Which? Rates Social Networking

Consumer magazine Which? has rated the various social networking forums and has rated Bebo the highest for social networking features beating rival Facebook and has praised Bebo’s privacy features that enable users to control who can see them and their personal details.

Facebook lost marks for the less intuitive tools that allow personal user security restrictions , whilst Yahoo groups achieved the lowest score in an overall assessment that considered ease of use, performance and functions that each site offered.

Britain And Social Networking
Britain has more people hooked on social networking sites than anywhere else in Europe with 6.5 million people in the UK signed up to Facebook and with around 40% of Internet enabled Brits using some form of social networking site.

Employer Interest
With more and more employers Googling potential employees names in order to investigate their social networking footprint a using some of that information when making hiring and firing decisions accordingly, the desire to restrict who can and cannot see a large ammount of your personal thoughts and details may well increase though it’s too late for the unrestricted data that’s already out there. Some of that information may outlive its authors.

The electronic legacy of a generation.
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3 thoughts on “Which? Rates Social Networking

  1. It never ceases to amaze me how much information people are willing to give away about themselves online. “Social networking” services are just one example of this. Many other sites also ask for a lot of information about you. For example, these days there are few online retail sites that allow you to buy without “registering”. Sometimes, registering is simply a matter of giving a name and email address (so that they can spam you with “really useful information”) but often they will want more, such as name and address, age, income bracket, interests (so that they can spam you with “really interesting information”), occupation, etc. None of this is necessary unless you are requesting a home delivery in which case a delivery address is obviously required. (The more savvy among us give their work address or that of a friend or partner.)

    So what? Well, there are some funny people out there and more than one person has been stalked or harassed by some obsessive who has taken a violent like or dislike to them. Doesn’t happen often? No, but once is more than enough for anyone.

    Add to this the risk of identity theft and there are good reasons for keeping your data private which means – let’s face it – offline, as no online site is completely secure. I am very careful with my email addresses and only give them to sites that promise to keep them private. Why then are these addresses spammed? Because those sites that promise to keep them private fail to do so. If they play fast and lose with my email address, what are they doing with my other personal data?

  2. I have never used Facebook or Bebo nor do I plan to for many reasons, not least of all because I do not specially want anyone to be able to surf the internet and print off lists of “facts” about me. And whilst I have a blog I am relatively careful about ensuring that it includes little hard information about me but it is certainly true that I would not want to be presented with print-outs of pages from it at a job interview.

    But most younger people will obviously have a very large Social Networking footprint by the time they reach their 30s and 40s. I suppose what I don’t understand is where or how all the superseded data is stored. If someone has a profile with their details or whatever, and then updates it or deletes it over the years – where does all the old data go? And can it be searched without recourse to (I don’t have the technical terminology for this) disks or solid data storage devices, things that you can actually hold in your hand or is it out there in virtual space, floating about for anyone with the requisite skills to obtain? It mystifies me.

    But conversely I find it rather sad that people actually leave far less behind in many respects – in terms of “hardcopy”. I’m sure there is lots available online about them (their blogpage, emails or whatever but no one prints things out) but little solid – few letters, diaries, things that someone might stumble upon in the future and read and get an idea of what they were like. Sentimental maybe? But I think in many respects we leave a smaller footprint these days than in the past.

  3. SilverT-admitedly it’s more the teen generation who may be oblivious to stuffing their my Space etc with all kinds of indiscretions and admissions that you may not want a future employer to view. It’s just about being informed I tend to think.

    RB-If a persons blog,web site etc has not specifically opted out of being indexed (allowing people to find it through a search engine) then copies exist on the various search engines (eg: Google cache). I can go and see web pages incl my own that no longer exist (over 10 years ago before opting out existed) via the Internet archive (though it’s not perfect). So there are ways and means.

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