Social Times

Buzz and Brilliance: Week ending November 5

In general, the news this week was pretty lackluster - nothing really huge going on, but that doesn't mean there wasn't lots going on anyway, unless you're Google.

The more I see complaints about privacy (especially in regard to Facebook), the more frustrated I become. Look for more on that in the coming week. But, this post from Kelly Clay at Lockergnome really hits the nail on the head when it comes to all the people I see threatening to leave Facebook. Really? Will you? Because it's where your friends are, so are these serious threats or simply expressions of frustration? That said, will those who stay fill in their timeline now that they can back date posts? I'm still very much up in the air about doing this. Partially because of time (I don't have any). Partially because of privacy (I'd like to keep it).

In the ever-popular commentary on the war between Facebook and Google+, a new angle was introduced this week when Google integrated G+ with Google Apps - the enterprise angle. Mashable guest poster, Balakrishna Narasimhan, believes that could be the key to victory and the commentary is interesting, but I say that's just another huge difference that sets Google+ apart and makes it complementary to Facebook. Of course, guest poster, Aidan Hijleh, on All Facebook would probably disagree with me - they think Facebook is going to win. When I read commentary like this from Social Times, I'm convinced that the market that Google is targeting isn't your mom, dad and high school classmates. I've always looked at Google+ as a cross between Facebook and LinkedIn anyway...sort of.

Other Google news includes a facelift for Google Reader and integration into G+ as well. There's been backlash at the changes, but nothing that I think will convince Google to roll back the clock. Other than missing the count of posts I've starred, I have no issues with the update. Gmail is the other big Google product to get an overhaul this week. I'm not a fan of the Gmail interface - I use Outlook as my email client (even for web-based accounts), but they have made some nice changes. With all the integration, including YouTube, that Google+ is giving its users, Google is becoming quite a powerhouse of information and content.

Here's a few other briefs for you:

Why Comments Help You: Bloggers love comments (hint, hint). But have you ever seen the benefits for yourself? Trust me, there are benefits.

Protecting Your Home: We've all seen cringe-worthy posts where someone says too much about something. Here's how to avoid sharing too much about where you live.

Tumblr Spam: Tumblr has admitted to having a spam problem and they're working to resolve it. I have an account, but I haven't actually seen any spam. Unless you count this. (Oh, Klout, you have problems!)

Twitter Ettiquette: I really wanted to share this link with a new follower this week who immediately wrote a sales pitch to me when I followed back. The person did engage with me a bit after, so I held off. I did notice that someone else gave them some advice. Appropriately so since the pitch they were sending to everyone (apparently) didn't apply to that individual. And it made me want to share Susan's tips once again.

Facebook Privacy and Access: In another fun privacy story about Facebook, researchers found it was quite easy to friend users through their mutual friends - from fake accounts.  I'd say this is a great reason to be selective about who you're connecting with.

For all the complaints people have about privacy on Facebook, there are actually some pretty sophisticated features in place to help people protect themselves. Unfortunately, they aren't commonly known.

Social Media in the Workplace: What's your preference: Access to Facebook at work or a higher salary? The answer might surprise you.

Crowdsourcing Life: There is so much good going on in social media. It's overwhelming sometimes - especially when I hear about life and death situations where people are spurred to act and raise awareness.

MySpace getting its SexyBack: Well, at least Justin Timberlake is going to try. This is one story that barely got any play this week. It's the reason I dislike seeing "<insert social network/tool> is dead" whenever I see it. Until you're down to a handful of users, it's not dead. MySpace is bleeding users, but Justin Timberlake has proven himself to be a smarter than average businessman. I'm extremely curious to see what happens with this.


The Business Book Club's first reading assignment was set this week. I started reading yesterday and I can tell this book is going to challenge me in numerous ways. Will you join us?

The conversation will happen - whether you're part of it or not

I'm a big fan of Florida State Football. I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida and, as the saying goes, I bleed garnet and gold. I must admit that it's harder to follow them now that I live so far away, but the one place I never expected to see news about my favorite sports team was in my RSS feed that is full of social media, marketing, public relations and personal blog content. What I'm not a huge fan of is the team's recent decision to ban social media use.

According to the story by Social Times, this decision was made based on influence from Coach Jimbo Fisher:
“I don’t think it’s smart,” Fisher told The Ledger. “There’s no benefit. Tell me a benefit for getting on it? Because the only thing that comes back is negative. They read all the stuff that people say. I’ve told them, ‘Be careful. Don’t listen to it and don’t reply back.’”

In a few sentences, Coach Fisher has demonstrated to the world that he knows very little about social media. To me, this is a lost opportunity. The players don't have to be involved in social media, but if the already were, why not bring someone in to help them deal with criticism? Develop a solid social media policy and strategy that covers when to engage and when to walk away.

Whenever I'm talking to public figures and business people about whether or not there is value in using social media, I usually tell them that the conversation is going on - with or without them. If any entity or individual chooses to stay out of social media, the conversation will stay one-sided.

Every single mention in social media - negative or positive - that goes unseen and unaddressed (even if it is only to make note of the comment) is a lost opportunity. It isn't necessary to respond to criticism that's destructive, but constructive criticism and engaging an audience that is struggling to have faith in your ability to deliver is a great opportunity to affect the tide of public opinion. Florida State's football program is no stranger to harsh criticism from fans and media alike. To ban social media tools over critical sentiment is throwing the baby out with the bath water and sends an unfortunate message to fans that the team isn't interested in building up a positive community around their efforts to return to the glory days of winning seasons.

In my opinion, fear is one of the greatest hurdles to getting buy-in for the use of social media in organizations. Do you agree? What would you say to someone who fears the negative side of using social media?