May 19, 2010

Facebook Privacy Tools – Check Your Settings the Easy Way

LOTS going on these days on the Facebook Privacy front. Practically a full time job to keep up with it. We’re all busy people, and 99% of us care about protecting our privacy online. So here are a few simple tools to help you get your head around your Facebook privacy settings in just a few seconds.

Reclaim Privacy

Great tool that scans your settings. Just install the bookmark, log in to your facebook account, go to the Privacy Settings page and click on “reclaim privacy” in your bookmark bar. It runs a scan of your settings in seconds.

Reclaim_Privacy_dot_Org_Facebook_Settings

OpenBook

Interesting little site. Openbook is working harder as an awareness tool than anything else, I think. But if your privacy settings aren’t buttoned up, it’s easier than ever for people to find out what you’re posting. That said, I’m fascinated that people say the things they say on Facebook (or anywhere else online) that would be damaging to their professional reputations. But they do! And they do it in droves as this site showcases.

Openbook_Facebook_Privacy

SaveFace

SaveFace by Untangle is a free, easy-to-install Bookmark utility that automatically resets your Facebook settings back to Friends Only for all the following:

  • Contact Information
  • Search Settings
  • Friends, Tags and Connections
  • Personal Information and Posts

I haven’t used this one because I don’t want to limit everything within my settings to “Friends Only,” but that might be what some people prefer, so I’ve included it here.

Saveface_Utility_For_Facebook

One Final Thought…

I know it’s tough to keep up with all the privacy changes Facebook has been making lately. And I know it’s easy to get frustrated. Supposedly Facebook is going to launch simplified privacy settings soon. My privacy concerns are the same today as they were when I first created this blog and setup my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and various other profiles. I continue to maintain that these are all great tools and technologies — but also that we need to be thoughtful users. That is, THINK before you POST! :) Same goes for email. You always have to consider that anything you write could be made public, so turn on your internal editor and proceed intelligently. It shouldn’t take all of these privacy smoke and mirror games Facebook is playing to make you mistrust “online privacy” as a whole. Better that you ALWAYS mistrust “online privacy” and post accordingly.

Agree? Disagree? Indifferent? Always happy to hear from you…

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May 5, 2010

(My) Top 5 iPhone Apps for (Social) Business

Because, surely, you want to know, right? Plus, I’m seeing a trend for blog posts that offer lists…so why not? Here ya go…my Top 5 iPhone Apps for “Social” Business:

1.) Facebook App: This seems almost too obvious. But there might be one human in a cave somewhere who hasn’t downloaded it yet who I’d like to enlighten. This app offers a great opportunity to stay connected with your contacts/network while you’re standing in line somewhere, sitting in a waiting room or stuck in a car (as a passenger of course).

2.) Analytics App: If you blog, this is handy when you’re feeling lonely or unloved. It gives you mobile access to all of your Google Analytics data. (No guarantees that seeing your stats will turn your mood around.)

3.) U.S. Postage App: But this isn’t “social,” you’re saying to yourself. Sure it is. Ever send things out to your network via snail mail? This helps you do it without having to stand in line at the post office. Tell your friends. I love this app. Seriously. If I had a stamp for every time I used it…

4.) Mashable App: All the cool kids have it on their iPhones. (The uncool ones, like me, have it on their iPod Touches.)

5.) E! Online App: How else is a busy businessperson supposed to keep up with pop culture? Besides, what makes for better small talk before a meeting?

Why didn’t I list other social business apps on my iPod Touch (that’s right, I STILL don’t have an iPhone because of my stubborn refusal to be told which service provider I must use…take that Steve Jobs), like the Hootsuite App, Tweetdeck App, AP Mobile App, LinkedIn App and the like? The truth is — and please don’t let this get around — I find them cumbersome to maneuver through on that tiny little touchscreen.

Is it possible that the only solution to my problem is an iPad?

Until then, there you have it…a Top 5 list in 60 seconds or less. I aim to please. In case you don’t already have them installed, here are the links to download these babies:

Oh, and yes, I realize that technically these are not my top 5 “iPhone Apps,” but using “My Top 5 iPod Touch Apps” as a title sounded way less sexy, so be a sport and go with me on this. Thanks.

May 3, 2010

Risk & Social Media for Business – Defending Against the Top 3 Exposures

When discussing social media for business with clients, three questions inevitably arise regarding business risk. I’m certainly not the first to post about them, but it’s info that bears repeating, especially for the uninitiated. You know what they say, “the best defense, is a good offense” or something like that. :) Without further ado, here are my answers…

1.) How will we maintain control over our brand in the social sphere?
The most cited answer to this is: You don’t own your brand in the social spheres – you own the ability to share your brand in the social spheres. You won’t have control over what people say about your brand, but you can control how you respond to what is said about your brand. Control can also come in the form of a continuous commitment to publishing your own new content. Quality content that is industry-specific, keyword-rich, relevant and recent can help you rank better in search results, so in that way you can leverage some control over what comes up in organic search results. Another question a business might consider is, how can we lose control over our brand in the social sphere? The answer to that is to jump in without a strategy, without a community manager and with a hyper acute need to “control” your community. If you deliver value, your community will reward you – for, online, it is they who are in control. But that certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate. And, as already mentioned, make sure you have a social media policy firmly in place before you publish. For legal considerations, read what Cobalt Law has to say.

2.) If we allow broad employee access to social sites, how will we manage threats to productivity?
Before you can address this concern, another issue should be addressed post haste, if it has not been already: Does your company have a social media policy in place? Even if you have blocked Internet access and your brand is not engaged in social media, it is likely your employees are on the socialwebs in their off time. It’s been said, there’s no such thing as free speech in the workplace. If they work for you, you need to provide clear policies about social media conduct (I’m sure legal would agree – for more on legal considerations, read this blog post about legal issues and social media from Houchin & Associates). Here is a Social Media Policies Superlist that can provide insight into how other companies manage their social media policies. Productivity concerns should be addressed in your social media policy (and the training that should follow it) in the same way you address/manage employee conduct/usage of phone and email. You need to legally protect your company, its proprietary information and logo usage. Abuses should be managed/addressed should they occur. This post from Guy Clapperton provides additional considerations about social media and productivity concerns.

3.) How will we manage negative comments?
The same way you manage them offline – professionally and politely. It really is that simple. Read more about handling negative comments in posts by Matt Collier and Amber Naslund, or google it. This is where your customer service skills should (and will surely) kick in. Fear not.

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April 28, 2010

Are You Missing Networking Opportunities on LinkedIn?

How well are you leveraging the power of LinkedIn? Are you just accepting “invitations to connect” or sending out invitations with that impersonal default message? Take a look at this exchange I recently had…see a missed opportunity here? (Click here if you cannot see the image.)

LinkedIn_NetworkMe? I see a HUGE missed opportunity here…and I’m not picking on Michael, because there are plenty of people that — innocently — just haven’t taken a moment to think about the broader networking opportunities that LinkedIn can create.

Here’s what I see:

  1. He used the default message to connect. Why? Why not take an extra second and give some context to your invitation? Let the person know why you’re connecting or remind them of how you know each other if it has been awhile since you chatted (in person or online). It takes 2 seconds to personalize the message. I think it’s very worth the time.
  2. I opened a door of communication. I took the time to look at his work on his web site and was actually very impressed. I responded accordingly, and tried to politely ask and obtain some of the basic information I just described above since his invitation didn’t give me anything to go on. Then I opened the door to have a conversation. So how did he respond?
  3. He answered my question and closed the open door…which is perfectly fine…that’s his prerogative, of course. But this, to me, is the opposite of what LinkedIn positions you to do from a networking standpoint. Needless to say, I didn’t accept the invitation because he didn’t give me a reason to do so.

How well are you leveraging the professional networking potential of LinkedIn?

Are you moving your online relationships offline? Are you creating or responding to opportunities to have further conversations? Why not? I always tell professionals that there is typically good SEO value to being on LinkedIn because if someone googles your name, your LinkedIn listing is likely to rank highly in the search engine results…in which case you want your LinkedIn profile to be buttoned up. But don’t you want your LinkedIn correspondence to work just as hard for you? Whether sending or receiving invitations, think of them as opportunities to make a good impression, just like you would at a traditional (offline) networking event.

Just something to think about the next time you log in to LinkedIn…

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