• How big is your online footprint?

    Should I ever go missing or die a grisly death, the media will not have a field day with me. They won’t be able to use my Facebook photos as is so commonly done – especially with camera-happy teenagers – as every single one of them is now private. (Although that being said, plenty of my friends also work in the media, so maybe some of them would be kind enough to choose some flattering shots to splash with).

    See, I was recently intrigued to find out our company had relaunched a shiny new intranet. I was even more surprised to browse it and see a photo of me on the beach from an outing months ago…that I’d never submitted. The photo I’d given our office manager was small and of dubious dpi measurement, but it had been good enough for the old database. This one boasted MASSIVE photos against our names and my old one obviously hadn’t made the cut.

    But how could this photo have ended up there? My profile settings were set to friends only. And I didn’t think any of my very few work friends would have been dispatched to scout for new pictures for this. It’s not that it’s a bad photo. I actually quite like it. It’s just not the photo I would’ve chosen to represent me in this instance. Ya know?

    Anyway, the mystery was solved a few weeks later when I was reorganising my profile in the wake of all Facebook’s messing around with profile linking and whatnot. (How annoying is that? You can’t list an interest without having it link to the activity/fan page?!) Some of my individual photo albums were set to “Everybody can see this”, a command which must override the account settings. Lesson learned.

    I’m pretty confident that nothing untoward will happen to me. But as we were discussing at work, maybe it’s not a bad idea to set up a “just in case” folder with pictures the way we’d like to be remembered on the front page of our local daily. (Joking. Kind of.)

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  • Passing on the love

    A big thanks to Slam Dunks, who’s presented me with (as far as I recall) my first blog award ever!

    I haven’t been reading his blog long, but enjoy his style, especially posts like this one. He also posts on regular topics such as Missing Person Monday, You-Tube Video of the Week, Officer Dummkopf and Travel.

    To accept the Prolific Blogger Award, you just have to:

    1) Link back to this post; and,

    2) Select and notify 7 other bloggers for the award.

    Here are seven great bloggers I pass this award on to:







    Me in Millions

  • Blogger crisis

    I’m starting to realise I have no particular niche, in this blog, in my personal life and in my professional life.  I’m not hardcore PF – I don’t do spreadsheets, I don’t do fancy graphs, or read the big PF writers. I like looking at pretty clothes and shoes, but in nobody’s universe am I a fashionista; I don’t keep up with couture, I don’t know designers. I’m not a hardcore media junkie, I don’t listen to talkback and watch TV. I can’t claim to be a muso.. I don’t even play anything anymore, or keep up with new music as I dislike so much of it.

    I’ve also been thinking about making this more of a ‘life’ blog, more personal (photos, etc) and combining in reviews and my portfolio – a little like what Amber has going on. That’s all the stuff I currently host on my posterous blog, which is home to my published work and other bits and pieces. Posterous is neat, but it doesn’t really lend itself to what I want. It’s a simple, bare bones interface; there are no pages, only posts. I’d probably import it all here, cutting out the hassle of maintaining two different blogs.

    I’m pretty wary of no longer being anonymous though, given that I’m in the media/publishing field. Part of the reason I don’t post so frequently on my other blog is because I devote more energy here, and because I’m so acutely aware that everything I publish to my name is going to be scrutinised and could be seen by my bosses and future employers as a journalist (ie., no swearing like a sailor a’la Nicole, although IMO it simply adds to her cutting wit). But at the same time, blogs can definitely play a part in getting you noticed and getting a job.

  • I want a Time Turner (or, my life on the internet)

    just to have more time in the day.

    For me, news is a daily ritual. I just don’t feel complete until I’ve caught up with the headlines, and read every single story that catches my eye. That can take a while. I do it all online – I don’t really watch TV news and I don’t listen to the radio anymore. And my news consumption mainly happens in the evening, after all the day’s happenings have been and gone, because that’ s just how my schedule is.

    And that’s just ONE news site – it can take up to half an hour, plus the time it takes to scroll through my google reader, deal with emails, work on assignments, muck around on Facebook, and Twitter; and I sometimes like to check out Salon, Jezebel, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, etc, when time allows. Or when I still have the time and energy to bother.

    Seriously, the amount of time I spend online borders on the ridiculous sometimes. I’m on the internet constantly at work – that’s my job. I use it for uni, and for leisure (obviously). Sometimes I get home and just feel too tired to go through the whole routine; yet I feel almost obligated to. It’s a toss up between a night off, and dealing with twice the amount of, well, EVERYTHING, the next day.

    My week away on field trip meant I was more or less cut off from the online world. I didn’t know how I’d deal with that; I dreaded it. But you know what? It was FREEING. It was actually really really nice – it let me relax, and it was a relief, almost, to have all this free time. (That’s a bit sad, I know).

    How much do you spend online every day? Do you ever feel resentful about it?

  • What I’m reading this week

    The recession bride: how one couple did an $8000 wedding. Not sure about the berry pies in lieu of cake, but I really liked this: Our wedding day will not fit into a nice, neat rose-and-lavender theme. Then again, neither have our lives. Our friends andfamily have shaped us and carried us up to this point. So will it be with our wedding. That’s how I imagine mine would be, anyway.

    Jobless couples: what happens when a partner’s laid off? I guess the one good thing about having flatmates is they keep BF occupied – he doesn’t “bombard me” when I get home, desperate for attention.

    DC Interns beware! : I love me a good snarky blog! Unfortunately this blog, touted on VF, didn’t quite live up to how it was pitched. Current fave snarky blog is still the newsrage over at Editing the Herald.

    A bargain over evolution: Can religion and science reconcile? Apparently so. I bring good news! These two warring groups have more in common than they realize. And, no, it isn’t just that they’re both wrong. It’s that they’re wrong for the same reason. Oddly, an underestimation of natural selection’s creative power clouds the vision not just of the intensely religious but also of the militantly atheistic. If both groups were to truly accept that power, the landscape might look different…and the two might learn to get along.

    The Women’s Crusade: She used to be beaten and abused by her husband. Then a $65 microfinance loan allowed her to start a successful embroidery business.

  • Last month I blogged about making a little money online. Smilecity, which I’ve been using forever, used to have three regular ways to earn points. A daily ‘quick survey, daily web click and a weekly web click. Plus of course the surveys and reward emails from time to time.

    Then they redesigned the site, which IMO is still more difficult to navigate and makes it harder to find things. They also removed the weekly web click at the same time – not a biggie, just something I noticed and thought a little stingy.

    But the cutbacks continue. Sort of. I thought that the daily quick survey had also disappeared when I logged on last week and didn’t see it on the front page in its normal place. But after a bit of hunting around, I found it – lurking under the Earn tab, for anyone who cared to look deeper.

    Hmmm. Sneaky much?

  • Getting social-media savvy

    I came across this ad for a social media intern on Twitter a few days ago. Ignoring the fact that it’s unpaid and in Cambodia, methinks the criteria are pretty damn tight! I wonder if they’ll find someone who fits their strict requirements, and is willing and able to get out there and support themselves for however long the internship is.

    – At least 150 followers on Twitter
    – At least 200 Facebook friends
    – Administrator or creator of at least one Facebook group
    – A blog with a Google Page Rank of 2 or higher

    Yikes. 150 followers on Twitter? Nowhere near, not even close. And the majority of mine are spammers. I might go private in the near future. Seriously, I briefly logged into Twitter at work (not a total no-no, we do use social networking) and checked out my latest new followers. All of them were…erm…NSFW. I’m talking porno, with profile pics of naked body parts, etc.

    200 FB friends? Nope. I’m refraining from friending anyone and everyone I know. I’m not wanting to play the popularity game. I even periodically go through and cull a few people once in awhile, usually people from high school who I have nothing to do with. I have about 10 friend requests which have been sitting for months and which I should hurry and up hit ‘ignore’ on. My Facebook profile is for people I actually care about and interact with – quality, not quantity. I can understand how more gregarious and well travelled/connected people can easily have 500+ friends, though.

    I think I may possibly be an admin on ONE Facebook group (which was created for a uni project) – does that count? And a blog with Google page rank of 2 of higher? What on earth does that even mean? I am not totally SEOoblivious but I’m a bit stuck on that one. I assume it’s along the lines of showing up in the top two pages when people search for terms related to your blog?

  • Making small change, with online survey sites

    Here in NZ we don’t have half as many online moneymaking sites as they do in the States, by the looks of it. There just aren’t as many people to sustain online survey sites and focus groups.

    There are three main sites I use. I visit Smilecity everyday – there are “daily web clicks” (you just click through to a link, wait ten secs and get your 2 points) and “quick survey” poll questions. At least once a week you also get “reward mails” – click through the link to get points. And every so often, you’ll get sent survey opportunities which can give you anywhere from 20 points through to the hundreds! Smilecity also partners up with a bunch of retailers, so if you buy anything from one of their partners you’ll also get Smilecity points. It’s a pretty comprehensive scheme now that I think about it…

    You can use points to buy things in auctions, or just cash out. I simply take the cheque option. Once you reach 3300 points you can get a personal cheque for $30 sent to you (used to be 3200 points). Make your balance grow faster by putting them in the “ebank”, where they’ll compound with interest. I’ve been using the site for a few years now and usually cash out once or twice a year, depending on how it goes. It only takes a few seconds every day, plus the odd survey, which adds up over time!

    I’m also signed up to Valued Opinions and Your Voice. They’re both really similar. Even the sites look like! I have trouble telling them apart to be honest, especially since I realised their rewards are almost identical. Every so often you’ll be emailed links for surveys and if you qualify for it you’ll earn reward dollars for every one you complete. It’s worth the time – sign up on a rainy afternoon, fill out your basic profile and wait for the survey invites to roll in! You can donate to charity or get vouchers from the movies, Farmers, Rebel Sports and similar stores.

    I’ve also recently joined Buzz The People – I’m currently just shy of the 2000 points needed to redeem a reward, so can’t really gauge how good it is. But I must say, I only joined earlier this year and have hardly noticed the time it took to earn these points. I thought I’d surely still only be in the few hundred points range! So it’s been relatively quick and painless – most of the surveys are fairly short, interesting and straightforward. A lot of them give you entries into prize draws (I can’t remember if that’s in ADDITION to, or INSTEAD of, points). I might donate my points to charity, or get out a supermarket of petrol voucher. Still undecided!

    Don’t get me wrong. None of these are big moneymakers by any stroke of the pen. But they’re relatively painless ways to make a little extra or to earn free vouchers. And, if you care about that sort of thing, you’ll often get to give your opinion on products/services/advertisements while you’re at it.

  • Free speech

    I like to wander over to Jezebel occasionally. I really like their features where they tear apart the week’s goss magazines, and sometimes their Snap Judgements are really spot on and hilarious.

    I was pretty gutted when they decided to ban commenting. And then I didn’t visit the site for a few weeks. When I finally remembered to, whaddya know? Comments were BACK! I guess it’s one of those sites (like I said in a tweet) that just isn’t as good without feedback. It’s one of those sites that thrives on comments. The stories are only half the story. The comments are what bring it to life. They have some DEDICATED commenters, and some lively debate.

    But I find a lot of their commenters…well, exhausting. And repetitive. And boringly predictable. A lot of them are super feminist, a lot of them are tough and defensive and come from abusive backgrounds. And sometimes the vibe gets a little overtly PC and I just can’t take it. And yes, I find them somewhat annoying. Once, I can’t remember what the original article was about, but the comment thread was by some Christian proclaiming that she didn’t hate gays – no, she LOVED them – but thought their lifestyle was wrong. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Male and female fit together, nothing else works.

    So of course, everyone jumped on her. She tried to defend herself, and I think, did so very politely and elegantly. She never once lost her cool and remained gracious throughout. She was asked lots of questions, which she answered, and responded to most points raised.

    Now, I totally don’t agree with her. But I admired how she conducted herself, given the hostile environment. If she’s been reading Jezebel, surely she knows what the community is like. And she must have been brave indeed to put her lone opinion out there – a rare conservative voice among countless liberals, stereotypical feminists, and LGBTs. (And if that was  the first article she ever read and commented on, well that was just stupidity, I guess).

    But I really didn’t see why everyone insisted on carrying on so much. She obviously wasn’t going to change her mind. Or concede any points. Some of her argument didn’t make sense. They still weren’t going to back her down. She was a HARDCORE Christian, and nothing anyone could say would change that. So why did they keep trying, and abusing her? Why continue on a lost cause? I think most of them were just ranting for the sake of it – she was an easy target, and she didn’t lose her cool back at them.

    And really, can someone’s opinion be WRONG? I mean, I think her opinion was wrong. I don’t agree with it. But by definition, an opinion is what someone thinks. It can’t be WRONG. It can be hurtful, and homophobic and illogical, but it can’t actually be wrong.

    That’s something I struggle with. A lot of my friends have diametrically opposed political/social views to mine. It makes for some sparkling discussions sometimes. And as long as it doesn’t cross the line into hate speech – as long as it remains civil – even though I may throw my hands up and bemoan their ignorance, we live in a country which celebrates free speech and where everyone is entitled to their own views.

  • Nifty little thing

    I noticed a nifty little thing on Fastnet today – don’t know how long it’s been around, but I don’t think it’s been long at all.

    It’s called Online Vault and is a way to store important details online within your online banking, like account details, important contacts, insurance details, IRD, driver licence numbers etc. I love doing things like that and immediately set about backing up our important info, details that would be hard to recall if say our wallets were lost or stolen. It also got me thinking about sorting insurance – I got three quotes today, and will confirm it in the next day or two.

    What else will I need? I’m compiling a list of things I need to do for insurance – like take photos, copy receipts, serial numbers, etc.

    Gotta love ASB – I think they’ve always been ahead of the game, despite their increasingly grating ads.