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Doesn’t everyone know this by now? There is probably a 30-45 second window of safety for deleting a post from Facebook without fearing that it has been or will be seen by others. Once you’ve passed that time frame, you may as well keep it up because if you’re anyone of interest, chances are someone got a screenshot.

Just ask KQDS News Director Jason Vincent who posted this gem as a Facebook status update while on vacation:

“Add drunk, homeless, native American man to the list of animals that have wandered into my yard.”

I am not making this up, though I really wish I was. (Go back and read it a second time if you must. I will wait…..)

The result: protestors outside the station, an apology, and coverage on Lost Remote and TV Spy.

There has been some mention of the fact that Vincent was on “personal time” when he posted the update, but I fail to see the relevance. It’s not quite clear to me at all why that kind of comment would be justified whether you’re on personal or professional time.

Someone put way too much stock in Facebook’s privacy settings and not enough in the importance of common sense. Who knows what will happen next? I can’t imagine that the newsroom staff will be very supportive. However, stranger things have happened.

There’s one thing I am sure of in this case though:  This will not be the end.

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Facebook really wants us to populate that timeline, don’t they?

Upon logging in today, I found a prompt asking me to add information about my employer, including position and city. Not alarming, I know but still worth discussing. While many of my friends do include this information on Facebook, I do not. Nor do I want to. So I decided to select “skip.” I was then asked to enter my high school. I hit skip again and then received three more prompts in the event I’d be more prone to share one piece of information over the other.

Again, no harm done….but it made me think about things a bit more. How often will they prompt me to share this information? Will there be other methods? Will people feel compelled to do it simply because they’ve been asked? In some cases, yes. They’re counting on it.

Facebook is probably going to do everything in it’s power to encourage users to tell the story of their lives through this timeline. And I suppose that’s the smart thing to do. They’ve basically taken the information provided so far and done as much as they can to get it started, so why not complete it with your entire life story?

If this is something you want to do, by all means go ahead. But you can still make your own decisions and opt-out of sharing every event of your life, even if Facebook is pushing it and your profile looks better because of it.

I think we sometimes forget that all of this is optional. Yes, Facebook is rolling out Timeline for Brand Pages tomorrow and it is all everyone is talking about. But as an individual – don’t get caught up in the hype and start sharing things you otherwise would not.  A cool profile or pimped out timeline is no tradeoff for some semblance of privacy – IF – that’s what you want.

If not, post away. But remember, you always have a choice. Don’t let Facebook make you post content you don’t want to share.

I get it. They want Timeline to be a huge succees

Talk about serving your audience on Facebook.

Couple that with capitalizing on customer interests and an upcoming holiday and it’s hard to deny that  T.G.I. Friday’s® has a winner on its hands with the new Buy a Beer App.

As someone who is constantly encouraging clients to push the envelope with   Facebook and brainstorming  new ideas to get them motivated, I enjoy learning about new endeavors and following their success. It keeps me on my toes, expands my thinking and keeps the ideas flowing.

So, I just couldn’t let the day go by without acknowledging what I believe is a great idea. Here is a blurb from their official press release:

Any Facebook user 21 years and older can buy their Facebook friends up to five beers simply by “liking” the Friday’s fan page and placing an order through the custom tab. Recipients receive an electronic gift card to redeem in restaurant. The purchase price is set at $5, regardless of the recipient’s regional location, and is redeemable for any beer of choice, non-alcoholic beverage or food item at any local T.G.I. Friday’s.

You can absolutely argue that this isn’t rocket science. But who says it has to be? I’m sure that T.G.I. Friday’s will generate a lot of buzz and grow its fan base with this one, which I’m sure is one of their goals.

Right now, the T.G.I. Friday’s Facebook fan page has 580,370 likes. I plan to check back in a few weeks to see how they’ve fared.

Have you heard about Facebook’s newest blow to Fan page administrators?

It basically punishes those with fewer than 10,000 fans, keeping them from sending users to customized tab pages which they may have been using for a promotion of some sort or a specific call-to-action, making  the Wall or Info tabs the only options.

Okay, punish may be a strong word, because they can BUY ads that send people directly to these custom pages,  but it still  seems like the little guy is getting it good with this latest move.

I absolutely understand that this is Facebook’s platform and they can do with it what they very well please. But changing the game midway never seems fair, and they’ve been doing it a lot lately.

So, unless you have 10,000 fans you  cannot send them to your own customized landing tab as your default page. So much for using creative methods for growing your fan base without paying for it through ads.

Simply put, I think this is quite lame. Not only is it lame, it’s a kick in the teeth to those who are working hard not only for themselves and their own brands but for Facebook as well. They’re advertising these pages all over the place, sending people to Facebook.

Here is the blurb that was posted on the Facebook developers forum yesterday, which I found on All Facebook (I’d encourage you to go over and read some of the 83 comments):

Hello all,

We apologize for not messaging this earlier. Facebook recently made a change requiring that Pages be authenticated before enabling the ability to set a landing tab beyond Wall or Info.

To be eligible for authentication, a Page must have greater than 10k fans or the Page admin must work with their ads account manager. If you are already working with an account representative, please contact that representative to begin the authentication process. If you do not work with an account representative, you can use this contact form to inquire about working with an account representative.

Also, for advertisers who don’t have a representative or 10k fans, and want to run ads and land users on a specific tab, you can still do so with standard Facebook ads by making their Destination URL as the URL incl. your tab. Unfortunately, this currently will not work with “Fan” ads.

Thanks,
Matt Trainer

I think this will make it much harder to attract new fans. But it also says a lot about building your community in a space other than your own. I know it can be expensive and with everyone throwing around the stat about Facebook being the fourth largest country in the world, were it indeed a country, it’s hard not to gravitate that way.

However, putting all of your eggs in the Facebook Fan Page basket may not be the best thing to do, unless of course you can round-up 10,000 fans.

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In one of the first large-scale studies of Facebook pages ever conducted, Toronto-based  Sysomos analyzed and investigated usage patterns in nearly 600,000.

The results include information on various aspects including popularity, amount of content posted, number of fans and categories. This is a study of interest if you manage Facebook Fan pages or plan to create one.

Here are a few highlights from the analysis:

  • On average, a Facebook Page has 4,596 fans.
  • Four percent of pages have more than 10,000 fans, 0.76% of pages have more than 100,000 fans, and 0.05% of pages (or 297 in total) have more than a million fans.
  • Pages with more than one million fans have nearly three times as much owner-generated content as the average Facebook page. (Where “owner-generated content” means things like photos, videos, and links posted by the page’s administrators.)
  • Pages with more than one million fans have nearly 60 times as much fan-generated content (photos, videos) as the average Facebook page.
  • On an average Facebook Page, the administrators create one wall post every 15.7 days. Among pages with more than one million fans, one wall post is created for every 16.1 days. This suggests that wall post frequency does not correlate with a page’s popularity.
  • Overall, the most popular “category” for Facebook pages is “non-profits”, while “celebrities”, “music”, and “products” are the most popular categories among pages with more than one million fans.

There is much more to this study and you can find it all here.

The point I’d like to make here is that major engagement on a Facebook fan page like any other community takes a lot of work and often times the administrator (community manager) is charged with creating the bulk of the content. Facebook may be biggest, baddest,  go-to-social network on the planet with it’s 350 million members, but don’t let that number fool you. They’re not knocking down doors to fan your page.

It still takes a lot of work to find success.

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With 300 million users worldwide and one-third estimated to be under the legal drinking age, alcohol industry watchdog,  Marin Institute is raising a red flag on what effect excessive alcohol marketing on Facebook is having on these under age users.

Because of this, Marin Institute recommends that Facebook immediately take action by making three changes (outlined in an article  published in the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice) that would likely hit the social network deep in the pocket.  Here are the recommendations:

  1. Stop accepting paid advertisements for alcohol products
  2. Stop allowing alcohol-related Pages, Applications, Events and Groups
  3. Hire external monitors to enforce the new regulations

I don’t know what your thoughts are on this, but I can’t imagine Facebook jumping at the chance to do any of these. Not a single one.

Here’s a quote from Sarah Mart, MS, MPH, research and policy manager at Marin Institute and lead author of the article,

“Facebook started as a fun tool for college students to interact and connect, but it has morphed into yet another means for corporations to exploit its users, particularly youth. As Facebook continues to grow as the youth market’s social networking tool of choice, the alcohol industry’s influence on Facebook must not be underestimated.”

And a quote from co-author Jacob Mergendoller:

“The only way to protect youth and young adults from the incessant promotion of alcohol on Facebook is to remove all promotional content about alcohol. Eliminating exposure to this content is necessary if we are ever going to reduce serious alcohol-related harm among young people.”

Have you seen much alcohol advertising on Facebook? I can’t say that I have, but I don’t spend hours and hours on Facebook each day.  I do remember blogger and author Chris Brogan’s post about Gun ads, that he wasn’t too fond of.  I wonder if anti-gun groups are thinking along the lines of the Marin Institute.

At any rate, it sounds like this alcohol marketing could be a real issue.

You can read the entire article published in at globaldrugpolicy.org.

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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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Do you remember this post post from last December where I speculated on whether or not debt collectors were behind closed doors strategizing on ways to capitalize on social media? Here’s a question I posed in that post:

What if during the first quarter of next year you start seeing bill collectors posting on Facebook walls and sending tweets reminding you that your credit card is over-the-limit, or that you haven’t paid your bill in three months?

Well, if it seemed a bit far-fetched back then, take a look at this story on Consumerist: Debt Collector’s Using Cute Chicks on Facebook as Bait

According to the story, a “cute chick” aka Jenny Anderson racked up about 600 friends and later announced to them all that she really worked for a company called CBV Collections.

Are you familiar with the term “skiptracer?” Well, that’s what this Jenny Anderson is apparently and there are many many more out there.

I found this story after noticing a trend in the search engine terms used to lead people to my blog. Here are a few I’ve seen in the last two weeks:

  1. “facebook debt collectors” (there are many instances of this one!)
  2. “debt collectors are going to start infiltrating social media”
  3. “Do bill collector’s use LinkedIn?”

This clearly is a topic on the minds of many. I have no idea who is conducting these searches (bill collector’s or those trying to avoid them) but I know we will see this more often.

What do you think? Is this just wrong? Or do they have the right to hunt people down by any means necessary?

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Social media has made some folks lose their minds. Particularly those who are addicted to Facebook. They are poking incessantly, tagging like their lives depend on it, and friending the very people they hated 20 years ago. When you don’t poke them back, they resort to super-poking, send you a plant of some sort and ask for your hand in a game of virtual scrabulous. Lovely.

Something is missing here, and I think it’s common sense. So allow me to reintroduce the common sense factor to all of you avid Facebooker’s. If this doesn’t apply to you, reject it and move on. But if it does, hear me out.

If we hardly spoke in 12th grade calculus class and often rolled our eyes at one another in the halls, why would we connect 20 years later to share all of the nuances of our lives?

If you stole my boyfriend or played a cruel prank on me back in the day that caused me months of embarrassment, why would I care about your whereabouts today and what could you possibly have to say to me?

For all you know, the person you’re reaching out to could have spent an inordinate amount of money on a therapist in an attempt to forget you, and here you are, super-poker in hand ready to rekindle that loving feeling.

If I fired you, or you fired me and we engaged in a shouting match is a connection really something we should consider? No. And that’s okay, so move on to someone else.

Don’t let Facebook allow you to forget history and open old wounds that should probably remain closed. If you’re that eager to find out what’s been going on with someone, lurk around and satisfy your need. Heck, Google them and get yourself a nice helping of their recent history.

But if you know in your heart and your gut that a certain connection isn’t a good idea, don’t request it. Just because we have the tools doesn’t mean we have to use them. It’s great that we have the tools but we should also exercise good judgment and be selective with our actions.

What are your thoughts on the use of Facebook? Know any die hard pokers? Tired of being tagged for the 25 random things about me post? Tell us about it.

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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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