Connecting Online: Is this Safe?

Kids use MySpace but is it safe? You hear stories of online predators and people posing as others in MySpace and Friendster. How can you as a professional developer or technology leader link with other people of same minds and not get bombarded with ads, SPAM, or Email from someone of whom you are not sure?

I thought I’d try three social networking tools and share how they work with you.

FlickR — is a free site where you

  1. upload and share pictures
  2. put in tags so you can connect with others with similar interests
  3. create badges or banners with pictures
  4. put up comments with your pictures
  5. post a badge on your website that takes you to your FlickR space

This is a cool site but there is no way to know if the people posting are who they say they are. They can put up any picture, use a phony Email address, and share information that could be damaging to others.

Frappr – although it is still in Beta, I started a Frappr group called Professional Learning Communities to see how this would compare with my listserv.

  1. Add people to Frappr map with map pins on a US and world map
  2. Add tags to connect to other Frappr maps
  3. People can add themselves with approval of moderator (this is new)
  4. Members can add shout-outs and pictures putting a personal touch to the map
  5. You can turn the pictures into a moving banner or slide show
  6. You can add the map, banner or slide show to your Website
  7. Forums can be started by anyone if the moderator allows

I am having a few issues with Frappr, but the site administrators are trying to work theseout. One is that the forum keeps changing. Some of the comments people have added have disappeared. There is no real discourse – I try to remove extra shout-outs and they keep coming back. I send tech requests and the Frappr group responds right away. Just remember this is in Beta and has problems. By the way, if you’d like to join my personal Frappr map, go to Frappr Professional Learning Communities.

I found another site that combines some of the features of FlickR and Frappr. That is Woophy where you upload pictures, put in the location and then the pictures are located by latitude and longitude on a map. The map is tagged with photos around the world, allowing you to comment on the images and even to enter the photo contest.

I am going to still continue using my listserv for ongoing discussions and My eCoach for online coaching and sharing. Contact me directly if you have any questions or comments.

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