Enter the hallowed halls of the internet with caution.
Do not take this space anything but seriously.
Whatever the reason for you stepping into cyberspace, be careful how you present yourself.
Of course, most people have now been on the internet for many years and the younger generation being net savvy the moment they let out their first scream are not going to heed any words of caution.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t take note of these words of caution and implement some sound strategies from this day onwards. It also does not matter for what reason you are using the internet and why you are putting your details online.
You could be a proud granny sharing the photos of your grandchildren with all of your friends, or you could be a young person setting up a profile for career purposes or maybe a newbie internet marketer finding your feet. The same applies to all.
But let’s go back a step and reflect on what’s going on out there in the technology field. There are two newish trends that are of interest. One is called Cloud Computing and the other is the Netbook.
What do these two trends mean to you the internet user? Probably in the scheme of things you wouldn’t really even spend one nanosecond on thinking of either of these. ‘So what’ in fact would be your idea of a good response.
Let’s have a look at Cloud Computing first of all. The Cloud is about using an environment online that allows you to complete a string of tasks without having to use any software on your computer, except for your web browser. And once completed the results are saved onto an external server.
Some purists might complain here and say that when you upload your photographs from your camera or smart phone you are using software such as iPhoto or other windows type application. Sure you are. But once you load your images on to Flickr you have moved them into the Cloud.
Not only have you moved them into Flickr, an online photosharing community site which is part of the social media space, but you are going to leave them there. And the moment you do that, they no longer belong to you anymore. That’s the nitty gritty about the whole thing.
You might think those images are yours and belong to you. But in terms of true copyright laws and the terms and conditions of the site which you never bothered to read, they no longer belong to you and Flickr may do with them whatever they wish.
Have you sat up yet? Rubbed the sleep out of your eyes? Had a bit of a fright? Not?
If that didn’t scare you it means that the material you have uploaded to the social media sites such as Flickr, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter are good stuff and don’t show you or your family and friends in a bad light. You have nothing to hide, you mutter under your breath.
That’s good. In future though you might want to bear this in mind and screen every bit of data you post on any social media site. That applies to words, names, pictures, video, sound, graphics you name it. Be careful of what you send out about yourself.
So what about the Netbook then?
That takes the whole thing one step further. Not only are you giving your info to the Cloud out there, but you are using a gadget that is designed for you to use the internet for everything. The principle of the Netbook is that you use applications and facilities available on the internet. Say goodbye to Microsoft and Adobe and hello to free software on the internet.
Isn’t that a good idea? Why would that be a problem? It means that when you compile an article, like writing this one, all the bits that you chop and change, reword, maybe even delegate to the trash can because it’s no good, all these bits stay in cyberspace. You have no idea whether any of these items are actually trashed. Where does the trash go to? You don’t know and have no control over it.
If one were to think of Google as the Big Brother, then consider the fact that Google has brought out Chrome it’s own browser software. It also has Android an operating system for the mobile platform. Then they offer a host of free software available for you to do anything with from e-mailing, writing letters to compiling presentations, as long as you stay online.
And while your mulling over that snippet of information, did you know that Google owns YouTube and Google maps and Google Earth? Do you know what Google Earth does? It takes photographs of the street in which you live. Good thing Google’s slogan is ‘Don’t be evil’, although it’s only the unofficial one. Let’s just hope they stick with that. In a few years time they are going to own all of your data.