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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.

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.

Now that admins of Facebook fan pages can comment on Facebook profiles and other fan pages as the representatives of those pages, not themselves, there is going to be a huge wave of unwanted content floating around. (If you want details, read this Mashable post.)

I’m going to go all out and call it a tsunami.

We are finally going to see the difference between true community managers who understand their craft and those who simply play one on the internet.

Do you know how tempting it is going to be for admins to post all over other fan pages and go directly to individual profile pages and start pushing their messaging?

VERY!

Think about it. You can now just trot on over to any profile page and start pushing all kinds of marketing messages. “Visit our page,” “Buy our stuff,” “Come download our coupon,” “We just posted a new brochure, you’ll love it.”

Get my drift? And that’s just scratching the surface.

It’s one thing to remove unwanted messages from your inbox, but constantly removing from your wall? The average Joe, non-marketing Facebook user isn’t ready for this at all. I think it will get ugly fast.

For those who have never learned proper etiquette for marketing through online communities, there is a real chance that they will crash and burn.

One horror story I always like to share at speaking events is about a guy who joined the online community I managed and uploaded 750 pictures of wrist watches. It was unbelievable. As you can probably imagine, he was marked as abuse and the matter was brought to my attention fast.

It wasn’t part of the culture. If he’d bothered to study how the community worked, spent some time observing other members, and avoided the temptation to pounce — he would have found a better way to get their attention.  But I digress.

Because this is a new opportunity for Facebook page admins, whose experience and credentials run the gamut,there are no agreed-upon or established rules.I don’t doubt that this change will enable brands, businesses and organizations to build stronger relationships with their fans, as mentioned on Socialbakers, but I do anticipate a wild, wild, west mentality unless Facebook has some plans in place to keep it at bay.

I suppose that removing posts and hiding them could be sufficient. But that’s only if the tsunami heads in a different direction.

On this one, we’ll just have to wait and see.

With new Facebook fan pages, the rules of engagement matter more than ever

 

Are more relevant than ever.

 

Now that admins of Facebook fan pages can comment on Facebook profiles and other fan pages as the representatives of those pages, not themselves, there is going to be a huge wave of unwanted content floating around. I’m going to go all out and call it a tsunami.

We are finally going to see the difference between true community managers who understand their craft and those who simply play one on the internet.

Do you know how tempting it is going to be for admins to post all over other fan pages and go directly to individual profile pages and start pushing their messaging?

VERY!

Think about it. You can now just trot on over to any profile page and start pushing all kinds of marketing messages. “Visit our page,” “Buy our stuff,” “Come download our coupon,” “We just posted a new brochure, you’ll love it.”

Get my drift.

It’s one thing to remove unwanted messages from your inbox, but constantly removing from your wall? The average Joe, non-marketing Facebook user isn’t ready for this at all. I think it will get ugly fast.

For those who have never learned proper etiquette for marketing through online communities, there is a real chance that they will crash and burn.

One horror story I always like to share at speaking events is about a guy who joined the online community I managed and uploaded 750 pictures of wrist watches. It was unbelievable.

As you can probably imagine, he was marked as abuse and the matter was brought to my attention fast.

It wasn’t part of the culture. If he’d bothered to study how the community worked, spent some time observing other members, and avoided the temptation to pounce — he would have found a better way to get their attention.

Because this is a new opportunity for Facebook page admins, whose experience and credentials run the gamut,there are no established rules. I anticipate a wild, wild, west mentality unless Facebook has some plans in place. I suppose that removing posts and hiding them could be sufficient. But that’s only if the tsunami heads in a different direction.

Have you ever gotten into a discussion with someone about personal vs. professional accounts on social networks?

Some people believe it’s impossible to separate the two. Others create two different profiles on their favorite social networks and drive themselves crazy trying to manage it all.

There are people who freak out each time they get an invitation to connect with someone on LinkedIn. (That’s my old boss, I don’t know…” or “I never really liked her, do I have to say yes?”) I know people who refuse to look at their friend requests on Facebook because they don’t want to have to make a decision on whether or not they should let a person in.  In many cases they keep these people in what I call “Facebook purgatory” so they don’t hurt their feelings.

This is a real struggle for many, but it doesn’t have to be. Quite honestly, I think it’s madness and if you’re one of these types, it’s time to take back your power.

If friend requests, invitations to connect and potential Twitter stalkers are keeping you up at night, that needs to stop. Today. All you have to do is develop your own personal social media policy. Determine your own rules of engagement and apply them. And don’t be scared to let people know how they can connect with you.

If you don’t want to chat it up with your co-workers on Facebook, don’t. And even if you are connected already and don’t want to be, adjust your privacy settings. Create lists within your friends lists and limit what they can see.

I have no problem telling people how I connect. I had a friend request from a former co-worker on Facebook just today and declined it. I told her that I would prefer to connect with her on LinkedIn instead. I hope she doesn’t take it personally but I have a certain way I choose to connect that works for me.

I liked her when we worked together, but our relationship doesn’t fit with the way I communicate on Facebook. She doesn’t need to see the pictures of my children I post from time-to-time or read my fun rants with my cousins. Because our work relationship never reached actual friendship, (like many do) she doesn’t belong there.

My policy works something like this:

Twitter: Anyone except the porn people and hard core affiliate marketing types. I’m pretty much professional on twitter. I have a niche there and try to stick to it. If you don’t like live tweets, journalism, or social media, you won’t enjoy following me at all.

  • Direct messages: If you send me a DM, I will respond.
  • @Mentions: If you mention me in a reply, I will respond accordingly. It may not be immediately but you will be acknowledged when warranted. I don’t typically thank people for retweets. I figure it was of value to them so they shared it. I will follow them so I can return the favor some day.

LinkedIn: Any business connection I’ve made. This includes people I meet at conferences, former co-workers and anyone I know professionally. I haven’t met all of these people, but I know of them in some significant way.

Blog: If you post a comment on my blog, I will try my best to respond, especially if you’ve never posted before. Again, it may not be immediate but it will happen. Sometimes  I reach out via email instead. I will never have a heated argument online and do not engage with trolls or disrespect other bloggers.

Facebook: Family and friends. Co-workers or former co-workers who have transcended co-worker and moved into “friend” territory. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you are likely someone I would invite to my house.

This may be a bit formal for you so consider it food for thought. It took me a while to figure out what works best. So don’t be offended if you reach out to me on Facebook and we don’t connect.

It’s not you at all. It’s me, and that’s how I manage it all.

I’d love to hear about your personal policies and boundaries in the comments.

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I’m sure we can all agree that there are major benefits to patients who communicate about their health online, particularly among others with similar conditions. This is a major component of the conversation surrounding “Health 2.0.”

What some people find in these communities is empathy, understanding, different points-of-view and perspectives, compassion and the freedom to participate in open discussions with people who truly understand what they’re going through.

But what they’re also getting in some cases, which is a big concern among the health care community — is misinformation.

That leads me to the results of a new study which involved an analysis of  the 15 largest Facebook communities dedicated to diabetes.  The research team analyzed 690 comments across those 15 communities which had a total of 9,289 participants. Throughout the research, they found evidence of some of what I just mentioned: emotional support and valuable insights. But a closer look at the comments revealed that one in four were promotional in nature, generally for non-FDA approved products, which they say raises important concerns about the authenticity of participants in Facebook communities dedicated to diabetes.

I don’t know about you, but I find that cause for concern.

The researchers also found surveys, marketing pitches and efforts to recruit patients for clinical trials where the true identity of the poster could not be confirmed. I placed emphasis on that sentence because I personally find it inexcusable. Marketers communicating in this space should be completely transparent, even if that means the participants in the community don’t want them there.

Here are a few other findings from the study, which was sponsored by CVS Caremark:

  • A majority of posts (66 percent) are individuals describing their personal experiences with managing diabetes;
  • Nearly one-quarter of the posts (24 percent) represent sharing of personal information that is unlikely to be shared between patient and doctors, such as individuals discussing carbohydrate management in the setting of alcohol consumption;
  • Twenty nine percent of the posts are by diabetic patients providing emotional support to others grappling with aspects of that disease;
  • Thirteen percent of the posts are providing specific feedback to information requests by others in the diabetic community;
  • Twenty seven percent of the posts feature promotional activity and first person testimonials around non-FDA approved products and services.

In my opinion, the findings illustrate the importance of these types of communities for people in need of support. But they also raise a serious red flag, as mentioned in this conclusion from the researchers:

“Clinicians should be aware of these strengths and limitations when discussing sources of information about chronic disease with patients. Policy makers should consider how to assure transparency in promotional activities, and patients may seek social networking sites developed and patrolled by health professionals to promote accurate and unbiased information exchange.”

I find this topic intriguing, and I was happy to come across this kind of research. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens next as more of this kind of information is revealed based on these types of analyses.

Complete findings of this study can be found in the Journal of Internal Medicine.


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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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I hope you’ve enjoyed updating your Facebook status, making connections on LinkedIn, tweeting for the masses and watching YouTube videos from the comfort of your employer’s keyboard, but I think that will change for many in the next year.

I shared my thoughts on this over on SiliconAngle, where I am a contributing writer and decided to cross-post for you. So, have a read and tell me what you think.


I don’t have a list of ten predictions. I don’t even have five. But I do have one and I feel rather strongly about it.

Okay, a great number of people are predicting that social media will be even bigger next year and businesses will continue to latch on and make use of the space. They’ve learned that it is an important strategy and that social media must become a huge part of their overall marketing and PR efforts.

Great.

However, I believe that many employees (state workers, for sure) will find themselves blockedfrom Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and maybe even LinkedIn entirely next year.

I’ve written quite a bit about social media guidelines and even led the charge in developing them for my current company, which supports employee involvement.  We want people to get involved and become brand advocates. But that’s us.  That may not be the case where you work and you could soon find out the hard way.

For many companies there is nothing to gain but a loss of productivity for allowing this access and they’ve known it for a while.  Therefore, I maintain that many will soon pull the plug.

Read the rest of this entry »

A new survey conducted by Junior Achievement and Deloitte finds that teens fully expect to access social networking sites on-the-job. Will they get a rude awakening, or will this be the status quo by the time they enter the workforce?

I think we have yet to determine the answer to this one, and it will likely depend on what happens in the next few years. Employers need to realize that policies will have to be created and they need to really figure out their stance sooner than later. I’ve been an advocate of social media guidelines, and those who haven’t may be after reading the results of this poll.

I’ve included the entire press release for your reading pleasure:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ — Online social networks have become so central to teens’ lifestyles that they would consider their ability to access them during working hours when weighing a job offer. This is according to the seventh annual Junior Achievement/Deloitte Teen Ethics Survey, which focused on the ethical implications of the popularity of social networking.

Nearly nine-in-10 (88 percent) teens surveyed use social networks every day, with 70 percent saying they participate in social networking an hour or more daily. More than half (58 percent) said they would consider their ability to access social networks at work when considering a job offer from a potential employer. This comes as many organizations have begun implementing policies that limit access to social networks during the workday due to concerns about unethical usages, such as time theft, spreading rumors about co-workers or managers and leaking proprietary information, among other reasons.

Most of the teens surveyed feel prepared to make ethical decisions at work (82 percent) and a significant majority of teens say they do not behave unethically while using social networks (83 percent). Yet, despite this confidence in the integrity of their online behavior, significant numbers of teens do not consider the reactions of specific groups of influencers in their lives when posting content on social networks. Specifically, 40 percent do not consider the potential reactions of college admissions officers, 38 percent do not consider the reactions of present or future employers, and 30 percent do not consider their parents’ reactions. Moreover, 16 percent readily admitted to behavior that included posting content embarrassing to others, spreading rumors and pretending to be someone other than themselves. Ultimately, more than half of those who did admit to posting this type of content about others (54 percent) said they later regretted doing so.

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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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