Privacy, FourSquare, and Teens

Some days two things come up that give you pause. Today was one of those.

Masters of Deception book coverYesterday I finished reading “Masters of Deception: The Gang That Ruled Cyberspace, the story of the teenaged hacker ‘gangs’ of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. There are the usual questions of whether these kids were just curious, smart kids who were under-served by the schools or there really was criminal behavior. The book gives enough of glimpse into each of the actors to see the various blends in each one, as well as how the intent changes as the boys grow up.

Today, the twitter-sphere is bubbling over with news of changes in FourSquare’s privacy policy. Apparently, FourSquare will now be sharing full names and giving venue owners more up-to-the-minute data on check-ins starting January 28, 2013. This comes only a few weeks after Instagram was forced to back down on some of its new privacy policies.

My interest is generally around the work I’ve done with schools and teen-agers so these stories intersect. The story of teen-agers is really about how their judgement grows over time. This collision of massive amounts of data with limited judgement provides for some interesting times!

Will our new definition of privacy be more like a small-town where everyone knows what you had for dinner but social mores dictate the way that information is used or more like the anonymity of a big city where so much is visible that no one really sees it.

At any rate, seeing our teenage selves in public will surely shape society for decades to come. This was recently discussed in the NY Times blog “Motherlode” in the article “Thanks, Mom, for Not Telling the World I Pulled a Knife on You.”

Makes you think!

Evernote as a replacement for Diigo?

Here’s something I hadn’t thought about before. You can use Evernote to share thoughts and content on the web.

I came across this tweet from Miguel Guhlin @mguhlin today: 9 Surprising Ways Schools Are Using iPads Around The World

This led me to his Evernote open notebook that included both his thoughts and an infographic that he had pasted in.

It makes and interesting alternative to my old favorite Diigo.

Surviving and Thriving Online – 2011

Today I had the pleasure of addressing the class of 2015 at St. John’s College High School.  The main message was around using the Internet to put your best foot forward, even while other data is growing around you.  There are so many ways for students to use the Internet to start building a strong online persona.

The presentation is hosted at and the links used are on my Diigo list.  Feel free to use the presentation which is Creative Commons licensed.

Creative Commons License
Surviving & Thriving Online 2011 by Pat Sine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Accelerated Reader + Amazon = Shelfari

I’ve always been an avid reader, but it runs in fits and starts. Lately I’ve been using a site called Shelfari that works for me like Accelerated Reader works for many middle school children. When I put books on my shelf, I get that same boost and sense of accomplishment that motivates many kids to pile up points in AR.

Combine that with the reviews and discussions and you’ve got a more personable version of Amazon. Depending on the book, you’ll get lots of good advice on what to read next and why this book is better or worse than another. The only drawback is that the numbers on Shelfari are so much smaller than Amazon.

In all, this is another tool that makes the Internet a community of like-minded folks.

Owning Your Life

I’m just back from a visit to St. John’s College High School in Washington, DC. This is the second year I’ve done a talk to their 9th graders. When we specced the talk originally, it was another of the talks I’ve given about “internet safety.” Happily, the faculty and administration were glad to have the talk take another turn. This year and last I’ve been able to talk openly with the students about the real threat to them on the Internet: themselves.

In the course of the talk, I shared a couple of videos:

I also collected the sites I mentioned on a Diigo list.