Where is the line on professionalism?

Posted in Self Improvement, Social Media by diptoe on December 17, 2010

Where do you draw the line between your professional identity and your personal one?

Recently, a leader of a worldwide social media organization took his personal Facebook profile private, saying that he wanted to reserve that space for people he actually knew in real life. He then started a fan page on Facebook for friends he has yet to meet personally. His only other option was to manage complicated friend lists. Meanwhile, another worldwide leader in the social media field continues to add friends to his personal Facebook account.

On Twitter, one respected professional tweets only professional content – no personal tweets are posted beyond the occasional follower interaction. Yet another respected professional tweets out their rants, ravings, LOLs, location, and what they had for breakfast along with relevant and valuable content.

Which method is better? Should a person maintain a professional identity or should you be free to be yourself online? Does who you work for affect that decision? Do you have separate professional and personal identities or are they one and the same for you?


HOW TO: Change your Facebook Places privacy settings

Posted in Social Media by diptoe on August 19, 2010

Facebook just announced Facebook Places, which lets you ‘check in’ to places you go to (basically, it helps you tell people where you’re at). There are a few privacy concerns:

  • By default, your check-ins will show up on your profile, friend’s news feeds and the activity stream for the location;
  • Your check-ins are visible to your friends and anyone else nearby; and
  • Your friends can check you in to a location without your permission or approval.

You can controll all of this by changing your Facebook Privacy Settings. Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Go to your Privacy Settings page (it’s under the Account tab on your Facebook page).

How to change your Facebook Places privacy settings

How to change your Facebook Places privacy settings: Step One

Step 2: Select “Customize Settings” (note the highlighted default setting on this page).

How to change your Facebook Places privacy settings

How to change your Facebook Places privacy settings: Step Two

Step 3: Change these three settings:

How to change your Facebook Places privacy settings

How to change your Facebook Places privacy settings: Step Three

“Places I check in” controls who can see your check-ins; “People Here Now” controls whether or not you are visible to friends and people that are checked in nearby; and the last option lets you control whether or not friends can check you in to places without your permission.

Step Four: For ultimate privacy, choose these settings:

How to change your Facebook Places privacy settings

How to change your Facebook Places privacy settings: Step Four

Step Five: Return to your Privacy Settings page to double-check your new settings:

How to change your Facebook Places privacy settings

How to change your Facebook Places privacy settings: Step Five

And that’s it! For more info on Facebook Places or using Facebook places, check out Mashable’s A Field Guide to Using Facebook Places article. I for one cannot wait to start using Places. What about you? Will you be using Facebook Places?

UPDATE: There is another control setting under “Applications and Websites.” Go to Account > Privacy Settings. Under “Applications and Websites” on the bottom left of the Privacy Settings page, select “Edit your settings.”

Once there, select the “Edit Settings” button next to “Info accessible through your friends.” There is a checkbox on the bottom right that says “Places I check in to.” You may opt in or out.

Also, Lifehacker posted a really cool video on disabling Places here, and Mashable has a good article here.

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Get Foursquare, Get Money (maybe)

Posted in Social Media by diptoe on July 2, 2010

Is your business on Foursquare? Because if it’s not it should be. Chances are it already is, but you just don’t know it yet. So what is Foursquare and why should you care?

1. What it is

Foursquare is a mobile application that let’s its users “check-in” to places they go to every day. Foursquare’s official description calls it a “…cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide, and a game…” Users can win points, badges, and mayorships for checking in to places they visit.

2. Why it should matter to you

Because you can potentially (1) get more customers and (2) make more money. This is somewhat dependent on the type of business you own. Here’s my experience.

I started using Foursquare 38 days ago. I wanted to track my experience with the game and see firsthand what the possible value could be. Results?

Over the past 38 days I’ve checked in 247 times, which means I now check in or visit about 6.5 places per day. I’ve visited 58 different venues, 46 of which were new. Before this, I didn’t get out much. I usually did maybe three places a day max: Home, work, groceries 1x/wk., gas 2x/wk. and church 1x/wk.

Also during the past 38 days I’ve spent $63.79 at ten different venues as a direct result of Foursquare. That’s almost $6.38 per venue (or $1.68 per day) of my income earned with my own blood, sweat, and tears (and I don’t like parting with it easily), that someone else now has. And $50.13 of that was spent in the past 14 days (I’ve really started to get into this).

That is $63.79 I would not have spent otherwise, and it does not include indirect costs – gas for driving from place to place, time for going out of my way to get a special check-in, or money that I probably would have spent anyway. And I’ve influenced or indirectly influenced 6 other people to start playing the game too. And now they’re going places they wouldn’t have gone, and spending money they wouldn’t have spent.

Point: Foursquare is addictive, it gets people going to new places, and it gets them spending money they wouldn’t have spent otherwise.

3. So how do you benefit?

You want more money? Give people a reason to check in to your business.

For example, offer the mayor a free “something.” The mayor is the person that checks into your business the most days out of the last 60. You could have a dozen people fighting it out to become mayor. The more days they check in, the more likely they’ll spend money. And all it cost you was a free drink/sandwich/whatever.

Or, offer your customers a discount or special if they check in on Foursquare. This option is great for new or first-time visitors. They probably aren’t sold enough on your business yet to spend the next 60 days trying to become mayor. So give them a reason to visit you in the meantime.

4. How to get started

Go to http://foursquare.com/businesses/ to claim your venue. Their system is great because your special offer will get broadcast to anyone that checks in within a certain distance of your location. Users get a check-in message like, “Welcome to Burger King! Since you’re so close to Wendy’s, Foursquare would like to let you know that Wendy’s is offering a free Frosty today!” Would YOU stay at Burger King after getting a message like that?

As a warning, Foursquare does not accept all businesses. You can get around this by becoming a Foursquare user and adding tips. For more info on how you can get started use the sources listed below.

5. More info

By the way, I’d love it if you would share your Foursquare experiences in the comments. Share what you like about it, hate about it, if you’ve used it for your business, etc.

DISCLAIMER: Individual results may vary. I am not affiliated with Foursquare or any of the organizations or persons linked above. I just really like Foursquare. And I want more of you to start giving me free stuff when I come visit you.

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Facebook To Unveil New Privacy Settings

Posted in Social Media by diptoe on May 26, 2010

Tomorrow, Facebook will unveil new, simplified privacy settings. Great. I’m looking forward to it, especially if they deliver as promised. On the other hand, I am not looking forward to having to relearn the system, or the possibility of having to of go through and reconfigure all of my current settings. I guess that’s the price of privacy in an ever-public world. Even our own office machines are against us.

How do you manage your online privacy? Does privacy matter? Let me know.

14 minutes.

Update: This post was originally titled, “Five-Minute Blog Challenge, Post Seven.”

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Wanted: Social Media Management Tool

Posted in Social Media by diptoe on May 24, 2010

Here we go ladies and gentlemen, a question for you! I manage ever-increasing numbers of social media outlets, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, e-mail addresses, etc. I need something to manage, keep track of, and update all of those. Google is great for research, but I’d like some  personal end-user feedback.

Can you recommend any apps/programs/what have you that I could use? Let me know in the comments.

4 minutes. Sweet!

Update: This post was originally titled, “Five-Minute Blog Challenge, Post Five.”

Five Must-Read Social Media Articles

Posted in Social Media by diptoe on May 22, 2010

Five must-read social media articles (if you haven’t read them already):

  1. The Future of the Social Web: In Five Eras – Jeremiah Owyang
  2. The Social Media Marketing List: 45 things you should be doing but probably aren’t – Ian Lurie
  3. My Blogging Methodology – Boiled Way Down – Chris Brogan
  4. Top 10 Vlogging Tricks to Make Your Video Stand Out & Look Fabulous! – Jendi
  5. 30 Dangerous Personal Branding HabitsDan Schawbel

Have you read any of these before? What did you think? Are there any articles I should include in a future list? Let me know.

Ok, back up to 22 minutes, including Twitter breaks.

Update: This post was originally titled, “Five-Minute Blog Challenge, Post Four.”

Admitting To Failure

Posted in Social Media by diptoe on May 21, 2010

“Sometimes I fail big time at responding to emails in a timely fashion because I get what feels like millions a day. So if you don’t hear from me… pester me! I promise I won’t mind.”

This was attached as a postscript to an e-mail from the marketing director of a prominent local organization. The statement impressed me. Here’s why:

  1. It felt honest.
  2. It admits to big time failure on an issue.
  3. It offers a solution.

A good lesson for anyone participating in social media. Have you ever been impressed by an honest interaction? Let me know in the comments.

Ok, 11 minutes, with interruptions for Twitter and a phone call. I’m getting better at this (FMBC)! Quote reprinted with permission.

Update: This post was originally titled, “Five-Minute Blog Challenge, Post Three.”

Getting Started In Social Media: Claim Your Name

Posted in Social Media by diptoe on May 21, 2010

Step Two: Claim your name.

Ever gone to sign up for a new service or e-mail address and found out your name was already taken? Yeah, it sucks. You do not want that happening every time you sign up for another social media account. Here’s a few ways you can prevent that.

1. Do your research.

Before you choose a name, use Google or a service like KnowEm.com to find out if it’s already taken. KnowEm is great because it checks over 350 social media sites for you. Definitely check to see if the name you want is a website already.

2. Get an email address with your username.

This might have been helpful for the previous post. Hit Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, and any other top e-mail services you might want.

3. Get your username and profile on the top social media sites.

You can use a service like KnowEm.com to do this, or you can do it on your own. You’ll at least want Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, and at minimum one blogging service.

4. Create a Facebook page and get a username.

Your page will need at least 25 fans in order to get a username. When I did it, I made the page and PM’d about 40 of my closest friends. I explained that I was experimenting with social media, and asked if they would help by liking my page. 36 of them did. I got my username. Notice that I didn’t spam my entire Friends list. That was unnecessary, and I didn’t want someone finding out what I was doing and getting my username before I did.

5. Purchase domain names.

And I do mean “names.” Get the .com, .net, .org, etc., of your name and any equivalents that you think you might want someday. It doesn’t cost much, and it’s much better than someone capturing your name and trying to sell it back to you (it happened to me). Be careful here – use a reputable registrar like GoDaddy or Register.com. The last thing you want is a shady, fly-by-night registrar purchasing your name the minute you search for it on their website.

Ok, that was 20 minutes. Better than yesterday. Have you ever had your name stolen from you? Let me know in the comments below.

Update: This post was originally titled, “The Five-Minute Blog Challenge (FMBC), Post Two.”

Getting Started In Social Media: Create A New Email Address

Posted in Social Media by diptoe on May 20, 2010

Ok, about one hour left to meet today’s Five Minute Blog Challenge! Today’s topic: getting started in social media. So, you’ve done your research, and you’re ready to get your hands dirty. Where to start? Opinions differ, but here’s what I did.

Step One: Create a new e-mail address.

This is straight out of Lee Aase’s 12-Step Social Media Program. I originally skipped this step, regretted it later, and had to go back and do it over. Lesson learned: listen to the Chancellor. You can get an e-mail address for free from Hotmail, Gmail, or Yahoo. You will use this to create profiles and accounts.


1. If you’re doing this on a personal basis…

…see Lee Aase’s 12-step program, step 7. Basically it’s not a good idea to use your work e-mail for personal endeavors.

2. If you’re doing this for your business…

…then definitely create a dedicated address. Employees don’t stay in the same position very long these days, and it’s easier to maintain control over one e-mail address. The last thing you want to happen is your employee using their personal address and Facebook account to create your Facebook page. As of this writing, whoever creates the Facebook page can never be removed as admin. Ever.

3. Filtering your updates and notifications is easier.

My personal e-mail address is already cluttered with notifications. A dedicated social media address puts all of those notifications in one place. If you don’t like having a separate address to check, use mail forwarding and filters to sort your inbox into categories. Having one address to filter is way easier than applying a filter to every new social media account you get.

4. You can give it out with less fear of people hounding you at your personal address.

This is less effective if you forward all your mail. But you can still use filters to ignore it until you’re good and ready to read it.

It’s been 45 minutes since I started writing this. I’m at least 3x past my goal of a 15-minute max. Oh well. I’ll do better tomorrow. At this rate I’ll be lucky to run a plagiarism and fact check and then post this before my time’s up. Comment below if there’s anything I should add to this that I missed.

Update: This post was originally titled, “Five-Minute Blog Challenge, Post One.”

The Five-Minute Blog Challenge

Posted in Social Media by diptoe on May 18, 2010

One of the the main problems with running a blog is coming up with content. At least for me. My reasons for not posting include not having anything valuable to say, I’m just adding to the noise, I don’t like writing, it takes too long, I don’t have time, what if my writing makes me look like an idiot, etc. Excuses, all of them.

Then I ran across this post by Ian Lurie. He writes, “…writing uses a part of your brain that’s like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the easier it gets.” The post includes several exercises to help, and inspired a possible solution: the Five-Minute Blog Challenge. The details:

  1. I will write and post at least one update per day.
  2. I will spend only five minutes writing that post (or no longer than 15 minutes).
  3. And I will attempt to do this for one week.

Wish me luck. The weekends might be a tough. Care to join me in the Five-Minute Blog Challenge? Post a comment below if this post inspired you to try it out.