Posts Tagged how-tos

Privacy and social engagement

Posted by on Wednesday, 28 August, 2013

IMG_5332On the heels of last week’s post about the fear of saying the wrong thing, there’s another fear that also prevents some people from engaging in social media: privacy.

Privacy and security fears have been noted as the number one biggest fear for anyone who spends time on-line. For some of these people, those fears and concerns about privacy are also preventing them from engaging in social business. While I will go on in a moment to help address some concerns and outline a few ways to tighten things down, I’ll say this first and up front: privacy on the internet is a myth. If you are engaging in any social medium, you are doing so knowing that you can be identified by the information you share and have hopefully consciously made the choice to accept that you will not have complete privacy.

Social business thrives on the building of your own digital eminence, which can’t be done anonymously. Social business transcends the digital realm and connects us to the physical world as well. Make no mistake, when we play on social sharing sites, we do so either with pseudo-anonymity or we compromise how much factual data we reveal about ourselves.

That said, the question becomes “how can I maintain some level of privacy and still be relevant on social media?”  Simply said, using your real name, but maintaining minimal other profile information will let you build your reputation based on what knowledge you share without providing any more identifying information than your name. This allows you to connect your professional career and online presences to build digital eminence and grow your career.

Most sites require very little to be in your social profiles. Typically this profile information consists of your display name, real name, and possibly location. Some may require an image, though that is easily and often addressed with a non-personal photo. Both of these have solutions which involve obfuscation to help bolster your privacy, both of which, however, go against best practices for building your own online reputation. So, at the minimum, your name will be visible. That alone can make some people uncomfortable, but that is the starting point for playing in social business: people should know who you are, as that builds trust across your network.

Beyond your name, and preferably a photo, any other bits of information you provide should be done so with the knowledge that anything you share will likely be publicly accessible. Even if you have multiple disconnected accounts, if there are common names or usernames between them, people can begin to connect those dots. Unless you have a VERY common name, the concept of security through obscurity is no longer relevant. While not mean to scare you, this is a big consideration and something to think about every time you share a link or write a post: that content will follow you. Here is a great article on a social engineering hack just published yesterday that allowed access to accounts based on shared or publicly available content.

One way to help improve some levels of privacy would be to maintain separate digital personas for personal and professional use. While I don’t necessarily recommend this approach as noted in my previous blog post on the topic, I do understand why some individuals would prefer the multiple account strategy. My recommendation for those who do adopt this method is to use your real name in your professional account only, and not for any personal account. This will help disconnect the personal content from your professional content. Likewise, only share information and content related to your professional expertise, as this will help grow your eminence but also helps protect your personal privacy if only professional content is shared.

In cases where your real name is required for a personal account (as is the case for Google+ and common practice on Facebook), you have the ability to lock down those accounts to reduce the potential for search indexing to occur and connect content from your personal and professional accounts which share the same real name.

Following are a few great articles on how you can improve privacy settings on Facebook, GooglePlus, LinkedIn, Twitter (with a tumblr bonus), and Pinterest:

Of course, there are also some simple things you can do that don’t require any configuration of preferences or settings:

  • Understand that anything you say/ post online will stay online. The internet remembers everything.
  • Manually approve or disapprove follow requests. Approve only those you know, ignore or block those you don’t. If unsure, ask who they are via DM or private message.
  • Remember that it is possible to inadvertently reveal identifying information through status updates, photographs, comments in friends’ networks, community or group membership, and other non-direct means.
  • Some may seem overtly obvious, but every day I hear of how this information has been posted and them misused: So don’t publish your date of birth, phone number, email address, or physical address. And especially not your social security, credit card, or driver’s license numbers.
  • Remember that what you post can be seen and shared by others even in a small controlled group. Always think about what you say and what photos you post as it could be reshared by someone in your network or otherwise be seen by people not in the intended audience .
  • Don’t publicize future vacation plans, especially the time you’ll be traveling.
  • Don’t use location-based services when posting to social networks.
  • Actively manage your friends lists, circles, or following/followers to ensure your own comfort level with your network.
  • Ok I kind of lied, this is a preference/setting bullet, but it is important! Check your privacy settings often. Many social sites roll out new features and new privacy settings without widespread announcements.
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For more tips, check out the page at PrivacyRights.org which discusses cyber stalking and steps to take to mitigate potential issues: https://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs14-stk.htm#3

Please note that this is not a comprehensive security/privacy post, but one intended to help get you thinking about how you can manage your own privacy to the level that is right for you.

And. as always my dear friends, #StayVigilant!

Deeper content automation via Feedly and IFTTT.com

Posted by on Wednesday, 10 July, 2013

ifttt-feedly-tumblrIf you recall my previous post on using ifttt.com and BufferApp to automate and time shift twitter posts, as well as my post on auto-emailing yourself Snopes.com articles, you’ll know I’m a big fan of ifttt.com and all it can do to help you automate content posting thereby reducing administrative overhead.

Today’s post is no different. You see, ifttt.com recently added Feedly as a channel to their ever-growing lineup. The inclusion of Feedly has opened a world of potential to users of BufferApp, HootSuite, and Tumblr. Why these three, specifically? All three sites allow you the advantage of queueing your posts for publishing at a later time. This allows an administrator/curator to throttle the content flow to the right cadence for their audience and avoid the potential of flooding the readers with too much.

But that functionality was already available in those channels before Feedly was added, so why am I excited with this new addition… especially when there was already an RSS channel available as a trigger? Simple: the Feedly triggers will pull in not only new posts from single sources, but new posts from entire categories or tags containing multiple sources. In effect this allows for a single ifttt.com recipe to pull in content from a wide swatch of RSS feeds and send the content to the channel of your choice. The potential here is actually quite exciting, as I can now more efficiently curate larger amounts of content from across the web and queue it up back-to-back for publication on a schedule I create and control. Plus, this also allows me to control the sources in the categories/tags without having to adjust/disable/delete a recipe.

Rather than stepping you through the recipe creation, I’ve shared one of the recipes which will take an article from Feedly and send it to your Tumblr queue for publishing later: https://ifttt.com/recipes/103637

This will allow you to either directly reuse this recipe for your own needs, or at least look at it to see how simple the process really is, and how much time it can save you. While there are indeed limits to what you can trigger on and the actions you can take, the potential of ifttt.com is near limitless, especially for automating content feeds in a smart fashion. If you are in social business or content marketing, you owe it to yourself to check this out and see how you can use it to help make your own life easier as well. Remember, this automation is only intended to ease some pain of manual post creation. It doesn’t take the place of actual social engagement; rather it helps you focus on the right things to do and not spend time on the logistics of doing it.

 

Improve your personal digital eminence by adding value

Posted by on Monday, 15 April, 2013

IMG_0962I’ve written on this topic before and in multiple spaces. I first touched on the idea back in January 2011 with this post over on the Notes from Rational Support blog: On Personal Digital Eminence. In that post I set for a simple call to action for “both IBMers and the public alike: Get out there and distinguish yourself in your space”. Many of you heeded that call, saw the value, and have begun sharing more in the social spaces and really building your own eminence, even taking the more specific actions of claiming your own name space to improve your digital eminence!

Today, rather than selling you on the value of creating your online eminence and thought leadership, I want to talk to you about a single small refinement that has the largest impact when sharing online.

One of the key items in the IBM Social Computing Guidelines is the idea of “adding value”. This means asking yourself before posting if this is going to add any value to the conversation, or if it will add value by creating a conversation worth having. Now, I think most of us can rationalize some sort of value into nearly everything we post today, so I’d like to touch on how to improve this notion of “value add”.

The single most effective and easiest way to add value is to provide some sort of context or commentary when sharing any link. Have you see people share only a link with no other text around it? How often have you clicked on those links? I’m willing to say rarely to never. You may also be thinking that most of what you reshare from others is self-explanatory; and in many cases it quite well could be. But, unless it is an eCard meme, I’m guessing there’s value you can add to anything you share or reshare… especially if you are sharing in a more professional context. Let’s take the following example which shows how I added value to a share that was already potentially self-explanatory:

In the example below, Susan shared Robert’s post on G+. Since I don’t follow Robert, Susan’s share gave me immediate value as the content was interesting to me… but when it comes to resharing, how could I add even more value to Robert’s post and Susan’s share? Simple: I added my own perspective as to why this post has value for me:

gplus_context_share    .

Adding your own insights or context does a few things to add value here: One, it provides a reason for your audience to pay attention and click-through to the link or content you found interesting enough to share. Two, it begins to build up your own digital eminence as people begin to understand your views and insights on what interests you. And as a third tangential benefit, adding context and commentary like this surfaces you in Google search results lending even more weight to your personal digital eminence.

Don’t believe me? Need a real world example? Try Google searching on the phrase “digital eminence” and you’ll find that my content is not only one of the top 3 results, but two of the highlighted images are also from my own posts. Results which have come directly from adding value when sharing these posts from myself or by others.

If you want those same kind of results (or better) for yourself start adding your own commentary and context to the content you share. Soon, you’ll find your own name popping up in search results like this too! It really is the single easiest and best way to build your own digital eminence around the topics which interest you… you’ll thank me when a hiring manager does some quick searches and hires you into that new role because YOU show up in the results.