It’s No Longer OK to Not Know How the Internet Works

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Networking ImageLast year, as the debates over SOPA and PIPA raged, Joshua Kopstein at Motherboard wrote a post entitled “Dear Congress, It’s No Longer OK to Not KNow How the Internet Works“. In the post, he blasted Congress for joking about how little they understood about the Internet while, at the same time, attempting to legislate it.

A year later, it’s time to revisit that message, but in a different context.

With the recent NSA scandals, the attack on Tor network (widely suspected to be orchestrated by the U.S. government), and deep concerns about how government and private entities are cooperating to share user data, it’s clear isn’t just the government that needs a primer on how the Internet works.

The everyday user that does as well.

For most people, including many who grew up with the Internet, the Web seems almost magical. They click to visit a site or send an email and they get content or data from half a world away, nearly instantly.

But where most people take the time to understand at least the basics of how their car works, far fewer have taken the time to understand how the Internet works, even as they depend upon it more and more as part of their daily lives.

But like not knowing how a car works, ignorance can be dangerous and, also like a car, a little bit of understanding can go a long, long way. [Read more…]

How the PRISM Scandal Changed the Copyright Debate

Empty Room

Empty RoomWhen The Guardian broke the NSA Prism scandal back in early June, the uproar on the Internet was both immediate and widespread. The Internet, as we talked about two weeks ago, has not let the scandal die down and it remains a hot-button issue today.

However, whenever a major scandal like this emerges, it inevitably has unintended consequences on other debates and discussions. The Web community, in the most broad sense of the word, tends to be laser-focused on whatever issue is most prevalent on any given day.

Issues that aren’t so prevalent, however, take a back seat.

One such example of this is the copyright debates. Though copyright became a hot button issue in early 2012 with the SOPA/PIPA protests, it had been a focal point of the tech community for a long time before.

Today though, much of that attention is gone and many of the tech sites and authors that focused heavily, or even almost exclusively, on copyright issues have shifted their aim to government-related issues. This move has quieted an online debate that is still very much active in courtrooms and legislatures all over the world and one that could easily play an important role in the PRISM/NSA discussion.

Unfortunately though, the reasons for this are straightforward and there isn’t much that can be done about it, at least not without breaking the laws of physics. [Read more…]

PRISM , Big Data and the Future of Privacy

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It’s been just over a month since The Guardian broke the story about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive data collection program known as PRISM. The fervor has not died down and additional revelations about how the program works and similar systems existing in other countries have only stoked the flames

That anger has culminated in both “Restore the Fourth” rallies across the U.S., outrange online and a great deal of mockery as people turn to humor to best express their feelings. The nation, and indeed the world, has also turned its attention to the flight of Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who originally leaked information about the program to the media.

But in the midst of the anger, lawsuits and questions, a larger conversation is taking place, one that revolves around privacy online, how much information we put out about ourselves on the Web and who has access to it.

That is because, while the Internet has certainly made our lives more convenient, it has also made them more trackable. In our bid to communicate better and easier, we put out so much information about ourselves, both intentionally and unintentionally, that the discovery of the NSA’s program may be as much a moment of reevaluation of our own practices as well as our government.

After all, for the government to collect the information it does, someone else has to have it first and the government is not the only entity with a vested interest in tracking you and monitoring your activities. [Read more…]

Is the Death of Google Reader Bad for Blogs?

Google Reader

Google Reader

Throughout history, things come and go. What was once at the very top, ends up being replaced. When was the last time you made a call from a corded phone? How about listened to the radio? When did you read a newspaper last? The world is constantly evolving, and what’s the norm now may not be so five or 10 years from now.

On July 1, Google Reader saw its demise. Easily one of the most popular RSS readers on the planet, Google claimed declining usage was a factor in their decision to shut it down. Back in March when an announcement was made, bloggers and readers were extremely vocal. Most were very upset, and thought it was an incredibly stupid move on Google’s part.

However, the tech giant has a lot of products and services under its belt. For any business, you need to stay focused, and keep the money rolling in. Unfortunately, Reader simply wasn’t part of a focus anymore. With the shut down, many bloggers started to question what it meant for the industry. Was this the start of a major shift? Are blogs going by the wayside? [Read more…]

Reasons a Blogger Should Stick With WordPress

reasons a blogger should stick with wordpress

reasons a blogger should stick with wordpress
Ever since blogging became rather mainstream, there has been no lack of platforms for newbies and seasoned bloggers alike. Yet as we can see from the past 10 years, WordPress has more than held its own in this realm. With WordPress celebrating its 10th anniversary, there is a lot to be said about how good the platform is. But is it really the best? Should bloggers stick with WordPress or look elsewhere? [Read more…]

What Is The Future Of SEO?

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In a society where the internet is an integral part of many of our lives, internet related industries are flourishing, including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Without good SEO, website owners will have sites that are barely even noticed by people making searches online, which could make even the best sites all but useless.

With this in mind it is easy to see just why good SEO is in high demand. What’s more is that SEO looks like it will be around for some time yet as it is hard to see how it could become obsolete any time soon. As long as we have the internet there will be a demand for SEO and the internet looks as though it is here to stay, at least that is until something better comes along. [Read more…]

Will The Blogging/SEO Bubble Ever Burst?

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seo bubble

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a start. There’s a cold sweat running down my forehead and my eyes are wide with panic. My girlfriend turns over and switches on the light to ask what’s wrong, but I can’t tell her. It’s too horrible…

What is this thought that haunts me and keeps me up at night? It’s the idea that someday I may not be able to make a living online anymore the way I have been for the last five years. You see it doesn’t make sense when you think about it: we can earn money online because we put ads on our websites and bring in lots of visitors, but then how are those advertisers making money? Often they make money by putting ads on their sites, or by selling products on their sites that people hardly ever click. The money goes round and round, but when is anything actually bought? [Read more…]

What Are Facebook Doing With Their Privacy Policy?

Image Credit: Techcrunch 2011

In the wake of the epic stories surrounding the inimitable Facebook and its latest acquisition, Instagram, one has to wonder how many more questionable actions can manifest from the camp of the social media giant. I, am of course referring to the squawking over the TOS back in December. This could spell long-term PR trouble. What exactly is Facebook doing?

Let’s get the facts straight. Instagram may still be having issues, what with its public traffic data being ripped from public view recently. But the company has apparently stemmed the flow of angry users fleeing the site like a burning building.However sometimes, it’s too little too late, as it’s beenwidelynoted that 25% of the active user base was lost in the aftermath.Instagram backpedaled on the issue, saying, “It would not sell members’ photos”. This was followed closely by a quote from the company,”that statement is not authorized for publication.”O rly, Instagram? There’s no sense of irony in that statement!

Facebook HTTPS Connections

This overarching argument about data and its right to be withheld or published, is a longstanding argument within social media ranks that goes back almost as far as the inception of journalism itself. Facebook, and its user base, is in the midst of a cold war over the fact that deleted accounts do not mean entire removal from the site. Users are able to download their data before doing so, but there is a finite period that accounts are cached in case the user changes their mind. What happens to the data after that time? Is it sold or otherwise leveraged for private gain? Or is it truly erased from the site? Facebook has said that the nature of caching in search engines in addition to “shares” on the site makes 100% data deletion truly impossible.

So the question remains, with only the most recent examples displayed for evidence. To answer the question bluntly, Facebook is shaping privacy policy so that is seemingly transparent but lesscomprehensible by most who engage the site. When was the last time you actually read a TOS when you registered to a site?A common joke among Facebook critics is, “Facebook is like a reverse eBay; you’re the product and the highest bidder gets access to your life”. So who is the highest bidder assisting Facebook shape privacy policy?Digital Sky Technologies, is the largest investor as of this writing and their partners’ history can be found here.

Source pages:TheNextWeb

Nike’s Winning Efforts With Social Media

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Nike is one of the biggest and most successful companies in the world. It is considered a trailblazer in many aspects of business and people look up to Nike as a company that is at the forefront of innovation.

Nike is one of the companies that have fully embraced the power of social media as a way of enhancing its business and its relationship with its stakeholders. Nike knows that social media is an effective bridge that helps strengthen its relationship with consumers and it has developed an effective social media strategy that other companies are also emulating.

So what makes Nike’s social media strategy so effective? [Read more…]

Guest Posting vs. Article Marketing: The Importance of Understanding The Difference

Guest Posting

Guest PostingIn the last couple of years, guest posting on other people’s blogs has become a solid marketing technique. At first, the idea of letting some stranger post their content on your blog seemed ludicrous. However, many bloggers realized the benefits of more fresh unique content, and the wheel has been rolling ever since. I have personally guest posted on many different blogs, and I have noticed that guest posting is sometimes clumped together with article marketing as if they are “basically the same thing.” They are NOT the same thing. There are many differences, and that is what I want to explore. Let’s start with the similarities of the two: [Read more…]