If you read almost any news outlet that features even a small amount of tech articles and you are bound to find something concerning Internet privacy. Apps and gadgets that use them to follow, store, and distribute often private info about us are being vilified, and for good reason, by the press.
People should know when they are being followed and watched, and know what kinds of information is being gathered about them and why. And they they should be given a way to opt out of any info gathering scheme. Just because we buy a gadget or service doesn’t mean we’ve automatically given up our right to privacy. And I don’t believe a simple, “trust us” is sufficient to guarantee our privacy won’t be infringed upon.
On the other hand, we are certainly free to advertise anything we want about ourselves, where we are, who we’re with, what we’re doing, our likes, dislikes, moods, feelings, thoughts, dreams, hopes, and fears. Everything is fair game in our virtual social world. The popularity of social services like Facebook and Twitter are testament to our gregarious and exhorbitionistic tendencies.
Increasingly, however, the old guard tools that gave us the stages on which the world might watch us are giving way to new applications and new ways to share our lives. It may go without saying that a lot of the new stuff is fueled by the explosive growth of smart phones like the iPhone. Whereas we only had text and maybe some other media nailed on as new capabilities became apparent, these new tools have all of that and more integrated into them, this provides for new ways of combining media to allow for more ways of expressing ourselves.
I was never a fan of Facebook. While I certainly have reason to blog my life for family and friend to partake as they see fit, there was too much controversy surrounding Facebook for my taste. Even now I refuse to use it, though I’ll freely admit it’s more out of stubbornness than any real problem with Facebook.
I don’t use Twitter either, though of the two I’d be more inclined to use the latter, where it’s usefulness can come in handy.
What I have signed up for is Instagram. I mentioned this app in another Free on iTunes, but it bares mentioning again. What I like about it is that it isn’t all up in my business like Facebook wants to be. It’s more like Twitter, but for photos.
Take some pix, then upload them with your location if you want. Then let your friends or the world enjoy what you see. Simple and easy. Add some hash tags to facilitate searching and comments if the thousand words the photo represents isn’t enough.
You can see what others are posting by following folks, or checking out the Popular tab. Currently it’s iOS only, but an Android version will be available soon for your friend who are BORG.
It’s a good way to let others see what you see, and see what others see in return. I like that.
If Instagram tries to stay out of your business as much as possible Path would be it’s polar opposite, but in a good way.
Path bills itself as a “Smart Journal” that lets you combine pix, movies, location services, music, and text in a journal that can be pushed out to Facebook and other social apps, or it can just be among folks who have Paths of their own. You have to sign up for an account and put whatever info you want to advertise about yourself in it. Once your account is established your are good to go.
The interface is what makes Path different. It’s designed to make getting to most commonly used functions easy. Press the red and white “+” in the lower left corner of the screen and you have instant access to the camera for still and movies, your contacts, location, music, text, and a button the indicates when you go to sleep and wake up. I’m not sure I want people to know that much info about me, but it’s there if you want it.
There’s a lot to like about Path, but be careful when inviting others. Path wants to send your contact info to its servers. The company (now) rightfully asks before doing so, and if you decline it won’t send anything. The problem is that they keep asking every time you want to invite someone. It’s just short of badgering. You should be able to opt out once and that’s it.
I’ve only started using Path so I’ll give you more info about it in the coming weeks, but for now it seems like a nice, personal social tool. And, of course, it’s free.
Last but not least this week I want to point you to The Social Hour, a podcast (both audio only or video) that talks about social tool and the people who create and use them.
Amber MacArthur and Sarah Lane of The Social Hour
The Social Hour is produced by Sarah Lane and Amber MacArthur and they cover a little bit of everything from interviews to events and apps, all focused on social media. It’s a fun podcast chock full of information.
As it is with all podcasts, The Social Hour is free. Download episodes of interest or subscribe to get a new episode each week.
Ok, that’s a wrap for this week. More social related stuff below with direct links. Have a great week.