digital communications and privacy

The Culture of Social Media without the Platforms; Mind = Blown

By Communications, Public Relations, Social Media

It’s a very busy time for my business and yesterday included a marathon of meetings right in a row (six!). Right in the middle, we met with a prospective client.

Now, Jaggers Communications offers the full suite of communications services from public relations to brand positioning to social media strategy, but often client conversations begin with learning about social media (it is a specialty of our firm). One of the people we met with shared his complete lack of use and knowledge of social media. He’s not engaged in any way online and hasn’t had an interest in doing so personally, even though he understands it’s important for his business to begin to seriously look at digital communications and how they should be used.

Then, he went on about his business philosophy, about how he prefers to serve clients, to interact with partners, to collaborate and nurture a culture of transparency within his organization.

And then my brain exploded.

Everything he said is exactly the culture that social media has established and worked to grow. It’s precisely where bloggers hoped business would evolve when it became impossible to hide behind a curtain of complacency. But it wasn’t the culture online that drove this man’s business values; it’s how his company has done business since the 1970s, long before blogs, Facebook and Twitter.

It was so refreshing, and so very exciting for me to meet with someone who “got it” before the technical aspects were even brought into the discussion. In fact, the words we use to talk about the tactics of social media are almost irrelevant. They’re tools to get us to the goals we make. The framework and quality are there; the genuine stories and rich culture exist; we have the honor of helping the business share them online.

Sometimes my work makes me giddy.

Today Show Fuels Fears with Facebook Story

By Social Media

Generally speaking, I like the Today Show. I grew up with morning news programs and when I get a chance to watch them, I enjoy getting a news update with a sprinkling of magazine-style programming.

I was, however, deeply disappointed in the Today Show for the following piece about Facebook safety. Watch the clip below.

What this story does is fuel fear. It’s intentionally alarming people with a report of a perceived safety risk that is just not valid.

In the story, the victim was robbed by a neighbor who, the report alleges, knew she was leaving because of her Facebook status, and the fact that she was friends with her creepy neighbor on Facebook.

Now, I don’t know about you, but my neighbors know when I’m leaving because they see me put a suitcase in my car and drive away. We’re neighbors for goodness sakes. That being said, it was likely a neighbor who stole my kayak earlier this year. That theft itself had nothing to do with social media and everything to do with me having a thief for a neighbor.

The alarm over Facebook places, FourSquare and other status updates letting people know you’re not at your house is really overblown. It is, I’m told, the same kind of concern people had back when the answering machine was invented. People were fearful that if their answering machine said they were out and to please leave a message, they would be a target for thieves.

We’re all targets for thieves!

Let’s face it, if someone wants to commit a crime and they’ve picked you as their victim, short of locking yourself up at home, being paranoid and guarded with every single interaction, you’re likely going to get hit. Is this how you want to live your life? Nope. Neither do I.

Now, since the woman in the Today Show piece had her creepy neighbor as a friend and was posting her travel plans on Facebook, one thing she could have done is be more mindful about who she friends on Facebook, and what level of information those friends get to see. See my post about lists and how to create them in five easy steps. If she had a list called People I Don’t Really Know or Trust then she could have added creepy neighbor to that list and elected not to share her travel plans with people on that list. It’s not a bad idea, but truly, not worth getting all freaked out over.

What do you think? Was the Today Show playing on people’s fears over engaging online?

How to Create Lists, Save Some Privacy in Facebook, in Five Easy Steps

By Social Media

I just finished speaking to a group of nonprofit leaders at a workshop. There was a point in the discussion when one of the participants became very hung up in how one makes lists and decides who sees what in your Facebook profile. I’m endeavoring to address that here, in five easy steps.

1. Log on to Facebook and look for the word “Account” in the upper lefthand corner.


2. Click on Account and choose Edit Friends from the drop down menu to get to the following screen:


Just LOOK at all those lovely Jennifers!

4. Now that I’ve created my list of Jennifers, I can decide if each Jennifer should belong to other lists as well, for example, this Jennifer is also a friend and someone who is part of my network in St. Louis, so she should belong to both of these lists as well.


See? Privacy in Five Steps. Easy.

At Work? Watch What you Tweet

By Uncategorized

A groundbreaking ruling will be handed down by the Supreme Court this summer, when a decision will be made regarding the privacy of text messages (and other, similar content such as Tweets) created on company-owned devices.

I’d be surprised if the final decision on this is anything other than the rule that’s existed with e-mail — that if it’s on a company computer, it’s not private and your company has the right to access the information. Even though we all “know” this by now, or should, it takes cases like these to remind us there is never any real anonymity or privacy in Web-based communication — and if you’re using a company-owned smart phone or computer to conduct illicit communications, well, you are doing so at your own peril.

It will be interesting to see how the official ruling turns out.