
Firstly, the file in question tracks all the cellphone towers that you have been near using them to triangulate your location, or at least try to.  More on that later.

Secondly, the file is not shared with Apple, it is compiled on your iPhone and copied to the computer you sync your iPhone with. All those little apps that are location aware and you have allowed them to collect data are going into this file.  That’s as far as it travels. Strangely though, it seems my iPhone travels more than me.
I drive to sites as part of my job, some weeks nearly everyday i’m out somewhere, be it around town, or a half day away. Some weeks i’m in the office designing most of the time, it’s like a handful of bits and bites, you never know what you are gonna get each week.

Anyway,… So, I grabbed the iPhoneTracker App and ran it to see what all the hype is about and low and behold it seems my iPhone is going places i’ve never been.  I’ve got a good memory of where i’ve driven to, and I know i’ve been to many places in ontario but haven’t so far been in the middle of Lake Erie for instance.

I didn't go to Awenda Provincial Park

Didn't go to Killbear Park either

If you want to see where your iPhone has traveled (with or without you) check out Pete Warden’s iPhoneTracker app (here).

The big concern seems to be that people could hack your computer and get the file, or if you were involved in nefarious activities the police could subpoena that file or retrieve it from your iPhone/iPad.  Yes, that is true, they could.  They could also contact your cellphone provider and get the same kind of info, and it would be more accurate.

What is important to remember is this file is a list of assumed locations derived by triangulating your location, which is evident by the maps i’ve posted above.  A few of the locations show me in the middle of water and being as I have not been on a boat anywhere near those locations it is not possible.  Also, many of the locations shown are in areas I have never been anywhere near.  Especially when you get into areas that have limited cell-tower coverage, such as the northern parts of Ontario.

Basically none of this info is precise enough to be used to prove anything in a court of law, you are more likely to be tracked correctly by your tweets and Foursquare check-ins than this file and yet people willingly give out that info all the time.  In my opinion it is a lot of hype and misinformation being sensationalized by the media, and people should put away their tinfoil hats.

tcg

You’ve got your smartphone or celphone with you all the time anyway why not use it to climb the virtual ladder with the help of Pongr.  (and No, Pongr isn’t what you call someone who plays Pong all the time)

For those of you who don’t know, Pongr is a service in which you send in your pictures showing various brands you want to support and in doing so you climb the ranks of the virtual company.  I’m was an “intern”  and have moved up to “administrative assistant” at one of my faves.  You can submit your photos either through logging onto the webpage (http://www.pongr.com) or by sending multimedia messages (picture messages or MMS) to pongr.  For instance, sending a photo of a coke can to coke@pongr.com.  Its relatively simple, or at least it is supposed to be.

One little thing I don’t like is being forced to take a picture of a kitkat chocolate bar to get into the game.  Why kitkat? Why not a brand I actually like – give me a choice at least.  Now I get to go out in a snowstorm to take a photo of a chocolate bar just so I can see how this thing works.  blech. (or.. ahem.. google the name, grab a screenshot, upload to iPhone and then txtmessage to pongr… ahem…  BUT I would never do that, it would be cheating)

This review hit a stumbling block when the twitter integration seemed to stop working.  That and a couple of MMS text messages with pics attached never got a return SMS message to verify the user.  If you’re thinking “huh?”, let me explain.

As I mentioned you can txt picture messages to pongr, and when you do it the first time you should get a return txt message that allows you to link your mobile phone number with your pongr account.  The operative word in that statement is “should”.  Never happened for me, but a few tweets back and forth to the people at pongr seemed to have narrowed down the problem.  And as luck would have it, its a legitimate problem and needs to be fixed and they are looking into it.

Until that little glitch is fixed, and the issue I have been having with logging in with my Twitter account, the service is faltering a bit for me and becoming a bit dead.   I even had a problem logging into the website version of Pongr, but again a Tweet to the pongr acct on twitter (@PongrMedia) and I got a reply telling me some updates they just did seemed to break a few things for some users, which they were fixing. Eventually it all got worked out, although I still have two accounts that need to be merged – one created by emails and one created by twitter logon that didn’t link properly. I’m sure we’ll get that fixed up eventually too.

Its a great idea, a fun way to show your brand loyalty and even flex your creative muscle a bit with the photos you submit.  It is a bit of a popularity contest, with the best photos getting the most likes, so use that artistic eye and look for a fun or interesting twist when taking your photos of logos or products.  In a world where people like to check in all over the place – be it, Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook or Airmiles, this is another way to let people know what interests you and have some healthy competition along the way too.  Who knows, maybe you will become the virtual CEO of your fave brand, just don’t pick Coke – I have my eye set on that one.

tcg

As I said in a previous post, there is a fine line between using your location to help find pertinent information and using location services to tell the world where you are at all times.  While it may seem cool that your friends can track your whereabouts as you tweet or update, is it really that smart to make your daily routine common knowledge. Call me paranoid if you want but there are plenty of documented instances of people cyberstalking others – be it an ex, an obsession, a groupie, a “fan”, etc – and by letting these potential ne’er-do-wells know where you are, you are making the process all that much easier for them.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t let anyone know what is going on in your life or what exciting places you are visiting, but refrain from giving away too many details.  Telling everyone you are taking off for the weekend and the house is empty and oh yeah, we just took the dog to the cutest doggie-daycamp since no one will be home to look after it is not a good idea if you also have the habit of having location services enabled during your tweets or updates.  In no time a person with very little technical expertise can find out where you live and map out your routine for their own nefarious uses.

It’s great to be able to open an app or program and use your location to determine where the nearest restaurant or coffee shop or specific bank branch is, but is it really a good idea to be constantly using a program like Foursquare , Gowalla, FaceBook or Twitter  to lojack your smartphone or laptop?  Personal safety is sadly something we really need to be aware of more than the previous generations ever did. I don’t want to sound like the harbinger of doom but along with all the advances in technology comes the added need to use them responsibly and think about the possible negative side of having so much personal information out there for all to see.

On a completely unrelated topic, does anyone know where I can get one of those fake hollowed-out rocks you can hide a key inside?

tcg