pheed company

Pheed – the social network bringing it all together

pheed companyNeither my teen or tween have any interest in joining Facebook. They tell me Facebook is the network for parents. Kids are moving to a host of different apps depending on their interests — Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Kik and Vine. Now, a social network is emerging to try and capture all these divergent interests – Pheed.

If you took every social app and smushed them together, you would have Pheed. On Pheed, users can share everything – text, pictures, videos, audio, and live broadcasts. According to Pheed, 81% of its user base is 14-25 years old. (Users must be over 13.) Scrolling through Pheed, you notice people aren’t using it in lieu of other apps. Pheed timelines are full of Vine videos, Instagram pictures and posts from other networks. This is the place where people bring it all together.

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Pheed is a free app. Teens can sign up using their Twitter or Facebook account or an email address. Once in, Pheed walks them through setting up a profile containing their name, username and bio.

One feature I like is users can choose to hide the number of subscribers to their channel. Instead of displaying how many subscribers, it just says “Ghost”. I noticed many channels hide this number. Hopefully, this reduces the pressure to share questionable material just to attract subscribers. Continue reading

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Start Digital Citizenship Week by sharing a Story “My Embarrassing Photo went Viral”

digital_citizenship_week_logo (1)Next week is Digital Citizenship Week. Teaching kids how to stay safe and share smart online is an ongoing conversation.  One of the best ways to initiate the digital talk is sharing a real story. It is always easier to talk about someone else and a real world example gives credibility to your talk.

The story of Caitlin Seida is great one to kickoff Digital Citizenship Week. Caitlin Seida wrote an excellent piece for Salon about when her embarrassing photo went viral. She shares how she encountered tremendous online cruelty and how she ultimately reclaimed her photo. Her story touches on many important online lessons about controlling your digital image and the reality of posting cruel comments online.

One Halloween, Caitlin Seida dressed up as Lara Croft from Tomb Raider. Caitlin, like most of us, didn’t have Angelina Jolie’s figure. She enjoyed dressing up and decided to shared a photo with her friends on Facebook. Nothing happened until several years later when the photo suddenly went viral.

A website, designed to encourage people to mock photos, found her picture and posted it. From there, it spiraled with other websites reposting the photo. Caitlin, alerted by a friend, investigated how this site got her photo. She discovered that she had accidentally posted it as “Public” not “Friends Only”. At first, she approached it with good humor. She grew up with the internet and knew about trolls but as the mean, cruel comments piled on she began to crumble.

“We all know the awful humiliation of a person laughing at you. But that feeling increases tenfold when it seems like everyone is laughing at you. Scrolling through the comments, the world imploded — and took my heart with it.”

Instead of drowning in these cruel comments, Caitlin tackled it head on. She sent take down notices to the websites that had posted it. She also responded directly to the online comments. Since many people had commented using their Facebook login, she could see their profile photo and real name. Caitlin began messaging them via Facebook. Unfortunately, not one of them apologized. So, Caitlin decided to take back her image by telling her own story.

Even after all this, Caitlin said in a KIRO interview she doesn’t believe people are meaner online just more thoughtless. Online communication happens so quickly it is easy to forget there is a real person in these photos and posts. She hopes her story will inspire kids to stand up and never stop believing they are awesome.

To hear her full story, check out My embarrassing picture went viral – When strangers mocked me for my weight, it was a lesson in Internet cruelty, mean girls — and fighting back in Salon or listen to her interview with Andrew Walsh on KIRO. For Digital Citizenship Week, play her interview in the car or read her story at the table and use it to kick-start a conversation about checking privacy settings, sharing with a small audience and most importantly extending kindness online.

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Snapchat’s only privacy setting is a good friend

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When I watch my kids online, I often wish the internet was a bit more forgiving. I am not talking about the freedom to do whatever they want without consequences. I am talking about sharing a silly moment without it stalking them for they rest of their lives. The Snapchat app appears to promise kids this freedom by allowing them to send a disappearing photo.

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Snapchat lets kids take and send photos to their friends that cannot be saved. It does this by including a self-destruct button. Kids decide how long their friend can view the photo, with a maximum viewing time of 10 seconds. When time is up, the photo disappears. Snapchat photos cannot be saved by the recipient.

Snapchat is intended for kids over 13. It is one of the top 5 apps for teens. Over 60 million photos or messages are sent each day on Snapchat. The latest version will let teens send videos that self-destruct within 10 seconds.

When Snapchat first launched, many people wrote about the potential for teens to use it for sexting. A self-destructing photo seemed the perfect way for teens to send naughty pictures without worrying about the photo ending up splashed all over the internet. Some teens probably have used Snapchat for this purpose and parents should definitely talk to their teen about the dangers of sexting.

silly snapchat photoAn online search for #Snapchat reveals a lot of teens are using it to take funny pictures of themselves. They are making an ugly face or drawing a mustache. These pictures share a silly moment then disappear. They can have fun without having their crazy duck face follow them into adulthood. Unfortunately, these faces may not always disappear.

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instagram rainbow

Instagram coming to a desktop near you

When Instagram launched, it was available only on a mobile device. Kids flocked to this photo sharing app. One of the reason is most parents are not on Instagram. And, since only members could see their Instagram profiles, many adults were out of the loop. This changed with Instagram’s new web profiles.

Now, anyone can check out their profile online. Their web profile will have recently shared photographs, their profile photo and bio, and the rest of their photos. By clicking on a photo, people can see likes and comments.

On Instagram, an account is either public or private. Public accounts will have all of their photos on their web profile. Kids cannot choose to have some photos public and some private.

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Facebook helps kids manage their digital footprint with kindness

Teaching kids how to play nice in the real world is challenging. Move this same scenario online and interactions become even more complicated. With no connection to a face or a voice, a simple misunderstanding can escalate to hurt feelings on all sides. One of the areas that is difficult to deal with is when a friend posts a photo that includes you.

With 300 million photos posted on Facebook every day, most people will have to deal with a friend posting a photo you do not want online. In many cases, the friend did not intended to hurt you nor does the picture violate Facebook’s Community Standards. Often these photos are reported to Facebook where reporting can lead to unfriending or blocking that person. For a photo you simply don’t like what you are wearing and wish your friend had not posted it, this is a harsh solution.

Facebook and a team of researchers from Yale University and UC Berkeley developed a better way for friends to communicate with each other. At Facebook’s 2nd Compassion Research Day, they presented an updated social reporting tool. This new tool gave people an opportunity to share their feelings behind why they wanted the picture removed.

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