The new Facebook Ticker box on the right is an abomination unto privacy, but it is designed to only show you items you could always see on other people’s pages. So if I wrote on Random Friend from Uni’s wall, my Random Friend from School in 1987 could still see it if my uni friend has the ‘friend of friends’ or ‘everyone’ access to the wall privacy setting in place. Or has an open profile. What the Tickerbox does though is bring it right up in my “random friend from school”‘s face without having to browse my wall or all of my friends’ walls. And so it does a great service: “Privacy? Facebook cares not”.
Last Friday I had the pleasure of what is probably my first ‘real’ media experience. I’ve done newspapers and magazines before, of course, and I’ve certainly written plenty of opinion pieces for a great variety of fora (websites, magazines, newspapers, etc), but I’ve never done live radio or live TV before. I’ve still not done live TV, but I have now done live radio with ABC local radio through Richard Stubbs in Melbourne, Bronwen Wade in the Riverland (South Australia) on Monday, and Paula Tapiolas in Townsville on Tuesday.
It’s an interesting experience – particularly the Melbourne interview, which was on Friday and was the longest session I’ve had (although, the beauty of radio seems to be that you get the luxury of discussing the issue a bit at length – and you don’t have to shave if you’re on the phone). The Melbourne interview I did from what I do believe was called a Tardis – which is an airless dark box with a microphone and a headset at the Toowong studios here in Queensland.
As a parent and I joked this morning, luckily I wasn’t there to talk about claustrophobia…
Actually, though, I was there to discuss the business impact of social media marketing, which is a topic that’s dear to my heart, particularly since I am putting the finishing touches to the Online Social Networking Guide for CPA Australia (and I might get to do that the instant I stop doing radio interviews and marking assignments).
As you would expect, the questions of all the interviews were fairly basic to anyone who has any exposure to the online world – I did particularly like the Townsville interview, probably because no matter what I do I’m still a parochial Queenslander (and Townsville was the third interview in a row, so perhaps I now know what I want to talk about). The themes were around the risks to business, although I did try to bring in the benefits of online social networking as much as I could.
Certainly, if I have a mission in these interviews it is that I am trying to get businesses to set up Google alerts, be aware of what’s going on in the social networking space, and let their staff know what is acceptable and what is not when it comes to their business’s brand.
Anyway, anyone who wants to be scarred some more can listen to my interview with Richard Stubbs online here.
Ironically I haven’t heard from ABC 612 here in Brisbane, whose studios are all of three kilometres from my house and would be better for my consulting business than, say for instance, building my LinkedIn network in Melbourne :).
Last Thursday I had the pleasure of presenting a three-hour workshop at CPA Congress in Melbourne on the ‘Business Impact of Online Social Networking’. Partly my presentation was regarding the business risk of online social networking, but also considering the positives and how online social networking can be used to make growing your enterprise.
Overall I was happy with it – as usual my opinion though doesn’t count so if you attended please feel free to email me or leave a comment either here on my blog or at the CPA Congress community. Incidentally, I have to say that having the OSN to support the conference has been a different and good idea – it allows you to get expectations sorted out a little earlier and provides a framework for an ongoing discussion outside of the three-hour workshop. Depending on your perspective that may or may not be a good thing.
Anyway, as usual you can download the ‘Business Impact of Online Social Networking’ workshop notes here.
Incidentally, the PR machine at CPA Australia has been working overtime – there’s been an interview with a journalist at Melbourne MX and apparently I am to appear on ABC radio in Melbourne with Richard Stubbs, about 2.30pm Melbourne time.
As it’s radio I probably won’t have to shave…
All good fun. Hey, if I run out of things to say about online social networking perhaps I can talk about budgeting (did a thesis in it), database querying (did a thesis in it), technology dominance (doing a phd in it) or IT governance (lecture in it)
I am a dilettente.
A couple of months ago, Jan Barned, our erstwhile policy advisor on the ITM CoE, sent around an email from Jane O’Connor, the new editor of InTheBlack, that talked of the virtues of having ’email-free’ days in the office.
Most of us on the CoE had a slightly different view, particularly since what tends to happen is that if you have an email-free day, the next day is spent picking up the pieces of all the emails you missed the previous day.
Our mostly tongue-in-cheek responses ended up in the September ITB:
In case you are wondering why there is a reference in Shauna’s and my email to a ‘Danish Rock band’.,Â This is because, taking my own advice that I’m giving at the social networking workshop in October to use Google Alerts, I’d just received an email to alert me to the fact that my daughter may perhaps have joined a Danish rockband (it’s an occupational hazard, given the surname – I’m less Danish than Jock ‘Tag the Haggis’ McTavish).Â This amused me somewhat, as she is only three and unlikely to join a rock band unless Dora the Explorer was the lead singer.
There are three types of email:Â Email that is really a ‘for your action (fya)’, email that is really a ‘for your information (fyi)’ and email that is perhaps intended to amuse (‘ZOMG TMI’).
Such an email falls into the third category of email:Â useless anecdotes intended to amuse.
I thought the article was genuinely amusing in its final form, not least because our emails came back to bite us in an unedited form :).
About this article
In about April I got a phone call asking me if I could write an article very quickly for the CFO Software guide of 2008. This guide is produced in association with CPA Australia every year, and every so often the Information Technology & Management Centre of Excellence writes an editorial piece related to the topic of the moment (usually). This time, though, because it was very short notice (I believe the phrase ’10am tomorrow?’ was used), I got to draw a fairly loose association with the topic. I wanted to write something a little different to the normal business article – although a good and serious article is excellent, it doesn’t achieve much if it is never read, in my view.
So as a result, I wrote an article on the topic of social networking, and called it ‘business socialism’ – it was subsequently retitled to ‘Social security’. In an edition where the companion articles are fairly business-focused, my article probably has, as was described in unsolicited feedback, as a ‘tone’. The Editor’s Letter for this edition notes that the theme of social software and tapping into the wisdom of crowds ‘is picked up enthusiastically by Micheal Axelsen, the chairman of the Information Technology and Management Centre of Excellence for CPA Australia, in his opinion piece’.
I’m going to take that feedback as positive feedback. I reproduce the article below as I submitted it, together with an attached scanned copy of the magazine. If you think you may be the person who has their photograph in FaceBook giving a Nazi salute, perhaps drop me a line on my email.
Oh, and thanks to Jenny for being very sporting about the fame of her cat, Stitch.
Once, â€˜friendsâ€™ were people that you met regularly. Friends went to the movies together. Friends may occasionally have had one beer too many and woke up together on a park bench. Sometimes friends were workmates. Sometimes they were actually your significant otherâ€™s friends. You and your friends drifted apart when you changed jobs (or your significant other).
Today, the world is very, very different. The circle of friends expands and grows. Friends that move away can be â€˜followedâ€™ with social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace. Because of Facebook, I know that a former colleague has just received a kitten called Stitch. A cute cat, but I have not met that colleague in eight years.
Today, people are Facebooked, MySpaced, and LinkedIn. They Flickr and Twitter and Qik. People blog and they YouTube.
Todayâ€™s workforce talks over the internet in myriad ways, at all times and at all opportunities. The line between â€˜workâ€™ and â€˜leisureâ€™ has become very blurred. Social networking sites can have a real business impact.
Social networking is positive in several ways. For example, searching on a candidateâ€™s name will provide more background than a resume ever will. A footprint on the internet will exist somewhere. Potential employers can be better informed about the candidate. The same approach can be used for prospective suppliers of products or services to the business.
Candidates or suppliers with personal photographs in the Facebook group â€˜embarrassing party photosâ€™ may not like this. However, it is not only the young that can have unsavoury photos appear online. At least one Facebook user has shown poor professional judgment by posting a photo of their employerâ€™s grey-haired managing director giving a Nazi salute. The poor fellow probably doesnâ€™t know it exists.
A scan of blogs and other online tools for qualified candidates expressing frustration about their current job may be helpful when recruiting. Head hunting to fill specialist roles can be much easier in this digital world.
On the other hand though, customers with bad experiences services will likely retell their story on the internet. Todayâ€™s mobile technologies allow this to occur before the customer has even left the store. Many prospective customers today will perform a search on the business. These customers tend to believe an anonymous internet posting in preference to any information contained in a marketing brochure.
Employeesâ€™ activities â€˜out of hoursâ€™ can also have an impact. The legal liability is at best murky when an employee stalks another employee using social networking tools. When businesses request employees to put their details on MySpace or Facebook as part of a staff recruitment drive, a legal problem may arise very quickly if an employee is stalked, attacked or has their identity stolen using this information.
Likewise, LinkedIn is a popular social networking site for professionals. This website provides a â€˜newsfeedâ€™ of the events occurring in your network of contacts. Secrets can be inadvertently given away by staff members setting their LinkedIn status to (for example): â€˜Micheal Axelsen is developing a proposal for Can-Do Technologiesâ€™. LinkedIn also allows a contact to see their contactâ€™s contacts, which can give an interesting insight into that contactâ€™s marketing activities.
Business should respond in some way. In 2008, the CPA Australia Information Technology & Management Centre of Excellence is writing a guide for business with appropriate policies to adopt for social networking. At the least, we encourage businesses to understand their â€˜internet footprintâ€™. A regular search upon the business name, the names of key products, and the senior management team is essential, with Google Alerts a good tool that can alert you to such new content.
Staff should also be aware of the risks and issues for the business and their career when posting information online. At least one Facebook user has been astonished to see photographs of her in an inebriated state. She is desperately trying to get these â€˜friends of friendsâ€™ to delete the photographs.
The social networking phenomenon is here to stay and will continue to grow. Businesses should review the impact of social networking on their business. There is a need to communicate to all staff the types of appropriate behaviour and content when living out their digital life. Businesses should monitor their â€˜internet footprintâ€™ and plan a response when the business is mentioned online. â€˜Banningâ€™ social networking is unlikely to be helpful for a company. A sensible and informed approach is important, with an awareness of the potential risks and problems.
Social networking: sometimes, itâ€™s about business. And we mean business.