August 13, 2010

It’s, Like, So Confusing

Following up on last week’s post about how Facebook is changing the meaning of “like” online, I’ve been noticing more disconcerting behavior on Target’s Facebook page.

Until yesterday, Target hadn’t posted anything to its wall since July 26th. It wasn’t clear if they were building a strategy internally, but the new post makes it obvious that they’ve decided to ride out the storm by ignoring it and letting their customers duke it out on their wall. The new post links to specials for college students and makes absolutely no reference to the controversy. As of this morning, there are 303 comments on that post and 367 people “like” it.

Target clearly isn’t going to mention the issues, respond, or engage in a conversation on Facebook. Interesting strategy, and we’ll see how it plays out. But as I’m watching this case study develop, some themes are emerging and raising some problematic flags.

As one might expect after what seems like an eternity online, the commenters are no longer mostly people upset with Target’s actions. And predictably, as seems to happen with so many discussions about politics and homosexuality, the discussion is devolving pretty quickly. Some users are flagging each other for bad behavior, just because they disagree with the person’s opinions. Some are insulting other commenters, and the whole wall is becoming a referendum on a political issue. I haven’t read every comment, but I’m confident Godwin’s Law is proven there somewhere.

None of this is new behavior to be sure, but has this happened before on such a mainstream company’s page, especially while the company itself is ignoring it? The fact that it’s Target makes for some interesting issues.

For example, if you read a sample of the comments closely, you’ll find a potentially worrisome information literacy problem. If you go back to the beginning of the comments thread on the August 12 post, there are some users whose entire comment consists of, “If you don’t like Target, why do you ‘like’ this page?” or “If you don’t like Target, why did you become a fan of them?”

It’s unclear to me whether these folks realize that users have to like the page in order to comment or if they’re just being snarky about it. Even though these folks had to “like” the page themselves in order to leave their own questioning comments, I’m leaning towards believing that they truly don’t realize that “like” now means “comments enabled.” As David Lee King said on my previous post, “it looks like the ‘Like’ but­ton is really an entrance fee/ticket, or the ‘door’ to the event….” But there’s a large group of people out there that don’t realize that “like” now has subtext and is loaded with new meanings and requirements. I worry that they truly don’t understand that the boycotters have no choice but to “like” Target if they want to participate in the discussion.

"Why are you guys even a fan?"

Other commenters honestly can’t seem to understand why someone who is upset with Target would be posting on the company’s wall in the first place. It seems that there’s still a disconnect between “a company’s web presence” and an interactive, community.” Heck, this is true even for Target, which continues to ignore the community and treat its page as a one-way announcement channel. A lot of folks participating in this thread haven’t made the mental leap from “Just Target” to “Target + Others” as a new norm, even though they’re able to scratch their heads in the comments themselves.

"I just wanted to 'Like' a Target page...."

Close reading of the threads also makes it clear that quite a few Target fans didn’t know anything about the controversy until they visited the Facebook page and saw the comments. This further confirms the ongoing switch from a small number of “official,” mainstream news sources to personal news streams on social networking sites. More and more people are getting their news online from their networks, not from newscasters. (Incidentally, if you need to make a case for why your library should be on Facebook, this is a pretty good reason – in order to be part of your users news stream.)

"What did Target do?"

Overall, there’s a lot going on here, and I encourage you to keep tabs on Target’s page to see how it plays out. It can be difficult to dip into the emerging incivility and disrespect, but it’s educational, especially for any organization that has a Facebook presence. These types of cases are illustrating how the shift from us going out to find information to it coming to us, filtered through our networks, will have an impact on organizations. They also expose a whole host of other issues, from information literacy gaps to privacy concerns. For example, I was going to erase the names of the commenters in the screenshots, but technically it’s all public information, so why hide it? Do the people leaving rants and invectives on the Target post/wall truly understand that those comments are completely public?

On Facebook, 831 people “like” confusion, but I’m not sure anyone really likes it in the Target context.


12:35 pm Comments (2)

August 3, 2010

When Like Doesn’t Mean Like

Subtitle: Or, Using Like to Target Target

If you’re watching the Target Facebook page right now, you’re seeing another social media disaster on par with Nestle’s debacle back in March. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion, but it’s another great case study for us about what not to do online.

Hint: don’t set your page to show only your posts first and then abandon it when controversy arises. If you’re not familiar with the current controversy, you can go here to read about Target’s donation to a homophobic gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota. Be sure to click on “just others” on Target’s wall to see the angry, former customers and pornographic spam.

When Like Doesn't Mean Like

I’m sure they’ve spent the last few days bringing in consultants to come up with a strategy for how to deal with this, but it’s surprising that someone hasn’t already said, “We need to at least post *something* on our Facebook page and acknowledge what’s happening.” So far, Target doesn’t seem to be learning from others’ past mistakes, so don’t fall into the same trap if this ever happens to you.

I think that’s the biggest, immediate takeaway for libraries and nonprofits (well, for everyone, really), but personally I’m more fascinated right now by how people have been forced to give the term “like” different meanings in different contexts because of the box Facebook has forced them into, which this situation illustrates so well.

We first saw this type of attempt to subvert the term “is” in Facebook’s early years. Long-time users remember when your status update automatically included the word “is” so you were forced to use adjectives, present progressive tense, or future tense. Nothing could happen in your past unless you were creative in your use of language, which some people went out of their way to be. Others just started ignoring the “is” and writing whatever they wanted. You might also remember the petition many of us “signed” asking Facebook to remove the “is.” It all seems so quaint now, but those two letters went from being a new way to describe ourselves to being too restrictive pretty quickly.

Now we’re running into another limit that the Facebook one-size-fits-all box forces on us – “like.” We’ve all seen, and maybe even written, “dislike” on a friend’s status update when they say they have a cold or something bad has happened. And yet we still go ahead and click on “like” in order to signify some type of solidarity, even though the term is wholly inaccurate. Sometimes we specifically go out of our way to add a comment “I don’t really ‘like’ this” or “liking even though I don’t like.” But we don’t really have any other options, do we?

When Like Doesn't Mean Like

And even though Mark Zuckerberg has said Facebook might someday add a “dislike” button (which it won’t out of fear users’ “dislike” of companies will drive advertisers away), that wouldn’t really cover it, would it? My range of emotions doesn’t run the gamut from A to B, but instead includes a million shades of grey in between, just as I don’t always talk solely in the present progressive tense.

So when an issue like the Target controversy comes up and I want to leave a comment on Target’s wall saying I’m now boycotting them and why, I have to first “like” Target in order to leave that comment. Talk about cognitive dissonance. I can then add my thoughts and if I want to show support for other protesters, I can “like” their comments, which I do (some more than others), but “like” probably isn’t the word I would have chosen given my shades of grey.

The only satisfaction I can really get is when I leave my comment and then “unlike” Target, but *that* update doesn’t get posted to my wall – only the “like” does.

When Like Doesn't Mean Like
“I do not think that word means what you think it means”

I recently read Jaron Lanier’s book You Are Not a Gadget, which for the most part I loved. I wrote a little about Lanier’s take on the future of authorship, but it also made me think about the way websites force our lifesize selves into one-size-fits-all templates. (Sorry I can’t quote a relevant piece, but I’ve lent my copy out, so I don’t have it handy – a blog post for another day.) At least software like WordPress lets bloggers choose from a variety of templates and even edit them, but it made me glad that I’ve personalized my own site to be truly unique, just like me.

However, Facebook now has 500 million users, most of whom don’t have their own websites as a unique presence for themselves online. Instead, we have hundreds of millions of average users who all look the same and conform to Facebook’s interface constraints as their major representation on the web. If it wasn’t for the picture, it would be difficult to tell one John Doe FB profile from another in Google’s search results.

The lowest common denominator used to be a yellow page listing, but now it’s become Facebook’s profiles. At least a Facebook user can personalize the text in her profile, but we’re all stuck with “like.” That word is taking on a lot more responsibility since we have to figure out ways to use it to convey other meanings. How do we indicate when “like” means don’t like, favorite, bookmark, agree, disagree, support, bummer, share, read this later, funny, and more?

Facebook eventually wised up and removed the “is,” but how will it route around advertisers to provide the spectrum beyond “like?” It’s boxing itself, as well as us, into a corner, which I definitely don’t like.


April 24, 2010

How to Use Facebook and Still Be Completely Private

I’m one of the many people who doesn’t like some of the recent changes to Facebook’s default privacy settings, and I agree completely with Anil Dash that if those defaults aren’t good enough for Mark Zuckerberg, then maybe they should be changed.

However, I think I’ve discovered a way to participate on Facebook with my friends and still be completely hidden from the web, even more so than in the past, but I need your help to figure out what’s going on.

my public Facebook profile has disappeared

A couple of days ago, by pure chance I noticed that the public version of my Facebook profile had disappeared from Google’s search results completely. If you’d searched for me in the past, you would have gotten a link to my public profile, which displayed my name, picture, friends list, some groups I belong to, and (I think) some pages I’ve fanned.

After this week’s changes to Facebook’s defaults, however, that profile no longer comes up at all in a search on Google or Bing. In fact, if you’re not logged in to Facebook and you click on a link to my profile with my personal URL (which I assure you does still exist), you’ll get a “page not found” error.

I’ve confirmed this with others, even people who I’m friends with on Facebook. If you’re logged out, there’s no way to get to my profile. My theory is that one of two things is causing this to happen.

  1. I’ve always been wary of providing Facebook with too much information, so I never filled out any interests.
  2. A couple of days ago, I went to Facebook to read my feed and got a popup window asking me to link my profile to one of the pages for my high school, college, graduate school, and my city network. I didn’t want to do that, so I clicked on the “ask me later” button, which should mean I’m not part of any networks right now.

I’m sure Facebook thinks it’s punishing me for not participating in its new advertising system, but this is a pretty sweet spot for me to be in because my Facebook account is one of the very few that I truly keep private and where I’m only adding “friends” now (as opposed to anyone who friends me). I get to participate with my friends the way I always have and don’t have to deal with all of the new “like” crud and privacy issues. And I think any true friends can still find me, as I believe that anyone logged in to Facebook can still find my profile. In fact, I think I’m still showing up on other peoples’ “recommendations” sidebar, because I’m still getting friend requests from people I don’t really know.

This is great, and I’m very happy with this setup, inadvertent as I think Facebook meant it to be. I’m also not willing to change it to test what’s causing it, so this is where I need your help. I don’t want to add any interests or link my profile to a network in order to find out if that changes anything, because I may not be able to undo the change. So I’m asking for your help in answering the following questions so that we can all figure out what’s going on. Hopefully those of us who want to be private on Facebook can truly do that now. It would also be helpful to have this information so that we know if/when Facebook figures this out and changes it.

Please leave answers in the comments, and thanks for your help!

  1. If you’re logged out of Facebook, can you see my profile? http://facebook.com/shifted
  2. If you’re logged in to Facebook, can you see my profile?
  3. If you’re not friends with me in Facebook and you can see my profile, what do you see? Please be specific in listing which pieces (eg, name, picture, groups, etc.)
  4. Does your public profile display in search results?
  5. If your public profile displays, either when others click on it or in search results, do you have interests listed in your profile?
  6. Can you completely remove your interests from your profile?
  7. Have you seen the popup window asking you to link your profile to specific pages/networks?
  8. If your public profile displays, is your profile linked to any of these pages/networks?
  9. Can you remove your profile from being linked to any of these pages/networks?
  10. If you go through these steps of removing interests and links to pages/networks, does that remove your public profile altogether, the way it did mine?
  11. I’ve also unchecked the box to allow personalization in my privacy settings. If your public profile isn’t displaying, have you done that?

Addendum: I think Polly found the actual answer (noted in the comments below). There’s a setting in the privacy –> search settings that may finally remove your profile completely from public view.

"public search" setting in Facebook

Make sure you uncheck the “allow” box, and if you want even more privacy, change the “Facebook search results” setting to “friends only.” I should also note that I know for a fact this setting either wasn’t there or wasn’t working properly last month, as I had a debate with someone about privacy and looked at my public profile while not logged in, so something definitely changed recently to allow for this level of privacy. What I’m unsure of now is whether that “allow” box is checked by default or not (question #12?). I have to say that if that box is not checked by default, I’m pretty impressed with Facebook’s new stance.

And as Phil noted in his comment, make sure you change the pri­vacy –> pro­file infor­ma­tion set­tings to man­age what your friends can share about you. That’s a really impor­tant one.

The big deal: It looks like Facebook has indeed changed its stance on privacy and has defaulted the “allow” in the search settings to opt-in, rather than opt-out. I think this is new, and it’s very welcome in my opinion, especially since you can further narrow the “Facebook search results” setting. Has anyone seen that “allow” box checked by default?

If this is true, profiles have disappeared from Google, right? Is this a preemptive move on Facebook’s part to take over people search from Google? I don’t know, but it seems like something has changed.


12:28 pm Comments (24)

January 11, 2010

One Approach to Org Twitter Accounts

I’ve been mulling over this post for several weeks now, but a conversation that happened on Twitter today prompted me to finally write and publish it. It started when Kenley Neufeld wrote a post about participating in ALA and tweeted the link. Cyndi E. engaged Kenley in a conversation about ALA following its members back on Twitter, which led Kenley to ask ALA’s Midwinter Meeting account what its follow policy is.

what's your follow policy?

Well, I work for ALA, and I run that account (along with three others), plus my personal one. The “royal” ALA has no official social media policy, although there is an internal staff task force working on one. I’m not on that group and I haven’t wanted to step on any toes, which is why I haven’t said much online about this topic, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t thought through some things for the accounts I manage. Given today’s conversation, I thought I’d share my approach and solicit feedback for what you think is and isn’t working.

Before I go any further, though, I want to note that I kind of fly by the seat of my pants with this stuff at work. I already have a couple of full time roles (as does pretty much everyone at ALA HQ), and tracking what’s said about MPOW online is pretty near impossible these days. Amongst the good and bad about the American Library Association, the term “ALA” also gets used for A List Apart (especially when they publish a new issue), the abbreviation for “Alabama” in news reports, Ala Moana in Honolulu, ala mode, “ala” meaning “in the style of,” in Spanish, and more. I do the best I can, but no one person could catch it all unless it was their only job responsibility. I know a lot of folks struggle to get support from the top in their organization, and I’m lucky that this isn’t one of the battles I have to fight.

All of which is my way of saying, your mileage may vary, even within ALA. These are just my thoughts for how I’m handling four Twitter accounts at work, and I’d love to hear how you think I could do this better. Maybe this list willl even give you some procedural ideas for your own institution’s efforts.

I mainly monitor and manage Twitter and FriendFeed accounts, so that’s where I focus my efforts. I’m lucky that others have taken on the mantle of managing ALA’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Second Life, and YouTube presences. These are the guidelines I’ve been following for Twitter (I still need to implement most of these on FriendFeed).

  1. My goals for the accounts are to listen, answer questions, interact, and inform.
  2. I follow most public accounts that follow us, as long as its not a spammer, bot, or “social media expert” who has thousands of followers. I don’t have anything against the gurus, but they’re not the audience I want to interact with. It may take me a week to log in and follow all the new folks, but that’s my goal. I’m somewhat passive about this because of the lack of an easy way to handle followers from one source, although right now I’m actively trying to follow any human being who say they’re attending our Midwinter Meeting this week. I do this to make it easier to listen and respond, plus it gives these folks the ability to direct message us.
  3. The exception to rule #2 is that I don’t follow private accounts. I realize some folks make their accounts private to avoid spammers, but I can’t tell those from the folks who truly want their tweets to be private. As an organizational account that multiple staff members might have access to, I don’t want to expose those tweets or set up a situation where someone might accidentally retweet something private.
  4. I try to do more than just click a bookmarklet, so I’ll rephrase content to get it down to 130 characters or somehow add value to the headline of a press release. I try to be human and avoid marketing speak, and I don’t get hung up on capitalization, even though my undergraduate degree is in journalism.
  5. I do my best to shoot for 130 characters to provide for easy retweetability.
  6. Although this doesn’t apply to all organizations, I’m a big believer in the “right of first tweet.” Within ALA, there’s no one “master” Twitter account for the Association as a whole. Instead, every office, division, round table, etc., has its own account. In order to help build the audience for those accounts and give credit, I try to not announce news first that really belongs to other ALA units. Instead, I do my best to retweet their tweets. That doesn’t always happen, but I think it’s their right to have the first shot at it.
  7. Something new I’ve been trying lately is to avoid retweeting someone else’s content immediately after they tweet it, especially if they’ve used a hashtag. Instead, I use HootSuite to schedule the tweet at a different time of day in order to try to reach a different audience that may not have seen the original one. If it was a morning tweet, I’ll schedule the retweet for the afternoon, and vice versa.
  8. I’m currently using bit.ly to shorten URLs so that I can get statistics for how often links are being followed. I also try to use custom bit.ly URLs for links I know I’ll re-use a lot. I fervently wish HootSuite would get rid of the frames on its ow.ly service or at least give URL creators the option to turn them off. Until then, I’ll keep using bit.ly.
  9. I deliberately retweet from individuals, not just other ALA units or organizations. My take on it is that we’re all in this together, and we’re all part of the conversation. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’ll be retweeting everything posted to the #nopants tag. 😉
  10. Rather than counting the number of followers as a metric, I’ve started tracking conversations. I still haven’t found what I consider to be an optimal way to do this, but for the moment, I’m clipping tweets to a notebook in my Evernote account (I’m on the free service for now) so that I can find them again. Because it’s so difficult to track the term “ALA,” I haven’t found an easy way to report out what’s being said about us, other than by manually writing up an email.
  11. Personally, I have an unlimited text messaging plan (I <3 texting), so I use notify.me to have Twitter mentions sent to my phone via SMS so that I get immediate alerts when someone mentions or directs a tweet to one of the ALA accounts. If you don’t want to go the SMS route, you can have the notifications sent to an email address, instant messaging account, or to a desktop app/widget. And this setup doesn’t necessarily mean I respond right away, especially if I’m out with friends, watching a movie, or if it’s late at night. I’ve worked hard to balance my work and personal lives, and so far it’s working fairly well. But the notice gives me a heads up, and I can then assess the urgency.

Those are the various Twitter issues I’ve thought through so far. Based on some other problems that have come up at work, I have some general advice for other organizations using social sites.

  • Did you know that the person who creates a Facebook page can never be removed? Never, ever, ever, ever plus a day. The only way is to delete the person’s account, which an organization can’t do if it’s a personal account. So be careful about who creates your organization’s page(s), because you’ll never be able to remove that person as an admin. You can add other admins, but you can’t remove the original creator. Add my voice to the chorus of frustrated users who wish Facebook would change this policy yesterday.
  • Be very careful when you’re setting up your bit.ly links. If you accidentally paste in the wrong URL (which I’ve done), you can’t go back and change it. Ever, as in ever plus a day. If you mess up a custom URL, you’ll never be able to get it back. Ever. Did I mention ever?
  • And speaking of bit.ly, if you haven’t already done this, you might want to go grab the most obvious custom bit.ly URLs for your organization so that someone else doesn’t use/steal/hijack them. Especially if you want a short and easy way to point to your own site on Twitter and get statistics for number of clicks. You can decide if you want to do this on other URL shortening services, too.

So those are some quick thoughts that have been swimming around in my head. I’d love to hear your thoughts about how I can do this better, and what you’d like to see from the ALA accounts I run.


August 21, 2009

Another Reason for Libraries to Make Their Sites Social

Now that I’m on a smartphone that has a real web browser and is capable of multitasking (the Palm Pre), In fact, I find myself expecting it to act like my laptop. I’ve stopped carrying my laptop or my netbook to work each day because I can do so much on my phone, but I’m still noticing where decisions made by web designers make my mobile life easier.

So here’s mobile developer tip #1, my two cents: use plugins and widgets that let users automatically share your content on sites like Twitter, Delicious, Facebook, etc., because you’ll make the user’s life easier. Granted, not all phones support the Javascript that powers this type of service on a web page, but more and more will, so consider getting ahead of the curve and adding it now.

The alternative for me as the reader (acknowledging each person’s situation is different) is to:

  1. Leave the site up in a card until I get home in the evening and can manually bookmark it on my laptop. This works about 50% of the time.
  2. Email the site to myself so I can bookmark it later on my laptop. This works about 80% of the time but is annoying.
  3. Try remembering to revisit the site later on my laptop to bookmark it. This works 0% of the time.

As a result, I’m finding that I’m far more likely to bookmark something if there’s a direct link to post it to Delicious, and that workflow will continue for me until there’s a Pre app that makes this easier, which means I really appreciate sites that offer this. Even better is if you can add it so that it appears in your RSS feed so that it shows up in places like Google Reader and Bloglines, too.

Here are some options to consider for adding this functionality to your site.

  • For WordPress blogs, you can use the Sociable plugin (I’m sure there are others, but this is what I use so I know it works). I have another blog post brewing on this topic, but this is yet another reason I encourage libraries to make their “what’s new” page a blog – you can then use the wealth of plugins out there to improve the user’s experience.

    Sociable WordPress plugin

  • For Drupal sites, you can use something like the Share module (I’m going to look into this for ALA Connect. If you’re using a different CMS, check to see if there’s a similar module for it.
  • Failing that, or even for use on general web pages, check out something like the Add This widget, although I have to admit I’m not sure how accessible it is.

Regardless, this can be a relatively easy way to help meet the needs of your mobile users, a group that’s just going to grow in the future. Food for thought. Nom nom nom.


11:17 am Comments (6)

March 5, 2009

PCMA Presentation: Embracing Free Technology in a Global Recession

Today I was part of a panel session about Web 2.0 tools for the GMC/PCMA

Greg Fine – Association Forum

showed some of their Association Professionals throughout History video
showed the map of online communities from 2007 (“gulf of youtube”)
social media is about building community, and Greg likes this visual because it shows there are actual places and you can’t just aimlessly wander around
– it lets you leverage existing networks
– it allows us to easily create and share information with one another (as associations, we’re about associating)
– allows this to happen in an instantaneous way
– on a platform that people are comfortable with
so if we as organizations leverage these platforms, we make it easier for our members to find us and interact with us
– it allows you to evangelize your members and your customers

there are generational distinctions – generally accepted distinctions
uses acceptable footwear for men on day one of their new job as way to distinguish between them
greatest generation – wingtips
Xers – black lace-up, but moved to the boat shoe
Millennials/GenY – tennis shoes
Gamers – flip-flops
can’t talk to a flip-flop from a wingtip perspective
even the tennis show crowd may not totally get the flip-flop one
also have the 80-20-1 rule
80% of people who are on the internet only look/lurk and don’t engage
20% of the 80% actively engage (read RSS, have a Facebook page)
1% of that 20% are active users of social media online (blog, post to Wikipedia, etc.)
EXCEPT for the gamers, where the numbers are reversed
only 1% are not active online, etc.

the #1 rule is that the organization totally loses control in this environment
if someone wants to say something bad about you, they don’t need your site/platform to do it
so embrace it
do you use free or proprietary and build your own?
Greg is a big believer in free
– free
– proprietary usually means separate authentication scheme and people have password fatigue now
– do you have an open or closed system (can anyone be a member or is it a member benefit)

Association Forum makes everything open because if you care enough to join, maybe you’ll eventually become a member
there’s no right or wrong, but you need to be deliberate about what you’re going to do

set reasonable expectations
mentioned a case where a group thought they’d failed because they only had 1,200 people on their Facebook page
but they only had 10,000 members total!

you cannot think like you – you have to think like your audience
just because you don’t use it doesn’t mean others shouldn’t
others may create these sites (like a Facebook page) for you if you don’t do it
you have to integrate it with traditional methods
you don’t just do one thing in isolation – f2f, email newsletters, etc. are still valid
taken all together, it makes it all more valuable

it’s like a football experience – it’s the future of the association experience
the audience in the stadium are the members, who paid admission
within that audience are different levels (box seats versus bleachers)
over time, our experiences inside the stadium may be more valuable than just being a member

some tools:
– Facebook
– Forum Effect (blogging)

Flickr – an online picture sharing site that lets you tag images
showed pictures tagged with ASAE
user-generated content (pictures from attendees)
everybody has a cell phone these days, and these phones have cameras
35,000 pictures were posted from a conference when they asked people to take a few and then they had a download station

YouTube – videos
when someone comes in to present now, they do a “5 questions with xxxx speaker” video
total time investment per video is one hour, including the interview
they also allow the person to use the video, too

LinkedIn and Facebook
don’t upload your member list to a third-party site to require people who join are members, because this is a violation of your members’ privacy
let anyone become a member on your page
takes five minutes to set this stuff up

strategy is important!
when you’re thinking about all of this
Association Forum uses these sites as guideposts to help people get to the Forum website

Brad Lewis – Professional Convention Management Association

“luxury expenditures” – travel
is in the media countering these negative perceptions and the distinctions between legitimate travel and these types of excesses

PCMA uses:
– Facebook
– Flickr
– LinkedIn
– blog on TypePad
– YouTube

goals for PCMA:
– want to be where their members are
– need to participate in the current technologies
– facilitate connections
– create member engagement, retention
– brand experience; how can your members interact with you?
– enhanced exposure for events, programs, products, and services
– create added value
– learn something new every day

their most successful site is LinkedIn
recommend to their chapters that they create sites, too
you do lose some control

PCMA has 6,000 members and more than 1,000 have joined the LinkedIn group
PCMA posts new content there and posts event news
no hard sells there
eases people into participation in the organization
present jobs, speaker info
most of the room was already on LinkedIn
from an association standpoint, your members can already do a multitude of things there (and on these other sites)
one sign-on
try to make your name the sign across platforms
want the full name and the acronym because you don’t know what people will search on

monitoring and control:
– wild west; just need to accept that because you can’t prevent it
– PCMA does delete some stuff like direct sales solicitations
– does take a staff commitment, regardless of which department is assigned to monitor
– think about how you’re fostering and feeding the community, too; that’s why you want to choose which sites are best for you and your members

PCMA doesn’t mind when people say a session was horrible, because it gives them feedback

take action:
– work with marketing to create a group, work with membership to update it
– if you’re not monitoring what’s happening, your competition probably is
– monitor for referral requests (“who knows of a good xxxx company?”), even if you don’t answer back
Brad encourages third party responses

what it’s for:
– networking with colleagues
– get updates
– ask questions
– gain insights
– share ideas

what it’s not for:
– soliciting (it’s like using the wrong fork at dinner)
– direct promotion

average age of a PCMA member is 47
one of the young kids at a table didn’t know what LinkedIn was – “facebook for old people”

Facebook
– target market segmentation
– students (announce scholarships, internships, communication with PCMA student staff)
– create event
– discussion boards (students were voluntarily making recommendations to others about joining PCMA)

Flickr
– annual meeting (linked from communications, photos for dailies, member engagement even if they can’t attend)
– social networking centered around photos
– share photos within groups and tags

TypePad blog
– new PCMA Chairman John Folks’ blog
– puts face on leadership
– way for leadership to connect with members and get feedback
– start conversations among colleagues

YouTube
– PCMA has a YouTube channel
– some leadership hasn’t wanted to be on YouTube
– only have a few select videos but it’s a good way to put a face on the organization and tell stories

proprietary systems
– PCMA did purchase an expensive product for “PCMA Connect”
– can trial on free before you try proprietary
– had bells and whistles but was a separate destination

Learnings
– conversation happens organically
– hot topics are anonymity, reluctance to speak your mind, general best has been more social (New Year’s resolutions)
be relevant to the people who connect with you

philosophies and conclusions
– your member profile will determine which platform works best for you
– leadership acceptance, need some buy-in
– certainly trial this stuff
these are just new assets in the arsenal, and they’re even free
– important to engage in relevant business of today

Jenny Levine (me)

here are my slides (12MB, PDF)


10:19 pm Comments Off on PCMA Presentation: Embracing Free Technology in a Global Recession

February 18, 2009

Who Is Managing Your Online Identity?

I’ve been thinking a lot more about online privacy for the last couple of years, so I was already prepared for the current controversy over Facebook’s change in its Terms of Service, and it wasn’t much of a shock to me. I’ve never really posted pictures there, imported my own blog posts, or posted links to anything that wasn’t already public somewhere else, because their Terms of Service always said they owned it and could do whatever they wanted with it. Even though they seem to be backing off and reverting to the previous TOS, I hope everyone realizes that nothing has really changed because they can implement the same thing in the future at the drop of a hat.

One of the biggest questions that should come out of this is do you want Facebook (and other social networks) to manage your online identity for you and your children? Just as you should be taking responsibility to shred your credit card receipts, checking on your credit reports, etc. to manage your “real world” identity, you should also think through how you manage your online identity, because ignoring the problem and just not having an online identity can actually backfire on you. Does everyone have to blog? Heck no, but there are smaller steps you can take.

I first started taking my online identity more seriously after reading an article titled Say Anything in New York magazine three years ago. I still find it fascinating, and I’ve come to appreciate it even more after having a couple of privacy incidents occur in my own life.

The first incident caused me to backtrack on privacy and limit access to many of my accounts to just friends and family, taking a more traditional approach to the issue. I felt like I needed to shut down open access to my life in order to preserve my identity, so I also cut back on the number of people I friended and became a lot more selective. I became like the father in the New York article, wondering why I would ever make those things public.

During the second incident, however, it turned out to be very fortunate for me that I already had a well-known identity online. In that respect I’m especially lucky I started early because I don’t have a very unique name, “Jenny Levine,” made worse by the fact that I now share that online namespace with an actress.

Now I completely understand the view of the teenager in the article, that it’s better to control your own identity than to let someone else create one for you. I still keep Facebook separate and limited to friends, and I still post most personal pictures for friends and family only, but everything else I share is available publicly because it helps maintain my identity online. It also means I don’t have to struggle as much with who can see what, and how much, and should I friend them back, and all of the other questions that come with participating in social networks.

I think the issue of having some sort of public, online identity will become even more important in the future as kids grow up with digital dossiers that – in many cases – their parents have created for them since birth. In fact, I think we’re going to see a trend in which savvy, educated parents give their children strange(r), unique names so that they can easily register a domain name for them. That way, even a minor presence like a blog or lifestream will always come up as the first result when someone searches for the kid, either to combat false information or provide a positive image (eg, to a potential employer).

As the child grows up, s/he can take over the online presence and populate it him/herself, but at least it’s already established so that someone else can’t fake one. Who knows how long we’ll use domain names, but I think this will be an issue for at least the next decade, whatever form it takes, and I fully expect to see a rise in identity bullying.

Iris Jastram has written a great post titled Facebook’s Devilish Contract, explaining her internal debate over what to do about her presence on social networks. I particularly love her use of the term the “social time out chair,” which is where you put yourself if you don’t maintain a presence on these sites.

As she notes, it’s not really an option for many people to opt out of social networks altogether. Better to post things to your own site and participate at a level you’re comfortable with, because I can tell you from experience that it could actually hurt your identity and reputation if your response to these issues is to just ignore them or take your ball and go home. Even if you quit Facebook, you have to be vigilant elsewhere. On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog, but they also don’t know that you’re you, and at this stage of the game, anyone can be you.


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