Your online reputation matters as much as your offline reputation. Information can spread quickly and can have devastating consequences for your image and safety. Simply Google your name and you might be surprised by what information you find that is publicly available. Take these steps to manage that information:
1. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself online is to not overshare. The less information you share, the lower the risk of it being stolen, manipulated, or shared.
2. It may seem obvious, but do not add strangers on your social media. Hackers will often pose as friendly individuals looking to befriend you online to steal information through your social media accounts.
3. A less obvious way people might be finding information about you online is through location services. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram offer location tagging services when you share a post on their platforms. This may seem like a minor detail if sharing a photo in front of the Eiffel Tower, but a selfie in your home with the location settings turned on now provides your home location to all your social media contacts.
4. Delete your old accounts. No longer using the Twitter account you made in high school? Try to regain access to it and deactivate it. The less information available, the less risk of information being found or shared.
WHY YOU SHOULD ADD PODCAST LISTENING TO YOUR ROUTINE
If you have ever used a music streaming service, chances are you have seen or heard the word “podcast.” What is a podcast, exactly? A podcast is an audio recording on a specific topic or range of topics. It is a similar format to talk radio, but podcasts are pre-recorded and available on-demand, so you can listen to them anytime.
Podcasting as we know it today began in 2004, when the Apple iPod and other portable audio listening devices became popular in households. They have undoubtedly grown in popularity in the past few years. According to Statista.com, 57% of the United States population over the age of 12 listened to at least one podcast in 2021. This is a significant increase from the 11% of Americans who were familiar with podcasts in 2006.
If you are interested in giving podcast listening a try, there are many ways to listen, most of which are available free-of-charge. You can listen through podcast websites on your computer, laptop, or mobile device. However, the more common method is listening to podcasts through an app. For example, if you own an iPhone, it automatically comes with an app called “Podcasts.” Other popular podcast listening apps for iPhone and Android users include Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio.
As you get accustomed to listening to podcasts, there are even more robust apps available, such as Pocket Casts. This powerful app has features you can tailor for an even more customized podcast listening experience. Pocket Casts takes podcast listening a step further by syncing podcast playback with all your devices so you can listen where you left off, which is especially helpful if you use different devices throughout the day. It can also help you save storage space on your device by automatically deleting old podcasts. No matter which app you use, you can subscribe to your favorite podcasts and even download episodes directly to your device to save on cell phone data.
EMPLOYEE PODCAST PICKS
People create podcasts on many topics, ranging from current events to various hobbies like movies, TV shows, and sports. See what our employees have to say about their favorite podcasts:
Ask Noah – “Old school approach…People call his 1-800 number and ask tech/IT related questions. Also cool that it’s Grand Forks based.” -Justin, Central Office Technician
The Bible in a Year – “Midwest based…Really interesting and keeps my reading on track.” -Tom, Product Manager
Security Now – “Up-to-date cybersecurity news…Great job explaining security vulnerabilities.” -Nathan, IT Security Engineer
Midwest Murder – “Locally recorded…Good production value…Really interesting stories.”
-Chris, Account Executive
Accidental Tech Podcast – “Mainly Apple programming focused…Great ‘nerd talk’…Interesting tangents that make it fun to listen.” -Dan, Combination Technician
LOCAL PODCASTER EXPANDS NETWORK TO LIVE SHOWS
An intriguing element about podcasting is they can easily be recorded anywhere. Some of our employees suggested podcasts recorded in the Midwest, even right in Minot! One Minot-based podcast in particular, The Good Talk, began in 2016 in the basement of its founder, Jonah Lantto. This podcast has since grown and branched off into related projects, including short films, over 15 sold-out, late-night comedy shows known as Good Night Live, and another new and successful podcast called Midwest Murder. “This just started as a hobby at first, then actually turned into my full-time job,” said Lantto.
When Lantto started podcasting in 2016, Spotify didn’t offer podcasts; now it is one of the most popular podcast listening apps. He credits the increasing popularity of podcasts with their accessibility. You can stream or download them anytime once they are published, since they do not air live, like talk radio or TV shows.
With their growing popularity, it looks like podcasts are here to stay. Maybe you have a road trip coming up, or just want something new to listen to during your daily work commute. Download a podcast app, search for your favorite topics, hit play, and you’ll be a podcast expert in no time!
Protecting your personal information and data is very important, and one of the most basic ways to do that is through strong passwords. Here are a few tips about password setting, management, and things to consider.
1. As tempting as it may be, try to not use the same password for multiple things. Varying passwords will limit the risk of someone accessing multiple accounts if they gain access to one.
2. Passwords and passphrases are different, and passphrases are better. Passwords are typically a combination of a single word with additional characters such as numbers and symbols. Passphrases are a series of multiple words with numbers and symbols. These words should be seemingly random to each other but have meaning and are easy to remember for you. For example, c0ffee54321 is an example of a simple password, but lovecoffeeeveryday19285 takes the word and makes a more complex phrase with a random number sequence which is much harder to crack.
3. Change your passwords often. While this may seem tedious, it will reduce the risk of your information being compromised.
4. Use a password manager. There are many apps and services that provide password management. Do some searching online before deciding which one is best.
5. Avoid names and important dates. Bad actors will often use social media to gain access to information such as important family member names or birthdays which are commonly used in passwords.
6. Longer is better. Typically, industry experts suggest 12 characters at minimum, but more is always better. This is where passphrases can help with reaching the character count.
Technology is rapidly evolving and the desire to keep up with the latest tech trends is strong. But what should you do with your old devices? Here are a few options that are much more beneficial alternatives to simply tossing the device:
- Recycle or trade-in: Best Buy is the nation’s largest tech recycling retailer and offers a recycling and trade-in program. Their online trade-in calculator will let you know if your old device has residual value and offer credit for recycling it. If your device does not have a residual value, they will still accept it and recycle it properly. Not all Best Buy stores have recycling programs but do offer an online trade-in option.
- Donate them: If you have a working cell phone or laptop that you are looking to donate, it is great to check with local shelters to see if someone could use it. Access to technology helps immensely with job searching, education, and communication with loved ones.
- Return to the manufacturer: Some manufacturers of technology products offer buy-back and recycling programs for their items. Sony, Samsung, Dell, LG, and Xerox are all examples of companies who provide recycling programs for their products. A full list of companies and recycling locations is available at Electronics Donation and Recycling | US EPA.
When looking to recycle or donate old technology, always remember to wipe your device of any personal data. Factory resetting the device is also recommended.