Let's do the math:
- Approximately 400 million users on Facebook – most are active users
- Approximately 75 million Twitter users of which about 15 million are active Twitter users
- Approximately 60 million LinkedIn users
(Note: I didn't do the research to come up with the statistics. These came from smarter people who love digging into data)
So why are you NOT on social networks?
Are these your reasons?
"Ah, our industry doesn't have too many computer savvy people"
"Advertising provides us really good ROI, no point in changing what works"
"No one searches on Facebook, isn't that just for family stuff?"
"We spend about $60K in trade shows and industry publication and it works".
"Can't afford it"
Let me summarize the lost opportunity cost as follows:
- If your competition is on Facebook and you aren't, guess who'll get the inquiry when a need arises?
- If you aren't found on the first page of Google, Yahoo or Bing but your competition is, no question about who'll snag that client.
- If you aren't engaging with your constituents, guess who'll get the edge? Yep, your competitor who is engaging.
- If you aren't listening to conversations about your company's products, calculate how much you will be spending on damage control.
Get online. Get engaged. Listen to conversations about your brand.
Hack websites, feel the power, make more money, and earn some thrills with our training; that's what Black Hawk Safety Net advertised to lure people to become cyber attackers. They said they'd provide successful and guaranteed attack tools to people who could spare one minute to learn.
Well, they're history now after Chinese police arrested the ring leaders and closed down what may be the largest "training site" for Chinese hackers. Black Hawk Safety Net is accused of making more than $1 million in tuition from over 12,000 people who paid them to get "trained".
Wonder if the Chinese police are taking "hacking" lessons from Black Hawk Safety Net founders in prison. I mean what better way for police officers to protect their country from hackers than by becoming a hacker themself?
Google's Buzz…….ing! Yep, again. They are ready to take on Facebook with the release of the Google Buzz. Google Buzz is a social networking site for Gmail users. Users can post status updates, exchange photos, and you know do things that they can do on Facebook.
I must admit that as an online marketer, even my first reaction to Google's Buzz was "Not another social networking site!".
I mean how many places can I post my status, share my pictures and basically "network". Just Twitter and Facebook networking keep me plenty busy. (Shhhh, don't tell Google that I only use gmail as a personal archiving solution for my email. I don't use their email for emailing purposes nor do I like GChat. My personal chat favorites are Yahoo IM and Skype. But I do use Google as my primary search engine so perhaps that will prevent me from being blacklisted for announcing what I did above, lol.)
Must give Facebook credit for sportsmanship (or at least for maintaining a very public straight-face) when they announced that they hadn't yet tried out the Buzz but they always support new technology, blah, blah….
I'm sure behind closed doors, Facebook execs are probably laughing their asses off thinking "Facebook users = 400 million. Gmail users 175 million. End of discussion".
But hey, perhaps Google will have the last laugh. They own the Earth, now they've created a Buzz.
What next you ask? Me too!
It's handy when you can shorten your urls when on Twitter, given that you only have 140 characters to work with, right? Well, the tool that becomes handy also leaves all of us more vulnerable to a cyber attack. That's because you can't tell where the shortened url is going to take you and so you can end up going to malicious sites or downloading malware that can infect your computer.
So what to do?
Well, one easy way is to use a twitter tool like Tweetdeck which offers you the option to preview shortened urls. When you enable that option, you can see the url's destinate page title as well as the entire url to determine if you want to visit that site or not.
You can also install a URL-preview plug-in that is offered by most browsers. When you use url shortening tools such as ExpandMyURL and LongURLPlease you can also enable plugins which can verify the safety of the full url.
I get a lot of DM's (direct messages) where someone or the other wants me to go to a certain site to view something. I rarely click on those urls in the first place. But when I do, I make sure that I know the person sending me the url, preview the url, and then only open the site. If someone posts a url link with a news item, rather than clicking on the link, I do a Google search on the news item and find my information that way.
We can never be too careful these days what with all the robots and cyber criminals that have invaded social networking sites. Taking simple precautions can go a long way in protecting your computer and your data so make the time to implement these simple safeguards today.
I must admit that I had to stifle a chuckle when I first read an article about cyber criminal organization advertising for job opportunities online.
According to a security researcher Kevin Stevens of SecureWorks who presented his findings at a BlackHat conference in VA, two cyber crimininal organizations are seeking individuals who will have to infect computers with malicious code through spamming or online attacks. Basically all an employee would have to do is promote links that are infected with malware to lure users into clicking them and thus providing access to private data.
And get this, each "employee" would get paid $180 for every 1000 infected computers. Employees would be paid using online payment systems such as Western Union, Paypal, and others.
I know the economy is bad and jobs are scarce. But friends, trust me this ain't a job you want to apply for. Look for another opportunity. Please.
Online profiles offer a load of personal information to anyone who knows how to search online. Besides your profile on social networks, have you considered the information you are posting online?
Online users in their need to "connect" and "interact" are sharing so much information only that it's making them vulnerable to criminals. The Digital Criminal, published by a reformed burglar Michael Fraser, provides some very eye-opening statistics which I am sharing below:
- Approximately 38% of users publish their holiday plans on Twitter and Facebook. I used to be one of those 38% until last year.
- 33% of people have posted status updates telling everyone that they were away for the weekend.
- 17% of users can see other people's residential information on totally public profiles
Michael Fraser is correct when he calls social network statuses as "internet shopping for burglars". People are not only telling others that they are out but are also providing coordinates of where they are. Do we even realize what we are doing when we are baring all information for others to see.
Are you connecting with perfect strangers? Is your personal information easily viewable? Are you giving out details about vacation and travel plans readily?
So friends and colleagues, THINK whether you are giving out TMI meaning TOO MUCH INFORMATION.
Here are some other findings from the Digital Report – remember, a little is a lot on social networks!
- Younger people share more information with perfect strangers – parents beware
- 34% of study participants shared that they seen personal phone numbers on people's profiles
- People are sharing cell phone and home addresses with perfect strangers
- Men are more open with their information than women
Next time you tweet or update your Facebook or Buzz status, think whether the information can make you vulnerable to a criminal activity.
Ok, so I'm not surprised that many US reporters and editors use social media sites for researching information for their stories. Research conducted by Cision company shows that Google and Wikipedia make up top sources for reporters researching stories.
Hmm…. Wikipedia? Seriously?
The good news from the same study is that 96% of the reporters go to corporate websites. And interestingly, 89% of journalists use blogs to research their stories.
Thank the lord that "while social media is supplementing the research done by journalists, it is not replacing editors' and reporters' reliance on primary sources, fact-checking and other traditional best practices in journalism" as reported by Heidi Sullivan, Vice President of Research for Cision.
Why do I say "thank the lord"? Well, we all know that microblogging, blogging, and social networking sites are primarily "opinion" driven. If reporters relied on those sources for information for their stories, I would think that accuracy of the content could be in questionable.
But all in all, all these studies continue to highlight our collective dependency on social networks, blogs, and search engines. And even then, businesses aren't making online marketing a priority tactic for the viability of their business. Sigh!
I'm shocked. My mind boggles.
An Oxford University professor of Evolutionary Anthropology Robin Dunbar conducted a study which showed that the human brain can only keep up with about 150 meaningful relationships. So no matter how many Facebook friends you may have, you can only manage 150 meaningful relationships. Dunbar has done other studies in the past to determine what the threshold may be for brains to manage x number of relationships, effectively. He then took his studies to the social networks to see if the human brain has expanded in it's ability to manage more relationships. His initial research concluded that the brain still has the same threshold, off social networks or online.
Aren't you just as shocked as me to know that your 500 plus fans on Facebook are not really your friends?
One last question, who funds these studies anyway?