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Five DEVILS of networking websites

Last updated on: August 3, 2011 10:01 IST

Five DEVILS of networking websites

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Get Ahead reader Madhumita Thakur lists five devils of networking websites.

Madhumita Thakur is a freelance writer and reviewer who breathes and sleeps writing. She lives her passion by blogging about technology and reviewing fun activities related to lifestyle. When not at work she loves to talk about Indian politics, cricket and movies at her blog A pinch of Salt... (http://attitudespeaks.blogspot.com)

First there was Orkut then came Facebook followed by Twitter and now it's Google+. What is it about these websites that is holding the interest and imaginations of millions of users across the world?

Even the most exclusive and not so accessible groups of film stars, politicians and celebrities from all walks of life have shed their inhibitions and embraced these websites with complete vigour.

Of course interspacing these social networking websites is another networking website called LinkedIn. The ease with which one can connect to one's friends, colleagues and acquaintances has virtually sublimed the physical barriers of geographies and locations.

At the same time these technologies have also made us vulnerable to the outside world in ways which seem so harmless.

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Image: A collage of networking websites

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Five DEVILS of networking websites

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1. What's in the name?

Shakespeare wouldn't have imagined that technology could advance so much in the future so he could afford to say this, but can you and I say the same? While it is good to share personal details on these websites the real question is "how much is too much?"

Your name and date of birth are enough for your existing friends to find you and recognise you on networking websites but remember that information like names of your parents/siblings/kids/cousins/spouse, year of your birth, phone numbers, home address, anniversary date etc. are complete invitations to hackers and thieves.

It will take them no time to crack your passwords on various websites including banking and steal your identity.

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Image: Hackers can crack your passwords on various websites including banking and steal your identity

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Five DEVILS of networking websites

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2. How 'Personal' is your personal life?

The demarcation between our personal life and professional life is getting diluted with the domination of networking websites in our lives. Most of us have our friends, family, relatives and colleagues all present together in our virtual world where flow of information is absolutely uniform and unbiased.

Next time you post about your office bunking sessions, bad boss or about that hot guy/girl in your team remember that chances are one of your colleague is reading about it just like how your family and relatives would be reading about your recent date, drunken nightouts and weekend goof-ups.

Of course Google+ allows you to keep your professional circle separate from your personal one but it still has a long way to go.

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Image: Your personal and professional lives

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Five DEVILS of networking websites

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3. A picture is worth a thousand words

Amidst all the posing we do on the networking websites we forget that these pictures can be easily downloaded by other people and misused. Photoshop is not an unknown territory these days and it hardly takes few hours for miscreants to morph your picture and add twists in your tale.

Be aware that such people could even be a part of your friend's list apart from unknown hackers. So use your sensibilities while sharing your pictures on public platforms.

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Image: A picture is worth a thousand words

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Five DEVILS of networking websites

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4. Where are you?

It does not require a GPS gadget or phone calls to find out about your most recent location these days.

Your timely updates on networking websites are enough to let the world know about the cafe, restaurant, park, airport, pub or city you are visiting.

While it's a great way to share your interests and activities with your friends it is also a clear announcement about your daily routines and availability at home -- often treated as golden opportunities by cons and thieves.

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Image: It does not require a GPS gadget or phone calls to find out about your most recent location these days

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Five DEVILS of networking websites

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5. What's your score?

Life has become a number game for most of us. Our popularity is not measured by how good a person we are but how many friends and connections we have on networking websites.

In this mad race many of us add people whom we have never met, seen or even spoken to.

Be careful for that unknown person could be harmful to you in ways unimaginable. Take time to know someone before you welcome him/her to your online world.

Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com (subject: 'I'm a tech wizard') and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Our popularity is not measured by how good a person we are but how many friends and connections we have on networking websites

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