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August 19, 2010#

Facebook Places

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Facebook might be about to give the kiss of death to the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla, with their new mobile location-awareness service cleverly titled Facebook Places. The service launched last night as part of the latest Facebook update for the iPhone (and available at touch.facebook.com), but is “unavailable” in the Indianapolis region upon my own personal testing. Just like many other geo-tagging services, when users log into their mobile app, a string of places nearby are listed that users can “check in” at, tag their friends, and post a text update that will appear on friends’ news feeds.

A feature that you users want to consider looking into is “People Here Now,” which gives a list of your Facebook friends that recently tagged themselves nearby your check-in location. Those of you that have many “friends” on Facebook that you don’t actually know, you may want to reconsider giving them personal information about your location and the fact that you aren’t at your house. But, all underage users of the service will lack “Here Now” visibility to anyone but their friends.

However, Betanews reports that Facebook has made its Places API available to the services that would otherwise have been its biggest competitors. Foursquare, Gowalla, Booyah, and Yelp were all present at Facebook’s launch announcement.

So, goodbye Foursquare? Yes. PC World thinks so, too.

July 26, 2010#

Think Before Posting…

A great article in the NY times last week sheds a little more light and throws out a kind reminder for those using social networks. In this article, the New York Times refers to a report (click for .pdf) called Online Reputation in a Connected World. Nearly 75% of human-resource professionals and recruiters are required by their employers to conduct online research about potential candidates–including the likes of Facebook, Twitter, personal web sites, blogs, and other information-sharing ‘sites. This comes as little shock to me, as many of my career advisors during my last year of college emphasized the importance of one’s web appearance and reputation. Not only do 75% of companies look at one’s online reputation, a shocking 70% of U.S. recruiters report they have rejected candidates solely based on information that is found online. But, hey, at least they’re nice about. The survey reports that 86% of these companies inform declined candidates they have been rejected due to what’s been found online about them.

There is no question that a majority of the people in the United States are just simply not aware of internet data privacy concerns. U.S. citizens don’t have as much of a sense of privacy or concern for who delves into their private lives. That information is freely available for all to browse, so companies like Google (who everyone loves, right?!) have no problem taking advantage of it. The report also states that candidates around the world are starting to get the picture. 80% of the 1,106 worldwide consumers surveyed in this report claimed that they have attempted to keep their private and business lives separate–keeping personal information online protected.

So, for now, everyone out there looking for jobs (especially recent grads): know the ropes. It’s really pretty obvious that no employer wants to hire someone that appears to spend more time doing keg stands than anything else. Just take an extra few seconds in the account settings and adjust your privacy settings a bit to make sure any information you’re posting is information you want everyone to read.

Here is another great article related to this report and other issues regarding online privacy.