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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Supreme Court of Canada Ruling on Facebook Anonymity is one for all to watch

Today, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a young Nova Scotia girl can remain anonymous in her fight against cyber bullying.  The decision was made with the hope that she would not be victimized all over again for fighting back against bullies.

The girl has been struggling to find out who created a fake Facebook profile using her photo along with posting false 'scandalous' highly sexualized activity.  Facebook provided the IP address, but the internet service provider would not provide more details without a court order.  Well, they have it now. 

This is an extremely important case to watch as the legislative process has been slower to move on social media issues as outlined in Social Media and the Legal System - Another Story.  This is a victory for every person and/or business that has been harmed by the careless and ruthless nature of people hiding behind fake profiles. Until now, there have been no consequences.  Victims have been left powerless and perpetrators have had a false sense of security. 

This is a precedent setting case, so stay tuned for more commentary and detailed analysis as this story unfolds.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

 5 Social  Media Mistakes to Avoid

Getting into social media is easier than ever with the numerous available networks.  What people sometime miss, is the basics however.  The basics will help you showcase your skills, personality and build your network.  So, let's get started:

1.  Failing to use a photo or avatar for your profile - Best practice suggests that you use a photo that will enable someone to recognize you.  Failing to use a photo or using the default image provided, will result in people not following you. 

Contestants at the recent Dreamforce being social! Photo courtesy of me!
2.  Not completing your bio - Remember we are in a social environment.  People want to know who you are.  You want to know who people are.  Showcase your expertise and your personality by completing your bio.  Just be sure to remember your audience and write for that audience.

3.  Having too many networks - You want to be out there so you sign up for three maybe four different networks.  As it turns out, it is a lot more work than you thought.  As a result, you are really only maintaining two.  Take it slow.  Start with one, then add another.  If that isn't enough add another, but wait before adding any more.  Make sure that you understand the volume of work that it takes to manage your profiles.  Rather than add another, you might decide that an existing network is not right for you.  Opting out is better than not maintaining.

4.  Not writing professionally - let's face it, people make assessments based on how we speak and how we write.  Be sure to write professionally in your network.

5.  Failing to be human.  Social media is about being social.  It is about being human - remember that you are human.  You make mistakes and it is ok as long as you learn from those mistakes.  Share what you learn with others.

These are five of the most common social media mistakes.  Check back next time as I cover more social media mistakes to avoid.  If you have some that you would to discuss, please chime in.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

People Ask Me:  What Social Network Should I Use?

5 Reasons to Use Facebook

Last time I touched on Twitter.  So, today I will focus on Facebook.  Keep in mind that these five reasons are just touching the surface.  They are ideas to get you thinking about how and why you can and should use Facebook. 

Facebook is used by many for personal relationships only.  That is fine.  There is no law that says you must use it for work.  No one should make you feel bad for wanting to restrict it for this purpose. That being said I have broken out the reasons to use Facebook between personal and professional.  Remember, it is your choice.  Take a look.

If you want to connect on a personal level:
  1. Facebook is ideal for reconnecting with old friends.  Facebook has provided me with an opportunity to reconnect with both family and old friends that I have not seen in years.  I love that aspect of Facebook.  
  2. It is a great way to keep friends and family up-to-date on your experiences while travelling.  It is a one-stop shop for your photos, videos and travel diary.  
  3. For some who feel technically challenged, using Facebook actually teaches you a lot of computer skills.  You learn about sharing information, how to find people, brands or groups.  You learn about security and personal information settings and much more.  These are skills that can be easily transferred to the work environment.  
  4. Facebook enables us to become involved with causes that are of interest.  For example, you may join a Facebook group that focuses on a hobby.  Not only do you learn more about your hobby, but you can meet people with similar interests.  
  5. If you are a parent, you should be on Facebook.  You want to keep an eye on what your kids are doing.  You want to be sure that they are safe.  Keeping a watchful eye is part of that process.

 If you want to keep things on a professional level:
  1. You can connect with your customers and share information, including special deals, contests, etc.
  2. You can build a community that shares your information with their friends, family and followers.  They become your brand ambassadors.
  3. Facebook lets you collect information about how much traffic you have had to your page and what posts, in particular, have appealed to your community, also known as your customers.
  4. Facebook makes it easy to extend your reach beyond your local borders. 
  5. Using Facebook ads can be very, very, very targeted.  You can be very general or very specific.  Your choice. 

Remember, whether you use Facebook for personal and/or professional purposes, keep in mind that you are using a medium that makes it easy to share information, and depending on your privacy settings, your posts, including pictures could be public.  Don't say something that you won't want to be the headline in a newspaper, or something that would jeopardize your relationships - personal and professional.  Keep it light. Keep it fun.

As a side note, should anyone ever ask you for your password, including a potential employer, that is in my opinion, crossing the line.  Many States and other governments are implementing laws that will prohibit potential or existing employers from asking you for that information. Keep you passwords safe at all times.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Social Media, Our Legal System and Common Sense Please

I recently wrote a post entitled "Social Media and the Legal System - Another Story of the Tortoise and the Hare?"  The post focused on a mistrial in a murder case after it had been discovered that a juror had been active in conversations on a social media site, that openly discussed the guilt of the person on trial.   While a very unfortunate situation, there are some very simple questions that could have been asked, and hopefully are being asked now, in the jury selection process to avoid a mistrial.  These questions are outlined in that post. 

This week however, I read a blog post on The Social Graf that left me speechless.  It is one thing for our legislative and legal systems, which are large institutions in themselves steeped in tradition, to move at the speed of social and/or fully understand the disruptive nature of social media, but this post takes the cake. 

Image source:

I have always believed that the common sense is not always common sense. What I mean by this, is that while I think that it is common sense to put my seat belt on when I get into a car, not everyone thinks that way.  Apparently, it is the same when it comes to communications and social media.  According to The Social Graf, judges are now having to explicitly list social media channels and brand names of mobile devices to help jurors understand that they can not speak about the case on these channels or while using these devices.

To me, the instruction to not speak or communicate about a case with anyone in any form, while on jury duty is pretty straight forward.  You just don't do it.  You don't speak, write, sign, act or draw pictures about the case.  There is a sense of integrity, moral and ethical conscience associated with being a juror.  You are there to bring about a course of justice based on the facts presented.  There is a process to follow and not following the process can result in innocent people - victims and families of victims - being harmed. 

I don't believe that social media is the cause of this phenomenon.  There is something else that is taking place that has further skewed the common sense meter.  What that something else is, I don't know.  If you know, please share.

(If you are receiving notification of this post by email, be sure to visit the actual blog for the full graphical representation.  After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.)