SurfAid #MakeAWave 14 Day Update

I am proud to be an Ambassador for the SurfAid's #MakeAWave challenge. I had set out to be either surfing, kayaking, canoeing or swimming for 30 days in September however I'm based in Melbourne and current COVID restrictions have impacted this. For the first 7 days of the 30 day challenge I was either kayaking, training with waterfilled training equipment, getting creative or doing surf inspired workouts. Over the past week (days 8 - 14) I've been kayaking, taking out an old wave rider, training at home, and I even had a lay day. So far I've raised $186 towards my goal of raising over $1000 to help SurfAid deliver their programs. When you  support my fundraising  you give people in remote communities connected to us through surfing a hand up, rather than a handout.  SurfAid's geographical focus is on the heartlands of surfing where few visitors but surfers go, make their work unique. They specialise in working in very isolated villages where the maternal and chil

10 Tips for How to Keep Your Identity Private in a Webinar

10 Tips for How to Keep Your Identity Private in a Webinar

The extraordinary wide world of webinars and virtual classes, they have made it more convenient to attend events and at less of an expense. Plus you don't even have to put pants on if you don't want to. But what other dynamics have changed as a result of talks, seminars and workshops going online?

Previously you would attend a workshop or talk in person, and you may or may or not be given a name tag. Even then, you could choose how or if you wore it. You knew if it was being recorded by seeing a camera person in the crowd, you were well versed in how to maintain control over your privacy in these settings and you could visually see who was in attendance.

Now with webinars, you are inviting up to over 100 strangers into your home. Something I struggle with is that as an attendee your online privacy is mostly in the hands of the webinar facilitators, some will use controls to hide participants, others will not, and then there is everything in between.

The comforting thing is that you, as an individual, do have some control over how you share your information as an attendee. I've some tips below, some of which are more manual to execute than others. 
  1. If you've not been advised, ask if the webinar is being recorded. If it is being recorded, you may wish to ask how it is being distributed. This is also good to know if you were wondering whether or not to take notes or maybe you have to leave early for another meeting.
  2. Don't want to show your face, on most platforms you can hide your video and remove your profile picture. If you want to show your face but not a video, consider using a profile picture.
  3. If you choose to have the video on be mindful of your background, think about what items people can see and whether they give more away about your identity and the identity of your family than you are willing to share. You may choose to switch to a virtual background to be extra safe. I have one that is branded with my social media handles and website.
  4. Don't want everyone to know your name, change your display name to an alias, a variation of your name, or even use your first name.
  5. Share what you would feel comfortable in sharing if it were to be plastered on the front of a newspaper tomorrow.
  6. When sharing stories involving others consider omitting the names of companies and the individuals involved.
  7. Be mindful of anything that may have a name on it. This could be a mug, a drawing pinned on the notice board behind you, or even a personalised piece of jewellery.
  8. Get to know and understand how the security settings work for the platform that the webinar is being broadcasted.
  9. Give yourself 10 minutes before the webinar starts to set yourself up and get comfortable with the security settings and measures you have put in place.
  10. Consider what you are wearing. I myself like to wear plain non-descript clothing. Depending on the setting, you may wish to consider changing if you are wearing a uniform that could give away your workplace or sporting club, or if it is anything that may have your full name on it.
I've written these tips with adults in mind, but they can be useful for teenagers and children too.

Please feel free to share any tips or advice you may have in the comments below.

If you ever feel unsafe please screen shot, report to an appropriate person/organisation and if you feel in immediate danger contact your local police. In Australia we have the eSafety Commissioner which has lots of useful information and advice for being safe online.