It’s Not Facebook, It’s You! 5 Ways To Fix Your Facebook Experience


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I joined Facebook because it promised to be an easy way to stay in touch with friends and family while traveling and living abroad. I stayed with Facebook even though many of the prejudices I had turned out to be true. What I learned, however, is that most of the things you do with Facebook, or allow it to do to you, are your choice.

Facebook offers a lot of opportunities and it is up to you to customize your experience. It’s a little like real life. You can do great things, work hard, be a positive example, help others, or you can waste your time; it’s your decision. The difference is that Facebook is much less complex and occasionally comes with great instructions. So what is it that you struggle with on Facebook and how would you like to turn that experience around?

1. Wasting Time

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Because Facebook is so great at what it does – presenting you with the latest information from the people and things you care about – you cannot help but get sucked in and spend hours on reading status updates, peeking through photo albums, watching videos, or playing games. And if you don’t read everything that has been posted to your News Feed since the last time you visited, you feel like you are missing out. This is not a productive use of your time!

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There isn’t an easy way to escape from this time sink. First you need to be determined!

Ask yourself:

  • How much time can you afford to spend on Facebook?
  • What do you really want to use Facebook for?
  • Who do you really want to stay in touch with?

The answers to those questions will reveal what you want Facebook to be for you. Once you have an understanding of what you appreciate about Facebook, observe yourself the next time you use the social network:

  • How much time do you actually spend on Facebook?
  • What are you actually doing on Facebook?
  • Who are you actually interacting with?

Based on your initial idea of what you want Facebook to be and the baseline assessment of what it actually is now, take action!

2. Feeling Bad

Facebook is a reflection of who you are and how you think. When you approach Facebook with the wrong mindset, it can make you sad, anxious, and envious. Approach it with the right mindset, however, and it can leave you happier, inspired, and grateful for having so many awesome people in your life. Which alternative would you prefer?

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recent study revealed that people who are more engaged in Facebook, tend to suffer from higher levels of anxiety. This is hardly surprising. Lonely or introvert people with a less intense social life find it easier to connect using social networks. Yet seeing people having an exciting social life in the real world can be incredibly depressing. But it doesn’t have to be!

It’s tough, but you can be conscious about how you approach Facebook (or life in general) and how it makes you feel. It’s a key part of customizing your Facebook experience. Try these tips:

  • Envious? Imagine how you would feel if you were the other person. Empathize. Then, instead of feeling envious, try to be genuinely happy for them and cheer them on.
  • Anxious? Why? Do you feel like your life is a failure? Do you think you should do better? Don’t be so hard on yourself and stop comparing yourself with others! Rather focus on what is good in your life and work hard to improve whatever is not right, yet. Give yourself some credit along the way and celebrate your achievements. Yes, do post your progress on Facebook and feel your heart jump with joy when your friends encourage you and are happy for you. 🙂
  • Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)? You miss out on 99.999999999% of what is going on in the world right now and you have missed out on almost 100% of what has happened in the past or will happen in the future. Live NOW. Learn to enjoy the moment, decide on your priorities in life, be true to them, and work hard for having great moments.

3. Revealing Too Much

Per default, Facebook shares everything. Whatever you share with Facebook, is shared with the world. And whenever Facebook introduces an update, the default is ‘open to all’. Hence it’s important to regularly review your privacy settings and make sure that privacy relevant information like your birth date, your phone number, or your personal photos are hidden from the general public.

You can easily check what your profile looks like for another person from within Facebook. Go to your Timeline, i.e. facebook.com/your_user_name. You can get there by clicking your own name anywhere on Facebook. In the top right next to Activity Log click the arrowhead to expand the Settings menu and select View As…

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From the top left, select as who you want to see your Timeline and Profile. You can enter a friend’s name or view your profile as the public, i.e. a random stranger would see it.

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If you see something that you don’t want a specific person or the public to see, track down that particular piece of information and update its settings.

4. Sharing Too Much

Some things should remain private! None of your friends want to hear about your every bowel movement, nor do they want to hear you complain all the time, unless you are really having a tough time and need help. In that case, why don’t you just ask for help? This is probably the toughest one, but don’t Like and re-Share too many Facebook posts. It will drive those people nuts whose News Feeds are inundated with your Likes and Shares.

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Remember, if everyone was a little more considerate, we would all waste less time on Facebook.

Fortunately, a recent study shows that around one third of all Facebook posts are self-censored. Another study suggests that self-censorship could be related to not wanting to… cause a huge discussion, offend or hurt someone, or be boring or repetitive. Sounds like a great number of people actually is considerate already!

5. Depending Too Much

Don’t let Facebook rule your life. Make sure you have people’s contacts and birthdates stored outside of Facebook, so you can stay in touch in case you get banned or locked outBack up your photos and other personal memories, so you don’t depend on Facebook to save them for you. Generally, use Facebook like any other tool, don’t depend on it for your (social) life!

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You control your Facebook experience. Make it a good one, but don’t make it an intense one. Facebook is a tool to stay in touch with real people in real life. The goal is to have a real social life outside of Facebook.

How do you use Facebook and how much time do you spend on it each day?

10 Websites Geeks Of All Stripes Should Bookmark


websites for geeksWe geeks know what we are and revel in our existence as our place in society grows ever stronger. We are geeks, we are proud, and we’re not going anywhere. As the Internet becomes a bigger part of everybody’s lives, we are the ones who they, the non-geeks, will turn to for help and advice. And we will offer that help and advice without hesitation.

There are some fantastic resources on the Web for geeks, of all ages and all kinds. Be it computer geeks who like to mess around with the insides of machines or those more mainstream geeks (as I consider myself) who approach things from a more basic angle but then delve as deep as they need to in order to understand. The following are 10 websites for geeks that you should bookmark.

Lifehacker

websites for geeks

Lifehacker is a website which does exactly what its name suggests – provide life hacks. These are anything which can help solve an everyday problem in a new way, or aid productivity and efficiency. Within those boundaries, content on Lifehacker is diverse, with everything from personal finance to health, from cooking to photography. This is geekdom for those who want to better themselves.

How-To Geek

websites for geeks tech

How-To Geek is completely dedicated to computers and how they work. There is a constant stream of articles related to the topic, as well as forums with sections dedicated to all the major operating systems and specialized topics such as building your own PC. This is geekdom for those who know a little but want to know more.

TechRepublic

websites for geeks tech

TechRepublic is a vast resource with sections dedicated to blogs, downloads, galleries, and discussions, amongst others. Content is also segregated by the field of technology it belongs to; development, IT support, networks, etc.

This isn’t a site for everyone but rather those who already have some kind of connection to the tech sector. This is geekdom for professionals.

Ozzu

websites for geeks tech

Ozzu labels itself simply as ‘Webmaster Forum‘ and that’s a fitting description. This is news, information and resources for developers, programmers, and designers. There are forums for those with a passion for each of these professions, with a considerable amount of crossover included. A marketplace offering job opportunities in this field also features. This is geekdom for webmasters.

Neowin

geek websites

Neowin has tech news, reviews, features, and forums. It was once all about Microsoft and its products, but it has now evolved to cover Mac and Linux amongst other things.

It’s fair to say there is still a pro-Microsoft bias on the site though, which isn’t a bad thing considering all the pro-Apple bias on other sites. This is geekdom for fans of Windows.

Protonic

geek websites

Protonic is a site offering an invaluable service. If you need technical support for your computer, be it hardware- or software-related, then you can get it for free on Protonic.

You simply ask a question and a volunteer will answer it for you, offering assistance completely for free. This is geekdom for those in need.

ITProPortal

geek websites

ITProPortal delivers “24/7 Tech Commentary & Analysis.” This is around-the-clock news with a British bias, with different sections dedicated to different sectors of technology.

What differentiates ITProPortal from so many other sites is the added commentary, with a different spin often put on stories you may have already read elsewhere. This is geekdom for tech news junkies.

Gizmag

Gizmag is the place to spy on invention and innovation. While we all know about the new iPador Windows 8, we don’t always get to hear about the slightly zany, out-there gadgets in development. Which is where Gizmag comes in.

We’re talking flying cars and suction-cup shoes. Things that we may or may not all be using in the years to come but which are already out there now. This is geekdom for those who love gadgets.

Stackoverflow

Stackoverflow is a constantly updating stream of programming-related questions. If you’re the kind of person who likes reading questions about programming and on topics completely incomprehensible to ordinary people then Stackoverflow could be your nirvana.

I’ll be honest and admit I haven’t a clue what most of the questions on Stackoverflow are pertaining to, but James Bruce may well do. This is geekdom for those who are bigger geeks than me.

MakeUseOf

websites for geeks

MakeUseOf is awesome, obviously. If you’re reading this then you already know MakeUseOf is THE place for geeks to hang out. With more than 20 writers, all of whom have different interests and expertise in different fields, MakeUseOf will have something for everyone.

I myself,consider ” makeuseof ” the best!

There are Best Of Apps for a host of platforms, Guides and Cheat Sheets, a vast Directory of websites, and a forum for Questions and Answers. This is geekdom for the masses.

Conclusions

The 10 websites above represent geek heaven. These are where all geeks or would-be geeks should be hanging out on a daily basis. When combined with the 10 websites where cool computer geeks reside you should never be left needing a place to visit on the Web to gain your geek credentials.

As always we want to hear from you. So please let us know your thoughts on geeks, geek culture, and websites for geeks. If there are you visit on a regular basis that you feel should have made the list then link to it in the comments section below.

What’s A Cookie & What Does It Have To Do With My Privacy?


Most people know that there are cookies scattered all over the Internet, ready and willing to be eaten up by whoever can find them first. Wait, what? That can’t be right. Yes, there are cookies on the Internet (technically, the World Wide Web), and yes, they really are called “cookies”.  But they aren’t delicious and they can affect your privacy, so you should know what they do.

Whether you’re browsing Google search results, logging into Facebook, or just innocently chatting away on an online forum, you’ve encountered cookies. They aren’t inherently harmful but, just like passwords or email addresses, they can be exploited when placed in the wrong hands. Keep reading to learn how you can protect yourself.

What Are Cookies, Really?

In simple terms, cookies are just files that reside on your computer. Cookies are created when you visit a website. They are used to store bits of information about your interactions with the website, which the web server can use later when processing your sessions. The cookie is specific to you and it can be read by the web server (when interacting with it) or by programs on your computer.

To be technical, your browser is the program that mediates cookie control between your computer and the website. These cookies used by a website to present different types of content depending on who you are in relation to that website. Cookies can expire after a given time period (usually determined by the website issuing the cookie), but if necessary, they can be manually deleted.

Why are cookies used? Because they’re convenient and efficient. If a website wants to service thousands of users without cookies, it would have to store all of that interaction data in its own storage and it would have to be processed on its own. By offloading that work to the user, it becomes a faster and less strenuous procedure.

What are cookies used for? One reason for a cookie is to identify you. If you log in to a website and close your browser, then open it back up, the website knows it’s you because that cookie exists (it was created when you logged in). Cookies can store all sorts of information, like your preferences, your browser type, your location, etc. and this information can be used to better your experience.

How Do Cookies Affect You?

For the most part, cookies are NOT harmful. They’re just another protocol used on the Internet to facilitate communication between users and servers. Worried about viruses and malware? You can relax. Cookies cannot carry viruses or malware, nor can they transfer such things to other users.

Cookies are a necessary part of the Internet experience and they shouldn’t be feared. For example, deleting your cookies will log you out of sites like MakeUseOf and Facebook. If you like convenience and personalization, then you should learn to embrace cookies.

But what should you worry about?

The worst possible scenario would be the interception or forgery of one of your cookies, which would allow another user to impersonate you on some website. This could result in them eavesdropping on your user data OR hijacking your account credentials. However, don’t be too alarmed. Cookie security mostly depends on the website and your browser; a cookie encryption feature, for example, can help protect you from hackers.

A more prevalent issue is a specific type of cookie called the “tracking cookie.” These cookies aren’t used to better your experience. Instead, they keep track of all of your actions on certain websites. These can be used to build browsing history profiles, which can be used to target specific ads to you. This is where invasion of privacy comes in.

Protecting Your Privacy

Here’s what you need to know about cookie privacy: they cannot know any information that you don’t personally provide. In other words, just because a website has a cookie on you doesn’t mean that they know everyone in your family and which schools you’ve attended–unless you entered that information to the website.

The biggest problem with tracking cookies is that an advertising agency can view your browsing history (since that’s what they use to target ads relevant to your interests). You can prevent them from doing this, of course, by playing with your browser settings and disabling cookies.

If you don’t want to disable ALL cookies (which would keep you from enjoying the legitimate features on legitimate websites), certain browsers let you disable specific cookies from certain domains. Some more advanced browsers let you synchronize with black lists; these are maintained by people or communities to keep out domains with shady cookie practices.

Ultimately, when it comes to cookie privacy, it’s all about trust. Do you trust that website to log every interaction? Read their privacy policy and terms of use–they’re usually linked on the website near the header or footer. If you don’t trust them, you can always wipe your cookies later.

Want to test a website’s cookie integrity? Try “Cookie Checker”. Want to see what sort of cookies are on your computer and what websites are tracking with those cookies? Try Cookie Spy.

By Joel Lee makeuseof.com