When the walls disappear…

Just recently, Officer Douglas from the Toronto Police delivered a timely talk to our middle school students about social media – the predominant tool being Facebook – where you post and share messages and images.  An interesting fact quickly spreading is that Facebook collects and owns all of the information you post.

Digital ToolsWhen you read and/or post online, you are usually in a safe place: your classroom, office, kitchen, living room, bedroom or the passenger seat of a car. You are usually using your own laptop or smartphone. The setting is one of comfort and security. There are physical walls around you to keep out harm; there are firewalls around your electronic device to keep out intruders. In this comfort zone, you are more likely to submit personal information about yourself (or others) online. However, as soon as you press ‘send,post or submit’, these walls disappear. Poof!

The images and/or words that you just transmitted entered cyberspace where there are no walls, where anyone and everyone can see and hear everything that is online, including the police. Even if you delete it, it’s too late; a copy was made the instant you pressed ‘send, post or submit’.

So before the ‘walls disappear’, think twice about what you post. Will you be worried about the images you‘re uploading? Will you be worried about the text that you‘re about to put out there? If yes, hit delete.

Stacy Marcynuk
Director of IT, Curriculum
Kingsway College School

World War II on Twitter

On Monday night, when I read The Globe my eye was drawn to an article entitled, “On Twitter, Hitler’s blitzkrieg rages once more.”  Before moving into school administration, I began my teaching career as a history/English teacher and had completed my Masters of Arts degree in War Studies at the University of London.  I’ve always had an interest in military history, so the title of the article definitely got my attention.  The article noted that a recent graduate of Oxford University had started a Twitter feed “RealTimeWWII” this past August.  He now has 150 000+ followers, including me, as of Tuesday morning when I figured out – with some help – how to follow his feed.  Each day he posts approximately 40 tweets, timed as much as possible to the precise hour they happened on this day in 1939.  Amazing.  Insightful.  A couple of tweets that caught my attention:

  • Labour Ministry: saxophone makers are henceforth exempt from conscription; military bands in France report “serious shortage of saxophones” (November 29)
  • Playing football now banned in German schools, due to wear & tear on boys’ shoes & leather shortage (US magazine photo) (November 28)
  • “God bless you Mr. Chamberlain” on UK radio again. Written last year after Munich peace treaty. Seems rather hollow now (November 26)
  • UK: Ponies roaming free in the New Forest are now being painted with stripes of fluorescent paint so motorists can see them in the blackout (November 25)
  • UK: Ministry of Supply now announcing that bacon & butter will be rationed in the new year. Smoked mutton being sold as “replacement bacon” (November 23)

If you’re interested in the Second World War or you know someone who is, let them know about this site.  Social media 2011 meets the World War II.  I wonder how the war might have been different if social media had been around at the time…alternative history.  A great genre of books.

Derek Logan
Head of School