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    If anyone is old enough to remember MySpace (anyone? anyone at all?) you might recall there was one day that will live in infamy when a glitch on the site made it possible for everyone whose profile you had been checking out in secret to see that you'd been visiting their page. In other words, you became exposed as a bona fide stalker. Oh, it was chilling and awful and those of us who lived through it spent hours concocting ridiculous excuses we could have on hand in case we were called out by our "stalkees." Well, instead of learning from this nightmare, Google's Gmail has decided to add a feature that will strip us of our privacy just a teeny bit more. And it's bound to affect us in at least 3 horrible ways. 

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    Criminals these days just can't seem to get enough of themselves. Instead of stealing, looting, or doing whatever else it is they do and then just trying to get away with their actions -- you know, behavior you'd expect from your typical criminal -- they are finding it difficult to peel themselves away from all forms of social media. And nothing could make police any happier, I'm guessing. 

    Take Dupree Johnson, for example. The 19-year-old Florida teen already had a pretty lengthy rap sheet that included grand theft, burglary, and felony possession of a firearm. Perhaps he could have built a strong enough defense to get away with his crimes -- who knows? And we'll never know. Because the publicity hound dug his own grave and did the world a favor by posting photos on his Instagram that showed him holding guns and items he allegedly stole. 

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    Parents and teachers can tell you that the best way to get an important message across to a child isn't to preach until you are blue in the face. Show, don't tell is a powerful tool and works wonders. One fifth-grade teacher proved this by stepping away from textbooks and instead using herself as a guinea pig to demonstrate to her students just how dangerous it can be to post a photo of yourself online. 

    And the results of her campaign were both extraordinary and even a little frightening: within 24 hours her photo was "liked" by almost 7,000 people on Facebook and shared more than 400 times. And then it made its way onto Reddit. And that's when things started to get really interesting. 

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    Have you heard of the Lulu app? No, not Lululemon, the insanely expensive and misogynistic see-through yoga pants, but the anti-male hate app that’s described as a “crowd sourced little black book for women.”

    It hooks up to your Facebook account, and then you can go through and rate the men you’ve dated. Hashtags like #NeverSleepsOver and #F***edAndChuckedMe are apparently common. And the worst part? It’s done anonymously.

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  • Rant

    Google Is Ruining My Potential Dating Life

    posted by Jenny Erikson November 22, 2013 at 8:12 AM in Technology
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    When I got married in 2002, no one had ever even heard of MySpace, let alone Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Also no one was really blogging, meeting people on the Internet seemed creepy, and text hadn’t become a verb yet.

    In other words, things have changed since I’ve been on the dating scene.

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  • Watch It!

    The Scary Truth About Oversharing Online

    posted by Jenny Erikson November 21, 2013 at 12:49 PM in Technology
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    Prankster comedian Jack Vale is at it again -- pulling pranks and freaking people out. It’s always entertaining when you’re on the other side of the camera, right?

    This time he’s teaching a valuable lesson about how to use social media to become psychic. Or at least he’s making a good point about being careful regarding what you choose to post onto social media sites.

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    I have this Facebook "friend." We'll call her Anne. Anne is a stylish, beautiful adult woman who commutes by train each day to work. Lately, it seems, every one of her days is plagued by the offensive odors and appearances of others. She simply can't handle it when a woman wears clogs, and she seems ready to call the police the second a poor, hungry soul so much as takes out an unwrapped sandwich on the train. 

    How do I know all this? Because she doesn't just rant about it on her Facebook page -- she also provides photographic proof. In other words, she'll snap your photo if she doesn't like you and splash it all over her page for the world to see and mock. It may be legal to do this, but that doesn't keep it from being a totally tacky thing to do. 

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    Consider this part of what appears to be a disturbing trend. Young person is lucky enough to have been hired in this still crappy economy. Young person works for a bit and quickly realizes the job is sooo boring or beneath him or her. Young person breaks basic and obvious rules of work etiquette by using technology to vomit up every feeling and emotion he or she has about the company when a simple letter of resignation would do. Oh, and let's not forget: Young person's email/tweet/post goes viral. Even though young person is 23, he or she probably has really difficult time every getting hired again.

    Yep, that's basically what happened when this young woman sent the most insane resignation you've ever seen to her boss and colleagues. 

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    I started a personal blog in 2002, back when my husband and I were living in a cramped apartment in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood and the idea of children was very nearly the last thing on my mind. I wrote a lot about my cat and the minutiae of my day-to-day life. Fast forward 11 years and the mundanity of my blog entries are much the same -- but my life has changed a great deal.

    I wrote a lot when my children were first born. My blog gave me a sense of community and reminded me that I wasn't alone in my new-parent bumblings. Reader advice helped me deal with all sorts of mini-challenges along the way, and often gave me a much-needed sense of perspective when I was most in need.

    I don't write as much anymore. Part of the reason is that I write for a living now, and when I've met my deadlines I often feel as though my well of words has run dry. But it's also that my children are older now: more complicated, and more deserving of privacy.

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    According to a recent survey, Facebook is down in popularity among teens -- for the first time ever. Well, at least since the launch of Piper Jaffray’s semi-annual report on the habits of American teens.

    And according to my own unofficial research conducted by listening to my friends and wasting less and less time on Facebook myself, it seems that more and more people are growing tired of the social media behemoth. Seriously you guys, I think there was an entire 24-hour period last week I didn’t check Facebook even once. It was weird.

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