June 17, 2013

Learn to lower your social media inhibitions


Gain support by letting people know the real you

This is the first of a two-part series.
Chris AbrahamHow much transparency have you shown today?

I bet you’re wondering why I am constantly begging you to stop being a nice guy, daydreamer, or introvert when it comes to being online and to put yourself out there. Well, it’s because I am trying to help you break down your inhibitions. I want you to be more willing to treat your social media followers the way they deserve: at the very least like allies, fans, and acquaintances; and, hopefully, like the friends they are or will become.

I know my methods are unconventional, but you really need a push. A chum of mine who will go unnamed picks at me on Facebook because I am getting to him.  He’s conflicted! He is fighting me, however, he doth protest too much. He really wants to enjoy a fair world: a world where someone who is as completely over-the-top talented at what he does should rightfully attract the sort of social and financial rewards that he fully and rightfully deserves.

Why be so shameless? Why expose yourself? I mean, celebrities and stars and whatnot don’t need to do that, do they? Right? Wrong. Everyone reveals themselves painfully one way or another, be it in a role in a movie, lyrics delivered with passion in a pop ballad, opening a vein in the pages of a novel; and, what’s more, all of these adored people who are “easily” and “naturally” followed, aren’t. Continue reading

June 11, 2012

Facebook’s biggest barrier to enormous wealth? Trust

Image by RedKoala on BigStockPhoto


Why Facebook will find it hard to monetize the social graph

This is first of a three-part series on Facebook as an investment. Coming up:
Facebook will remain king, but social pure plays will fade
Brands: How to cut your exposure to Facebook business risk

Christopher RollysonIf Facebook’s stock price were based on the number of blog posts about its IPO, the company would be in great shape, but too few posts have addressed Facebook’s real barrier to monetizing its business, so we will rectify that here. 

Although Facebook is a fantastic social venue and platform, I did not buy into Facebook and do not plan to invest in its stock. (The stock price is down 30 percent from its debut on May 18.) Facebook‘s Achilles heel is a significant trust gap with its users, and now, its investors. Its trust gap will make it difficult for Facebook management to fully monetize its most unique asset, its users’ social graph data. Moreover, the management team has not shown the insight or willingness to address this barrier.

Why lack of trust is Facebook’s Achilles heel

That Facebook has a spotty trust profile with users is an understatement. Its management has a history of being cavalier with users’ data. Although many have argued this point, I’ve observed that Facebook’s policies have been mostly legal, but trust is independent of legality. Facebook’s management has gotten better about “considering” users during the past year or so, but such consideration has felt compliant and not entirely voluntary.

This matters. Although I have no inside information about Facebook’s technology or strategy, my knowledge of user social data and its value in developing relationships leads me to deduce that Facebook’s gold mine is its unique knowledge of users’ social graphs. Just play around with Facebook ads. Only Facebook knows what California physics undergrads prefer in music, movies and running shoes. Who their friends and hobbies are, and when they post their running updates. And what moms with 3.2 kids who went to Berkeley think about whales or global warming or Republican budget proposals.

When users discover how Facebook intends to use their personal information, they will see red. This is Facebook’s biggest risk.

The problem is, although I’m sure Facebook has employed some of the best attorneys for a long time, and user agreements give Facebook the “right” to use social data however they want, we have all witnessed that users themselves revolt when they perceive that they have been duped. And when they discover how Facebook intends to use their personal information (that they have willingly, if ignorantly, surrendered, by the way), they will undoubtedly see red. This is Facebook’s biggest risk. It’s not a legal issue, it’s a trust and relationship issue. Continue reading

August 25, 2011

Reimagining journalism in the age of social media


9 ideas for taking journalism to a new place

JD LasicaSocial media is far more than social marketing, which is why Socialmedia.biz returns regularly to the subject of how social is reshaping the worlds of media and journalism.

I arrived in Santiago, Chile, on Tuesday to take part in a three-day event: first, a gathering of 150 journalism students from major universities in Chile on Tuesday. And today I’m giving the closing talk at a gathering of news executives, editors, reporters and academics from major publications and universities in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Venezuela, the United States and elsewhere, organized by Grupo de Diarios América — the world’s biggest online Spanish network with some 50 publications and sites with a reach over 50 million users per month — and held at the headquarters of El Mercurio, Chile’s best newspaper.

My colleague Chris Abraham asked me a few months ago to offer my thoughts on where journalism is heading — or ought to be heading — for the benefit of both those entering the profession and those trying to figure out how to navigate these choppy waters. So this seemed like a good way to do that.

Plus, I finally made it down to South America!

The presentation, embedded above and available for download or embedding on SlideShare, offers some ideas about how journalism might be reimagined in an age when more people are embracing the precepts of social media.

Questioning nine fundamental assumptions

I found that the two-day symposium had far too few opportunities for interaction (thankfully, the organizers thoughtfully provided translations for talks in Spanish that were broadcast into a Listen Display Receiver, a nifty mobile device and earpiece), and so I framed the presentation more as a series of questions rather than answers.

Many of the suggestions below — and for the now widely accepted idea that journalism should be thought of as a process, not a finished product — have been discussed by thought leaders in the space for years. It’s time to distill some of these ideas and reexamine them through the lens of journalism in South America. Here, then, are nine assumptions by journalists and media organizations, and suggestions on how those assumptions might be reconsidered or reimagined.

1Objectivity is our sacred goal. Yet, users are increasingly turning to transparency as the new yardstick of a news organization’s credibility. Is transparency the new objectivity?

2Content is all that matters. While people come for the content, they stay for the conversation. Shouldn’t journalists spend more time engaging with users and participating in conversations? Continue reading

February 16, 2010

Ethical guidelines for talking with your customers


2 essential tools: Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit & Social Media Policies roundup

JD LasicaToday’s BlogWell event in San Diego offers a good time to post a summary of resources available for businesses and organizations beginning to dabble in social media. This is not the Wild, Wild West where anything goes. By now certain certain customs, ethical standards and unspoken social interactions are widely expected on the social Web.

First, a word about BlogWell: How Big Brands Use Social Media. reps from the U.S. Navy, Starbucks, Clorox, USAA, TurboTax and State Farm are talking openly about how they’re using social media in their companies or organizations. There’s a live blog of the event’s proceedings.

One reason BlogWell rises above some of the other social marketing events popping up everywhere is its association with the Social Media Business Council (formerly the Blog Council, a association of major brands that use social media. See a list of member companies — I just signed up for their newsletter. And socialmedia.org — someone shelled out a few dollars to buy that domain.

“Almost every social media scandal involving brands boils down to a lack of disclosure.”
— Andy Sernovitz

When I attended the first of two BlogWells, organizer Andy Sernovitz made a point of putting ethics and disclosure front and center. “The number one issue around ethics comes down to disclosure — being honest about your true identity,” he said.

Disclosure is essential, easy but requires education, Sernowitz said. “You don’t tack on a disclosure statement later, you start with that. You start with ethics and that’s how you lead.” It’s not only the right thing to do, but “it’s essential as a way to stay out of trouble. Almost every social media scandal involving brands boils down to a lack of disclosure. The blogosphere expects to know your motivations.”

The “10 magic words” for employees venturing onto the social Web, he said, are these: “I work for X, and this is my personal opinion.” That disclaimer goes a long way in helping to separate official company policy from an employee’s personal views.

Here’s my Disclosure and conflict of interest statement, which I posted in early 2008 and have updated repeatedly since then.

Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit

The Social Media Business Council has created a Disclosure Best Practices Toolkit — a handy and essential resource for any company involved in social media. This is not an imperious one-size-fits-all list of must-dos — “we’re not a standards body or trade association,” as Sernovitz says. Instead, it’s an open source toolkit to help you build your social media policy.

“Adapt it to your company, teach your team, improve ad share,” he adds. It could be a full-blown policy that comes out of corporate communications, it might be part of your company’s employee handbook, or it could be a set of informal guidelines for your department or team.

Download the 10-page tookit as a Word docx. Details:

This is an Open Source Document

  • This is a living document that will continually change.
  • This document will continue to evolve with community feedback and participation.
  • Share and change this document as much as you like. It is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License and attribute it to the Social Media Business Council and link to http://www.socialmedia.org/disclosure.

The next BlogWell gatherings are in Cincinnati on April 7 and Seattle on May 5.

Socialmedia.biz has put together a resource guide to Social Media Policies created by corporations, media organizations, nonprofits and other groups. The policies of Intel, HP, IBM, Wells Fargo, the Washington Post and Bread for the World are among those included. Here are some of our posts on ethics and best practices in the online arena: Continue reading

November 16, 2009

An era of total transparency

Image by

With the new platforms of openness, all you need is social love

Ayelet NoffThese days we’re living a historian’s wet dream. We are consistently recording history through all our social tools. Our actions, feelings, thoughts, our everything, constantly being recorded. From where we are eating to what we are annoyed about to what it is that makes us tick. Not only are we recording the “big” things but we are recording everything. It’s history without hiccups.

Ben Parr wrote an excellent post on Mashable on the topic. Parr: ” For the first time in human history, the day-to-day interactions between people are being permanently recorded and formatted in easily organizable segments of information.”

Millions of us are publicly recording our daily activities on our Twitter feeds for the world to know for the rest of time. All details are recorded from who we were with and what we were doing to when and where. Historians in the future will not need to guess any details. They’ll have all the information right in front of them.They’ll actually probably know more than they care to know. With pictures on Flickr and videos on YouTube and text on Twitter and links on Facebook and, to top it all off, personal blogs, historians will have much the info they need about our interactions with one another. Continue reading