Blindsided by Facebook? — NOPE! Even Quicksilver Dancers can get Tripped Up.

I say..

Nope!!!! Not on My Turf! .

A Goldman Sachs trader in the UK named “Charlie” was warned by his employer that his visits to Facebook on company time were to stop. He spent, apparently, over 500 hours on Facebook in a six month period. That works out to about 4 hours per day. Unwisely, perhaps, Charlie posted the warning email on his Facebook account, saying “It’s a measure of how warped I’ve become that, not only am I surprisingly proud of this, but in addition, the first thing I did was to post it here, and that losing my job worries me far less than losing facebook ever could.”

Yowzie..  I couldn’t keep him – Glad he doesn’t dance..

Indeed.

But.. I love ballet and wish for millions of contributed dollars for the ballet but maybe –Hmmm.   Maybe I really wish I was a Facebook stockholder.  But no..   Nope not on my turf..   I am not going to be a stockholder,  but like a growing number of professionals, I did it… I finally jumped on the Facebook Bandwagon Social Utility.  

Anyway, I’m glad I took the leap and joined the “Facebook rage:  one, to just experience the joys of reconnecting with friends, respond to their messages, and post pictures. I have connected back with former dancers from CBT ;  For example : Bryon Suber who now is in his 18th year teaching at Cornell, Jennifer Gelfand, Deidre Miles  and Paul Thrussell brilliant dancers from my long 8 year summer tenure at Boston Ballet and of course many of my Paul Taylor Dance Company and ABT Connections.  Facebook has given back those friends to me.   I can visit with them at any hour of the night. .  I now  think, like my dancers, who have been Facebook and My  Space users  far longer than I , Facebook seemed to me to be nothing more than a culpable enjoyment of the internet age, complete with access to horoscopes, games, witty quotes and extreme photos.  That what I use it for and I don’t care if that is all that employees use it for.  

But as with everything involving the internet, life on Facebook or any other social network, it appears and is much more complicated.  It’s very fashionable to declare that Facebook is an over-hyped fad and will never make any real money, certainly not enough to justify its insane $15 billion valuation. At first glance, it’s easy to understand why some people might think it’s a fun pastime — most of the activity there seems to involve sending karma, biting, poking, and joining groups with funny names. However, I think that assessment misses out on something very interesting: Facebook is capturing everyone’s identity and relationships. For example :  John Twelve Hawks, the best selling author of the book Traveler.. refuses to be “on the grid”

Both John Twelve Hawks and his American publisher state that he has never met his editor and that he communicates using the Internet and an untraceable satellite phone, usually employing a voice scrambler. No photograph of Twelve Hawks has ever appeared and all biographical information about his background is based on four sources.     Durn!  He writes well..and,  I would want to meet. Him   Guess what? He is not on facebook member.

Of course there’s some noise caused by random friending, but by examining the larger graph as well as other details such as location, affiliations, interactions, and of course explicitly entered relationship details (“how do you know Paul?”), Artistic Directors  can get a pretty good idea of which people are actual friends and acquaintances

Facebook boasts “your page can be about anything… promoting your company, keeping in touch with friends, even trying to track the suspect of a double homicide (Dolly Madison Homicide 2002).  What goes on your Facebook page and who is allowed to see your page is up to you. 

Hmmmmm nah…  I don’t agree — neither does the power of Googling.

Cyber-security expert Chris Malinowski of Long Island University at CW Post puts it this way: “Why would anybody give me something cool to run on my computer for free? And the answer is- to gather statistical information.” Malinowski, the former head of the NYPD’s computer crimes unit, warns specifically about downloading so called Facebook “applications”–things like games, “gifts”, virtual bookshelves, etc. These applications seemed harmless to CBT Dancers, wanna be company apprentices potential “hired’ dancers and  summer school applicants. 

But according to Malinowski, by doing so, she and other Facebook users could be exposing the personal information on their page and in their computer to outsiders. That’s because these applications are run, not by Facebook, but by outside companies- “developers,” in the parlance of the Facebook world. When you download the applications, says Malinowski, you are giving access to these outsiders.  ) Spend a few minutes looking at the social-networking site Facebook and you’ll see that it’s not uncommon for the millions of college students who use it to post photos of themselves at last night’s kegger or dressed in less-than-conservative attire.

 But, as CBS News correspondent  Sharyn Alfonsi reports, an increasing number of potential employers are accessing these profiles — and using them to decide whom they hire.  Dunia Rkein is a college sophomore. She has a stellar resume and an Ivy League education.  “I’m applying for analyst jobs,” she says.  Rkein also has a profile on Facebook.com — just like millions of other college students. In fact, 7.5 million college students use Facebook.  Rkein agrees that the social-networking site for students consists primarily of pictures of people partying and says “I hope that employers aren’t looking at it too in-depth 

The bad news is that employers are doing just that.  And yes so are Ballet Company Directors.

Take Tim DeMello, who owns the Internet company Ziggs, which lets people post an online business-oriented profile that the company says will come up first in most Internet searches.  When DeMello was asked if he does an Internet search for online profiles when he chooses whom to hire, he replies, “Of course. Everybody does.”   The Same is true for ballet companies  Take Ballet company directors who watch on the sidelines the actions of their employees ..  “It’s almost like inviting a guest into your home and saying have a run of the house,” says Malinowski. “If they don’t have any respect for your home, they’ll do damage.” Facebook does post a warning that you are supposed to read before accepting the applications; but, like many, Morris never paid much. Attention to it. “I thought my personal data was all protected by Facebook,” she says.

Facebook’s response: “Our goal at Facebook has always been to provide a trusted environment for our users and we are continuously focused on safeguarding user information. Through the Application Privacy page, users have total control of what data is accessible to the applications that they or their friends interact with on Facebook. Also, for the safety and security of our users, third-party developers building on Facebook Platform are subject to technical and policy restrictions that strictly prohibit the collection and storage of user data.”

(CBS) Spend a few minutes looking at the social-networking site Facebook and you’ll see that it’s not DeMello estimates that about 20 percent of companies are secretly scanning online profiles before they interview applicants. What they often find is shocking — including profiles that detail drug use, orgies and illegal behavior.  “They come in all buttoned up, their clothing is meticulous, they spend years building this resume, and this person that’s sitting there is almost entirely different than the person posting on these Web sites,” says DeMello.  Many employers admit they’ve even learned how to access profiles students think are “private” — and they’re surprised by how many students don’t care if everyone knows everything about them.  What most students don’t realize is those party pictures make up their “online footprint” — one that will follow them well beyond sorority row.  Take Rkein’s pictures. They don’t show anything lewd or illegal, but … “Within a short period of time, you could find these 83 photos on every search engine on the Web, and these 83 photos could be attached to your name for the rest of your career,” says DeMello.

While some of her photos may be “cute,” DeMello says posting these photos online is like “she’s telling me a secret.” There are  photos of Rkein that don’t exactly scream “CEO material”  “I think some of these sites out there are going to be the most expensive free Web sites to their careers that they’ve ever seen,” says DeMello.  It might have cost Rkein a job.  “I think I’d have other candidates I’d probably talk with,” says DeMello.  Says Rkein: “I really don’t think employers should be basing their opinion on me on Facebook.” But asked if she might edit it when she begins interviewing, Rkein says, with a laugh, “Perhaps.”  If you’re supposed to dress for the job you want, employers say some of these students really need to just put something on.    Facebook does not provide a “one-click” solution for leaving the site. Members may delete content they’ve submitted to the site, one item at a time. For active users, tearing down all that content could take dozens of hours. And even then, Facebook retains much of your basic contact information, making it possible for other members to contact you through the site.

Googling this issue.. subject matter can be fount email that the CEO of Plazes, Felix Petersen, has allegedly been caught in a white lie, exposed by none other than his own product: Plazes. The story says that he had canceled his appearance at the Next Web Conference, citing some personal as well as business reasons Neuroeconomics-How-Executives-Think , and said that he was going back to Berlin to tend to his sick daughter and troubled business. However, he was – again, allegedly – spotted enjoying a beer in Copenhagen, and this seems to be confirmed by his Plazes log. If you’re not familiar with Plazes, it’s a service that locates you geographically and puts you on an online map whenever you connect to the Internet – of course, if you choose to be visible.

The frustration, even anger, that many such users feel toward Facebook is palpable. The NY Times quoted several readers who had attempted to delete their information from Facebook, with varying, but never total, success. Facebook began as a social network for college students, many of who believed that what happens on Facebook, stays on Facebook. But as the social network has opened membership to those without .edu e-mail addresses, it’s become a much broader community, with many professional organizations maintaining groups and contact lists through the site. 

So are you an internet Facebook junkie or a Dancer.? . Well, I have a simple rule of thumb for you: if you’re absolutely sure that you’ll never regret making a piece of your personal life public (not even 20 years from now), you shouldn’t do it.

However, you can’t blame services like Facebook, YouTube, Plazes and other social networking/sharing sites for your privacy issues. You’re not actually forced to use any of these, and even if you do, you and you alone choose what information you will make public. If Mr. Petersen has indeed been caught in a lie, he has only himself to blame. Turning off Plazes was just a click away.

Bottom line before I get off my soapbox I sure..hope I meet you first in the studio .  not by auditioning for a job on YouTube. You’d better hope your personal tutu doesn’t get exposed to the Web’s all Seeing Eye. 

And parents check it out as well. Make sure your kid’s site is PG -otherwise… your dancer child might be on your payroll longer than you think.

Still stewing. 

 

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