It’s only been a day since Facebook announced sweeping changes to their platform at their F8 conference, but already the implications are being seen around the web. Check out what Levi’s is doing on their site…very cool stuff. Essentially, they are personalizing each web page you visit based upon your Facebook friends and their preferences. As I’ve pondered and discussed what this means to marketing, to brand and to consumers, one question comes up again and again…what if I don’t want to participate?
It’s a fair question. As it stands right now, if you do connect to a web site that is using the new Facebook Open Graph Protocol you are sharing a lot of information by default, including your activities & interests, your birthday, photos you’ve been tagged in, even your family and relationship status!
I’ve been thinking about the ever-increasing blurry line between public and private lives now that social media is mainstream. I’ve personally been opening myself up to the world for about a decade; I started blogging by developing my own (very basic) blogging platform before the term “blog” was popular…and I haven’t looked back since then.
There have been a couple of times that I was alarmed by what people are capable of thinking or doing. A few years ago I started getting anonymous comments on various videos of my children, asking me to pose them in certain ways or have them do certain things. Naturally I deleted all traces of the videos online (yes it is possible) and became very aware of what I was posting after that. Although I was always careful to never name them or reveal the location of my children even before this incident, I became very protective after that and have been quite conscious of what I would and would not publish. Over the years I have become more widely known because of my marketing and social media work, and although I’m certainly a small fish in a big pond, I do have a lot of connections with people that I’ve never met face to face.
Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my social media life. I’ve turned so many of my digital-first relationships into real-life relationships, and I love social media and the way it connects the world. But, and there is always a but…
Those of you that have been following my adventures for a while know that I put my heart, soul and mind into social media. Since writing my own blogging platform a decade ago (the billion dollar idea that I never capitalized on…) to my almost-obsessive fascination with brand interaction on channels like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, I am constantly observing and strategizing ways to make the interaction and engagement between companies and customers better through social media. I have spent quite a bit of time over the last couple of years consulting businesses of all types and sizes regarding their engagement (or lack thereof) within these online communities. From Fortune 100 companies that distribute hardware all around the world to non-profit agencies that are doing their best to make a difference in the world, I have worked with groups to lend insight, support, ideas and action to social media programs. Given all of that, I’m quite pleased to announce that I have taken a new role within the industry.
Another day, another phishing or malware scam on Twitter. It seems like these are happening entirely too often, and the reason is that people continue to ignore common sense. Very, very rarely will a site hijack an account of some type without getting input from the account holder. The scam du jour is a Twitter hijack attempt that asks for a username and password, and once received will not only DM your followers with a message, but will also post it publicly on your account. The message will appear as one of the following, or a close variant:
- hah, i think i seen u on here http://videos.dskjkiuw.com/
- this you? http://videos.dskjkiuw.com/
- lol this vid is funny. http://videos.dskjkiuw.com/
- haha check out this vid http://videos.dskjkiuw.com/
DO NOT FOLLOW THESE LINKS AND GIVE YOUR LOGIN INFORMATION!!! This page will take your Twitter login credentials and hijack your account. As of right now it appears to only try to propagate itself by getting others to log in, but it could use your account for other reasons. If you did receive this and you did “log in”, you must CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY!!!
One of the wonderful things about social media is that it’s still a bit of the Wild West. Sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, while all covered nicely with their Terms of Service Agreements, are really very self-governing in terms of what content is produced. When I talk to thought leaders and everyday users of these spaces about rules and norms, the divide is evenly split, with half saying that there should be rules imposed, the other half saying that it’s free speech all the way. I tend to fall into the latter camp, although I do have three rules of my own that I try to follow. Why? Because I really do believe in social norms, and even though we are interacting with people in a digital sense, we are still interacting…we’re sharing the space and I want to do my part to be a good person.
If that reason isn’t compelling enough and you think I want to just sit around and hold hands with all of my digital friends, singing Kumbaya and roasting S’mores over some UGC campfire, then consider this: what you say online today will likely be searchable (and therefore discoverable) forever. You may not care about having an outburst on Twitter right now because it doesn’t affect you, but down the road you may be in another position altogether, perhaps looking for a job.
Both of these are reasons enough for me to watch what I publish, so I have adopted these three basic guidelines.
Yesterday I watched President Obama’s speech about his ideas of national health care reform. One thing he talked about that has always been interesting to me is centralized medical records. It’s not a new idea coming from him, this premise has been around for a long time, but privacy and security issues have always been a killer for this conversation. This post isn’t about politics, it’s about technology. Today, less than 24 hours after watching that speech, I came across a new Microsoft service called HealthVault.
Microsoft HealthVault (currently in beta) is working to that end: centralized medical records. I’m sure the Microsoft jokes will abound, but my personal feeling is that they have the resources and know-how to pull this off properly…so much so that I signed up for an account. I have a lot on my plate for the rest of the summer so I’m not sure that I’ll be adding records anytime soon, but I like the idea. I’ve embeded the video below that explains (with cut out cartoon characters) what HealthVault (in theory) does. Do you know what else made me smile? They’re on Twitter.