Could a social media eraser law save an over-sharing generation?

California's pending Internet "eraser button" law gives minors a way to (partially) expunge their digital footprint.

As reported by Peter Weber, California's legislature recently passed a landmark law giving minors the legal right to scrub their Internet history clean. That means, if Gov. Jerry Brown (D) doesn't veto the bill, anyone under 18 will be able to digitally erase any Facebook harangue, indiscreet Instagram, impolitic tweet, or any other web posting that doesn't age well.

The new law will protect "the teenager who says something on the Internet that they regret five minutes later," said California Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D) after the upper chamber cleared his bill on Aug. 30, sending it to Brown's desk.

"Kids and teenagers often self-reveal before they self-reflect," agrees James Steyer at Common Sense Media, which pushed for the California law. "It's a very important milestone."

Who would oppose such an act of humanity? After all, people can often have their juvenile criminal records expunged or sealed when they turn 18, so why not extend the same courtesy to job-seekers trying to rid Google of that embarrassing photo they sent to their boyfriend in high school?

There are some open-Internet advocates who oppose the law on the idea that regulating the Internet always had unintended consequences. "We are principally concerned that this legal uncertainty for website operators will discourage them from developing content and services tailored to younger users, and will lead popular sites and services that may appeal to minors to prohibit minors from using their services," the Center for Democracy and Technology told California lawmakers, to no avail.

More sympathetic critics of the new law also "warn that in trying to protect children, the law could unwittingly put them at risk by digging deeper into their personal lives," says Somini Sengupta in The New York Times. "To comply with the law, for example, companies would have to collect more information about their customers, including whether they are under 18 and whether they are in California."

And then there's the possibility that teenagers will come to think of the law as a sort of digital version of the Amish Rumspringa — go do whatever you want, you crazy kids, and all will be forgiven when you come to your senses. The Internet, of course, doesn't work that way.

"Before minors celebrate by temporarily posting offensive jokes or pictures, the bill wisely provides that there is no guarantee removal by the initial website ensures complete elimination of the materials from the entire web," says Travis Crabtree at eMedia Law Insider.

Not only doesn't the law require the internet companies to remove the data from their servers, Crabtree notes, it also "only applies to content actually posted by the minor and not those pictures posted by the teen's friends who have less scruples."

It's not that California couldn't fix those shortcomings. In Europe, for example, an EU electronic data protection directive lets all Europeans — not just minors — "object to the processing of any data relating to himself," says Eugene K. Chow at The Huffington Post.

So when then-Formula One chief Max Mosley discovered in 2008, on the website of Britain's News of the World, that anyone with a Internet connection could watch a covertly recorded video of his participation in what the website alleged was a "sick Nazi orgy" with multiple prostitutes, he could do something about it. Mosley had "the legal grounds to sue Google in Germany and several other countries," says Chow, and he "could even compel the Internet giant to filter out the raunchy videos."

The European Commission's proposed "right to be forgotten" law would take those privacy rights and turn them up a few big notches. The controversial proposal would essentially give all Europeans the right to demand that tech companies erase any data they hold on a petitioning individual. The European Commissioners are still trying to work out how to best balance privacy rights and free speech concerns, but if we give teenagers an internet "eraser button," why not adults, too?

For one thing, the U.S. is not Europe, says Chow at The Huffington Post:

Despite the American myths that tout the individual as the pillar of society, European privacy laws have a more deeply rooted respect for individuals as evidenced by Europe's long tradition of prioritizing people over newspapers, photographers, and more recently, tech companies.... American laws frequently prioritize free speech at the expense of individual rights.

Nobody is arguing California's SB 568 is a perfect solution to the looming problems of a generation that seems to collectively have little hesitation about posting embarrassing and career-limiting stuff online, but at least the Golden State is taking a stab at the problem.

And while a national law would have a bigger impact, what California does matters, attorney Mali Friedman tells The New York Times. "Often you need to comply with the most restrictive state as a practical matter because the Internet doesn't really have state boundaries."

So if you're an Internet firm, you "may have to reassess the cost-benefit analysis of collecting certain types of data from minors," or even whether it's worth letting them use your site or app, says Cynthia Larose at Privacy and Security Matters.

On the other hand, she adds, if you worry that, "given the types of things minors deem appropriate to post on social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, our country won't be able to produce an electable candidate for president in 40 years," laws like California's internet "eraser button" will help ensure that "many more of our children could become president someday."
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Learn 21st Century Language Skills

This is an interview by Ultimate Spelling Bee with Erin Jansen of NetLingo :)

Long before computer jargon and “text speak” became part of the ongoing argument about spelling skills and the development of the English language, Erin Jansen saw the need to collect and document all of the terminology associated with the digital world, and the virtual world that followed. Now her site is the top-ranked resource for information on the language of the internet, of mobile chatting, and of 21st-century communication in general. We talked to Erin recently about the website, and how the English language is growing and adapting to keep up with the ongoing cyber-evolution of our world.

US: You were a pioneer in classifying and tracking the terminology associated with computers back in the mid-1990s and your website now covers vocabulary used in all aspects of the digital world, from the internet in general to blogging, texting, gaming, and marketing. What has been the biggest change in “cyberspeak” you’ve noticed over the last 15 years?

EJ: The biggest change in cyberspeak over the past 15 years has been the increasing use of acronyms and text shorthand, and specifically the use of numbers and symbols within acronyms and text shorthand. For example, 10Q means thank you; 143 means i love you; 182 means i hate you; 9 means a parent is watching; 99 means a parent is no longer watching. This kind of code has evolved rapidly into what is known as leetspeak.

9 means a parent is watching; 99 means a parent is no longer watching. This kind of code has evolved rapidly into what is known as leetspeak. - See more at: http://www.netlingo.com/#sthash.221FCWNG.dpuf

Here’s one of my favorite quotes: “The digital frontier is a nurturing place where verbs and nouns are not only born, but in fact bear offspring.” —Don Altman

US: Here at Ultimate Spelling we’ve frequently discussed the topic of texting, and whether or not using abbreviations and acronyms has a negative impact on spelling skills. What’s your opinion on this?
EJ: I do not believe the use of abbreviations and acronyms while texting has a negative impact on spelling skills, it’s simply another way of talking or writing. While I don’t think this kind of shorthand is appropriate for school course work, I do think it can spur on the creative writing process. So the challenge for educators is to encourage creative writing in the first draft, but by the final paper, make sure the student is using proper grammar and spelling.

Here’s another favorite quote: “No language as depending on arbitrary use and custom can ever be permanently the same, but will always be in a mutable and fluctuating state; and what is deemed polite and elegant in one age, may be accounted uncouth and barbarous in another.” —Benjamin Martin

US: AFAIK, UNOIT, and HTNOTH look like serious cases of misspellings, but they’re fairly common acronyms used in text messages. In general, do people use acronyms like these rather than the phrases themselves, when they’re typing out e-mail messages or other non-texting communication?
EJ: Many people use these kinds of acronyms on a regular basis while others do not, it depends on the person. I continue to receive new acronym submissions on a daily basis, and I continue to see this type of shorthand even on social networking sites, not just in email or text messages. I get the feeling that people either love acronyms and use them as often as possible, or people don’t like acronyms and use shorthand sparingly.

Another favorite quote: “A dictionary is an historical monument, the history of a nation contemplated from one point of view, and the wrong ways into which a language has wandered … may be nearly as instructive as the right ones.” —Richard Chenevix Trench

US: The acronym WYSIWYG (“what you see is what you get”) has been around long enough that it’s actually become a spoken vocabulary word, pronounced WIZZ-ee-wig. It’s even listed in the Oxford English Dictionary! Do you think that this illustrates the next step in the evolution of the English language?
EJ: I absolutely think that acronyms and tech talk in general illustrate the next step in the evolution of language. On a recent episode of the popular TV show “Dancing with the Stars” one of the stars was “talking in hashtags” when she said “OMG, hashtag intense” to refer to a posting she made on Twitter under “#intense” at which point the host responded “You talk in hashtags? OMG, please hashtag stop.” Acronyms and tech talk crossed over into mainstream media in the early 2000′s with the popularity of social media sites. NetLingo continues to track all of these terms as they keep evolving, and the good thing about the website as oppose to printed versions is that it is always updated and always growing. (The first NetLingo Dictionary book published in 2002 had 500 pages while the website had 5,000 pages; now in 2013 the website has 10,000 pages, it’s unrealistic to publish all of that in a book.)

A quote to help illustrate: “Telephone books are, like dictionaries, already out of date the moment they are printed.” —Ammon Shea

US: One of the sections of your website is titled “Top 50 Internet Acronyms Parents Need to Know.” What are the issues that come up between parents and kids, as far as “net lingo” is concerned?

EJ: The issues that come up between parents and kids as far as “net lingo” is concerned are primarily that parents don’t understand what kids are saying when they are texting and they don’t know what they are doing when spending time online. This is a problem because kids are often approached by strangers online. The statistics say it all: 95% of parents don’t recognize the lingo kids use to let people know that their parents are watching. One third of kids have been contacted by a stranger and half of these were considered inappropriate. 75% of youth who received an online sexual solicitation did not tell a parent. 81% of parents of online youth say that kids aren’t careful enough when giving out information about themselves online. These are unfortunate facts and it is why I try to educate parents about the lingo used online, and the need to stay engaged and set rules around online usage.

Here’s a cute joke to help illustrate: “The linguistics professor was explaining to his class that there were languages on this earth where a positive and a negative was always positive, some where this was always negative, and some where a double negative was in fact a positive, but that there was no language on earth where a double positive was a negative. To which a student at the back of the class called out, “Yeah right!” —Anonymous

Erin Jansen is the founder of NetLingo.com and author of “NetLingo The Internet Dictionary” and “NetLingo The Largest List of Text & Chat Acronyms.”

The Great Digital Con Game

Have you ever stopped to think about the politics or economics of social media and digital sharing? Jaron Lanier has.

Stop “offering yourselves up on a platter,” said Jaron Lanier. In today’s world of social media and digital sharing, we upload, tweet, instagram, share, and “like” with abandon. But have you ever stopped to think about the politics or economics of this new world order?

Take Instagram, for example. “When photography happened on film, a company like Kodak directly employed 140,000 middle-class people,” all making money from the products it created. Today, we have Instagram: a company that recently sold for $1 billion, employs 13 people, and “makes money off content that others—that is, you—create.”

You young people ought to wake up. By buying into the digital lifestyle, “you’ve become passive little playthings of Silicon Valley and Wall Street, screwing yourselves over for their profit.” The sad thing is that this isn’t “some evil conspiracy that’s taking away your future.” You’re giving it away!

“You’re sending all your data to companies in California so that they can sell behavioral models of you to whoever pays them the most to manipulate you.” And in exchange, what do you get? A chance to promote yourself? Likes and retweets? Reputation? Goodwill? Those “informal online benefits” are great, but be warned: “You can’t retire on them.”

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How Google Makes Its Money

For a company that for the longest time was touted to "not have a product," Google is doing plenty well, and is poised to bring us all into the new age of connectivity. The editors at Best Accounting Schools decided to research the topic; below are some key facts and figures. Click here for the infographic!

Google made $33.3 billion last year
- With 97% ($32.2 bil) coming from online ads
- Making Google Ads more valuable than Panama (GDP)[3]
- And the 31 poorest countries in the world combined
- 70% of this revenue is from adwords, which allows business to advertise by popular keywords

Most expensive keywords
- 1. Insurance: $54.31 per click
- 2. Mortgage:$47.12 per click
- 3. Attorney $47.07 per click
- 4. Loans:$44.28 per click
- 5. Credit $36.06 per click
- 6. Lawyer
- 7. Donate
- 8. Degree
- 9. hosting
- 10. Claim
- 11. Conference Call
- 12. Trading
- 13. Software
- 14. Recovery
- 15. Transfer
- 16. Gas/Electricity
- 17. Classes
- 18. Rehab
- 19. Treatment
- 20. Cord Blood

And 30% is from AdSense
- Which allows business to advertise on particular sites
- Some of the most expensive ad placements
- 1. CBS March Madness on Demand $70 cost per thousand views
- 2. Hulu $35 cost per thousand views
- 3. Aol homepage takeover $500,000-$700,000
Chances are, you'll click on a link at some point. Google wants you to stay online as long as possible.

Both Google and other acquisitions are furthering Google's cause.
Google is the lab where future projects are developed. There, several ways in which to keep you online have been developed:
Driverless cars
- 300,000 miles have been logged in Google's driverless cars, which use sensors and Google map technology to keep you on the road
- If you don't have to pay attention to the road, you can be online, for work, play, Google, etc.
Google Glass
- A form of augmented reality glasses, allow you to be online all the time with an unobtrusive display within your upper visual field
The "web of things"
- Involves embedding many ordinary devices with internet connectivity
- Televisions, thermostats, refrigerators
Google Fiber
- Is busy hooking up Kansas City, Missouri, Provo, Utah, and Austin Texas, with lighting fast fiber optic internet access
- Including: 1 terabyte of Google drive storage
- and, 2 terabyte DVR service for subscribers
- That can record up to 8 tv shows at once
- Time Magazine has noted that Google does not want to enter the ISP business, but rather wants to shame existing ISPs into improving service so searches can be done more quickly
Plans for an elevator to space...
- Because what would you do out there without Google maps?

Other acquisitions by Google Include:
- YouTube
- Purchased for a--then--astounding $1.65 billion in 2006
- Youtube has proved to be plenty worth it
- As it is now the third most popular site online, with billions of ads shown yearly
- Motorola Mobility
- Purchased in 2011 for $12.5 billion
- Motorola is one of 39 Android handset producers
- Was bought primarily to "supercharge the Android ecosystem."
- Other Acquisitions include
- $676 mil for ITA software, a company merged into Google Flights
- $450 mil for Wildfire Interactive, a social network marketing engine
- $400 mil for AdMeld, an online advertising service
- $1.3 bil for Waze, a socially driven mapping technology to merge with Google Maps
- And $228 mil for slide.com, a social gaming site
- With 83.18% of searches worldwide occurring on Google, and the right people thinking about how to funnel that for the collective, and profitable, good, Google's not going anywhere. Just buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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According to Colleen Oakley, it's not just for Veronica Mars reboots. Graduating with less debt could just take a couple of clicks.

When Kelli Space graduated from Northeastern University in 2009 with $200,000 of student loan debt, she panicked. Given that she had an entry-level office manager job that didn't pay much, Space knew that it was going to be tough to pay back that debt on her own.

But instead of deferring her payments — or not paying them at all, like many grads end up doing — she started a crowdfund, which is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a vast pool of people online.

"In total, I received $13,000 from strangers around the world," she says. And although that amount only made a small dent toward paying off her debt, it had a big impact on her career trajectory — the experience inspired Space and three friends to start Zero Bound, a company that helps students and graduates crowdfund their own student loan debt in exchange for community volunteering.

Space has not one but two lofty goals with Zero Bound. "We hope to use the trend of crowdfunding to not only help a generation pay off their debt, but also increase volunteerism among an age bracket that actually volunteers the least," she says. "And, to that end, I believe that crowdfunding can be a largely beneficial way to raise the funds to make that happen."

Space isn't alone in her thinking. Since 2011, crowdfunding efforts have more than tripled, and current campaigns are projected to raise more than $5.1 billion worldwide in 2013.

But what started out as a way to enable businesses and individuals to raise money for creative endeavors without relying on such traditional financing sources as banks — take the indie Veronica Mars Movie Project, which raised over five million dollars on Kickstarter in just 30 days — has morphed into a means for literally anyone to ask for money … for literally anything.

"Crowdfunding is definitely branching out into multiple areas, including personal causes," says Ellen Sperling, cofounder of crowdfunding site YouveGotFunds.com. And, by personal, we're talking about everything from surgeries to honeymoons. Why, you ask? "It's partly because the costs for many of these regular items have skyrocketed," she says. "Medical fees are through the roof, and even if you have health insurance, they don't always cover certain medications and procedures, like fertility treatments."

The same applies to financing higher education. "Why would college students want to graduate owing $150,000-plus in loans," Sperling says, "if they have family, friends and possibly community members who can help, enabling them to start their careers in a better place?"

Brad Wyman, chief creative officer of FundAnything.com, calls this new trend of personal crowdfunding a "virtual barn raising." It's the online version of your own community rallying around you to support you when you need it the most.

Take James and Adena Reimer, a Canadian couple who started a campaign on FundAnything.com when James, who'd been battling cystic fibrosis and bromchiolitis obliterans, needed a second lung transplant. They were hoping to raise $10,000 to "pay for medical bills that weren't being covered by my home province," says James, 29. "We also had other expenses, like plane tickets to fly my mom out to help, and emergency taxi trips to the hospital."

They ended up raising a whopping $43,000 — and were overcome with the outpouring of support. "If it wasn't for crowdfunding, we'd probably have to take out a loan or beg family members," says James. "It was a huge blessing!"

The Kujawas are using crowdfunding to help finance IVF.

Couples are also turning to crowdfunding to help make their dreams of having kids come true. Nate and Christy Kujawa of Spokane, Wash., had been trying to get pregnant for about four years with no success. After multiple doctor visits, Christy received a devastating double diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis and Crohn's disease — and then Nate learned that he had multiple sclerosis. Physicians told them that they had a two percent chance of conceiving naturally, but a 95 percent chance with IVF.

The only problem? It's an expensive solution.

So they turned to the Internet. "I got the idea from a client of mine," says Christy, 31. "We were talking about how expensive IVF was, and she suggested I start a crowdfund. I actually knew a few people who had done funding for cancer treatment, and to help replace things due to a house fire, but no one specifically for IVF." To date, the Kujawas have already raised one quarter of their $12,000 goal — and they say that the response has been overwhelming.

A hand up or a handout? Most people cringe at the thought of asking for financial support, and tend to proceed with caution when asking friends or family for money — even for worthy causes. So what makes doing it online so much more acceptable?

"It's a lot less uncomfortable to ask someone to check out your campaign than to put your hand out," says Wyman. "And for life events, such as a wedding, look at it this way: It's similar to registering for gifts at a store, except now the couple can ‘register' for something that's more meaningful than china. And unlike just giving cash, guests know that their contributions are going toward a couple's real goal."

"People just want to help others. It's a strong emotion that drives the crowdfunding industry as a whole." According to Sperling, crowdfunding isn't just benefiting those raising the funds, either — it's giving everyone a chance to give back. "Sometimes people just want to help others," she says. "It's a strong emotion that drives the crowdfunding industry as a whole."

Crowdfunding 101: A primer for success
Before you jump on a crowdfunding bandwagon yourself, Wyman says that there are a few things you should know when it comes to creating a good campaign:

1. Set a realistic financial goal. If potential contributors don't think that you'll be able to reach your goal, they'll think twice about contributing to your campaign.

2. Craft a smart elevator pitch. You should be able to explain your cause in two to three concise sentences. And before you share that pitch with potential donors, practice it on your friends and family.

3. Be your best marketing team. Tell everyone you know that you've launched a campaign, and invite them to visit. And be sure to consistently update the campaign, so there's a reason for people to keep on visiting your site.

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