Good News from Pew Research on Teen Social Media Use

No time to give this a proper read and digest, but since my last post was about keeping our kids safe online, I wanted to quickly pass along some optimistic survey results released today.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project announced the findings of their “Teens, Social Media, and Privacy research.” It notes that while teens are sharing more information about themselves on social media sites than they did in the past, they take an array of steps to restrict and prune their profiles.

A few good news items include:

  • 19% post content they later regret sharing (could be much worse)
  • 20% share their cell phone number (I thought it would be higher)
  • 16% automatically include location in their posts (good to know they’re aware)
  • 61% have decided not to post something because it might reflect badly on them in the future

According to Pew, the typical (median) teen Facebook user has 300 friends. The larger a teen’s network, the more likely they are to have a wider variety of friends and share more personal information. This image shows how those with 1-150 friends share, but you can click on it to be taken to the interactive version and compare the difference with larger friend networks.

Teens on Facebook: What They Share with Friends - Chart by Pew Research

They’ve also got a site to let you build an interactive profile to explore what teens post and prune on their own profiles.

One of the things that caught my eye there was the finding that teens whose parents have higher levels of education and income are more likely than teens whose parents have lower levels of education and income to share videos of themselves on social media – a finding Pew thought may be influenced by the tech assets of the family.

An Associated Press writer‘s attention was caught by how the results showed teens moving increasingly to Twitter to avoid their parents and the ‘‘oversharing’’ that they see on Facebook. And, Huffington Post declared “The Facebook generation is fed up with Facebook.”

But, Pew researcher Mary Madden told USAToday  that in focus groups, conducted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, “we repeatedly heard kids saying that they knew their parents were watching.” As a parent, I’m glad to hear that. To me it is encouraging to know that more parents are getting involved and watching what they’re kids are doing. It’s not about being Big Brother, but about being a parent.

Helping Your Kids Be Smart Online

“Have you used Snapchat before?”

“Just once when we were sending a photo from [friend]’s phone. You know what Snapchat is?!?”

That last sentence was said a bit incredulously by my daughter and that filled me with both pride (yeah, I’m a cool mom who knows this stuff) and worry (after all our previous conversations about online safety she still thinks she knows things I don’t).

What had prompted this conversation was the fact that she was looking over my shoulder when I tweeted a link to a story about how someone has figured out how to recover Snapchat photos.

“On May 8, researchers at Decipher Forensics, a company in Orem, Utah, announced that they have figured out how to retrieve the supposedly self-destructing photos from the popular now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t photo-sharing app Snapchat. And will do so for a fee,” Businessweek reported.

Yes, I knew about Snapchat, but I had hoped that she didn’t. I try hard to keep up with new technology and not be quite as clueless as the parents in this video:

The company that makes that monitoring software also has an ebook titled “15 Digital Safety Rules Every Household Should Follow” that could be helpful for parents who, like myself, believe that talking early and often about online safety is more powerful than a big brother app.

I may hesitate on the “don’t friend anyone you don’t know in real life” rule, because if I’d followed it myself I’d have missed out on meeting some pretty cool people. But, there are some good nuggets of advice like:

  • They should not put anything up that they wouldn’t say to someone in person or would be embarrassed to have their school principal read,
  • They need to be aware that the possibility exists that the person on the other end of the profile isn’t really what he or she claims,
  • If you wouldn’t show the photo to Nana, don’t send it in a text, private chat or post it to social media, and
  • Never post, put in an online profile, or share with someone you don’t know in real life the following things: full name, address, telephone number, parents’ work address/telephone number, school name and location, or names of siblings.

On that last one, let me take a sidebar and speak to parents directly. You need to remember these tips when you post yourself. When you comment on your friends’ Facebook posts with things like “Johnny looks so handsome” or “Way to go [enter name of kid’s school] chess club” you are doing what you don’t want your own kids to do. Your friend might not have given out their child’s name or school, but you just shared it for them.

So, how did I leave off the conversation with my girl? With yet another admonition to never, ever, ever take photos of herself or let someone else take photos of her without all her clothes. If I say it enough, I’ll believe it will never happen…

Ten Years In to LinkedIn. From Basic Resume to Visual Portfolio

LinkedIn just celebrated its 10th birthday and while co-founder Reid Hoffman chose to thank employees today for all they’ve done, last week CEO Jeff Weiner was talking about how he really wants the rest of us to stop thinking of it as just a digital resume.

I have to admit, that’s exactly what I thought of it as when I joined back in 2006. (To find out when you joined, just go to the Settings and it’s listed there under your name.) I initially resisted the invitations from colleagues to join in the same way today I resist all the My Calendar invites Facebook friends send.

It didn’t seem necessary since I wasn’t looking for a job at the time. (My Calendar really is unnecessary because Facebook will tell you when it’s my birthday if I want you to know it.) But, the invites kept coming and it began to make some sense to start creating an online network of professional associates.

Seven years later, I’ve got 500+ connections in that network and LinkedIn itself has over 225 million members, more than 3,700 employees and nearly $325 million in revenue according to The Next Web.

And LinkedIn has pretty consistently added new elements to their service over that time which have definitely taken it further than a basic online resume. There’s a visual timeline if you’d like to review their history.

Recently, they began rolling out “the ability to showcase your unique professional story using rich, visual content on your LinkedIn profile” to members in English speaking countries. Last year, I wrote about leveraging Pinterest to create something similar.

I haven’t had time yet to try adding the same visual elements to my LinkedIn profile, but here are some examples of how it could work:

Have you tried it yet? Any tips and tricks to share?