Sharing vs. Securing

Nine years ago, Bill Gates wrote an article entitled Shaping the Internet Age. Bill Gates, whose name brings to mind images of mounds and mounds of money, stated the obvious in his article. The Internet is so and so, it gives us this and that, its potentials are boundless, the challenges are plenty, yada yada yada. So nine years after Bill Gates’ article, how is the Internet Age going? What are you doing in and with the Internet and what has it become to you and me?

Mr. Bill Gates

The Internet. A Friend.

If I were to dedicate a song to the wonderful World Wide Web, it would be Five for Fighting’s If God Made You, particularly the line, “If God made you, he’s in love with me.” It’s pretty obvious that God didn’t exactly create the world wide web himself but my point is, I am grateful. Infinitely grateful. The Internet is my friend (and occasional lifesaver), and I’m pretty sure it’s your friend too. If you are a normal person (like me), then you use the Internet. And if you’re not using the Internet, you’re thinking of using the Internet. Yes, you access the world wide web maybe on a daily basis, an hourly basis, or on whatever basis, and you think that you’re an Internet aficionado. You may feel that you know the ins and outs of the Internet but do you realize the things you’re doing in and with the Internet?

You are expanding your network. Every single internet user has at least one Social Networking account. The amazing thing about Social Networking Sites is that they allow you Internet-users to create and nurture (if you wish to) relationships with people. As Mr. Gates said, the Internet “shrinks time and distance,” not to mention, expenses. Professionals and companies now also utilize the Internet to develop their networks.

You are creating your personal brand. Your profile in the Internet is so much more than a bunch of personal information and pictures put together. Whether you are an ordinary person, a celebrity, or a huge corporation, the Internet allows you to create your own brand. Through your online accounts or websites, Internet-users and companies alike can broadcast social activities and feelings, and express your style and individuality.

You are conversing with people. Yahoo! Messenger, Skype, Google Chat are just a few popular programs you use to chat with your friends but your conversations aren’t just limited to that. The Internet has allowed you to converse with celebrities, politicians, and product brands. Now you post comments on their Fan Pages, like their pictures, or perhaps tweet to your celebrity crush.

You are exchanging information. The Internet started out as a means to exchange information and that’s what it still is. The Internet is just a massive pool of information that you contribute to and benefit from. You contribute to it through your blog, your Twitter account, and even just your online presence contributes information for the companies out there. You benefit from it because it’s where you get your news, your music, your movies, and your games. Don’t deny it.

The Internet is your friend because it allows you to share. And because other people are sharing too, there’s a lot you can gain from the Internet.

The Internet. An Enemy.

The Internet is a blessing but not all the time. You may not be aware of the many threats in the Internet. Now these are just a few things you need to take note of especially at this point in the Internet Age.

Be cautious about who you include in your network. Do not add contacts to your network that you do not know personally. You can never be sure who the person on the other side of the computer really is. Visiting Social Networking Sites (SNS) are fixed at the center of the activities of Internet-users so hackers have made them a top target.

Beware of hackers

Be careful in what kind of information you are sharing. Two words. Identity theft. As I have said, you can never be sure who the person on the other side of the computer really is so you’ll never be sure what they do with the information you post. Some websites have customizable security settings that you can maximize to protect your information.

Facebook allows you to customize your Privacy Settings to choose which pieces information you wish to share from the ones you want to keep

Do not trust everything you get from the Internet. It helps to be skeptical. Choose your sources carefully and validate them every so often. The things you download from the Internet, always scan them for viruses. For the third time, you can never be sure who the person on the other side of the computer really is and you’ll never be sure what is in the files you download.

It helps to have an anti-virus software.

Sharing and accessibility is not a problem, security is. Happy Internet-surfing! :)

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18 thoughts on “Sharing vs. Securing

  1. The internet is like Regina George from Mean Girls: a cool friend that you can get a lot of perks from, but at the same time a formidable foe that may well use the things you tell her against you.

    • You’re right Zid, but the Internet doesn’t have to be a Regina George. She can be a Cady Heron in the sense that the Internet has different sides, the good and the bad. You can choose to be on the good side but you can end up on the bad side. One just has to learn the ins and outs first before one can settle at its (the Internet’s) good side.

  2. Putting up personal information on the internet always involves some kind of compromise. Reveal too much and you might get into trouble. Reveal too little and you will look like just another personality-less face in the sea of people who want to express themselves. Finding the right balance could prove to be difficult but I know that you can find it.

  3. I agree with Justine, and may I just add, aside from people who reveal too much and too little, there are also those who reveal the wrong things. It can be a downright lie or an exaggeration. Unlike the former pair, there is really no compromise in this, do not do it. Period. :D

  4. As i read your blog, i remember my speech on Online Stalking. Security should always be on our mind whenever we log in or type in any information about us. It always helps to be extra careful! :D

  5. i so agree with this. :D internet is so helpful kaso with internet din kasi kaya nauuso ang plagiarism and copy-paste strategies of students. tignan na lag natin si manny pangilinan. hahahaha :D

  6. My Facebook has a lot of groups for my friends. I hide most content for the group “family” HAHA. But I wonder, how long will these content be hidden? For all I know, one day all these settings will break down and I’ll cry. So, better safe (careful) than sorry. :)

  7. I guess the internet can never be a secure place, not even if the government decide to regulate it via laws. The hackers and identity thieves will just continue on upgrading their skills to keep up with rules. Therefore, we must be vigilant in how we utilize the internet. Our security is our responsibility.

  8. The internet is here already. If we want this to be a better place, all the users must unite and maintain a standard of ethics in using it. Enforcing and monitoring it would be senseless. We can only do so much with our part.

  9. The internet has brought enormous changes and benefits to the way people do their every day work. It has opened up opportunities that would be unthinkable without this technology, and it has allowed the creation of new kinds of ways we do things. But of course, with these benefits come risks. And let’s face it, security is a major issue. But more importantly, the convenience it brings us also teaches us to be slaves to it — to be paralyzed without it — thus, can make us, in the long run, settle for mediocrity and indolence.

  10. Actually, internet nowadays make people do a lot of things while sitting: meet with friends in the net, stalk someone, watch movies, tv programs online, listen to radio, buy anything from clothes to accessories to school/office materials, make assignments, research. But I think, we should still make or do things moderately…

  11. Pingback: Trust Issues. Because We All Have One. « Kits at Work

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