Category Archives: News

Getting abused online via Facebook, and Facebook’s complete lack of support

Language warning

Trigger warning: online harassment and abuse, death threats, online stalking

お久しぶり。 Long time no see.

It’s been a long time since I posted on this blog. I wish this post could be a happier update, talking about my new life in Kyoto, Japan. But something upsetting happened this week which I need to explain to anyone that’ll listen. It’s about the totally random online harassment I received last year via Facebook, and Facebook’s complete lack of support for me.

Background

I didn’t have a personal Facebook profile for many years. I haven’t liked Facebook for a long time. Its awful privacy policies, its virtual extortion of personal government ID data, its extremely creepy algorithms to identify me and the people I know, and yet extremely crappy algorithms that dictate my news feed; these reasons and more meant that I was very happy without a Facebook account.

But in 2014, when I decided to emigrate to Japan, I had friends who worried about how they’d keep in touch with me. (Apparently a blog, Skype, SMS, multiple chat apps, multiple emails, Twitter and just regular telephone calls weren’t enough – but that’s a different story.) So, as a compromise, I created a Facebook Page called Kyōto Bōken (which translates as “Kyoto Adventure”). Facebook Pages are different from regular accounts. They’re usually used by organisations or celebrities, and people with regular Facebook accounts can “Like” these pages.

Page accounts don’t have news feeds, so while my friends could read my posts, I couldn’t see their profiles or anything they posted on it. Which suited me just fine. In the past, I found that the news feed was a massive time suck, and having a Page account meant that I didn’t have to deal with that.

Kyōto Bōken had been live for about a year before the harassment started.

The Koshien app drama

In late July 2015, I received this comment on my Kyōto Bōken page:

Remove me from this page now!

I was confused to say the least. I can’t add anyone to my Facebook Page. I didn’t even advertise it. There were only about 20 people who “liked” the page and they were all my friends. Maybe someone shared my post to their own timeline and my page appeared on this person’s news feed? I explained this in a message to the person who sent it. He responded with:

Kyoto your site was hacked. Remove people who were added yourself or delete your page

Well, now I knew that I was dealing with someone who didn’t understand how Facebook works. I didn’t have a “site”, I had a Page on Facebook. I double-checked that it wasn’t hacked (I could log in and there wasn’t any vandalism on the page). I asked my friends if they had noticed any strange behaviour coming from my Page (they hadn’t). And like I mentioned before, I knew that I couldn’t post or comment on anyone’s account (only other Pages, which I hadn’t done). I can’t remove anyone because I didn’t add anyone! And I certainly wasn’t going to delete my Page just because he demanded it.

I tried explaining again, but his responses messages started getting nastier. And now there were other messages from other people asking or demanding to be removed from my Page.

Please delete me from your page

From koshien stadium please delete me from this

Please remove my name from the Koshien page!!!! I don’t even like sports!

Can you delete me..this..i not want it.

Delete me from that koshien crap i dont want to be apart of it!!!

I had no idea what was going on. My only hint was the word “Koshien” that kept appearing. Koshien is the name of a baseball stadium near Osaka. Actually, I had been to Koshien – and posted about it – just the day before the messages started. This was my post (before all the strange comments appeared):

the original post on Kyoto Boken about Koshien Stadium

I made a new post to my page explaining that I hadn’t hacked anyone, I hadn’t added people to my Page, that it was in fact impossible to do that. I was hoping that anyone making their way to my page to complain about would read it and understand. Well…

The online abuse

Here is a collection of responses I got to my post explaining that I wasn’t a hacker:

I too have been hacked by this person !! It’s been reported over & over. I live in the U,S,A & I think you do know mr. kyoto.

Get your piece of shit fucking app off my fucking Facebook you fucking cunt!

Probley cause you have blocked them all. Delete it and delete me from the stupid fucking thing which i didnt join!!

No it has not remove it you motherfucking chinch little bitch fuck you if you don’t you will be taking a dirt nap

Just in case you weren’t aware, “taking a dirt nap” is slang for dying. I had received a death threat and I still wasn’t even sure why.

Some people had figured out how to contact me via email and the Facebook Messenger app, so more comments came in:

Are you a fucking toddler? Do you seriously have nothing better to do with your life than to ad people to a meaningless facebook group? How very sad and pathetic. That being said, remove me from your pointless little group. And everyone else while you’re at it. You must be quite an insecure, insignificant little man to get your kicks out of doing something like this. I feel sadness for you and at the same time you make me want to laugh hysterically. Truely very sad for you, it must be awful to be you.

One man took it upon himself to go through my past Kyōto Bōken posts and make this same comment on fully ten different photos:

Your a cunt

The repetition and bad grammar almost made it funny.

But it wasn’t really funny at all. I’m pretty sure it was the same man who went to the Japan Cheapo website where I sometimes write articles and started bombarding the site with more abusive comments. According to my editor, “he was blowing up JC and we just banned him from the site”.

I’m also pretty sure it was the same man who found this blog, and went back through my archive to post these comments:

A screenshot of abusive comments made on my blog

Notice that he came back to my blog 6 times over the space of 5 days to make these comments. It wasn’t just one explosion of abusive spluttering until he felt better. He was thinking about me for about a week, and came back to harass me again and again. For something I didn’t do. And while not as explicit as the death threat I received earlier, there are undoubtedly threats in these messages. On top of that, these messages started about a week after most of the commotion on Facebook had calmed down. Even after other people had moved on from the drama, this guy couldn’t.

As an aside, I used the recorded IP address to find out that he’s a customer of the Comcast ISP in the United States. I contacted Comcast to report the IP address for harassment. I didn’t feel very hopeful after the conversations I had with the staff, but the abusive comments stopped soon after, so maybe Comcast actually did tell him to knock it off.

Facebook’s response, or lack of it

I had reported a lot of the abusive messages sent to me. Facebook’s abuse reporting system is fairly easy, and with a few clicks, the report was made. But every single thing I reported received this response:

Thank you for taking the time to report something that you feel may violate our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment. We reviewed the comment you reported for harassment and found it doesn’t violate our Community Standards.

Every. Single. One. Not a single report I made was found to violate their “standards”. Not the death threat. Not the repeat posts with insults. Not the harassment via email or their Messenger app. Actually, one of my posts was reported by one of my harassers and was taken down by Facebook. Sure, I was swearing in that post, but why was my post taken down and not theirs? I certainly wasn’t threatening anyone.

Wounds reopened

All this abuse happened over a year ago, in July and August of 2015. I’ve been reminded of it a few times since then, like when I uncovered the blog comments that had been deleted but not yet purged, or when I went through my email archives and found most of the automated emails sent from Facebook sent at that time. Every time I was reminded of it, my mood plummeted. I’ve deleted quite a lot of the traces of what happened then. The things that I have left, and what I shared in this blog post, were only a portion of the whole.

This week, I was reminded again of this saga when an acquaintance of mine jokingly complained that I didn’t respond to his message on Facebook. He showed me the message he sent, and I noticed that the avatar for my account was not my current avatar. In fact, it was the avatar for my old, long-deleted account. My original thought was that Facebook didn’t completely delete my old account, but after investigating a bit more, I found out that it’s a fake account, set up to impersonate me.

There was only one post on the profile, dated August 2015 – the same time as the abuse listed above. It links my name to Kyōto Bōken. There doesn’t seem to be any other activity after that. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was set up by the same man who commented on my blog and Japan Cheapo. So actually, there were other forms of abuse that I didn’t even know about for over a year: online impersonation.

A screenshot of the imposter Facebook account

Again, Facebook’s reporting system is pretty easy – with a few clicks, I reported the account as an impostor yesterday. But later the same day, I received this response:

Thanks for letting us know about something you think may go against our Community Standards. Reports like yours are an important part of making Facebook a safe and welcoming environment.

In this case, we reviewed the profile you reported and found that it doesn’t go against our Community Standards

I was speechless when I read this. I immediately rated the response poorly and explained at length that it was clearly an impostor account, but beyond that, Facebook doesn’t allow any kind of appeal system. The ticket is closed, and there’s no obvious way to reopen it. I reported the profile again, but Facebook seemed to recognise it as a duplicate and hasn’t created a new ticket in my support inbox.

When I realised that I couldn’t report the account again, I found myself in tears. In a way, Facebook’s response was worse than finding out that one of last year’s abusers had created an impostor account. I’ve been combing through my email archives and writing this blog post ever since then. It’s 6 a.m. (I’ve been up all night) and I’ve written 2000 words in this post already. Because I want to make very clear: while that is indeed a photo of me, it is not my account. My photo wasn’t simply cropped like that in my old account. The original photo showed the elephant in the background more clearly. I am not from Sydney. I would not write a status update saying that I am the Kyōto Bōken blogger – I would have created links to the relevant pages. Furthermore, my name is incredibly unique. I’m the only Magda Stremeski in the world. (“Stremeski” is a simplified version of my original surname and was created by my father. No one else has it.) That account is clearly fake.

What makes Facebook’s response even more infuriating and frustrating is that my own account was at one point suspended until I provided Facebook with a government-approved photo ID. I highly doubt the impostor account provided any kind of ID. And yet Facebook still can’t see that account for the fake it is?

The final straw

This response from Facebook has renewed my loathing for that company. Its “community standards” are weak if they don’t include forbidding death threats. Its appeal system is non-existent. Its process of identifying impostor accounts is awful.

So I’m boycotting Facebook. I’m deleting my account, my Kyōto Bōken page, and also my WhatsApp and Instagram accounts. I no longer wish to have anything to do with Facebook. Unfortunately, I know that they’ll still keep track of me, and they’ll still have a large amount of information about me. But I’m never going to actively use their products again. It’ll take a while to back up all my data and permanently delete the accounts, but I expect to be done by the end of next week.

To the friends who wonder how they’ll keep in touch with me, I say: get out of that Facebook walled garden and go see the rest of the internet. I suspect this blog might get a bit more active, for starters.

So what actually was this Koshien app?

The first answer to this question is: it doesn’t matter. I shouldn’t have had to suffer that abuse.

But I think it’s worth answering this question to point out that it would have been an even more hellish situation if the person targeted wasn’t tech savvy like me.

Not all the comments I received were abusive. Some asked for help politely, and thankfully a few people explained the problem better:

I haven’t got a clue who runs the Koshien app. But the problem is it has somehow been forcefully added to the mobile facebook apps of a lot of people in the same way we have apps like instagram whether we like it or not. I included a screenshot. People are upset because they cannot remove it like other apps. Hope that helps you understand what is happening.

The screenshot mentioned is gone now, but it looked just like any other Facebook app, like a game or Instagram.

A few lovely people were trying to defend me:

I can’t say for sure. But it looks like this guy has just tagged that page… much like you might tag a friend in your personal status update which results in your status appearing on that friends wall too. I think this man has tagged the page resulting in his blog post therefore showing up on the Koshien page as well. That does not necessarily mean the app is his at all.

I didn’t have access to this app. I couldn’t see for myself what was going on. So when I asked another person to describe what they saw when they clicked the app, they responded:

Thank you for your prompt reply and I can see you are getting abuse however I have this koshien icon appear on my side panel in Facebook it sits above trending when I press it Isee pic of stadium at very top says live events and obviously everything is n Chinese the other evening was trying to get live streaming of Celtic v qurabag game I clicked button and I think it said linking to Facebook truly am not sure I didn’t get the game it was only next day noticed the green button I have contacted Facebook but all they say is they don’t support this channel! I don’t know if there is anything you can do but thankyou for trying

So what I gathered is that this app trawled Facebook for any mentions of Koshien. Being a Japanese stadium, the vast majority of posts were in Japanese. But I happened to make a post about Koshien in English. This was used by the app and was either visible in the app or forced into people’s news feeds – I’m not sure. Since I had probably made the only English post visible in this app, the abusers honed in on my Kyōto Bōken Page and accused me of…well, all sorts of things.

Once I grasped the situation a bit better, I tried explaining to the people affected. After a while, I stopped hearing anything about it. I’m not sure if it’s because Facebook acted on complaints about the app, or if people figured out how to remove it.

This app was clearly malicious. It was either installed when the user clicked a suspicious link, like the sports livestream mentioned, or perhaps they had installed an app earlier that had been repurposed. There are thousands upon thousands of apps developed for Facebook that do all sorts of superficial things: maybe they allow people to change their avatars for a cause, or are games, or perhaps they are required to enter competitions. And because I’m tech savvy and a former IT professional, I know that these apps are bought and sold on a daily basis, so an app that may have started as a ribbon campaign ended up being sold to someone who wanted to use it maliciously. But the people affected by this app were clearly not aware that such things could happen.

The takeaway here is to think twice before giving permission to any app on Facebook (or just about anywhere). And if you don’t use an app any more, then revoke its permissions.

I also recommend ditching Facebook, but unfortunately I don’t think many people will listen to me.

Time Off

Gosh, it’s been a long time since I blogged here. And so much has happened since then too.

I’m on the verge of a one-month break from work. I can’t lie: I’m really looking forward to it. I won’t be going anywhere – that’s the whole point.

My life has been lived out of a suitcase for over a year now. In February 2012, I moved out of my rental apartment as the landlord had sold it. I couch-surfed for a few months (visiting Margaret River and Uluru in the interim) until leaving Australia for my secondment in New York. While I was based in New York, I didn’t actually work there, so I was travelling weekly – first to Philadelphia, then to Atlanta. And, of course, while I was in the States I did some touristy travel – to Chicago and the Burning Man Festival in Nevada. Then there was my 30th birthday holiday extravaganza in Japan via Singapore…

My U.S. secondment was meant to be for a year, but I heard news that my off-the-plan apartment was going to be completed before I was due to return – and being unable to pay for rent in New York as well as a mortgage, I came home to Australia in November 2012. But my apartment wouldn’t be ready until February 2013 – so again I couch-surfed, this time with my sister in Geelong (which, as you can imagine, meant long commutes to work in Melbourne every day).

My time in Geelong was broken up a little with a 2-week long project in Singapore and then three months in Bangalore, India where I was a trainer for ThoughtWorks University graduates. India brought its own travels – to Hampi, Bandipur and Mysore. I was also meant to take another trip to the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, but I was asked to cancel my leave and go to another project in Singapore.

My mortgage and settlement were finalised while I was in India- so I had an empty apartment in Melbourne waiting for me! I asked if I could have a week in Melbourne between my projects in India and Singapore, just so I could move in and sign papers. While I was in Melbourne though, I heard that the Singapore project was canned (so I lost my holiday in Madhya Pradesh for nothing, oh well). But! Now this meant that I could now stay in my apartment in Melbourne! So for a few nice weeks, I lived in my new apartment, that had a bed and…not much else. I had sold all my furniture a year earlier, so while I was living in my new home, it wasn’t really that comfortable until I started getting a few basics: fridge, table, sofa…

Unfortunately I didn’t even have a chance to finish doing all that until my next project sent me off again – this time to Sydney. I’ve been travelling back and forth every week for a few months now. Weekends in Melbourne have been spent scrambling to buy more furniture, appliances – even basics like a toilet brush.

I’m getting to a point now that the basics for living comfortably are now in place in my apartment. I’m nowhere near done unpacking though: I still need to install bookshelves for my library, bring out my various game consoles and set up a work desk for crafting. But those things can live in my storage cage for now. The fact that I have an armchair and I can curl up with a blanket to read while eating something I cooked in my own kitchen – this has been bliss for me. And it makes it very hard to pull myself away to catch another flight to Sydney.

I’m typing this at the airport while waiting for my penultimate flight to Sydney. From the end of next week, I’ll be taking a month off work. I won’t be travelling anywhere. I want to stay at home and just enjoy it. I love travelling but the last 18-odd months have really ground me down – especially the time in India, where my health took a dive and hasn’t fully recovered since. I think it’s the living-out-of-a-suitcase aspect that caused that.

That, and not really having a place to call my home. Filled with my things. I sold a lot of my belongings when I moved out of my rental – and placed the rest in long-term storage. I took a lot with me to the U.S. – then back home again. And, since I never really got the hang of packing lightly, I took a lot with me to India too. Carrying the things that were important to me around the world doesn’t make life easier. I know I should pack lighter, but when there’s nowhere to keep the leftovers – what choice do I have?

I do have a home now. All my things are safely in my new apartment in the middle of Melbourne. From a packing point-of-view, it’s helped a lot; I never have more than carry-on luggage for Sydney. It’s also just a nice, settled feeling: this is my home.

So I’m going to be spending my month off enjoying my new home. Repainting it. Adding bookshelves. Making it truly my own. I’ll also spend time getting healthier – getting more sleep and enjoying the apartment’s pool facilities. I want to spend time reading, coding, writing, studying…It’s so hard to do any of these things when you get home from work and just fall straight into bed from exhaustion.

I haven’t lost the travel bug completely, mind you. I’m planning to spend the New Year break in Tokyo, and an opportunity just came up to ride the Trans-Siberian Railway next year. But for the rest of this year, I’d really just like to stay in Melbourne. This city has changed so much while I’ve been gone. I want to reacquaint myself with my hometown.

I’m presenting at Grace Hopper India!

Back in April, I wrote about the Grace Hopper conference and how I had hoped to be a guest speaker in Dr. Catherine Lang’s workshop about the Digital Divas program.

Well, plans have changed quite a bit since then and now, Catherine and I will be co-presenting (along with my colleague Alana George) at the Grace Hopper India conference in Bangalore instead!

We will present our paper Win-Win-Win: a partnership model that fosters links between Academia and industry while promoting computing to school students and then have a panel session where we field questions and brainstorm with the audience how we can encourage and support more women into IT.

This is my first time speaking at a conference so I’m pretty excited! I’m also happy that I’m heading back to Bangalore where I can catch up with my old ThoughtWorks University colleagues and friends.

Will you be attending Grace Hopper India this December? Let me know in the comments.

Facebook bug: Links in comments disappear on iPad

Back in March, Facebook changed their comments system so that the blue ‘Comment’ button was no longer visable. Instead, users had to press the enter key on their keyboards to post comments. To make multi-line comments, users were prompted to press Shift and Enter.

Amid general protests of Facebook trying to fix what wasn’t broken, suddenly iPad users started complaining that the Shift + Enter functionality didn’t work on their on-screen keyboards.

I’m one of those iPad users, and yes, the inability to make multi-line comments is extremely frustrating. But then I noticed another iPad-related bug in the last few weeks. It seems that iPad users can’t get any Facebook usability love.

When commenting on a status, I tried adding a link. When I pressed enter to post, the URL would be visible for a few seconds but then disappeared. The rest of the text remained intact. I’ve searched online but haven’t found any other comments about this bug – if you know of anything related, please feel free to leave a comment below.

I recorded a video of the bug in action:

There is a workaround, which is pressing the space key after the URL text. For some reason, this space allows Facebook to recognise the URL and parse it into a clickable link. It seems strange that Facebook can’t recognise URLs otherwise – even going so far as to deleting comments altogether that only contain a URL.

There is no official Facebook app for iPad yet. Hopefully, if and when that is released, that would ease some of these usability issues. Until then, Facebook should work a bit harder to test their “features” and updates in the iOS environment before releasing them.

2011 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing – Scholarship Applications Now Open!

Every year, the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology organises the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing. This year, this event will be held in Portland, Oregon with the theme “What If…?”.
The 2011 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

If flying to Portland sounds a tad too expensive, students and non-profit organisation employees can apply for a scholarship to cover the costs of attending. The deadline is fast approaching though – May 16th – so visit the website and get started!

I’m hoping to attend Grace Hopper this year. Dr Catherine Lang of Swinburne University of Technology will be co-presenting a session about the Digital Divas program in the K-12 Computing Teacher’s Workshop. In 2009, I worked in the program as an “Expert Diva” – in other words: a classroom facilitator. The facilitators worked with Year 8 girls in an IT classroom setting to show them how interesting and rewarding a career in ICT could be.

Given my past participation in the program, Catherine has invited me to speak at her session about my experiences as an Expert Diva. I’d certainly love to! Fingers crossed I can arrange some time to attend the event in November. I would be my first time at Grace Hopper.

Are you heading to Grace Hopper this year? Any tips for a first-timer?

ThoughtWorks Australia is an Employer of Choice for Women

ThoughtWorks Australia is an Employer of Choice for WomenOn the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, ThoughtWorks Australia was named as one of just 98 organisations that are Employers of Choice for Women.

This list was compiled by EOWA – the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, which is an Australian Government statutory authority.

This is a great (and I might say, well-deserved) honour for ThoughtWorks but it also seems a little depressing that in all of Australia, just 98 organisations met the requirements to be considered for this recognition.

The full 2011 EOWA Employer of Choice for Women list can be read here.

Why did ThoughtWorks deserve this? Well, the official criteria can be seen on the EOWA website, but from my personal point of view, I feel like that “fairness” or “equal opportunity” aspect to women in the workforce is a no-brainer at ThoughtWorks. Of course people are remunerated and hired based on their skills, not their gender. Of course they should be free from harrassment. Of course, where possible, flexible working options should be available. And so on. But that’s not the most awesome part, because that should be the case everywhere anyway.

In my opinion, what makes ThoughtWorks stand out and deserving of this recognition is that – in an industry which was was never famous for its high female participation rates – Thoughtworks has genuinely and proactively tried to get more women involved in IT. We’re official and unofficial supporters of programs like Girl Geeks, Go Girl Go For IT and Digital Divas. We pay higher referral bonuses when women are hired. Our women are encouraged to network together and support each other. When I joined the company, I was one of two female recruits. We were chosen out of a shortlist that was 75% female.

IT/ICT is everywhere in our everyday lives. The user base for all these technologies is made up by every different kind of person imaginable. So it makes sense that the people developing these technologies are representative of those that use them. Women make up 50% of the world’s population. You can do the math to figure out what proportion of this industry should also be made up of women.

ThoughtWorks have cottoned onto that. It’s not an easy task – women often don’t consider IT as a career option. That’s why we’re trying to encourage particularly younger women to think about IT at school and university. But again, this is what makes ThoughtWorks stand out. They’re trying bloody hard.

Congratulations ThoughtWorks and well done to the staff that worked towards this amazing recognition.

This is another reason why I’m proud to be a ThoughtWorker 🙂

I’m going to webdu!

I came home and logged in to my Twitter account to find no less than four random people suddenly following me. I originally thought they were spammers but on closer inspection I found out that they were all @webdu followers, plus @webdu itself.

“Huh!” thought I, “Must have found me by searching for #webdu and getting my haiku”

I should back up a bit here, hehe.

I first heard about webDU’s Twitter competition when I read a friend’s entry in his feed. WebDU is an annual web technology conference in the Asia-Pacific region. This year it’s in Sydney.

It looked very cool, so I thought I would enter the Twitter competition myself to get a conference pass. Here is my tweet:

A Haiku:

My skills are strong, but
The economy is not
Grad job, I must find 🙂

Where else could I network better than at webdu?

I only posted it yesterday! So I didn’t think that all of those new followers could have come from me winning a pass but that’s just what had happened! I’m so excited! I never win at those “25 words or less” style competitions. Clearly, the “140 characters or less” competitions go better for me!

I have to admit that I didn’t imagine my career focus to be in web technology – at least not to begin with. But it’s been a personal interest of mine for years – especially after becoming an Anita Borg finalist and visiting the Google offices in Sydney. So webDU should be fantastic!

Speaking of Google, some of their staff will be presenting there. I can’t wait to meet up with them again! I caught up with some other Googlers and Anita Borg finalists last night at Melbourne University’s Google Coffee Club too. Great fun! And to cap off these Google-ful few days, Google Australia was awarded the #1 spot in BRW’s Great Places To Work list. I’d believe it for sure!

Wow, tonight has been crazy. But I’m excited! I can’t wait for webDU! Anyone else going? I’ll see you there!

Farewell Foster’s

Unlike the post 6 months ago, this time it’s a more permanent farewell I’m bidding to Foster’s. I started my Industry-Based learning (IBL) placement there almost exactly a year ago. After the placement ended, I continued with my old team for one day a week while studying. Then, after the Deloitte vacation placement ended, I started full-time work with the Core Operations transformational project team, modelling their current processes.

But I’m starting my second IBL on Monday at Lonely Planet, so there isn’t any more time for Foster’s unfortunately.

Foster’s has such a nice and fairly relaxed atmosphere – it’s sad to go. The experience I gained there was so valuable and the friends I made are great! I’ll be keeping in touch, guys! Don’t forget me!

But for now it’s time to move on. I’m very excited about Lonely Planet next week! I only have that IBL placement and four more university subjects left before I graduate. I’m not entirely sure where I’ll be in 12 months time – maybe Foster’s is still an option! But for now I’m looking to see what else I can experience.

Thanks again Foster’s – I had a a blast.

Accenture Adventure 2009

Wow, that was exhausting! I’m going to be sore for days!

Just came home from the 2009 Accenture Adventure. It’s a graduate recruitment event run by Accenture that’s very vague when you apply. It doesn’t mention much except that it’s a “high-octane” event with a spy/secret operative theme.

Once I arrived, we had more details of what would actually happen! Friday was an Amazing Race event (another one! Just like the one I did at Deloitte!) which covered the “high octane” part of the event. It’s also the reason why I’m feeling very sore now! My team came third overall but were this close to coming first overall. Go Phoenix Delta 2001!

Speaking of phoenixes – our team was one of three who had the word “phoenix” in their name! Who says that there’s only ever one phoenix at a time? 🙂 It’s because the Accenture Adventure was held at The Sebel in the Yarra Valley – which is still covered in smoke from the nearby bushfires. The fires were obviously on everyone’s minds. A lot of the event was dedicated to it – for example, the Amazing Race helped to raise funds for the Bushfire Appeal. So many were thinking about “rising from the ashes”, I’m sure. A little cliché but oh well.

The second part of the event was high adrenaline even if it wasn’t quite as “high octane”. We had three hours to prepare a business case presentation to some of the executives at the company. That was tough in a very different way from the race, but very good. I enjoyed it.

Overall, the Accenture Adventure was great, but exhausting. One really nice surprise was finding two friends there – including one of the other Google Anita Borg scholars! We ended up being roommates too so it was a great catch-up. The Sebel is gorgeous and I loved the luxury it provided. The whole weekend went by so fast though that I didn’t even think to take photos!

Now I have to start thinking seriously about graduate jobs. Already in the last six months, some kind of opportunity has arisen with Google, Deloitte and now Accenture. None of them mean that I’m guaranteed a graduate job offer but I have to think about whether I would accept myself – which one would suit me best or should I start looking at other opportunities?

Time to start looking at graduate recruitment websites.