Tag Archives: social media

Social Media and Crime | Social Media Today

This was an interesting article on Social Media and cyber crime.  Social Media and Crime | Social Media Today.  The accompanying info-graphic paints a picture of how much over-sharing we do on social media and the ways it can open us up to be victims of crime.

This and other articles out there point out the need to better understand your privacy settings.  This is true.  Understanding and using the privacy tools available is a good first step.  Privacy settings, however, come and go at the whim of the social media company that created them.  In that sense they are not a good line of defense.

Aside from giving up social media all together, the best line of defense is to not put information out there you do not want public in the first place.  Once you put something out there it is there to be shared, privacy filters or no privacy filters.

Copyright Digital Design Digest 2013


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The Digital Message in a Bottle

I read a blog post by David Pogue the other day about the “other folder” on Facebook.  It is the hidden folder where messages from those not in your Friends network go.  Pogue’s follow-on blog post talked about people’s responses to what they found in that “other” folder.  Some sad news, long lost friends trying to reconnect and even job interviews.

Pogue did us all a service in pointing out this “other folder”.  It is not obvious on Facebook it’s self.  By catching messages from those not in our network it serves as a bit of a spam filter. But if Facebook does not make it obvious to us, the end user, that it is there, is this “other folder” really serving us?  Is Facebook serving us?

I digress.  Pogue’s article made it clear, at least in my mind, that Facebook and other social media is for sharing and not meant for important communication, especially that of a sensitive, urgent or personal nature.  Everything has it’s place.  Older generations do not always see the value in social media for reach in product and idea marketing, customer service or even just staying in touch with family and friends all over the globe.  The younger generation often neglect email because everyone in their immediate social circle is on social media or at least a mobile device with texting abilities. This can lead to a false assumption that social media is the main mode of communication for all.

For major business communications email is still the more secure, private and versatile tool.  Email should be:

– checked at least twice a day with the intent of responding to the urgent emails within 24 hours.
– setup with automated folders specified by the user that sort incoming mail by sender or subject matter.  This will help with scanning through incoming mail for urgent messages, both business and personal.

– used for sending important messages like job offers, college acceptance (or rejections), business proposals and any other personal communication meant for a small, private audience.

Social Media is a great tool for alerting customers to new products, receiving customer feedback, providing useful tips and information in your area of expertise and sharing inspiration.  I have seen social media be used as a virtual yearbook for classmates to reminisce about a different place and time, a debate platform for current events and a basic news feed (as originally intended) of events and thoughts of the day.  It is a different kind of communication from email.  It is a richer, more versatile form of mass communication than email.

Everything has it’s place and no one thing can be everything to everyone…no matter how well it is marketed.

Copyright 2013 Digital Design Digest

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Social Media Literacy for Parents and Kids Part 3 – Privacy

In part one and two of Social Media Literacy for Parents and Kids I talked a lot about what not to post in terms of respect of self and others, consequences and boundaries.  In this post I want to talk about privacy and safety in social media.  It’s always fun to share where you’ve been but not always safe to share where you are going with a broad public.  Lead by example and share with your kids these tips for protecting their privacy online.

Location, Location, Location.

Automatic Advertisement

Did you know there is a setting on your iPhone that allows the phone to access GPS and broadcast your location on social networks?  I was on my Facebook account one day and the map there announced the 4 locations I had been at.  I won’t lie. It creeped me out.  I made a point of getting to know the broadcast settings on my phone much better after that.  My social networks no longer have permission to broadcast to my contacts where I am and where I have been.  I reserve the right to do it manually at a time of my choosing and most certainly I reserve the right to not share my every move.   I reserve my right to privacy.  Providing such information does nothing for me and serves as nothing more than digital noise for most of my contacts.  The only purpose it serves is advertising for the places I visit.  Lead by example and be in control of what information is broadcast to your contacts.

Manual Mischief

Disabling the automatic broadcast of your location simply puts the control back in your hands as to what information you share.  It is a responsibility, because you can actually give away too much information manually than your mobile device would automatically.

If you are going out for an evening, on vacation or anywhere for an extended period of time, keep it to yourself until you get back.  Advertising where you are going and how long you will be away is opening the door to trouble.  It first lets people know that your home is unprotected and an easier target for being robbed. Second, if others know your children will be home alone during that time, either by something you posted or something your kids posted, it invites an opportunity for them to be taken advantage of in ways ranging from friends trying to orchestrate an unsupervised gathering to something more serious.

The Devil is In the Detail

The details of our comings and goings in life seem benign enough to share.  To someone with an agenda that digital noise can be mapped into a routine to gain easy access to someone or provide enough detail for someone to act the part of knowing friend.  Just because someone knows a lot about us does not mean they are trustworthy.  Social media makes it easy to “collect” people, contacts, and information and to be “collected”.  You can reveal too much of yourself very quickly and when your social media interactions meet you on the street or at the front door in real life it can be very difficult to establish boundaries of privacy that were so easily broken in the digital world.

Be My Friend

We all have different reasons for signing up for a social network.  Some are to stay connected with former classmates, others for business and others just to share different interests.  The contacts we collect in all these instances are not close friends.  They follow us for specific reasons and we want them to follow us for specific reasons.  Social media makes it easy to forget ourselves and share things with contacts when we would not dream of physically letting them into other areas of our lives. We simply do not compartmentalize people online the way we do in real life.  If we can’t do it, how do we expect kids to?

Facebook and Google have ways of allowing a person to compartmentalize contacts to some degree.  While a business or fan page on Facebook can be followed by anyone without having a request accepted, you can strictly limit your personal page to just your friends.  If you or your kids are running a public fan page on social media keep it strictly business.  No personal contact information or personal details. On their private pages they should limit their details to just an email address.  Kids under 18 have no real reason to post the school they go to and where they work. No one, of any age should make their address and phone number public on social media.

Accept friend requests judiciously. If you are using social media for business purposes you probably have a blog, fan page or Twitter account that is open to the public for just that purpose. Your followers do not need to be a part of your private page as well.  Young kids should be particularly careful who they accept friend requests from. If they do not know the person, even if the request is from another kid, don’t accept the request. Many sexual predators gain access to their victims because they pretended to be a kid themselves.  Kids should learn to question things now.  How does this person know me?  Why does this person want to connect with me?  Why would I want to connect with them? These are the same questions and rules that apply in face-to-face interactions.

Parents and kids should have direct conversations about who in their broad social spectrum is truly a close entrusted friend.  From that will hopefully come conversations about how to create boundaries with others in a social network and in life and how deal with others who try to cross those boundaries.

Copyright 2013 Digital Design Digest

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Social Media Literacy for Parents and Kids Part 2

In part one I talked about how to guide your kids to a place of respect for self and others when using social media.  Since it is so easy to acquire contacts and post everything and anything that comes to mind it is very easy to offend and do harm without realizing it.  Parents, this is as true for you as it is for your kids.  Respect for self and others starts at home. It starts with remembering what it was to be a kid and the social order of things; what was cool to share and what damned you if it ever became public.

Private vs Public Self

We all have our public selves and private selves (yup, the psychology major in me emerges).  The public self is how we want people to see us.  The private self is the unguarded public self, a more relaxed version of ourselves that can explore and revel in our various interests and idiosyncrasies that we guard in public for fear they may not be accepted in broader society.

As adults we have learned, hopefully, how to enter into a broader conversation of mixed company, both in person and online, without offending anyone.  We have also learned, hopefully, how to appropriately respond to or ignore some of the communication that comes back at us as a result of what we choose to share.  We learned the subtle differences between being offensive and being accepted and how to make amends when we offend and how to stand our ground for the right to simply be ourselves.  We did not get there over night.

It was a constant process of trial and error in allowing little pieces of our private selves out in public, testing the reaction and determining what is truly unacceptable and what others simply need to get over.  This is how we became who we are.  Truth be told, it is an ongoing process even in adulthood, but most of the process is somewhat second nature to us now and, for the most part, we can let the little failures of the great experiment roll off our back more easily then we could at thirteen.  Not everything in an OMG moment (For those not hip to the lingo, omg= Oh My God with your choice of affectation).

When sharing information about kids online we need to remember that in their own social circles they have a public and private self too.  It does not look like ours in adulthood.  The things we know are not a big deal in the grand scheme of things could very well be everything to the younger generation.  Don’t dismiss it outright.  Sharing certain things about your kids online may seem benign and safe, but at a certain age for your child, it may become a betrayal of their private self.

A Teaching Moment

Remember “The Christmas Story” scene with Ralphie in the pink bunny pj’s?  WHAT would he have done in the age of Facebook and Instagram?  In part one I warned kids that what they post could come back to haunt them in ways they don’t expect.  Parents, what you post could come back to haunt your kids in ways they probably see coming within their own youthful society.  Don’t dismiss it.  They don’t understand most of what concerns us half the time, but we teach them to respect our wishes anyway. Kids will not learn to respect others if they do not feel respected. Make them a part of the conversation and sharing process.  Take those memorable photos for your own keepsake; once upon a time that was enough.   If you are going to share images, or even details about your kids, talk to them first.  Let them pick the picture and even help write the post.  There is a little something deep inside most kids that are flattered that others’ in your world ask of them, but just like you, they have preferences in what they share with whom.

Our kids are a part of our lives.  When we talk about ourselves on social media we instinctively want to share the joys, concerns and sorrows of them just like anything else.  Social media is the digital diary that follows you forever.  What you post about your kids in your diary are the first pages in their diary.  Social media is here to stay.  Teach them respect of self and others by giving them some choice in their online presence early on.

Copyright 2013 Digital Design Digest

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Social Media – Prior Post Planning

I am not a spur of the moment person.  I take my time, think things over, have a cup of coffee and think it over again.  My process would seem contrary to the live stream, immediate gratification model of social media.  Social media thrives on the think it post it model where posting occurs while the thought is still in progress and not fully fleshed out.  I sit down most days with the intention of coming up with something witty to post on these global broadcast streams always to come up short.  The question I always ask myself is…”Why would anyone care about this?” The answer most of the time is, “They wouldn’t care.  It’s just digital noise.”

“Why would anyone care?” is a good question to ask before posting.  Just like in video production, social media has an audience, and you need to know who your audience is and what they care about in order for your posting efforts to mean something. Embedding meaning in anything requires some thought, which requires time, which results in seemingly less spontaneity.

To start, take an information inventory of items your audience could be interested in.

  • Upcoming events
  • News articles
  • Videos
  • Pictures
  • Tips

Open up a Word document and write out each item as its own paragraph.   Each paragraph could easily be it’s own Facebook post.  Pared down, most could also be posted on Twitter with an accompanying link.  As a consumer of information I find posts with links most gratifying since Twitter posts in general do not relay much info. With only 140 characters available you have to love your links.

Many of these information nuggets can be reposted in the course of the month.  Why?  Most social media is a news-feed model.  Post it and in no time it moves down the feed, out of site and is replaced by newer information.  Not everyone will see the post the first time you post it.  For timeless information or events that are further out on the calendar you can re-post.

Participating in this inventory exercise at least once a month will get you in the habit of regularly putting your marketing hat on. The exercise need only take an hour or two total to come up with your inventory sheet of posts, complete with relevant links where appropriate.

With list in hand, set a schedule for yourself of what you will post and where.  The rest is just a matter of copy and paste, rinse, repeat.

Copyright Digital Design Digest 2013

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Social Media Literacy for Parents and Kids Part 1

Hey kids (and parents too)!  Social media is here to stay, with new sites popping up every day.  It’s overwhelming to try to keep up with it all but you can’t ignore it.  Social Media is a fun and useful tool, but because it is so easy to use we take too many liberties online and throw all social etiquette out the window.  Whether you are a card carrying member of social media or not, it’s in your best interest to keep your finger on the pulse of its evolution and maintain a dialog with friends and family about responsible use.

Friends Redefined

The first social norm to be turned on its head through social media is the concept of friends.  A friend is a confidant whose trust is earned over time.  It is very true, that if you can count your real friends on one hand you are a wealthy person.  They celebrate the good times with you, stand with you during the bad and do not pass judgment on you during your lowest moments.

If you belong to Facebook all contacts are labeled “friends”.  Even if you set it up for business, contacts are friends.  It is so easy to be liked on Facebook and to connect with others on other social networks that before you know it you have 300+ friends or contacts from different areas of your life all melded into one pot.  It becomes too easy to forget yourself and post something for all to see that you would only share in certain circles.

Social media makes it very easy for users to broadcast their every thought, feeling and action of the day.   Things are no longer private once they leave the confines of your brain as a thought and pass through your lips as words or your fingers as you type a post.  Anything you broadcast out through social media is there to be seen, shared and maybe judged by audiences both intended, and potentially unintended.

Social Media is The Digital Diary That Follows You Forever

Why should you care who sees your posts?

A picture is worth a thousand words, and although it may not tell the whole story it may be just enough to cast the wrong impression of you in the eyes of someone considering your college admissions, job application or internship placement.

Don’t think you are “friends” with that teacher who gave you too much homework or work colleague you just ranted about?   You don’t have to be.  Depending on privacy settings, if you share a mutual connection they may be able to see some of your posts depending on what area of a site you post on.  Connections may be able to share your comments on their own area of the site…..and you don’t have control over who sees that.  The person you rant about today may be the person you need a recommendation from tomorrow.  Don’t take a chance with your future by burning bridges you have yet to cross. Work out your frustrations somewhere else….bowling maybe?

Let’s talk about those photos you posted from that crazy homecoming party…or any crazy photos you posted.  I am sure you thought you took those down after you thought things through.  Once introduced to the internet, content is not so easily removed.  You may think you removed photos and posts from your page but if it was copied and shared by others before it was removed it is still out there and may resurface without warning.  Even if you employ the strictest security settings allowed through a site, never under estimate technology.  All someone has to do is take a snap shot of your post from their computer screen and post it as a picture or even email it directly to someone.

Respect Is a Two Way Street

You have boundaries, whether you think so or not, and you want them to be honored in life and in social media. Just because you can post anything and everything on social media does not mean you should. Before you post, ask yourself…

Is it really my news to share?

We all are interconnected in the ways we celebrate the good and grieve over the bad, but there is an etiquette in doing so.  If it did not happen to you directly, don’t share it.  Don’t talk about other people’s plans for school, jobs, relationships or life in general, unless they are posting it themselves.  Post about only those things that pertain to you and will not break a confidence or privacy barrier of someone else.  You would not want to spoil a surprise that was not yours to tell, or worse, have someone read about bad news that they were supposed to hear in person from someone else.

Will It Hurt Someone Else?

Sadly, inflicting pain is a goal of cyber bullying.  The goal is to embarrass and humiliate the other person.  It is easy to do because often the interaction between bully and victim is indirect. The bully writes their posts when they feel like it.  Posts can run the gamut of extremely viscous to “death by a thousand paper cuts” – pun intended. I’m not trying to be cute or funny here.  Do a search on cyber bullying and you will see that, yes, death can be a serious and permanent outcome. Cyber bullying in any form blind-sides the victim when they least expect it in a very public, yet indirect way that is hard to respond to without inviting more ridicule.

You know viscous cyber bullying when you see it.  “Death by a thousand paper cuts” is a little harder to identify because it comes in the form of little insults that are meaningless on their own merit but can have a big, negative impact if they build up over time, in frequency and with the intent to cause discomfort.  This is why it is just as easy to cause embarrassment and humiliation to others without meaning too.

A lot of communication is lost in writing when tone cannot be heard and facial expressions not seen. Given it is so easy for one to acquire contacts you also do not know the strength of relationships.  You could be “liking” or commenting in a communication string that has much deeper meaning for someone than you are aware.  You can never be too sure where other people’s sensitivities lie or how something you write may be interpreted.  You won’t always know you hit a nerve until it’s too late.  It may be days until you see some of the people who saw your post.  Not everyone will tell you directly how they feel but they may distance themselves from you in certain ways. Your post + someone else’s like = not a real conversation.  Social media is not a replacement for real interpersonal interaction with others. Be careful what communication strings you join, what you post about others and even how you joke.

Am I Willing to Live with the Consequences of My Posts?

At some point you have to be you.  Every time we crack a joke or share an opinion we reveal a little something of our values.  People will either like it or they won’t and, where there may be a void of information, people may also fill in the blanks with their own assumptions.  That may not amount to anything or it could generate conflict in your personal, work and school relationships. Fair? No, but it happens and you need to be prepared to deal with other people’s feelings about what you broadcast.  In other words, be prepared for a real conversation.

Social media is a great way to share interests and ideas, stay connected with classmates and colleagues and even see other parts of the world.  Some of my favorite posts are pictures my connections post of their travels.  I share crochet tips with some of my other connections.  I have a page I use for work related updates to the community.  Social media has purpose and when used appropriately can be a very effective and fun tool.  When misused, social media can also be effective in creating some real problems for you and others.  Just because you can post it, does not mean you should post it.  Respect yourself and others and think before you post.

Copyright 2013 Digital Design Digest

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5 Ways for Your Business to Use Video

Video has a great deal of applicability to small businesses as a marketing tool.  If you can put your best foot forward in a solid video presentation you will have created a proxy that can represent you and your business to a wide audience on-demand.  Consider the following applications of video for your business.

Product Demonstrations

Consumers want information first.  Yes, a good sale will always catch a buyer’s eye, but for purchases that are of significant financial investment or time commitment, they want to know how the product works and if it is a good fit.

Product demonstrations can be effective for a variety of businesses.

–       Clothing, jewelry and other fashion related businesses can do some seasonal fashion demos illustrating how to coordinate various items into a seasonable outfit.  Video is also a great way to demonstrate the size and make of items such as bags and jewelry.  www.Zappos.com is an online retailer that makes great use of video and stills as sales tools. www.Thestyleunderground.com created great scarf tying tutorials for their product.

–       Any appliance retailer is a great candidate for demonstration videos.  Some of the labels being carried may already have their own videos that can be used on a website and marketing campaign.

–       Service oriented businesses such as yoga and fitness instruction may consider posting a two minute demonstration for each of their instructors.  What this gives the consumer is the opportunity to experience your service and determine which instructor or class is going to be the right fit.

 Training Videos

These types of videos can be created to train employees and consumers on company policies, processes and tools.  Consider all the frequently asked questions that have your employees and managers repeating themselves  from one end of the week to the next.  Putting those FAQs into a video you can direct other’s to will free up staff time to conduct other business.


Ask some of your most loyal customers if they would be willing to say a few words about your company’s customer service, how pleased they are with their purchase of your newest product or why they support your current initiative.  These are the kinds of sound bites that work well sprinkled throughout a site or used individually in a social media marketing campaign intended to drive people to your site.


Conferences, ribbon cuttings, open houses and other public events are all worthy events to consider filming.  It is a great way to acknowledge collaborative efforts with partners, inform your audience of company milestones and thank them for their support.  You may not want to put a video of an entire 4 hour event on the web, but these events will lend themselves to wonderful sound bites that are sure to grab people’s attention.

Status Updates

Meant to be short, sweet and under a minute, this type of video is a great way to announce the unveiling of a new project, merchandise, event or anything else your audience may want an update on.  Don’t just tell customers your spring line is in; shoot a brief video of the shelves being stocked.  This can be done on your smartphone.  No editing required.  It’s a more dynamic status update than simple text.

Video is a great way to reach your audience, share information with them and allow them to experience your company and product first hand.  Once you have an information rich video make sure to use all the social media tools available to make it known to your audience that this video exists.

Copyright © 2012 Digital Design Digest

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