The World of Cyber Existence

Written by Ahmad Babar
The World of Cyber Existence: 

Today we live in a world where everything is just a push of a button away. In the mid-1990’s when I was first introduced to the world of Internet and all that came with it, I could never have imagined having a cyber existence. The only thing that came close to it in those days was a msn/yahoo account with which we communicated with family and friends in faraway places. The only form of verbal communication was the landline phone installed in the living room or, for the few very lucky ones, in their bedrooms. 

In contrast to the above, today we all have multiple cyber versions of ourselves on social websites such as facebook, orkut, twitter, etc. and even the 8-year olds carry around a cell phone. One might wonder what is wrong with having such hi-tech and instant forms of communications where you can share photos with a click of a button and keep friends updated on what we are doing through status updates, etc. The answer is simple, “invasion of privacy”. 

Unfortunately it is now becoming a daily occurrence that some girl’s, or in the rare cases, some boy’s online accounts get “duplicated” where someone from their own “friends” list saves all of their pictures and creates their fake accounts. There are even some websites who save pictures off of girl’s online accounts and then head onto paste them on their own websites advertising the girls are being available for dates!! 

So, how should one counter all of this? There are two simple solutions. The first is to delete all of these accounts and the second is to be a little more vigilant. The first option is always there and I personally recommend that any accounts of social networking websites that lack good privacy settings such as hi5, likedin, orkut, etc. be deleted or if they are to be kept there, no photos be put up and the minimum possible amount of personal details be given. 

One website which I do recommend that you keep your account with is facebook. No, facebook is NOT paying me to write this though I wish they were, it’s just that I have observed and experienced it to be the safest of all though to be honest, it’s not completely safe yet. 

1.) DO NOT ADD People you don’t know and/or don’t work with. If you are NOT sure that you know the person who has added you, don’t add them despite of the number of mutual friends you may have with them.

 2.) Make use of the privacy settings. Use the “Limited Profile” feature and put all those that you don’t know that well onto this list. Then on the privacy settings page, block them from viewing as much information as you feel comfortable with e.g. you may block them from viewing tagged photos of you, from viewing your photo albums, certain personal information, etc.
 3.) Do not feel bad for putting someone on the Limited Profile’s list. It’s your personal data and your privacy comes first.
4.) DO NOT allow people on the Networks you have joined to view your profile and/or data. I have had come across many a profiles where people who have had made use of the limited profile’s feature still have their information and pictures stolen as they allowed their networks to view their information/data. You never know who might be on the same networks as you. Play safe.
5.) Another important thing to note is that on facebook, the privacy settings for each photo album and video is to be set separately, i.e. for you each photo album or video that you put up, you will have to individually manage as to who all can view it. Many instances have been noted where a person’s profile is inaccessible but their photo albums and/or videos are accessible through either the “Share” option or via a mutual friend being tagged in them. Again, Play safe.
6.) Do not put up way too much personal information on your facebook profile. There is no definite way of saying what “way too much” is but as a rough guideline, don’t give your house address, cell phone numbers, personal email addresses, etc. on your profile.
7.) Never feel shy of telling your friends to not put up individual photographs of you on their online profiles. There is nothing wrong in standing up for your rights.
8.) Keep the amount of data that facebook shows when someone searches for you on facebook to the bare minimum.
9.) DO NOT update your status with everything that you are doing and/or feeling. Just because it says “What’s on your mind?” does not mean that you have to post what’s on your mind.
10.) DO NOT feel afraid of reporting and/or blocking anyone who you feel is stalking/bothering on facebook to the proper authorities via using the report/block tool.

I hope that the above proves to be useful to all of you. Share it with your friends as well. 

Happy reading. Stay Pink!!

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