Henio Zytomirski – Facebook Profile Memorializes Holocaust Victim

As the granddaughter of two Holocaust survivors, the horrific reality of death camps, forced labor and mass murder were never an abstract concept for me. I was able to touch the numbers tattooed on my grandmother’s arm, hold the pictures of the countless relatives I never got to know and hear the stories of struggle and survival straight from the mouths of those who lived them. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know about the Holocaust, or about the ‘bad people’ as my grandmother euphemistically called them when I was  a kid.

As a kid, the story of my grandmother’s survival of Auschwitz (at the tender age of 13 nonetheless) and my grandfather’s time in the labor camps, was always told in broad strokes. As I got older, it became more detailed. I learned about how she was snatched away from her family, how she survived the harrowing eye of Dr. Joseph Mengele, how the kindness of Austrian strangers saved my grandfather from starving to death, how my grandparents fled the Hungarian Revolution with my 10 year-old uncle in tow and my 9-months-pregnant grandmother giving birth to my dad as they were about to take off on the plane to the states. But no matter how much the story – or I – grew, the last line always remained the same. “We survived so we could have you and your father and your uncle and your cousins.” I think that last line of the story probably bears most of the responsibility for my drive and ambition. How could you not want to make the most of every opportunity when you’ve got that sort of legacy to live up to?

Like I said, the Holocaust has always been all too real to me, if anything. I never needed books or school or museums to know how profoundly tragic of an event it truly was. And, especially after my grandmother died – decades after surviving the camps – from Hepatitis C she contracted from the dirty needles they used to tattoo that gray-blue number on her arm, I never needed any extra help to know that the horrors of the Holocaust are still very much with us today.

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, but I’ve always known that particular part of my history well enough to know that it must never be repeated. “Never again.” That’s the rallying cry of every memorial, every museum. But those are just words. And with Holocaust survivors aging out of the population with every year, I’m not sure words are going to be enough. Antisemitism – both implicit and explicit – is still very much alive and well in all corners of the globe, not to mention the horrors of genocide, mass scapegoating and wholesale intolerance. As human beings, I’m not sure we’ve evolved enough to truly guarantee that events like the Holocaust don’t get repeated.

Which is why I absolutely endorse what the group behind Henio Zytomirski’s Facebook profile are doing. The group, which includes his cousin, are using letters, photos and memorabilia left behind by the 6 year-old Polish boy – who passed away in the Holocaust – to create an ongoing, interactive profile on one of the most popular social networking sites in the world. The page already has 3,000+ fans, all of whom are getting the chance to interact with the boy’s story as intimately as they would with their high school classmate or college roommate. It puts ‘knowing’ history on a whole new level, and it’s one of the smartest uses of an educational social networking page I’ve seen.


Facebook Privacy Controls: Facebook Fan Page Management 101

Ranker.com Facebook Fan PageMy most recent Mashable post went up today. This time, it’s all about how to use the new Facebook publisher privacy controls to help you better target the content you push on your fan page.

An excerpt:

Lately it seems like Facebook changes its privacy options more often than most people change their statuses. Late last week, Facebook rolled out yet another set of new privacy settings, replacing regional networks with concentric circles of connections. Before, Facebook’s default privacy settings were largely location-based — people who lived near you, or went to the same college as you, were able to see more information about you. Now, access is all about who you know and who knows them.

The new Facebook publisher privacy controls are a core component of this change. Now, instead of simply posting something to your entire network, you can choose to specify who sees your posts. It’s pretty easy to figure out how to use these changes to your advantage when handling your personal Facebook page — those happy hour pics should probably only get posted to people who are actually your friends. But figuring them out for fan pages is a very different proposition, especially because privacy settings for Fan Pages are still all about location, location, location.

See the full post here.

Track Your Online Content: Privacy & Technology (And You)

See this post in its original home on the Girls in Tech blog

Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement yesterday about the changes being made to Facebook’s privacy structure, it looks likeMichele Salahi State Dinner White House Crash Facebook Photos Salahi White House #privacy is about to have yet another run as the trending topic du jour. Well, that and that couple that crashed the White House dinner — as Demetri Martin would say, they’re like the herpes of hyped up news stories. Scheming social climbers aside, privacy is one of the web’s biggest concerns. As girls in tech, we talk about it all the time. Are our identities safe? Are our personal and professional brands secure? Are the kids in our lives making smart choices when they surf?

Months worth of memes have been made out of relatively minor changes to Facebook’s privacy policies in the past, and the comments are already piling in to the Mashable Article discussing this most recent development. It’s easy to understand why people get so worked up over what happens to their information on the internet. From cookies that track our every click to the fact that between docs, mail, maps and search, google knows more about you than your parents probably do, it’s clear that there’s plenty of reasons to make even the sanest surfer paranoid about what they post. As the product manager at a growing user generated content site, I deal with difficult decisions having to do with privacy all the time. What our decision making process always comes back to is a simple question: what would we want someone else to be doing with our data? Nine times out of ten, the answer is simple: give the user as much control over their content as you can.

Of course, as a user, it’s up to you to take advantage of that control. Fortunately, there are as many tools to track the people tracking you as there are mistresses in Tiger Woods’ skeleton closet. There’s google privacy dashboard, which allows you to see all the data points that google’s got about you. You can also set up a google alert that will let you know when new content about you is indexed by the search engine’s spiders. Keotag lets you put in a key word, and see what people are saying about it everywhere from Technorati to Twitter. And, Boardtracker lets you do the same sort of thing across multiple comment boards. Which means you can post your complaints about the new Facebook privacy policy today, and see all the trolls’ responses tomorrow.

It ain’t exactly privacy per se, but it’s pretty powerful stuff nonetheless.  At the end of the day, I strongly believe that the best privacy policy on the web is still the one you set up for yourself by watching what you post, where you post it and what gets said about it after you leave. However, if that’s too complicated for you, then just remember this simple rule: if you’re going to crash a White House dinner, don’t post photos of your uninvited self shaking hands with the president on Facebook. Unless, of course, your personal privacy policy involves a camera crew from Bravo and a hefty chunk of reality show change. In which case, I’ll see you on Thursdays at 10 in my living room.