Rave: The Facts About Privacy, Ownership and Accountability in Social Networking

While there is no
question that the evolution of social media has made it an integral part of the
social and professional lives of practically everyone with internet access or a
smart phone, it wasn’t really until this past year or so that we saw the
question of accountability, ownership and privacy posed by even the most beginner of social networking users.  It’s true
that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide incredible (and free) services that allow you to connect and share within a global community, bringing with
it a world of brand new opportunities on a personal and professional level. However,
without properly understanding your online rights and responsibilities, you can
put yourself at real risk. We know that
reading the extensive privacy policies and legalese of these services can be
trying and confusing, so we’ve put together a basic guide (with helpful resources) to “The Big Three” social
networking sites to help you make informed decisions, and get the most out of your
social networking experience.


Facebook

2012 saw a number of
changes to the Facebook privacy policy – for one, it’s no longer referred to as
a “privacy policy” but rather a “data use policy.” It is definitely tricky to keep up with
all of the changes, and although it may sound excessive, we recommend revisiting your exposure
about once a month to ensure you are aware of what information you are sharing
with the world.  Due to a higher demand
of transparency when it comes to audience, Facebook’s newest changes include a
pretty straightforward tool to see who can see the posts on your timeline (look
at the lock icon next to Home at the top right of your Facebook page, as well
as asterisk icon next to Post when you’re writing on a timeline).

Things you should know:
– Facebook statuses
invoking copyright protection over your timeline are not legally binding and in most cases, completely useless. These
posts often go viral and can be misleading; to better understand what is being
said, check out this post.
– Some things on
Facebook are always public. Posts on public pages, gender, profile
pictures and cover photo are just a few examples. This is great if you want to lurk your ex (or
his new girlfriend’s) profile pics but keep in mind it may not be so great when
potential employers are looking at your sloppy college party profile pictures
from five years ago. 
– Contrary to popular hysteria, Facebook does not own your materials you post even after you’ve deleted/deactivated/died but in signing up and accepting their terms of service you are agreeing
to let them use your shared content. When you delete your content or account, that
agreement ends but it is important to keep in mind that any photo/status/post
that you have made that has been shared by anyone else will continue to float
around the Facebook universe.
– Deactivation vs Deletion: When
you deactivate your account, your information and shared content continues to
exist until that point when you (admit it, inevitably) give in and come
back.  If you delete your account, your
information and shared content will be deleted from the Facebook database. Things to note about deleting your
Facebook account: 1) It is, in fact, permanent. No takie backsies. 2) As stated above, any shared content will still exist in the databases. 3) In many cases, it can take
as long as three months to delete your information and content completely.
– Buck up: even Mark Zuckerberg’s sister gets confused about Facebook privacy 

Instagram

This photo sharing service found itself amidst a PR nightmare as a
result of its acquisition by Facebook-specifically regarding the new privacy
policy coming into effect Saturday, January 19.  We
understand you may be worried about the safety of your filtered selfies, food
porn and pictures of cats and we want to help you understand what all of this
means for you. 

Things you should know:
– Like Facebook, Instagram does not
own your photos.     
– Instagram heard the outrage regarding their updated stance on advertising
and as such, has reverted this section to the original terms of service from Oct 2010.
– The initial drafting of the updated privacy policy included confusing language,
leading users to believe that Instagram would be selling your photos. This is not
the case! However, just like Facebook, you have given them permission to use your photos without crediting you (or even notifying you.)
– It seems Instagram has learned from Facebook’s mistakes – the updated
terms of service that you (by subscribing to the service) agree to – protect
Instagram from class action lawsuits.

Twitter

You may be wondering “how much damage could one possibly do in 140
characters?” Well my friend, you obviously don’t follow Chris Brown. Like any social networking service, Twitter’s policy involves the sharing of
personal information and can affect your public persona and online presence.

Things you should know:
– Think before you tweet! Even if you have Twitter remorse and delete
your tweet, it still exists in the Twitterverse if it has been retweeted by other
users.  Also, anyone with the most basic
computer skills could take damning screenshots of your tweet. This happens, a lot, so think before you tweet.
– When you sign up for other websites or services using your Twitter
account, you are linking the accounts, thus allowing both websites access to
information on either site to use as they see fit  (This is usually used for sponsored tweets,
instant personalization and things of that nature).
– This should go without saying, but for those who use a separate personal
and professional twitter account, we cannot stress enough the importance of making sure you are logged into the correct one. These Twitter blunders are the biggest face-palm we see in our industry and are
also the most avoidable!

This is just a bare bones guide to navigating the world of social
media. Up here on the fourth floor,
while we celebrate the use of our social media and can’t say enough about the way
it has revolutionized our personal and professional lives, know that it is a
minefield out there. In any case, the best way to protect yourself online is to use common sense when you post anything, anywhere. Realistically, if you wouldn’t say it or do it in front of your sweet grandmother, should you really be posting it online for the whole world to see? We encourage
everyone to revisit the privacy policies of their social networking services
and join the discussion.








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City Living: New Bridal Boutique

A wedding dress is quite possibly the most important garment a woman will slip over her shoulders, or so we’re told. Whether or not you agree, your gown needs to encapsulate your distinctive style, fit your body type and make you look radiant on your big day. Plus, you want to look timeless and classic, yet fashionable. 
A tall order for a single dress, which has caused many a girl to run around town, measurements and printed out photos in hand, stressed about all the choices. Luckily, we turn to the experts when shopping for “the one” and are excited about the newest bridal shop in town: MRS Bridal Boutique.
This chic-yet-friendly little spot opens in Yorkville today (164 Davenport Rd) and has everything that a Toronto bride needs to make her dress shopping experience fantastic.
Owners, best friends and newlyweds Michelle Gunn and Kelly Power also offer a wide range of price points and provide a one-stop-shop where brides can purchase unique accessories including jewellery, veils and underpinnings. We love this kind of efficiency.

Michelle and Kelly, the brains & the beauty behind MRS.
The first floor is open to the public, letting you wander in whenever you feel like ogling the beautiful accessories, veils and lacy things. The second floor is by appointment only and features a carefully curated selection of gowns from the likes of Delphine Manivet, Caroline Devillo, Elizabeth Fillmore and Junko Yoshioka. There are two dressing rooms including one that takes up the entire third floor, so you can try on wedding dresses with your mom and besties with room to spare.

 Lovely, unique Delphine Manivet gown.
For more info about store hours, special trunk shows and lots of other goodies, check out their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter. They’re also booking appointments as we speak!
Pssst: we hear that the grand opening party in the third week of September will also feature a fab trunk show with three NYC based designers. See you there!

Media, Darling: Lisa and Wendy from Hip Urban Girl

Wendy graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.Sc. Honours degree. Prior to co-founding The Hip and Urban Girl’s Guide (HUG), a women’s lifestyle website, Wendy spent eight years in marketing, event planning and project management for both private and public sectors. She recently retired from her corporate job to fulfill her startup dreams and is now juggling the blogging life with her role as Director of Adfluent Media Inc.
 
When Wendy is not pulling rank on Google or shamelessly being entertained by Facebook and Twitter (she does unplug!), you can find her at the Biography section of Chapters, dining out, jetsetting around the world, or getting involved in community service. Wendy has lived in Vancouver and New York City but currently calls Toronto home.

Lisa is the Editor-in-Chief, and co-founder of The Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide, a lifestyle website for busy women in the city. She can usually be found hunting down the best cupcake for her food features or going on her next getaway to bring back the best travel tips. Her passion for food, travel, style and events led her to launch The Hip & Urban Girl (hug) in June 2010 with Wendy.


The beautiful minds behind The Hip & Urban Girl’s Guide: Lisa and Wendy.


Twitter: @HipUrbanGirl, @BossLadyWendy, #hugTO

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon?
Wendy: At 16, I wanted to be a psychologist but after my first year at U of T, I got a summer job at a publishing company and was introduced to advertising. I fell in love immediately and figured that I can always be a shrink in my next lifetime. I’m really lucky that I’ve never had to think twice about what I wanted to be when I grow up. I’ve been blogging for a year and have been in the marketing/advertising industry for eight years now. I still have the same passion as I have since day one.
Lisa: I seriously thought I was going to pursue a career in musical theatre and sing and dance on Broadway. I did a lot of community theatre when I was a kid and even attended a theatre arts high school in Mississauga. I also started DJ-ing weddings and events while doing my political science and cinema studies degree at U of T. The DJ-ing turned into a full-time job (company is called hello DJ!) that I have been running for over six years. So really, it was a smorgasbord. I’m really happy to be working in media now because it ties up less of my weekends in the summer.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Lisa: I would love to see the readership of The Hip & Urban Girl grow and expand into a few other cities.
Wendy: +1 for what Lisa said above. Right now so much of my life is online, so I’d like to balance it out with an offline component and give back to the community. Ideally I hope to be financially ready and have gained enough business knowledge and experience to start a venture capitalist company. Plus, I’ll be a mommy then!

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Lisa and Wendy:
For anyone looking to run a successful blog, be consistent and re-evaluate your editorial direction every two to three months. We wrote about everything and anything we could get our little hands on when we first started out. Install a good analytics program such as Google Analytics (it’s free) and constantly check your data to see what’s working and what isn’t. Talk to other bloggers, read books about the business, and pick a niche to focus on. 

We also find it funny when people think we’re going to steal their ideas. The way we’ll become successful could not possibly be the same path as someone else who finds success in the same industry. There’s enough to go around. Stick to your guns and do what you do best. Don’t worry about other people and what they are doing – what works for someone else may not work for you.

What are your favourite media outlets?
Wendy: Toronto Life, the Globe and Mail, One Degree, Mashable, Daily Candy, CNN, History Channel and A&E, 99.9 Virgin and Z103.5.
Lisa: I read the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and watch CP24 for quick updates on the weather and news. I never go to bed before catching Lloyd Robertson on the 11 p.m. news. Love that Lloyd. I’m a magazine addict and rotate through Toronto Life, InStyle, Nylon, Glamour, Style At Home, House and Home, Real Simple, Lucky, Lou Lou, Shape, Self and many, many others.

Best interview you’ve ever had? Worst?
Wendy and Lisa:
Josie Dye of 102.1 The Edge and Oh-So-Cosmo is incredibly down-to-earth and had some great advice to share from her own life lessons. She spoke with such conviction and passion from her position as a successful hip and urban girl.

Wendy:
HUG has never had a bad interview, but I did have one in my other career that I can share. I don’t want to mention names, but during a public interview, someone I worked with was the worst while being interviewed. All team members were there, but this person hogged the microphone, answered on behalf of everyone, and at the end, she thanked all the clients and people in her professional circle, but forgot to mention her own support team and family (who were all present)! Yes, she did achieve a milestone in her career, but sadly, she forgot about her roots. Obviously what got her there won’t get her here.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

Wendy: Be true to yourself. This means following your instincts and passions and not falling for temptations or short-term gains. Much easier said than done!

Lisa: Never overestimate others and underestimate yourself.


What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Wendy: My golden rule: don’t seek to be validated. 
On a professional level, conduct business with integrity and transparency. At the end of the day, all you have is your reputation. Define success in your own terms and let passion drive you. The money will follow. 
On a personal level, surround yourself with people who have a positive energy. Don’t wait for special occasions to light that candle or wear that cashmere sweater, the present really is a gift. Work hard and play hard but don’t forget to smell the roses along the way.

Lisa: I wrote a whole post on rules I now live by, but the biggest one is not to be a doormat. I was raised by my shy parents to be nice, not to ruffle too many feathers, or be overly assertive. I definitely got taken advantage of because I was always more worried about being liked over what I really wanted or cared about. I would get stuck doing crap I didn’t like because I thought it was the stuff I should be doing. Yeah, never again.

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Wendy: Blogs should be treated as seriously as any other type of traditional media.

Lisa: Please don’t make it seem like you’re doing us a favour by inviting us to an event. I also won’t write a story for a linkback on your page or review a product I have never tried. 
Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Wendy and Lisa:
We love working with the rock-it promotions team because they are always organized and responsive. They know who everyone is and you know it’s not going to be some sort of frenzy when you arrive. They also have a great roster of clients, are innovative and they get the online space. (Ed note: Thank you very kindly, ladies.)
I hate?
Wendy: People that fake it ’til they make it. Also close-mindedness and self-centredness. The world doesn’t owe you anything.

Lisa: Entitled people who are rude to waitstaff or those working in customer service. I worked in retail for most of high school and university and you wouldn’t believe some of the jackasses you get. 

I love?
Wendy: My family and friends because they help me become a better person. I also love food and New York City. I used to live there and a part of me has never left.
Lisa: My husband, Paul. We’ve been together since high school. Runner up? Exploring new cities, trying new foods and travelling to new places together.

Reading?
Wendy: I just finished The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I got a lot out of it, it’s an easy and fun read.

Lisa: The 4-Hour Work Week (again). It reminds me to work efficiently and not to get sucked into bad habits like constantly checking email and mindlessly surfing the web.

Best place on earth?
Wendy: In my husband’s arms… is that cheesy? I travel a lot and have shared so many unique experiences with him. At the end of the day, no matter where we are in the world, it can’t beat the comfort and safety I feel lying beside him.
Lisa: Monterosso Al Mare, Italy. It’s as beautiful as it sounds.

Dinner guest?
Wendy: Is this a dead or alive question? My beloved grandmother who passed away two years ago.

Lisa: Oprah Winfrey.

Hero?
Wendy: I don’t really have one hero per se but I greatly admire women in general who have been struck by some catastrophe (cancer victims, suppressed women in war-torn countries, wives who lost their husbands in 9/11) and manage to keep an optimistic outlook in life.

Lisa: My grandmother. She was lovely and had a need to feed everybody.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
Wendy: Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and the Weather. I keep things simple.

Lisa: Urbanspoon lets you find cool restaurants in major cities across North America. It’s great when you’re travelling.


Pool or ocean?
Wendy: Ocean. I lived in Vancouver for a bit and there’s just something about being surrounded by water and the mountains.
Lisa: Poolside with bar service.

Voicemail or email?
Wendy: Email. People still make calls?
Lisa: Email, please. I’m a night-owl and I like to work late at night. Email is much more convenient.