A Word on Transparency and Professionalism

 

 

The word ‘transparency’ is thrown a lot in the social media world, a tantalizing buzzword meant to embrace authenticity, or put simply ‘realness’. In terms of brands, companies, and influential professionals, this means being accessible to others by what you share on your media platforms of choice. Put simply, transparency could be characterized as being truthful and genuine to the outside world, or appearing to have nothing to hide.

And transparency is a beautiful thing.

Until it isn’t.

In a 2013 report from Fox Business, it was estimated that Americans in particular spend approximately 16 minutes of every hour on a social media site (like Facebook, Twitter, etc.).  The more readily available social media has become, the faster we embrace it, spending more and more time sharing our lives with the outside world. And this is a great thing in principle, giving us an inside look into some of our favorite celebrities on their own terms separate from the invasive lens of the paparazzi. At a glance, social media enables even the most distant figures of our world accessibility like never before. For example, did you know you could tweet at the pope, the president, and Oprah with just the touch of a button?

There is a Downside

I’m not sure whether our ability to share has prompted us to share more, our defenses have been lowered by promises of confidentiality, or whether younger adopters of social media have less inhibitions, but transparency has shown a darker side to those we share the Internet with.  Where before, it was common for users to adopt a ‘if you wouldn’t want your mom to see it, don’t share it’ policy, many users now share images that could greatly negatively impact their future careers; drinking pictures from high school and/or college, explicit photos and video, and even viciously hateful remarks about others via Facebook, Twitter, and the newly adopted Snapchat apps.

About Snapchat…

You may or may not have heard of the app recently applauded as ‘the new instagram’, but if you are a parent, you probably should. The app’s primary function is to send and receive videos and photos, which self-destruct after 10 seconds. As you might imagine, like with the ‘confidentiality’ claims of Facebook, this isn’t entirely true; with the right smartphone, its possible to take a screenshot of a compromising image and publish it to another social media website, often with dire consequences.

Going Forward

If you choose to be transparent on social media, make sure you make smart decisions about what you post, where you post it, and what the implications might be. If you are seeking a job, or maintaining a professional presence, it may be wise to avoid posting compromising photos involving alcohol, illegal activities, or that portray you in a way that could be easily misconstrued. It’s also important to note that ‘protecting’ your tweets on Twitter, creating a ‘limited’ profile on Facebook, and even trusting in Snapchat’s ‘vanishing’ images will not prevent someone from finding images that could put you in a compromising position. The safest way to use social media is by always putting your best face forward and presenting content about yourself and others in the best light possible.

In fact, maybe even show your mom before you post it, because chances are she’ll eventually see it regardless of what privacy settings you have.

Hope this helps! 🙂

Sources:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2013/04/26/social-media-addiction-study/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/03/tech/mobile/snapchat

http://gawker.com/5967303/snapchat-sluts-shows-why-snapchat-isnt-the-consequence+free-sexting-app-wed-all-hoped-for

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Twitter for Beginners: Step 4

Right about now you should start feeling like a Twitter rockstar: you can tweet, retweet, favorite, follow….heck you can do just about everything. So where do you go from here? It’s time to start putting these skills to use: let’s get you some followers!

Getting followers on Twitter may seem pretty easy: write a good tweet and people will interact with it. Right? Wrong. On Twitter, much of how we view accounts is a combination of tweet quality, level of influence, and relevancy to our ideals and interests. For example, Barbara Corcoran may have a ton of influence, but if you aren’t really into investing and business…you are less likely to ‘follow’ her. So how do you get more followers? Let’s find out:

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Twitter for Beginners: Step 3

And we’re back! Welcome to step three of your basic guide to Twitter. Today I will be explaining how to use basic functions on Twitter such as ‘favoriting’ and ‘retweeting’. Let’s begin:

Overview

On twitter you will encounter a set of functions available to all twitter users: the favorite, the retweet (or RT), and reply. There are other options available, but these three will be your primary focus going forward. Replying to a tweet is as straight forward as it sounds.

Let’s look at how to reply to a tweet:

Tweet-Replyex

So here I have clicked the ‘reply’ button and chosen to commend Michelle Mangen on this cool infographic. So what I’m going to do is type in my response and hit enter.

Tweet-replyfinish

This is the result. This will not show up as part of a ‘conversation’ on twitter. It is publicly viewable, and can be interacted with by followers of both users, and by the general public.

Now, on to retweeting: to ‘retweet’ or share a tweet with your followers/the public, you will need to select the ‘retweet’ button. This should be the result:

Twitter-RTex

Once you have chosen to retweet an article, this should be the result:

Twitter-RTexdone

Another option you have is to ‘favorite’ a tweet. This ‘favorite’ will not be viewable to the general public, but will alert the user that you liked their tweet. This is a great function if you want to politely and discretely liked something without drowning your followers in replies and retweets. To favorite something, simply click the ‘favorite’ button. The result will look like this:

Twitter-Favex

Now that you know how to retweet, reply, and favorite tweets, your homework is to find up to 5 tweets you like, and retweet and favorite them. If you really like it, send the user a polite reply.

Next Week:

How to get people to follow you.

Twitter For Beginners: Step 2

I realize it probably surprised some people that step two came a little later than expected, and I promise it was for a good reason. Yesterday the fabulous ladies over at The SITS Girls featured City Gopher.

In the words of Charlie Sheen, “WINNING!”

But as a result, I thought it would be best to allow anyone new to the blog to read step 1 thoroughly and get a chance to ask some questions if they had any before step two went live. It turned out to be a pretty good idea.

Some of your questions from step one as follows:

1. Can I use two hashtags instead of one?

2. Is the addressing for tweeting case-sensitive?

So to best answer your questions, I’d like to give you a tutorial on hashtags and ‘@’ mentions to show you exactly how they work and how they are different:

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Your Social Media New Year’s Resolutions

So I’ve heard a lot of interesting feedback from people about articles I’ve written concerning Twitter and Facebook, and people I’ve spoken to about social media. Before I get started, its important to note that I have been working with social media since college and that I view it as an essential tool for small businesses. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know just enough to have formed a strong opinion about it. If you think social media is a waste of your time, you can stop reading and go listen to your Walkman.

Here is my list of social media resolutions you should aim to master in the new year:

  • Stop deleting emails from multiple vendors, and start unsubscribing. If you are getting assaulted by as many as 300 emails a day from ecommerce sites and causes you can’t recall caring about, DONT DELETE. Deleting doesn’t actually make the problematic emails go away, it only spurs a resend prompt to spam you with even MORE emails. 
  • Stop saying you’re too old for Twitter / It’s too hard. It isn’t too hard, and you are not too old. If you view tweeting as a part of your daily schedule like brushing your teeth and washing your face you can effectively manage your channel. Once you get the hang of it, start interacting with trending hashtags and start get access to information much faster than just flipping through a magazine.
  • Stop avoiding Facebook. One huge problem I’m seeing is people somehow thinking that ‘unplugging’ from Facebook will solve all of their problems, than getting upset when they miss special offers, forget birthdays, or ever miss out on great conversations or internet phenomenons. Stop tuning out! If you can’t stand getting updates from XYZ person or company, ‘unlike’ or ‘unfriend’ them! You can customize your experience to be fulfilling and satisfying to you if you want. Sick of seeing people’s political opinions? Install unpolitic.me and have all political banter replaced with pictures of babies, food, or whatever you like looking at.
  • Learn about trends. Seriously, if you are working at a company trying to seem ‘cool’ to us young folk, stop ignoring memes and viral content: we LOVE that stuff. By all means, have your employers do a funny ‘Gangnam Style’ or let your creative team think up a funny but engaging way to catch our attention. Just look at Old Spice: they went from total bore to total badass with just a few ‘Man your man could smell like’ ads.
  • Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. If you feel that a company goofed up, don’t reach for the phone first, try hitting them up on Facebook or Twitter. Companies can handle multiple disgruntled clients on social media than on the phone (a rep can only handle one of you at once). If a company isn’t savvy enough to follow best practice on social media, then try calling them.

Hope these help you in the new year! 

Sandy Hook Elementary: An Op-Ed

 

I should preface everything I am about to say, by stating that nothing that I am about to list below made me more upset than the shooting itself.  The fact that young children lost their lives in an act of such senseless violence, and in a state of terror upsets me to no end. The fact that their peers had to witness, overhear, and experience that same fear, and may be forever scarred and affected as a result upsets me as well. However, there were 4 things that truly struck me about the aftermath of this shooting that made me upset as well.

 

I apologize in advance. This will be long, bear with me.

 

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3 Compelling Reasons You Shouldn’t ‘Protect’ Your Tweets

Hey all! This is a quick one, because I want to make sure you all undo this fatal mistake NOW!

So I’ve begun noticing more and more 20-somethings have opted to ‘protect’ their Twitter. Some have claimed this will afford them the privacy to tweet what they only want certain people to see without allowing potential employers to see. Others have said they don’t want their mom reading Twitter, and have chosen to protect their Twitter for the same misguided reasons they (still) haven’t added their parents on Facebook. I have some hard news for you: ‘protecting’ tweets doesn’t actually guarantee your tweets are safe from the eyes of employers, and if your tweets are so vicious you wouldn’t want your mom to read them….maybe you shouldn’t tweet them. Here are some pretty compelling reasons your Twitter doesn’t need any protection:

  1. You didn’t sign up for ‘social’ media to be a loner. If you want to send tweets that only your friends can see, you should just stick to Facebook. Twitter is intrinsically designed for collaboration, conversation, and interaction is its core purpose. If you aren’t willing to contribute your insights to all of Twitter, then spare yourself the trouble of making an account.
  2. It’s not really ‘protecting’ you. In the same way that companies can get information from Facebook, its only a matter of time before they can access your Twitter too. If your tweets aren’t mature enough to survive in the wild, don’t tweet them at all. Tweeting “I hate Nicki Minaj” or “Ughh unemployed!” might be best said aloud in the comfort of your own home by yourself. That’s how you ‘protect’ a tweet.
  3. It prevents you from interacting with cool people. If you hide all your tweets, it hinders cool people from reaching out to you. Example: You tweet “I love @3lau!” unfortunately for you, @3lau isn’t going hear you, and if say he happened to be playing a show near you and having a twitter contest for tickets, you’re going to totally miss it. Bummer. Many celebrities manage their own Twitter handles, and interact with their fanbase often. If you’re protected, you’re disallowing them to reach out to you. How do I know? I tweet at celebrities…and I’ve gotten replied to. A lot. And my tweets are unprotected.

3 Things You Need To Stop Doing On LinkedIn

Here are three things, seriously just three easy things you need to stop doing immediately on LinkedIn. Why am I cutting right to the chase? Because I think that right after you read this, you should make sure you aren’t doing any of these major no-nos.

  1. Be anonymous. If you are a job-seeker and are afraid of people ‘knowing who you are’ on LinkedIn STOP IT. The whole point of making your profile and firing off copies of your resume is so that employers can go look at your face, read up on what you’ve done, and even see what your past boss had to say about you. Yes, sure, they could call up “Benny Bossman” but wouldn’t you prefer to save them the trouble? And yes, sure, you might want ‘your privacy’ on the internet…but if you want to remain anonymous, don’t use LinkedIn.
  2. Update your status erroneously. There is a time and a place for letting your friends that you are off eating a sandwich, and that place is not LinkedIn. Instead, post articles you  feel are interesting or post blogs that you have written (I do that currently). I would try to avoid political statements, but if there is a genuinely compelling political article from a ‘legit’ source (by which I mean Politico, CNN, or any major news source,…not a GodHatesObama.net or RomneySucks.com).
  3. Start any cover letter with ‘To whom it may concern”. If you are using something as forward-thinking and modern as LinkedIn for your job search, avoid looking archaic and bland…actually look up the Talent Director/ Recruiter’s name. The more you appear to care, the better the end result.

I hope this reaches you well, and good luck!

How To Make Me Hate Your Company

Social media has been hailed by many as the beacon of hope in dark times to bring customers to companies through engaging content and web presence among ‘the usual suspects’. Tweeting as a company, posting on Facebook, and even scheduling content to help wave the pom-poms for your company are all great starts at creating an iconic and successful brand. But like all good things, when done too often, too forcefully, or incorrectly, social media can quickly turn into a untameable monster that will drag your company to the pits of hell. Run-amok twitter handles, overly sales-y content, and bullhorned / overpromoted / overzealous status updates on products are just a few things that will make me hate your company. Here is a full list of great ways for me to hate your company:

  1. Tweet about thyself hourly.
  2. Make thy Facebook plugins massively spammy.
  3. Shove thy sales emails down my throat.
  4. Post on thy Facebook more than 5 times a day.
  5. Promote all of thy tweets all the time.
  6. Post nothing but bland sales copy on thy social media.
  7. Beg me hourly to use thy hashtag.
  8. Robotically address they customer service queries.
  9. Indifferently respond to thy fans.
  10. Hustle influencers.
  11. Conduct thyself like a human airhorn, spewing your uninteresting materials across the web and in general making a huge mess.

What can you do to make me love you?

  1. Be human.
  2. Actually respond to me when I tweet at you / comment on your social media.
  3. Actually respond to me questions and customer complaints.
  4. Show me your office, your life, ….affirm that you’re a person not a bullhorn…just don’t go too crazy.
  5. Shout me out once in a while  (show that you care that I like you).
  6. Show me special offers only sometimes.
  7. Relate to my demographic (I like music, what kind of music do you like? etc).
  8. Just be yourself. Even if yourself is a nerdy CEO of a soap company that likes Batman and PopTarts…Rock it.

What’s A Tweetdeck? Hootsuite?

No, Tweetdeck is not a new weapon the Bad Piggies are using against Angry Birds. Similarly, Hootsuite is not a nightclub for owls. Both are fabulous ways to organize your twitter.

It should be noted that I’m a proud Android phone owner, but a mac computer user so my experience with apps tend to be more skewed to what works on my android.

If you are new to social media (or seasoned, and want a refresher) here are two tools you should have in your kit to effectively manage media:

  1. Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck is an excellent tool to manage streams of tweets and keep up with trends. You can create tabs which monitor every tweet containing specific hashtags, and even scan for mentions of you and your branding. The real advantage? If people misspell you brand name, your handle, or your name you can seek them out and reply to anyone and everyone that has mentioned you. You can also schedule tweets for peak viewing hours, (and for days when you take vacation so you can put your phone away) and track the effectiveness of your tweeting (Click-through-rate, # of clicks, relevancy, etc). Its very effective for tablets and light computers, especially for ‘bullpen’ scenarios where you are dealing with a steady flow of material. Can get a little wonky on android devices.
  2. Hootsuite. Basically everything that Tweetdeck is, but you use it via your internet browser, not as a separate app (except when you use a mobile device). The other major difference is that Tweetdeck is now owned by Twitter, which for me colored my opinion about it It doesn’t make streams update automatically (well, auto but not as blazingly fast).This is handy if you get easily overwhelmed or dizzy from watching twitter conversations fly by in light speed. The setup is (in my opinion) more user-friendly, and feel less like a stock ticker than Tweetdeck. If you want efficient, free, and a good starting point, opt for Hootsuite.