Social Networking is very popular today. Just a few years ago, before Facebook and MySpace, no one had ever thought of using the web in such a way. A mere decade ago, people connected to the web to obtain information, buy books, movies and products or services from online stores. Today, individuals, corporations, charities and non-profit organisations use these social networks to provide information, organise events and receive donations. As social networking becomes more popular, it becomes subject to growing legal restrictions.
The three biggest "no-no's" that web designers and site administrators run into are:
Plagiarism: Many people think that anything found on the Internet is public fodder. Would you cite every idea that you knew came from a conversation? It seems absurd to an extent, but even if there isn’t any actual copyright statement to be found anywhere, content on social networks is copyright protected.
In order to protect an individual or organisation from committing plagiarism, run all content to be placed on a website through a program that checks for plagiarized material. These programs are easy to find on the web and can put articles, blogs and other Internet documents through a large database of information to ensure their originality.
Bandwidth Theft: Bandwidth theft (a.k.a. Hot linking) is both easy to commit and easy to get caught doing. Most everyone has seen MySpace pages. Almost everyone has taken pictures of their favourite movies, their favourite rock bands and displayed them on their own profile pages. These picture help make profiles personal and attractive, but it is possible, depending on how the pictures are linked, to make those very same profiles illegal. Hot linking occurs when some information, whether a picture, a video clip or anything else, is displayed using a server that does not belong to the person displaying that information. Example: You put a picture on your website. You put it there using HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) code that does not place the picture on your server, but instead summons information from the server that you are taking the picture from instead. This is sort of like stealing cable television. You are plugging into someone else’s server and using bandwidth to display items on your own website (or social network profile).
Defamation: This is another issue, which is sometimes hard to avoid. Social networks are supposed to be microcosms of the real world. You have peers or friends on MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn (or any other social network) but then again, you may know people that aren’t your friends. Sometimes, people who don’t like each other like to say things that aren’t always good and the line between comments that are just mean and comments that are defamatory is very, very thin. Social networking is vital in today's economy. However, individuals, corporations and organisations need to use care and caution on popular social networks. Remember that just because it’s online and it is easy to maintain some level of anonymity does not mean that you get to do whatever you want.
Brendan Byrne - Tuesday, August 18, 2009
With the rise of social networking, more people are using it as a platform to obtain exposure as well as a way to broaden professional circle and social impact. With thousands of users visiting social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace on a daily basis, there are opportunities for you to break through to millions of people around the world. Anyone can gain access to your message, product or event all in a single moment.
Brendan Byrne (www.receptive.com.au) is an internet marketing consultant. Brendan runs workshops on how to manage your online business and effectively market yourself.
Brendan Byrne - Saturday, July 26, 2008
So, to accept or reject, this is the question.
I hope by now you have heard of linkedin.com it is a social network, a bit like the concept of My Space, without the videos and pictures. It is great for headhunters or if you are looking for staff. I am sure it is an untapped source of work, wealth and information, but I have not really spent enough time on it to be an authority. There seems to be a little flood this week of invitations flying around after The Sand day last Wednesday where there was a speaker who spoke about linkedin.
Anyway, I wanted to mention there was an interesting discussion today with some friends about whether one should accept any invitation, or just accept all. I thought about this later and have come to the conclusion that it is better to accept and extend your network than to reject for fear of being associated with an idiot. The argument was that if you accept someone into your network, you are automatically providing a reference to them and it could reflect badly on you.
It is absolutely crazy, I know lots of idiots, and most of our common friends know that they are idiots, and it does not reflect on me or them that we know them. The real power in life (and linkedIn) is a reference/recommendation. If you truly believe in someone, you will provide a good reference. But the idiots will get an ambiguious or no reference.
My logic is this; accept the linkedin reference, but consider carefully the reference/recommendation.
Whomever gets the most connections wins!
Brendan James Byrne
Receptive Help - Friday, May 11, 2007