Managing your Social Media Footprint in the Digital Age

In an ever competitive job market, your online presence is becoming an important part of the interviewing process. Employers aren’t necessarily trying to “dig up dirt” on you as much as they are trying to make sure you’re the right fit for the company. Dan Schawbel, author of “Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success,” told MSN News, “Over 90 percent of recruiters use social networks to review candidates’ backgrounds.”  It goes to show just how important your online reputation is. Follow these easy steps to make sure you’re marketing yourself correctly:

Photo by: Search Engine People Blog

Photo by: Search Engine People Blog

Google Yourself
Start out looking at what employers would see if they searched you. Google, Bing, Facebook, etc. search your name. It will give you a good feel for what kind of digital footprint you’re leaving behind, whether it be positive or negative. If you can’t find you, then chances are recruiters are going to have a tough time too. However, that’s not necessarily a good thing; you want to be found in search results, for positive reasons of course. Searching yourself will give you a look at how much work you have ahead of you to clean up your image and make yourself more searchable for all the right reasons.

Clean It Up
Delete inactive social media profiles. There’s probably no reason to keep that Myspace from middle school, completely stocked full with embarrassing pictures. Once you determine what profiles you want to keep, and you realize they aren’t as professional as you’d like them to be, you might have your hands full. One useful (and free) tool students can use is SimpleWash. This application looks through your Facebook and Twitter and shows you everything from photos, to things you’ve liked or tweeted that have questionable content. You can also search specific words for the app to scan through. After it finds everything, you can sift through and delete things you don’t want employers to see.

Facebook Privacy Settings
They may be a pain, but they are important to keep up-to-date on so what you don’t want people to see, stays private. Facebook’s Privacy Settings are often changing, so you need to keep up with it. There are a lot of handy features to manage your profile. One of my favorites, Timeline Review, allows you to approve or hide tagged photos or posts before they are seen on your timeline. Gone are the days where you have to worry about quickly untagging yourself from an unprofessional (or just flat out unattractive) photo your friend posted from a night out. If there is anything questionable, you have have the ability to decide what can be seen.

Twitter
There are a lot of ways you can use Twitter, however some of them are better than others when it comes to getting a job. It might seem funny to tweet from the bar, but it won’t seem that funny when you can’t find a job after graduation. If you lack the self-control that so many college kids do, consider protecting your tweets. People will request to follow you, giving you the control over who sees your tweets. If you have your tweets public, remember who your audience is. Have an objective and make sure your tweeting relevant information.

Be Smart and Think Before You Post
Once it’s on the internet, it’s out there for good. Don’t post something if you are unsure of how it may be received by the public. Try to stay away from anything controversial. You don’t know the beliefs and values of recruiters who may be looking at your profile, so don’t say anything that could potentially offend them. Refrain from posting about politics, religion or anything illegal. “Posting while emotional” is another trap some fall into. We all say things we regret when angry or upset, but don’t share it with your entire online community.

Manage Your Friends and Followers
We’ve all heard it before, but don’t accept friend or follower requests from people you don’t know. Know who you are connected to and what you’re sharing with them. You can classify your friends into groups and share content that is specifically for them. As you get older, you might want to go through and manage your friends and followers to make sure they’re still relevant connections.

It’s important to keep yourself professional, but that doesn’t mean you need to sound like a robot in the process. Be yourself! Employers want to see your personality and the positive accomplishments you’ve had. Sprucing up your social media profiles may seem like a daunting task, and it may take you a few days to look through all those pictures from your college years, but it will be well worth it when your profiles are recruiter ready.

Correlation Between Traveling and Happiness via Twitter

Researchers at the University of Vermont have been studying the relationship between the happiness level of people on Twitter compared to how far they have traveled from their primary locations.

With continued advancement in technology and the amount of personal and emotional information people share via online mediums today, experts can now study human behavior by looking at the sentiment that is expressed via social media. Not only are people providing information about how they are currently feeling, but their location in the world are almost always given as well. Putting all of this together allows researchers to come to a conclusion on how people feel based on where they are.

Photo Credit: epSos.de

Photo Credit: epSos.de

“Expressed happiness increases logarithmically with distance from an individual’s average location,” was the ultimate result of the study done by these experts. The research found concluded that people tweet most often from work and home and when they are further away from these locations, most often traveling, they are happier in their tweets.

While this may be a stretch and might not be the most accurate way to measure how happy people are, it is an interesting subject to consider. Are people happier when they are traveling? Do they express their true happiness on social media or do they just want to seem this way to their follows? Its hard to tell but most of us can agree, traveling to the beach compared to sitting in a cubicle would make the average person happier, even on Twitter.

Reference: Mashable: Twitter Happiness Soars as People Travel Further From Home

 

Social Media Scandals, Scams and Security Updates

Brands got a rude awakening this week. Turns out, social media is not as secure as the Defense Department. Or even a pre-school, really.

“Twitter has a problem: While the social network is trying to woo brands and advertising money to its platform, companies’ Twitter accounts keep getting hacked.” – CNN Money

 

Twitter Hack

Photo by: Photo Giddy

The Twitter “leak fiasco” started back in 2009, when personal accounts of Twitter employees were hacked. With an increasing number of accounts and services related to Twitter it became very difficult to manage the huge amount of data. Therefore, the system without an extra security features appeared to be fragile and easy to break into. It was Fox News’ twitter account next. The portal with more than 2 million followers was hacked in 2011 and, therefore, assassinated.

During the last week, scary news about major brands being hacked came out and now we are all waiting what’s going to happen next. Jeep and Burger King’s Twitter accounts have been broken into.

Social media is by far the best one-on-one experience you can give your customers – no other media allows brands the opportunity to directly communicate with their customers in any sort of efficient manner. But brands seem to have forgotten they didn’t build the social platforms they prize but rather tuned-in to a conversation already in progress. Despite the recent Twitter security update, social platforms are not reinforced with the secrecy and security ad agencies offer that brands have taken for granted for so long.

Marketers should keep in mind the nature of the beast. Social media is a technology meant to gain its own momentum thanks to its viral nature, the same type of draw that lures hackers. Short of social media platforms completely revamping the structure of their site, marketers need to be hyper-mindful of their own security. In case of breach, social media marketing agencies should have a plan in and always remember to maintain a sense of humor and camaraderie in the aftermath of security failures – even with competitors.

— Co-written by Elena Nadtochiy & Ashlie Forchione

Twitter vs. Instagram: A War on Pictures

By now most of you have heard of the ongoing feud between Instagram and Twitter, but incase you haven’t been keeping up I’ll break it down for you. It all started this spring:

April 
Facebook makes offer to purchase Instagram for $1 billion.

August
On the 14th the Office of Fair Trading approves the deal, while the Federal Trade Commission closes their investigation concerning the deal on the 22nd.

September
The deal between Instagram and Facebook officially closes on the 6th and Instagram surpasses Twitter in daily active mobile users.

November
Twitter, who attempted to purchase Instagram, announces they will be releasing their own range of photo filters in the coming months.

Now, just last week Instagram photos on Twitter were appearing oddly cropped and yesterday Instagram photos have completely disappeared, though, they can still be viewed through the URL of the original tweet. Obviously many social media users are starting to express their frustration, but it will be interesting to see how users respond in the coming months after Twitter releases their photo filters. Will people begin to choose one network over the other and how will the digital agency respond to the change?

Be Approved & Be Known Online

 

Due to social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Users feel more comfortable to get free everything from free music, news, and communication with celebrities. Well what is also a plus about social media sites is you can get approval by your followers and friends, even if it is not in real time. Sometimes telling a joke does not get the laughs you want when you are hanging out with friends, but when you post it online it creates an uproar. Jeff Bercovici of Forbes Magazine calls this ‘virtuebragging’. People lately have been doing it with Hurricane Sandy and the Presidential Election, but you can do it about anything from a funny joke to a silly picture to share information you think is interesting and simultaneously get approval. This is a great positive about social media sites since you can influence others to see your ideas.

Social media agencies can definitely use this tactic to get the word about their clients in creative ways. ‘Virtuebragging’ definitely can go viral and get a message out, which is great tool personally and professionally. It can engage friends and it can engage one’s clients.

Social Media Creates Buzz About Sandy

People all over the world are learning about the Category 1 Hurricane that hit the East Coast on Monday, October 29th, largely through social media sites. On Twitter, within 24 hours after the storm hit 3.5 million tweets were hashtagged: #sandy.  Also, a Twitter account was specially made for Hurricane Sandy called Sandy; it has all reports from government to news related to it. And on Facebook during the climax of the storm, the top words that were most frequently used were related to this Category 1 storm. YouTube accumulated videos to show people the path of destruction of Sandy on the account, Citizen Tube. YouTube offered, those that had no access to other news outlets, information about the storm as it was happening.  Not only were people made aware of Sandy’s destruction and where its path was going, but the government of New York and the fire department utilized social media to make residents aware of fires and safety issues.

It is interesting how social media is being used during Sandy for a purpose of making different people aware of different news about the storm. For those stuck in the East Coast, social media sites are helping these people stay safe. And people in other parts of the U.S. and world are getting informed about effects of the storm and how their loved ones who may be stuck in Sandy’s path are doing.  It makes me wonder how social media agencies are reacting to Hurricane Sandy.

 

Social Media, Politics, and You

Many researchers and journalists, such as Matthew Fraser and David Carr, believe that social media was the factor that pushed President Obama past John McCain in the 2008 election. But this presidential election is a little bit different: social media has been around longer, everyone is more used to it, and more people are using it.  So how exactly has social media changed the game of politics and the 2012 presidential election?

Must Have a Presence
Candidates, local and national, have to have a social media presence in order to win an election. This is how today’s society connects with each other, and is the easiest and most effective way for a candidate to build a relationship with voters. Right now Romney and Obama are both using Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and blogs to connect with the public.

Long Term Memory
Not only will comments made by the candidates through social networks never really disappear from the Internet, every comment they make through any medium, good or bad, will never completely go away. They will always be able to be found through social media; the Internet never forgets.

Instantaneous Reactions
Also, because of our ability to tweet, retweet, share, and post content all over social networks, everything moves much faster. Campaigns can respond to negative advertisements and comments made by opposition immediately through their networks. On the other side of that, if a candidate or someone within their party makes an offensive comment that can also go viral in a matter of moments.

As the campaign has already shown social media can both help and hinder candidates. Who do you think is winning the digital campaign?

Social Media Makes Customer Service Better

Something I found out firsthand this past week is confirmed by a press release last week via Garntner, a British technology research firm. Companies that don’t use social media to connect their customer base is the modern-day equivalent of ignoring customers’ phone calls!

 

 

“The dissatisfaction stemming from failure to respond via social channels can lead to up to a 15 percent increase in churn rate for existing customers,” said Carol Rozwell, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

This issue will matter more to businesses the more widely-adopted social media and internet marketing becomes, as it is an fast, flexible way of reaching out to customers with concerns and advertising products.

The reason behind this? Businesses are more successful when they reach out to their customers in the channel they would like to be reached in, and more and more people are choosing to use social media for much more than talking to friends. Take, for instance, a company like Comcast. After a frustrating round of phone calls when my Internet was just about (it was really slow!) down, I decided to reach out through their customer service twitter, @ComcastCares. It was very friendly and fast, and got my issue taken care of roughly two days before the customer support phone number told me it would, and it was certainly a good demonstrator of the power of a good social media agency.

HOW TO: Watch the 2012 Summer Olympics Online

New this time around for the Olympics is online streaming–where anyone with a computer can log on and watch the Olympics right from their laptop or home computer! This may seem like a minor change, but in fact, it just adds to the increase in communication that the world has experienced since the last summer Olympics in 2008. The entire way the game’s highlight events and key moments have been shared is changed, and much faster at that! The combination of online streaming, twitter, facebook, and youtube has made the Olympics seem much closer to home than they actually are–halfway across the the world in London!

Now that the Olympics have all-around become a more digital and global experience, it seems only appropriate to put together a guide to streaming the Olympics, so that you too can be in the loop with the eventful (no pun intended) Olympic games!

Here are some guidelines to (legally) streaming the games live online or on your phone or tablet!

You need to have Cable!

Most online content in the US is only accessible if you have subscribed to cable or satellite. NBC streaming of the olympics is no exception. The good news? NBC has managed to work with almost all cable and satellite providers out there, so there should be no hitch in getting access!

If you don’t have cable, have no fear! You can always access the highlights on the NBC Olympics YouTube page.

If you’re in the US

In the US, NBC is the official broadcast partner of the Olympics. Therefore, NBC will air the Games on NBC and NBC-owned cable stations as well as stream more content online in real-time than they ever have before. But as usual, there’s a catch. You not only need to be a cable subscriber, but also you need to get MSNBC and CNBC. If you meet this criteria, then all you need to doo is head to NBCOlympics.com/LiveExtra and click on “Click here to get ready”. Then, follow the instructions, and you’ll be set to go!

If you can’t get to a computer, there’s always the option to watch the live streams from your iOS or Android device with the mobile NBC Live Extra app for iOS and Android. The great thing about this app is that you can use a four hour “guest pass” to the Games in case you don’t know the username or password for your cable provider.

If you’re in London

BBC is providing livestreams of the Games via the BBC Sport website and mobile apps. If you’re in the UK, you have access to every sport for up to 24 live HD streams!

BBC also has apps for iOS and Android to watch these livestreams. In addition to the livestreams, BBC will also feature results, news stories, and daily highlights for users to look over when in a hurry.

If you’re in another part of the world

Freecast.com has a streaming and TV guide for olympic coverage in over 150 countries! Also, the IOC has an official Olympic channel on YouTube that will be broadcasting the games live in territories in Asia and Africa that lack broadcast partners. This channel will also offer clips, replays, and highlights of the events.

Turns out that no matter where you are in the world, you too can be a part of this year’s “digital games”!

 

 

 

 

 

The Summer Olympics: Being Reshaped by Social Media

What’s the first thing I did when I found out one of the University of Michigan’s own Samuel Mikulak made the US Olympic gymnastics team? Added him on Facebook of course! The 2012 Olympics are being named by some as the “first social Games”. There’s no doubt that social media drives conversation and newl, and it’s only grown more influential in the past four years. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will likely play an exceptional role in how information is distributed from London, and how the conversation is driven throughout the Games.

So what’s the difference between this year’s games and the summer Olympics before it? Four years–and that’s an eternity in Interntet time! Social media has truly exploded, as well as general web use. In 2008, there were approximately 1.5 billion internet users globally, and that number has swelled to 2.3 billion users this year. That’s one third of the the worlds total population!

For more of an idea on just how and why social media will reshape the Olympics as compared to 2008, we’ll take a look at the top 3 social media networks out there, and see just how much 4 years has changed them.

FACEBOOK

2008: Facebook reached 100 million users, and passed Myspace in popularity (Wow, was 4 years ago really that long ago..?!) The chat feature was also introduced this year, while simultaneously taking over AIM and other chat sites with it’s convenience.

Today: Facebook claims more than 900 million users–that’s a growth of 900% in a mere 4 years! The network’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, becomes a global celebrity, while Facebook becomes a publicly traded company.

TWITTER

2008: This was a year of explosive growth, and they finished the year with 6 million users, and 300,000 tweets a day.

Today: The network now has 500 million users, who collectively send more than 400 million tweets every day! News breaks on the network regularly, and it’s a prime marketing channel for many athletes. Likely London 2012 conversation among media and fans will take place on this network as well.

YOUTUBE

2008: By fall of this year, users were uploading 10 hours of video/minute. This site emerged as the “it” site for video sharing, and had been bought by Google in 2006, which just increased it’s popularity. They also launched their mobile site this year.

Today: It’s no doubt that the most memorable Olympic moments will go viral on this network the moment they are aired on television. The company receives over 800 million unique vistis per month, and those visitors watch over 3 billion hours of video per month, while also uploading 72 hours of video/minute. The growth here is truly iconic.

So what?

After looking at the top three social media sites, one may wonder what that has to do with the Summer Olympics. Well-everything! This summer, expect to receive the latest Olympic news not from your favorite TV reporter, but instead from a social media network just as soon as it happens. The moments of this years Olympics will live on as was never possible before thanks to social media.

Who knows what the Summer 2016 Olympics will bring, but for now, enjoy all of the convenience and fun social media has to offer, because it’s events like this where it really matters!