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June 13, 2008


Dale Vile

You make a good point that use of the internet is dangerous is you don't behave responsibly, as the reckless driving of a car - the message being to surf and drive safely. The problem is that the younger demographic, the ones whose car insurance is so high because statistically the they cause so many wrecks due to poor judgement, are the the ones that are more likely to be using FB - see:


This doesn't at all change your argument, but I do think that human nature (especially with regard to younger people) is something we should keep in mind. This is particularly pertinent if you are an employer, which is why so many organisations are nervous about the security and compliance risks of social media use by their employees (we'll be publishing some research on this soon). Beyond this, there is the question of potentially linking private indiscretion very explicitly with your business life. Again, as an employer, do you want your key clients to get spooked by pictures of the top talent assigned to their account appearing on the internet doing something very dodgy/illegal?

As you know, I am a massive social media fan and user myself, but I do think many people are taking very significant risks so the odd reminder to be careful is not necessarily a bad thing. That is not the same as scare-mongering, though, it is just a call for both individuals and employers to make sure some very simple ground rules are defined and followed.

Lou Covey

I think we in the tech biz seem to think that everything we do is common knowledge, and journalists think that just because something has been written that it is well known. But most of the work done in this country is not done with direct access to computers. For the most part, computing systems are embedded in people's lives without them knowing that are in possession of a powerful process, operating system and application software. They may go home from a day on the factory line and log in to get email, play games, share photos, etc. But they haven't spent time reading the newspaper about Apple stock prices dropping or the lawsuit between Viacom and Google. Those of us who actually know about privacy issues on the 'net are probably less than 10 percent of the population. And 90 percent of us are here in the Silicon Valley.
The "Internets" is still a vast unexplored land, not unlike what everything west of the Rockies were to the citizens of St. Louis back in the 1800s.

Don Neely

Congratulations. IdaRose given you have joined Freeform Dynamics, and per Jon Collins blog post, will be also covering topics associated with social networking and their people & process team, I suggest you register on the IBM Analyst Relations web site, www.ibm.com/itanalyst where you can also indicate your areas of interest. My team support IBM's enterprise social networking software solutions and have worked with Dale Vile and David Tebbutt. Feel free to contact me.

Kate Carruthers

Good points. Why is it that some seemingly rational people seem to check their logic as soon as they go online & do really dumb stuff they'd not do offline? And why is the fault of the medium that they've done a completely dumb thing? Perhaps if the mainstream media would occasionally print some information on how to keep secure online for non-geeks rather than just scaremongering the world would be a better place?


There's also the danger of birthdates.. Facebook asks for this and then displays it on your profile. Then you ring your bank to get a new password because you've forgotten yours - the banks asks you to prove your identity by giving your birthdate.


We live in a world of tiny info chunks. The only information that matters is contained in the last 20 links we saw and the most recent discussion we've been in on any topic. Stand by for several thousand more "look how stupid social network users are" pieces.

Joseph Hunkins

your dog's name is D13gOSYlv

Wow, how'd you guess it? It's too hard to change all my passwords so I'm just going to change my dog's name now that the secret is out.



Great post. Not sure if this is due to ignorance on the part of journalists, or simply that raising a scare out of new technology makes a good story. If you can make it look as though it will be responsible for something scary, people seem only too happy to read, absorb, and then tell/email/tweet/IM all their friends about it. There's been lots of attendant suspicion around the development of the TV, telephone, cellphone and so on before this.

I'd suggest it's not even much different than the scaremongering that attended the emergence of rock and roll as a force of evil that would seduce and corrupt our youth. I'm sure we've all forgotten that now (if we were even around at the time), but some of the wilder rantings of politicians and others are lovingly preserved at the R&R Museum in Cleveland.

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