The hazards of blogging
February 28th, 2006

This businessweek article says “it’s not just the prospect of predators and swindlers that has the social-network set alarmed.University officials and campus cops are scouring blogs and sites for tips on underage drinking and other student misbehavior.Corporations are investing in text-recognition software from vendors such as SAP (SAP ) and IBM (IBM ) to monitor blogs by employees and job candidates”.But,”despite mounting privacy concerns, popular social-networking sites MySpace.com,Facebook.com, and Xanga.com account for an increasing portion of Internet visits,about 4% as of January,says Web consultancy Hitwise.That’s up from less than 1% a year ago. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project,19% of teens from the age of 12 to 17 blog, compared with 7% of people over the age of 27.Usage patterns are changing swiftly.Here are “a couple of examples of the newest users:A college professor in North Carolina has scanned Facebook.com profiles to determine which students to accept into his class.Penn State University campus police used The Facebook,which only grants entry to people with .edu addresses,to identify students who rushed the field during the October Penn State vs. Ohio State University game,during which two police officers were injured.The participants had formed a special “I rushed the field” group, complete with names and pictures,says Tyrone Parham, assistant director of campus police.Parham and his team ended up issuing warnings to more than 50 people in that group.”They were surprised, they thought it was a private Web site,” he says.”But we just did a couple of clicks, and here was everybody’s picture”.Fighting fire with fire,some students search sites for evidence of lurking undercover campus cops or resort to subterfuge.At George Washington University,political-communications senior Kyle Stoneman and his buddies baited campus police by billing an innocent get-together a “Death Party” on the Facebook.com posting.After the police came calling,the group had switched the name to a “Love Party,”promising guests hugs and kisses for showing up,Stoneman says.Corporate bloggers are also coping with increased vigilance by bosses.Getting fired for blog entries is so common now that it’s come to be characterized by the term “dooced.” Dooce.com,a blog kept by one of the dooced,has seen its traffic more than double over the past year, according to Web site ranker Alexa.One networker who asked not to be identified says she regularly peppers her entries with fiction so she can avoid being identified by her employer”.

Big Brother is Reading Your Blog


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