Facebook is Unsafe

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As an educational technology evangelist at work (school), in my service projects, and research, I keep abreast of the latest technology innovations, instructional integrations, and issues. So when email servers such as Yahoo are hacked, and I am a subscriber, I close my account. Initially, Yahoo stated  1 billion users were hacked in 2013; the latest account states that all accounts were hacked totaling 3 billion (NPR, October 2017).

If you’re a techie, especially someone who promotes the use and safeguards of technology at the workplace, what does it say about you if you’re still using it? For me, it was difficult to close my Yahoo account because it was tied to many professional Yahoo Groups such as my alma mater’s outreach to instructional design alumni and the TESOL Electronic Village Online virtual moderating group of educators for training. I also closed my Tumblr account because Yahoo owns it. To protect our online data, we must take precautions and desist from using potentially dangerous technology even as seemingly mundane as a free email account.

Social media networks such as Facebook are definitely more difficult to stop using when they place user’s data at risk because of the connections we built with friends, family, and organizations. Facebook allowed Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy, to access the data of 50 million users without their permission (TechCrunch, March 2018). Of particular rancor, besides the possible effect on the 2016 US election, is that Cambridge Analytica was able to access your friends’ and family’s data. This means your use of Facebook could put other people’s data at risk and vice versa! Grandma may be having a great time on Facebook connecting with everyone, but has she configured her settings to safeguard her data?  This year, 50 million Facebook accounts were also hacked  (CNN Business, October 2018).

Facebook is unsafe because of their misuse of our data for financial gain and system vulnerabilities to hackers. Furthermore, they can do better! We should expect more from tech giants especially for platforms that we want grandma to use. I closed my Facebook account in May after downloading all my photos and letting my connections know other ways to reach me. Facebook also owns Instagram, so I closed it, too. No, I don’t plan on going back. Instead, I’m connecting via other means. It has been extremely difficult to not be connected on FB with my friends and family. On the bright side, I’ve noticed I have real conversations with family regarding milestones because, otherwise, I’m out of the loop.

“Facebook can feel relatively benign and passive. It’s a tool we use to procure information, camaraderie or great products. We forget, all too often, that it is a business, with interests and purposes of its own. We forget that it can leverage our information for profit. Its power over our lives is largely hidden under a veneer of passivity and algorithmic detachment (The Washington Post, March 2018). Technology is only useful if it’s consistently helpful, and its misuses are minimalized through rigorous safeguards.

P.S. To keep up with Facebook’s and other sites’ security breaches, see Wikipedia’s List of Data Breaches. It is current.

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Personal Branding for the 21st Century Educator

This is Sandra Rogers
Sandra Rogers is Teacherrogers

Have you googled yourself lately?  What does the Internet search reveal about you? As a 21st century educator, I’m building my online reputation with one search engine optimization (SEO) keyword, blog post, tweet, or project at a time. In fact, I’ve been wanting to blog about personal branding for some time because blog posts achieve higher SEO status than static websites.

Personal branding is something that most HR leaders profess as essential in today’s job market.  With the plethora of free and simple Web 2.0 tools, it’s fairly easy to create your own online brand.  Since my name is common, I decided to start building my own personal brand—Teacherrogers.  In fact, if you google my moniker,  teacherrogers, you’ll find all of my online projects and activities.

Personal branding for a 21st-century educator means showing your work online, posting your teaching philosophy, tweeting resources, and engaging in some type of “open” learning/teaching environments. Open environments online refer to free training, collaboration, or free information.  I’ve been involved with many open environments as an e-mentor.  My e-portfolio hosted on WordPress is my attempt to share my work online with potential employers, students, and my professional peers.  I personally believe sharing my teaching philosophy with others challenges me to revisit my long-held ideas about teaching.  In fact, it’s a work-in-progress on my to-do-list now, instead of somewhere in the back of my mind.

Are you on the shore or riding the wave when it comes to personal branding? Perhaps you joined several online learning communities and then never went back to complete your profile or never really got involved.  All these attempts will remain online forever plotting your digital pathway, so make sure you cull your online image periodically.  Set up Google Alerts on your name or any other phrase that is important to you; these alerts are sent to your Gmail account immediately after something is posted online about your topic/name. Let me know if you need any help.  My About Me page has my contact information.

Best Wishes,

Sandra Annette Rogers

One Flew Over the Internet

Pelican over Treasure Island, Florida

Dear Teachers,

To be straightforward, I’m referring to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. For the last 7 days, I haven’t been able to access Yahoo Groups or this Ning, even worse, my university eCollege course from my computer.  I kept getting blank pages, forever spinning downloads, like they didn’t exist, like I wasn’t a member of the free world.  However, I was able to access these sites from my husband’s computer in the next room.  Crazy!

What did I do to deserve this?  No one had unfriended me, sent me a virus, spammed me, or closed the accounts. It all started with my participation in the SecondLife EVO Village where my avatar would suddenly disappear repeatedly!  I have high-speed Internet and great bandwidth. I could access other sites, even score tests online.  Absurd cyber reality.

What kept me flying over the Internet?  Unable to participate in my new twitter account @teacherrogers.  Unable to share my remanufactured blog/portfolio at https://teacherrogers.wordpress.com/.  I was even unable to post comments on the EVO Moderators/Mentors YGs.  Wanting to share all my new efforts with my fellow participants and the EVO moderators.  I was there hovering.

Three trojans? That’s all my Internet security discovered.  1069 potentially harmful files?  Maybe.  Or was it the renewal time frame of my subscription with McAfee, an Internet security program?  I downloaded a renewal subscription with McAfee and things continued to go slowly with eCollege–one minute to login, another minute to go to one of my courses, another minute to go to my desired location, et cetera.  I ran speed and bandwidth tests. My computer was clocked at 4.0 MB per second, akin to dial-up!

My husband came across a report that indicated that running too many Internet security programs can slow down your computer.  After 7 days of rebooting, defragmenting, deleting unnecessary files and programs, scanning for viruses, purchasing a system booster and tweaker, and running a PC check from Dell, I finally uninstalled McAfee and my computer runs fine!  I thought I’d share my trapeze act, so that you can avoid any dastardly mishaps on the net.

P.S.  I use AVG instead.

Sandra Annette Rogers