Together with all of the perks and benefits that come with the Internet – the effortless networking skill, the access to real time data from all of the world, the social networking phenomenon, how we could plan an whole day without leaving our desks – with all of these beautifully convenient and attractive characteristics of the online world, there’s still that one dark cloud that seems eternally to be hanging over the heads of web-users. The dilemma of online privacy – or more importantly, the lack thereof, seems to continuously be popping up in the evening news, at the office, also in millions of websites all over the world. What exactly is it something we should all be concerned about, or is it a different obviously issue?
Do we care?
Many believe that the younger generation, or the digital natives, maintain a blasé attitude to online privacy, not worrying about who or what can get their home town, telephone numbers, or general demographical details. Yet interestingly, a recent survey found that it is in fact that the 18-35 year olds which are more likely to be tread the online privacy waters more closely than their older peers. It appears that although the younger demographic might be more easygoing about submitting private details across their social networking pages, they’re also more likely to use the privacy settings in place to specifically dictate just who can access those private specifics. According to a PEW study, by way of instance, only 6% of teens permit both their first and last names to be seen by the general public on social networks. Maybe this is because most are simply using social networking to keep in touch with already existing buddies – and privacy settings are adapted so that other people outside their ‘buddy’ lists can get their own information.Before you do any online activity make sure that your online privacy is not being compromised.
The Facebook fear factor
Unfortunately for Facebook, lately it’s been making news headlines for all the wrong reasons. Viruses are making the rounds of Facebook webpages, posing as ‘hilarious’ video links that look to be posted on your wall by your friends, simply to infect your computer and steal your log in details should you click them. Facebook recently introduced new privacy settings to allow users to better manage their internet privacy, only to get a backlash of complaints which the new settings were too complex, with users perplexed and concerned over how exactly their personal information was used. There was even a ‘Quit Facebook Day’ founded mid 2010 in an effort to boycott the social networking site on account of the online privacy issue, but that was met with a lukewarm response in the website’s users. With ‘privacy controls which are much easier to use’ and ‘a simple way to turn off all third party services’, Facebook are trying to soothe their disgruntled users and put an end to the privacy violation rumours. A huge concern that remains is that although the privacy preferences are easier to use, they are not set as default option – in other words, until you consciously find the privacy settings and change them yourself, your profile, information and photographs are available to the public. This means that if we need be private, we need to understand how to perform it.
Holding us back
Social networking sites also have come under fire of late because of a range of terrible abductions and other crimes that have resulted from consumers falling for disguises online. Chat rooms have been a concern for parents, providing anyone from any place in the world an outlet for direct communication with under-age Internet users. Another major privacy concern often stems from online purchasing. As e-commerce continues to flourish, unfortunately, so too do the cases of identity theft, monetary theft and fraud. In reality, many believe that the 1 thing holding back the e-commerce industry is the absence of consumer privacy protection on the internet.
Education is the key
Does all this mean that we should shut down our social networking webpages and refuse to purchase online? Interestingly, authorities often respond to public concerns over the dangers of the internet world by advising users to simply conceal any advice and any personal information, or simply not use certain sites. However perhaps it’s more realistic and sensible to advise Internet users to educate themselves on the privacy settings of the websites they frequent and use, and to be personally responsible and accountable since they participate in sharing online. Mark Zuckerberg considers that ‘people want to stay connected and share with those around them’. Users can do so without privacy fears should they take it on themselves to be educated and to use the world wide web responsibly. The online world has opened up incredible chances in the method of communication and global sharing, and even though with most matters, this comes with its dangers, we could use social networking sites and e-commerce without fear if we are responsible, clued-up and Internet savvy.
IQuantum has developed a proprietary analysis process to online grade client sites against the sites of market-leading competitors and against best practice. Our online evaluation is both quantitative and qualitative, and the results are presented in simple, digestible terms as part of a personalised approach workshop. We are entrepreneurs at the origins, therefore we are aware of the significance of laying-out strategy in a bang-for-buck fashion, and so we constantly present the business case for or from almost any internet initiative with a quantifiable rationale.
After our analysis and strategy workshop your online benchmark is created and you will know how far behind or ahead of the competition you are. With this info we can then work with you to determine what to do on your market position and site plans. Although we have experienced some useful tools developed to assist in the analysis process, iQuantum isn’t a web development firm. We don’t employ programmers or designers. Our range is broader than that. We site between our clients and web vendors and confirm the client will get value from their online marketing investment.