Category Archives: Social Networking

Social Media Blog: If Buzz not a Facebook or Twitter Rival, then what is it for?

Since Google Buzz's launch a few days ago, most people opined that Google's newest plan to engage in the social networking arena was to give Facebook and Twitter a run for their money. But Google VP of product management, Bradley Horowitz, assured critics & others that that was not their plan. Hmmmm…..

He said that Google's Buzz is focusing on creating "conversation" which is missing in most other social networks.

Double hmmm!
 
Horowitz emphasized that for Google's  Buzz conversation and engagement was the focus and it wasn't just about checking or updating status like people do on Facebook or Twitter. Google also plans to create services around that engagement and interaction.
 
OKAY! So the Buzz is different according to Google. But I just don't see the difference yet; at least not from the standpoint of engagement. I engage with people on Twitter. I do a lot more engagement with people on Facebook than I do on Twitter. I've checked out Google's Buzz and I see the same kind of opportunity to engage. Except now I can stay on the Buzz and also email people.

Anyone want to enlighten me as to what I'm missing that's so special about the Buzz that it fills a "market need"?

Social Media Blog: So Facebook was a bit unaccessible, so what?

So Facebook was a bit unaccessible yesterday. I read people complaining on Twitter and other sites about how frustrated they were that Facebook wasn't loading or had a lot of errors.

Hello!!! People! What's wrong with this picture?

Social networks are there to help us have fun and connect and interact so that we have fun in our lives. But our life should not become so dependent on social networks that their unavailability makes us frustrated and angry. I personally find it quite funny that people were complaining about their time being wasted because they couldn't get on Facebook and someone actually threatened to cancel their account if Facebook didn't get their act together.

If Facebook's down, pick up the phone and call your friends and family. spend some time with a family member. Aren't we missing the point here if our life is going to get stressed out over online networking?

Social Media Blog: Pleaserobme.com Raises Cyber Criminal Activity Awareness

Pleaserobme.com is a social media website "listing all those empty homes out there". The website aggregates all Twitter tweets which have location based information or information telling others that the user is not home. The website explains its purpose with this little explanation in their "Why" section:

"The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you're definitely not… home. So here we are; on one end we're leaving lights on when we're going on a holiday, and on the other we're telling everybody on the internet we're not home."
 
Here are some recent feeds from the site; although I've protected them by leaving out the tweeter's information:

  • @xxx I'm at http://4sq.com/9i…..

You get the point. Pleaserobme.com's goal is to raise awareness about this growing concern about online privacy and cyber criminal activity. They do it in an interesting way; if I were them, I'd do it just a little bit differently. Calling it "opportunities" just makes me feel creepy even though their intent is to raise awareness and help people be safe.
 
Are we all saying "Please Rob Me" when we are posting real-time status updates to share where we are, where we plan to go on vacation, who's home and who's not? I did that once too. I posted details about where the family was going on vacation including dates and location pictures of the most beautiful condominium I found on the ocean. Talk about stupidity!!!
 
I'm a reformed social networker. I am a lot more careful about personal information sharing than I was even 10 months ago.
 
Be safe everyone, think before you post your status and details about your life online.

 

Social Media Blog: Extensive Corporate Cyber Attacks Discovered

NetWitness, a Northern Virginia security firm found that between 2008 to January 2010, over 75,000 computers in 2,500 or so firms across the US and the world were attacked by cyber criminals. NetWitness states that these attacks targeted corporate data, credit card information, and other sensitive information at SlimLife hcg drops providers including the health and technology companies in 196 countries including the US, Mexico, and the Middle East.

A NetWitness engineer discovered the intrusion last month and learned that the hackers lured employees to download infected emails or software which when downloaded allowed the hackers to take over the computers, scrape the passwords, and use that data to login other systems.

What this report highlights is the need for more robust security software for companies and individuals. The hackers are getting more and more sophisticated and its time for all of us to really get focused on online security.

Social Media Blog: Have you checked your Facebook privacy settings recently?

Is your birth date on your Facebook or another social network profile? How about your school or hometown information? And are you one of those individuals who also uses private/personal information as an answer to security questions for online banking and online accounts? Are you getting where I'm going with this?
 
Cyber criminals can harvest all this information from your profiles if you are not hiding these private details from strangers. Also note that you face risk even if you are sharing this information only with friend if the friend's account gets compromised.

So how can you protect yourself?
 
Check your privacy settings. Determine who is allowed to view what information. Hide details from everyone who doesn't need to know personalized information. Be careful about adding people whom you don't know as friends. Think before you share any private information online including vacation plans, dinner out plans, and anything that compromise your security.

When was the last time you checked your Facebook privacy settings? I checked mine settings again today. Make this a recurring task on your calendar to make sure that any new additions to your friends or followers are thoroughly checked and your information remains as private as possible.

Identity threat is real. Cyber criminals are combing online websites to find their next victim. Don't become one.

Social Media Blog: Facebook the New Search Engine

If you have a Facebook account, you know how fun it is to get connected to friends and family, how easy it is to share information and photos, and essentially stay connected to others, right?

Well, all this "sharing" is making Facebook a huge traffic source for information. Compete Inc, which is a web measurement firm reports that Facebook has bypassed Google to become the top source for traffic. I don't know about Facebook bypassing Google but it certainly appears to be a site from which I personally click on a lot of links to go find information. When a friend posts something on Facebook that is interesting, and it contains a link, how often do you click on that link? I know that I do and I also share it with my friends when it is especially interesting.

So is Facebook now the new "search engine"? Well if others do what I do and if people are indeed going from Facebook to other sites, the I can see how Facebook can become the new version of an informational search engine. So instead of just being a portal to connect friends and businesses, Facebook is perhaps a great information source too.

On a closing note, did you know that recently Facebook reported that it has 400 million active members!  If you are a business NOT yet on Facebook, can you calculate the lost opportunity cost?
 

Social Media Blog: Measuring Social Media Marketing with Clicks, Followers, Traffic, OR…..?????

Talk to a business owner about online marketing and immediately the questions come in the form of:

"How will I know it works?"

"How many fans and followers will I have on Facebook and Twitter?"

"Will you promise traffic?"

"What is my ROI on this?"

"It all appears too fuzzy"
 
Hmmm! That's what I say, hmmmm!

Ok so measurement is important. I mean it makes sense to count followers and to count fans and to diligently review traffic reports if only to justify that the money being spent is showing results. I'm all for results.

But really is the end-game all about "counting" fans and followers?
 
What does matter then?

I say quality balanced with quantity counts. Quality of content!

Engage with people. Participate in what they are interested in. Publish interesting content in the form of comments that actually make sense. Ask questions. Ask for feedback. Also recommend others to your followers. And follow people back.  So I say, measure traffic, measure followers, measure fans on Facebook but at the end of the day look at how you are influencing rather than just "being there".

Quantity is important but quality is more important.
 

Social Media Blog: Lost Opportunity Cost from Not Leveraging Social Networks

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".

"No time."

"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.

 

Social Media Marketing Blog: Will you like the Google Buzz?

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!

Social Media Blog: Beware of Twitter Shortened URLS

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.