Saturday, December 21, 2013

Why I Deleted Foursquare, and Why You Should, Too!

If you know me and my work, you know I'm an advocate for social media and networking. I've long been a champion for sharing and helping others. I can't begin to list all the instances where I've been helped, good fortune has found me, and I've developed deep personal friendships with very smart and engaging people.

For a few years, I resisted joining FourSquare (4sq) because I was spooked by stories of people being stalked, houses being robbed, and oversharing, in general. My understanding at the time, was that all checkins were public checkins. I even referred to the service as "FourScare." But, then I realized I was wrong, and you could configure your settings so that ONLY your friends could see your checkins. So I gave it a try. Since I joined 4sq, I've only friended people I know in person and completely trust. I've enjoyed the perks of checking in at local venues and earning free beverages, appetizers, $5.00 off haircuts, and more.

Today, however, I will be deleting my 4sq account. In early December, FourSquare announced that the 4sq iOS 7.0 update removes private check-ins with all previous private check-ins to remain private. 4sq encourages users to use 4sq to discover new places if they don't want to publicly share check-ins.

...and this is why I deleted my FourSquare account. 

By seeing someone's checkins, you can easily figure out where they spend their time, what time of day they typically frequent certain places, potentially where they work and live. When I lost my one and only mayorship at a local Starbucks to another user, I was curious if I've ever seen this person there, so I did some investigating. Although this user has a cartoon avatar and screen name (let's say his name is "Cheeky"), I discovered this user's real name and FaceBook profile (with actual photo) by clicking on the FaceBook icon under his name. 

...and this is why I deleted my FourSquare account. 


I identified venues he frequents, because he holds the "Mayorship" at these places:

...and this is why I deleted my FourSquare account. 

I can see this user's "friends," and then click through to see their interactions:

So what?

If I choose, I can look for this person next time I'm in my favorite place and strike up a conversation. If I have a personal interest in this person, I can drop a few comments about our common interests, or even "coincidentally" just "happen to" see this person again in a variety of local places. The rest is yours to imagine. 

...and this is why I deleted my FourSquare account. 

This transparency is not just limited to FourSquare. All public posts (on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) are potential stalking avenues. 

Creepy Willy Wonka

Read The Circle by Dave Eggers, if you want to get creeped out even more. 

...and this is why I deleted my FourSquare account. 

Some things you can do (in addition to stopping your use of FourSquare):

If you look at my personal Facebook page, you will see LOTS of public posts. What you WON'T see are my private posts that are intended only for my friends. I try to stay aware of the intended audience for each of my posts. I posted about FaceBook privacy here

Before you comment on, or add yourself, to an update, check the privacy:

Same for Twitter. You can control what people see on Twitter, even if your timeline is set to Public. If you previously allowed location information on Twitter, you can delete all location information now. Whether or not that really removes your data from Twitter's database, I doubt. It's something, at least.
If the information in this post creeps you out, reconsider what information you share publicly. 

Now you know why...

 I deleted my FourSquare account. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Strengthening The Ties Within The Blogging Community

In Jen Wagner's post, Because Kristy Asked, she responded to a blog meme that (I think) is meant to strengthen the ties within the blogging community. Many education bloggers (not necessarily those I have tagged in this post) have been less active on their own blogs as they would like. By their own admission, many feel a little guilty about it and are looking for something to light a spark. For me, it just may be this post.

Be sure to read all the way to the end because YOU may have been tagged to do this on your own blog.

Here's how it works:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating blogger. 
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself. 
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you. 
  4. List 11 bloggers. 
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated. Don't nominate a blogger who has nominated you. 

My random facts about myself:

  1. I have a dog named Kobe and we sometimes call him, Kobe Doodles.
  2. For the past six months, I've been jogging a few times a week using an app called, Couch to 5K (Thank you to Lisa Thumann for the inspiration.)
  3. I've always struggled with my weight.
  4. I am Arithmophobic.
  5. I have two incredible sons who are smart, kind-hearted, and have very good judgment. 
  6. I have been married for 28 years.
  7. I love coffee and drink at least two cups a day.
  8. Up until a few weeks ago, I have never owned a passport.
  9. I have a sweet-tooth; thus the problem I'm trying to solve with #2 above.
  10. I have the most amazing in-laws ever!
  11. I suffer from Imposter Syndrome. Do you

My answers to Jen's questions:

1. What was your first car? My first car was a green Satellite.
2. What was your degree in college? My degree was elementary education.
3. What is your middle name? My middle name is Stacey.
4. If you could travel ANYWHERE — where would you go, and why? I'm excited to be traveling to Europe for the first time. In March I'll be joining the Microsoft Partners in Learning (MSPiL) Global Forum in Barcelona (as a judge). I couldn't think of any other place I want to go right now.
5. If you could go back to one SIGNIFICANT event in history — where you go, and why? I would like to be part of the Founding Fathers and help them write the Consitution.
6. What is the last book you read — for FUN? I am currently reading two books: Killing Kennedy by Bill O'Reilly and The Circle by Dave Eggers.
7. What is your favorite TV series? I can't pick one so here are my current favorites: Homeland, Glee, Big Bang Theory, and American Horror Story.
8. Who was your favorite elementary teacher? My 6th grade teacher, Dave Kanegis.
9. Who was your favorite secondary teacher? Michelle Edwards, drama teacher.
10. What is your favorite Rodgers & Hammerstein Musical? Cinderella with the guy who played Alan Quartermaine (from GH) as the prince.
11. Do you sing in the shower? No, but I do sing in my car.

My questions for YOU are below. 

In response to a FB post about this meme, Dan Callahan made a really good point. He said, "This seems like a plot to get the bloggers of the world to answer most of their potential credit card/iTunes security questions." While that is certainly not the intent, (as always) be careful about what you post online. 

  1. What did you always want to "be" when you grew up?
  2. What kind of car do you currently drive?
  3. What would most people be surprised to find out about you?
  4. How much time passes between the time when you wake up and your check your phone?
  5. When did you last write a blogpost?
  6. Do you suffer from Imposter Syndrome?
  7. What would you do if you were not afraid?
  8. What's the most bizarre food you've ever eaten?
  9. Do you still live in the town where you grew up?
  10. If you have kids, do you let them run around in restaurants? (If you do, I hate you!)
  11. What's your secret indulgence? 
I nominate the following bloggers to carry this meme forward. I chose these people because I know them all personally, have spent time in meaningful conversations with them, and know their readers would love a peek into what they are about outside of education. Some of the folks I'd LIKE to tag, don't typically blog on a personal level, so they are not listed here.

Please come back here and leave a comment if you write a post in response.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Improving Learning With Mobile Technology

I'm excited to share with you this eBook that contains words of wisdom, and lessons, from fellow educators on improving learning with mobile technology. The book touts us as "Education Experts." Expert Shmexpert! Are we really "experts?" Nah... we just have big mouths, lots of experience (and opinions), and we aren't afraid look stupid. 

The biggest thing we have in common is that we all strongly believe in the power of sharing. 

That's why when I was approached to give my 2-cents for this eBook, I was happy to oblige. I hope you find motivation and inspiration from these stories. Included are Twitter IDs and blog URLs, so you can reach out to us, if you are so inspired.

It is an honor for me to share this space with the likes of these powerhouse educators:

Click the < > arrows to advance the pages. You can link to, or embed, this eBook on your own blog or website.

From the publisher:
The most interesting aspect for me is that all of the essays fit into a common theme -- technology drives student-centered learning. Not only is this theme interesting, it appears that we are on the cusp of a tipping point between instructor-centered learning and student-centered learning. I hope you will enjoy the introduction that I wrote that pulls the main ideas from almost every contribution into a student-centered vs. instructor-centered learning comparison. 
David Rogelberg

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Is "Connected" The New "Rock Star?"

If you are a "Connected Educator," you are probably already aware that this is THE month designated to be extra connected. What does that mean? Who knows? Everyone has their ideas on what that actually means. People are so passionate about their ideas being "right" that some folks are second-guessing the way they do business - never a good thing, and usually not anyone's intent; but typically an unintended consequence of being passionate and outspoken.

Anyway, I was planning to stay out of this conversation, but being one of those passionate and outspoken individuals, I just can't help myself.

I've been called many things, but the well-intended labels have included those such as "rock star," "expert," "influencer," "famous," "hero," etc. If you've followed me online for awhile, this will come as no surprise to you, but all of those labels make me extremely uncomfortable simply because they are not true, and I worry that there is an expectation of me that I just can't deliver. There are so many people who deserve those labels, and I am definitely not one of them.

There is one term that I have been assigned to me recently that I will accept, and that is "Connected." Perhaps Connected is the new Rock Star? I'll take it.

Want To Get Connected? Here Is My Advice!

So, I am definitely connected to other educators and people who inspire me. They don't seem to mind me tagging along, so I do. Every chance I get. By design, I am rarely the smartest person in the room. I surround myself with people who do great things, share great stories, inspire me to be my best, and are honest! People who are also flawed but persevere. Phony Bolognese need not apply. There is my advice to those who want to get more connected!

Look For FREE Structured Opportunities to Connect With Others Online:

Spend some time with other connected educators this month online with Steve Hargadon and guests in the nightly CEM CAFE. Every weeknight during Connected Educator Month, join Steve from 7:30 - 8:30pm US-Eastern Daylight Time for an hour of online relax an social time with some great special guests. If you'd like to connect with me, I'm scheduled for October 9th, along with the always inspiring Karl Fisch and Will Richardson. You can also connect with me here on this blog, on Twitter, or send me an email at lee . kolbert at

While you're looking for inspiration, take a few minutes to watch this 5-minute video:

 Then, watch how he made it all happen:


Friday, September 20, 2013

Come With Me To The Bammy Awards

As some of you know, the Bammy Awards ceremony is this Saturday and behind the recognition, acknowledgement and high-spirited fun, is the intention to send a message that American educators are committed, passionate, skilled, collaborative, inspired, inspiring, growing. and capable of leading education reform. This weekend's showcase will be broadcast live. People will be able to watch from anywhere in the world! You are invited to join us in sending a message to the world that the heart of American educators is still beating.

So, come with me to the Bammy Awards, and feel good about education again. Watch it here: Saturday, September 21, 2014 at 7:30 EDT

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Levels of Social Gaming Acceptance

What Level Are You On?

  1. What is this Candy Crush thing that everyone keeps posting to Facebook?
  2. I wish my friends would stop bugging me about this stupid game. I'm not going to join, so STOP ASKING!! 
  3. This is SO ANNOYING. 
  4. I'm going to post a message telling all my friends to back off or I'm going to block them.
  5. (Waiting in doctor's office) So, what is this candy crush game, anyway?
  6. Hmmm. Not bad, it's actually kind of relaxing. 
  7. What? It wants me to buy stuff or post to Facebook. No way! I remember how annoying that was. 
  8. Why do I have to keep ending my game and starting over? 
  9. Ok, maybe I will connect to Facebook, but I'll set my privacy settings so that nobody can see the posts except for me. 
  10. Ok, maybe I'll purchase just a few lives, just so I can keep playing and not have to wait 20 minutes. Geeez, what's up with that? 
  11. Maybe my friends who already play Candy Crush won't mind me asking them for lives, right? 
  12. This is SO ANNOYING that people are ignoring my Candy Crush requests! 
  13. Now I know who my TRUE friends are.

     and so it goes.... 

     Don't try to resist. Just go into the light.