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I was one of three guests on WRAL’s new talk show, “On the Record” which aired on the CBS affiliate in Raleigh this week.

The topic: The Decline of Civility. I was asked about some of the comments posted on news stories and talked a bit about the dynamics of anonymous posting.
It’s a 30-minute show, longer than what most of us like to watch online, but it’s an interesting conversation and I wanted to share it with you here on my blog.

Oh, and don’t think for one minute that the members of the community I manage didn’t see it.  So far there have been two blogs posted about it.  One was all about how nervous I looked, and a comment in the second blog post indicated that I am living in a fantasy believing that things will get better without me putting forth any effort.  I’m going to have to let that one go for now….

At any rate, here’s the link to the video:

On the Record: The Decline of Civility

Let me know what you think, okay?

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If you missed my last post, “Why did you post that comment?” about a woman with commenter’s remorse who asked me to ban her account so that she would keep from posting any additional comments, I’ve got something else for you.

Drunk Bloggers.Yes. It seems as though BWD is the new DUI, only without the car and the potential to ruin lives.

I’ve been told by a slew of members in the community that there is one blogger in particular who gets drunk at night and goes ballistic  in the blogs. I’ve seen some posts where he is a bit direct but nothing too alarming so I didn’t think much of it.

Well, today I was in the abuse queue and came across at least ten photos that were pretty risque. Okay, they were porn.  I couldn’t believe the magnitude and the audacity it must have taken to post that in the community.

It got him banned.

Tonight he sent me an email asking why on earth his privileges were revoked because he’s never violated the terms of service and is demanding I tell him why. I think those members were right about him.

It must be a full moon this week.

Do you think you’re ever read any blogs that were written under the influence? How could you tell?

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This is the question I wanted to ask the woman who called asking me to remove a comment, actually several comments, she’d posted on a news story.

Wait, let me be honest and tell you that after a ten minute conversation I did ask her that question. And her answer, though lame, is a common answer provided by those who experience commenter’s remorse and go to great lengths to find the person who can actually remove them –  ME.  First they email, then they call. The call comes first if the comment is particularly troublesome.

The woman I’m talking about in this instance said she was caught up in the moment and couldn’t help herself.  Yes, go back and read that sentence again. She couldn’t help herself from posting a comment that could possibly jeopardize her job. She’d posted some telling information on a crime story about the suspect, and guess what? She had that information because she works at the hospital where he was treated.

Some common sense in this situation would have gone a long way.

It would not have taken Nancy Drew to solve that case had it become an issue or if it leaked that the information was on the site.

Since this woman was nearly in tears, I removed all four of the comments, but not before encouraging her to be more careful and making her understand that it was a complete courtesy on my part because it is not our policy to remove comments  and we are not obligated to honor her request.

But in this economy, I don’t want to see anyone lose their job and if I could do my part by removing four comments, so be it.

But just when I thought she understood my message and would take heed, she asked me to ban her account completely because she couldn’t be sure she wouldn’t do it again.

I was floored.

Can we get a little self-control with  that common sense?

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According to a recent news release, PandaLabs has Uncovered a hacking service that promises clients access to any Facebook account for $100. The creators of the service, based in the  Ukraine, confirm the cost and say the fee is payable through Western Union.

I’ll leave you to digest this information on your own. Here is the release:

GLENDALE, Calif., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ — PandaLabs, Panda Security’s malware analysis and detection laboratory, today announced the discovery of an online service that promises to hack into any Facebook account for $100. The creators claim, “Any Facebook account can be hacked,” promising to provide clients with the login and password credentials to access any account on the popular social networking site. According to Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs, “The service’s real purpose may be hacking Facebook accounts as they say, or profiting from those that want to try the service. In any case, the Web page is very well designed. It is easy to contract the service and become either the victim of an online fraud, or a cyber-criminal and accomplice in identity theft.

Once an intruder hacks into a Facebook account, all personal data published on the site can be stolen. Similarly, those accounts can also be used to send malware, spam or other threats to the victim’s contacts. In the case of celebrities of other well-known entities, they can be used to defame the account holder, spread information in their name, etc. In any event, this is criminal activity.”

In addition to extorting money and obtaining access to clients’ bank account information, the service also has characteristics in line with hacker affiliate programs. Common among cybercriminals, hacker affiliate programs offer other cybercriminals money to spread malware. This strategy is now being used with everyday Internet users through this Facebook hacking site, by offering extra dollar-credits to spend on the service when users hack more accounts. They can become affiliates to help hackers reach a broader audience, receiving 20 percent of what they sell in credits for hacking more accounts.

It is likely that the cybercriminals behind this operation are members of an Eastern European Internet mafia because payments are conducted online through Western Union wire transfers to a payee in Ukraine. The domain that hosts the service is registered in Moscow, providing further evidence of this theory. The company claims to have been offering this service for four years with only one percent of accounts hack-proof. In these cases, they offer clients a money-back guarantee. However, the domain is just a few days old. A series of images illustrating the sales flow can be found on the PandaLabs blog:

What do you think? Is this something of grave concern to us here in the US?

Angela Connor

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I am both humbled and honored to receive the first video review of my book, “18 Rules of Community Engagement” by Jason Falls of Social Media Explorer and wanted to share it here for my readers.  It comes on the heels of this review on WiserEarth Blog, and this article and excerpt in EContent Magazine.

In the event that you have not read my book, perhaps this video will convince you. You’ll also hear about three other social media books Jason is recommending including Connection Generation by Iggy Pintado, Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel and Andy Sernovitz’s upcoming new addition to Word of Mouth Marketing, which has not yet been released.

So take a few minutes and listen to what Jason has to say about the book.

Four Books Worth Reading from Jason Falls on Vimeo.

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Counterfeit purses are a real problem for COACH Leatherware.

I learned tonight that combating counterfeiting is actually a very important objective for the company. I came across this information after searching for an official Facebook fan page to post two photos and share a story about the great COACH shoes I saw at the mall today. I never found an official site (ther were many created by fans and business owners) so I went to Twitter. After I didn’t find what I wanted there, I went to their website, and that’s when I came across the page that encourages people to report COACH counterfeits.

I know it exists. Heck, anyone with an affinity for the purses and other accessories such as mine has  heard about the basement parties or knows someone who knows someone who has the newest knockoffs in the trunk of their car. We may have even  been to one 15 years ago.

When you sport  their products, particularly handbags, people know that you are a loyalist and they will test the waters to see if they can lure you in. Everyone wants to save some cash right? And who cares if you can’t register the purse or if the stitching is wrong, or the style a tad bit off? People like me, that’s who. People who value the brand, the craftsmanship and the service that comes with it. People who got their first COACH purse as a teen, or in my case my 18th birthday and have not turned back.

But I dgress…

I went to the site looking for some kind of social platform but it seems that this was it. The company seems to think it can capitalize on customer and brand loyalty by outlining all that is wrong with counterfeiting and how kids could actually be working in sweatshops to create these fake masterpieces. Perhaps it can and maybe it does, but I think it should be bigger and better than this.  I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t a place to communicate with fellow COACH enthusiasts on their website. There was no forum, no blog and no way to interact.

Counterfeiting is a major priority and they want help from their customers. It makes sense, but I wonder if a bigger opportunity is being missed. Couldn’t they possibly get even more response if they took this campaign social?

You have great fans, COACH. Mobilize and find us. We can help you with this problem. Make this a real initiaitve and see what you can accompish though social channels.

  1. How about a YouTube channel with videos showing the differences between real and fake? Call it: How to spot a Fake. I’m sure you can get a few.
  2. Create a Twitter account where people can communicate with you about fakes. Follow everyone who talks about your products.
  3. Create an official Facebook Fan Page and let your loyalists start discussions about this. Monitor the conversations and I bet you’ll learn a lot.
  4. Let people help you in wasy they want to  help you and you put in the rest of the work. Generate leads and sell more of your product along the way.

I’ve got more ideas. If you happen to come across this post, email me for the rest. I’d love to share.

P.S. Since you didn’t have an obvious place for me to talk about my COACH-aholic tendencies, I posted a blog in the online community I manage. There are a few other fans in the comments section. You may want to check it out.

Good luck,

Angela Connor

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18Rules_EContentMagazine

If you’d like to read the first chapter of my book, “If you build it will they come?” Check out the September issue of EContent magazine. You can read the print copy or get the online version.

Here’s a link: If You Build it Will They Come?

I’d like to thank editor, Michelle Manafy for her interest in my work and for sharing it with the EContent community.

Enjoy.

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You probably know by now that in every online community, there will be highly popular, influential members. Sometimes their star rises quickly and they can become a very important part of your strategy. They morph into a high-profile, go-to member who seems quite vested in the community and displays a great deal of ownership. This type of member can be a community manager’s dream.

When this type of member take on too much ownership, there can be trouble.

If you start to depend on them too much or place them on a pedestal believing that their intentions are always pure, there could be even more trouble.
This may or may not happen because there are many factors to consider and so much depends on their specific personality traits. But it might happen, and you need to be ready.

If an influential community member starts creating havoc, they must be dealt with and you cannot be swayed by their status. If they become a dominant, larger-than-life force throwing their weight around at others expense, you have to do something.

This person could be your very first member. They could be the ultimate creator of content and have hundreds or even thousands of friends. People might get upset if they believe he or she is being ousted. And, this person and/or their die-hard followers may even turn against you in a very public manner.

Remember those essential skills for community managers I wrote about a few months back? This is when they come into play. This is when you need to have a thick skin, make a decision and move on.
Sure, you can try to reason with them. And most community managers will give you several ideas on how you should go about doing this.  I agree that you should do what you can to salvage the relationship and keep the member without compromising your integrity.

If it doesn’t work, let them go. You will live to see another day. Trust me. I did.

This is just one of the lessons I’ve learned while doing this job called community management. Many think it’s glamorous and all fun, games and kumbaya. It isn’t.
When you’re in the trenches of this work, you learn quickly that there may not be a right answer and you learn as you go.

That is why I write this blog. It is documentation of the fact that I learn as I go. That is why I appreciate everyone who sends me emails saying how much they appreciate what I share and how my strategies are working for them for them.

I will continue to share my lessons learned and even more so as part of a new project series specifically for community managers. If you want to know more about it, sign up on my book website and you’ll be one of the first to learn about this new endeavor.

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//

The bigger they are the harder they fall.

And if you have gotten so big and built a community that you believe is fail-proof because of your largess, your fall will resonate across the universe.

I  can hear it already. You’re just too in love with yourself to see it coming.

You are so much of what you are on the web and maybe even off, because of the people who make up the community you’re always bragging about. If you must brag, fine. But keep contributing, and keep doing the things that made people value you in the first place so that they will continue to see the value and support you and your efforts.
You can’t stop.
And you can’t ignore people.
No, you do not scale as an individual.  I get that. But for some reason your jerkitude manages to do just that. It is scaling at an alarming rate.
Remember what’s important.
Stop listening to the people who are constantly telling you how great you are. Perhaps you are great but if that’s all they ever tell you, they are riding your coattails and contributing to the madness that is your ego.

In fact, you should probably try to figure out what it is they want from you because that’s likely their motivation.
And stop treating people like they should worship you and all that you perceive yourself to be. Know your worth, but remain human, okay?
Your community can shrink, the same way it grew.
Remember that.

This rant was brought to you by Angela Connor and is in no way targeting any one individual. But if the shoe fits, wear it and strive to do better.

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The results of a new study are pretty telling in regards to the  influence that brands engaging customers through social media platforms are actually having on customers. Women in particular.

Information gleaned from the study, “Women & Brands Online: ‘The Digital Disconnect’ indicates that 75% of 1,000 women queried are uninfluenced by social networking channels when it comes to making purchases.

And this snippet is even more telling:

While exceptionally engaged, they are overwhelmingly uninfluenced, and often “turned off,” by brands in this space.

Wow. So you could be highly engaging with your nice offers, coupons, info on upcoming sales and information about the product and still have little to no influence on what is purchased. So what’s a brand to do?

Here’s a quote from Matt Wise, President of Q Interactive:

“There lives a growing impetus for marketers – especially those working with Fortune 500 CPG brands who enjoy a majority female customer base, to build a better connection with women in the dynamic social media landscape. “We know women are social creatures and highly active in mediums like Facebook, where they now outnumber men.”

Here are some additional results of the study:

  • 75 percent of women are “more active” in social networking than last year
  • More than half (54 percent) visit social networking sites at least once per day
  • Yet 75 percent share that social networking sites “not really” or “not at all” influence what they buy

They are being engaged, however and to me that is a good thing because a connection is being made based on a conscious decision to associate with the brand in that particular space.  The preferred results could come later, and I wonder what kinds of ideas will emerge to build that better connection Mr. Wise suggests.

The complete study findings are being presented today at Ad:Tech Chicago.  I wish I was there. If you come across any video or presentations related to this study, please share.

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.

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