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It isn't easy to be a parent in this changing digital world.  New sites and social media applications are always popping up.  I have also noticed that kids usage of sites is not consistent, in some regions Instagram is all the rage and 20 miles away they are all about SnapChat.   I created this page to be a resource for some basic understanding of what Apps and sites are out there and provide some examples to how they are used.  This is by no means an exhaustive, but I hope it is a good place to start. My Parenting POV:  Everyone is on facebook, heck GrandMa is there.  It isn't hard, just take the time to review the privacy settings.  Also remember to teach your kids as with all these; they are putting things out and there is NO guarantee that the entire world won't see it.  AND, context!  Context, many posts in social media can be seen and taken out of context...

A moment on O-Auth and Cross Profiling.  First let us talk about O-Auth.  This is known in tech circles as Open Authorization.  What does this mean?  Have you gone to a website that would let you login with your Facebook?  That is o-auth.  Many sites allow you to join by using the credentials that they are given by another site.  The most popular right now are Facebook, Google, Twitter.  The good thing so that you don't have to fill out all the fields to join a new site, the bad thing is that the new site not only gets data from say your Facebook, but it also can, can link to the FaceBook profile.  Secondly, I want to point out Cross-Profiling.  Cross Profiling is when you create a Twitter profile and put a link to your Facebook page.  Or, you create a LinkedIn profile and put in your Twitter @name.  If you don't want the same people who know you on LinkedIn to know you on Twitter - then DON'T LINK THEM.

CommonSense Media, website:
Usage: A resource for parents to search and understand media products.  
MyOpinion:  I love Common Sense.  The site and Apps for your phone are great.  The site covers everything from TV shows, Movies, Games, Apps, Websites, Books and more.  As you can see in the image below they give things a rating based on several factors, including a detailed review from a parents perspective.  I don't always agree with them, but the site is very valuable to me.  

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 12.23.58 PM


Facebook, website:
Useage:  Platform for connecting with friends, family, brands.
UserNames:  People use their Real Names
UserBase:  Over 1.23 BILLION Monthly Users
Friend/Follower:  Facebook uses 'friends' that are accepted invitations.  Facebook has complex 'privacy settings' but the settings use natural language.  Take the time to go through your settings to ensure you are comfortable.  Recently FaceBook has enabled some things to be 'public' (as many other platforms have).  

pathPath, website:
Usage:  Similar to facebook with the exceptions of a limit of 150 friends
UserNames:  People use their Real Names
UserBase: 20 Million
Friend/Follower: Path aims to be about close friend interactions.  The system incorporates many of the feature of the other platforms; social stream similar to facebook, share video/photo similar to facebook and instagram and location sharing that is similar to FourSquare.  With Path you are limited to only 150 friends with the idea being that they should be close friends that you engage with more.  

InstagramInstagram, website:
Usage: Social network for sharing photos and now 15 second videos
UserNames:  Platform allows for any username people want.  
UserBase: 75 Million Daily Users
Friend / Follower:  Instagram is all about sharing photos and now videos.  Users post photos and can apply filters (Great Video on Instagam).  Then other friends can "like" or comment on the photos.  

SnapchatSnapChat, website: 
Usage:  Social network for sending short, self destructing messages 
UserNames: users can pick any 'username' they want
UserBase: 8 - 15 million (the company does not share the number - more info)
Friend / Follower: Friends send "snaps" to each other that consist of messages/photos.  The platform allows messages to 'self destruct' after a set time.  If someone that you send a message to takes a screen shot in order to have an image/message longer than the sender intended.  The sender is notified...  but too late, the person already has a permanent image.  

twitterTwitter, website:
Usage:  Sending a 'Tweet' is similar to a bird chirping, anyone can hear it.
UserNames:  Users can pick any name they wish
UserBase: 645 Million users
Friend / Follower:  Twitter is a very open public system, that is one of the things that makes it so great.  In 2013 there was an average of 278,000 tweets every minute.  Tweets are limited to 140 characters including spaces.  Conversations are organized using hashtags '#'.  If I wanted to send a tweet to myself and say 'how is the weather' it might look like this: @LynchInsights How is the #Weather.  In order to see what people are tweeting, you follow them.  If they follow you back you can DM (direct message) that person, meaning that the tweet will not appear to the general public.  

vineVine, website:
Usage:  To send 6 second videos
UserNames:  anything you want to use
UserBase: 40 Million users
Friend / Follower:  Vine is similar to twitter and instagram in that people follow accounts they like.  Users post short 6 second videos that loop.  Hashtags are used to organize the videos around topics.  Like twitter, everything is public and your feed is made up of the accounts posts that you follow.  

JellyJelly, website
Usage:  Have a question, ask the world
UserNames:  anything you want
UserBase: Unknown - the site just launched in 2014, but the system got 100,000 posts in the first week.
Friend / Follower:  This system is loosely based on Twitter, but in general people post a question either by text or image or both.  Then the world at large sees the question and people (random people) answer.  Other users can agree/disagree or comment on each answer.  The concept is crowd sourcing solutions.  

Google-PlusGoogle+ website:
Usage:  Social network for sharing and discovering
UserNames: Names are 'REAL' and tied to the persons google account
UserBase: 600 Million monthly users
Friend / Follower: Google+ uses 'Circles' to organize friends.  Like twitter, people can follow (put in a circle) anyone they want.  There are communities and some can be made private.  Updates are shared with the general public (similar to twitter) but can be limited to certain circles.  This platforms gets some flack from the media because anyone using google can be a 'google plus' user.  Other social networks like to give google a hard time because users can wander into the platform without realizing that they just crossed into a social networking site.  The seamless user experience is by design, and google hopes that people will use it more because it is so easy.  

FMLFML website:
Usage:  To vent to the world about messed up things in your life
UserNames:  anything you want
UserBase: 1.7 Million Daily hits to site
Friend / Follower:  This site is made up of posts from many people who are putting random things that happen to them online.  Other users then click "I agree your life sucks or You deserved it".
An example is; Today, as usual, I stress ate. After having my exams prolonged for an extra week, I ate three extremely large packs of Skittles, and then threw them all up. Taste the rainbow, puke the rainbow. FML #21048665 55 comments I agree, your life sucks (4898) - you deserved it (2154)

FormSpringFormSpring, website:
Usage: Users post questions and others answer them
UserNames: anything you want
UserBase: 4 Million
Friend / Follower: Users can follow friends and anyone can search.  People ask any question they want, it may or may not be answered.  

Ask-fmAsk.FM, website
Usage: 70 Million users
UserNames: anything you want 
Friend / Follower: On users create profiles and their feed is a chronological stream of questions that were asked of them and their answers.  Users can follow friends but like - anyone can search.