Facebook and that privacy thing

May 16th, 2010

My friend Cem has written a blog posting on how he’s trying to reduce his visibility on social networks. I haven’t been worrying about those things much because until now my “strategy” was to only publicize what I feel comfortable with making the rounds on the Internet. So if I comment on what’s wrong about the Taliban, Israel or the new Afghan government then it’s my right to do so and I feel comfortable about it. But the problem about information is that its meaning unlocks with the context it was publicized in. My statements taken out of context may easily be used to convey a picture of me that depicts me of either a Terrorist-hater, Terrorist-lover – or whatever else. While I don’t care about that much I do care about what I have control of.
Taking control is what this blog posting is about so please take a look at the evolution of privacy on Facebook and you will see a clear path that I would not describe as an evolution, but a degeneration. An evolution is considered as a development into something better but this is not what I see on that picture or on this picture. I can’t and I won’t take my blog offline as this is an area that I have full control of, but I will reduce my visibility on social networks, starting with Facebook. Weeks ago I have deleted some of my personal information there and I will consider taking the family pictures, although shared with family members only, offline as well. There’s just no more trust in Facebook.

In a second step I will be deleting some of my Facebook friends. Family members and people I have personally met will be on Facebook and business contacts will be on the Salam Business Club, LinkedIn and of course XING. I will stay in touch with the rest on Twitter or wherever else I have met them. This is in no way meant as a personal offense to the deleted friends but as a way to organize my presence on social networks and to share personal information only with those that I have a personal relationship with. Setting up visibility restrictions for every single message, picture and other pieces of information is not only cumbersome but due to the complexity inherent to Facebook literally impossible.

I hope you, ex-Facebook friend, understand my intentions and, again, don’t take this as an offense. In fact I recommend everyone to do the same thing. It’ll make you feel much better about Facebook and your privacy :-)

Seven languages… and counting!

May 3rd, 2009

In addition to English we have launched a few more languages on the Salam Business Club: German, French and Turkish as languages written from left-to-right and Arabic, Urdu and Persian which are based on Arabic letters and are written from right-to-left.

The thoughest part was making sure the pages are implemented in a fashion that makes it possible to apply a different CSS and language file to it so the complete content, text and writing direction changes. Once that system was set up we provided the translators with three different methods to translate the content: using a backend translation system, inline-editing of words they see on the site and the old-school way of translating the texts from within an Excel-sheet and importing them into the system.

Salam Business Club - Dashboard

Kudos go out to Max, Dmitri, Amit, Jayawant and Pankaj for all the technical stuff and Ayla (Turkish), Eman (Arabic), Hossein (Persian), Nasir (Urdu) and Saloua (French) for the translations. Our biggest thanks goes to Eman who had the toughest job as she was the first translator and she probably had to spend more time beta-testing than translating the site. Her invaluable feedback paved way for the other translations. In case you’re looking for professional translators get in touch with me and I will connect you to those highly recommended folks.

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