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Facebook opens it up to a vote

After all the furor over Facebook's terms of service, the site announced today it was opening up the idea of its principles to everyone to comment on, and possibly even to vote on. They're calling the new terms the "Facebook Principles" and inviting everyone to take part in how they are shaped.

Number one of the principles: people should have the freedom to share whatever they want. Further sections outline the freedom to own their stuff, decide who to share with it and to remove it from Facebook.

The debate, I don't think, was ever about "owing" information -- it was about people finally realizing that putting things online is actually putting it out there -- but it's interesting that Facebook has opened up the process for everyone to decide, in what they're calling a town hall format:

"Facebook should have a town hall process of notice and comment and a system of voting to encourage input and discourse on amendments to these Principles or to the Rights and Responsibilities,'' wrote Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president of communications and public policy, on the Facebook town hall site.

What does everyone think?

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 10:06 PM on February 26, 2009 in Facebook | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Use online networking tools to hone a professional image.

Niala and I believe that not enough people are spending as much effort making themselves look really good online (in a professional sense). Rather, it seems most people are more concerned with just not looking stupid or making sure they aren't tagged in any embarrassing photos.

And that's where the topic of this week's column comes in. It's copied below for your reading pleasure. And please chime in if you have any suggestions or tips for looking good online.


Given the almost weekly headlines of people losing jobs or losing face because of their Facebook profiles, it should be clear that looking bad online is a professional sin you want to avoid.

But we think people tend to put too much effort into not looking stupid online. Instead, why not just put a little bit of work into making yourself look better?

This is important even if you're not job-hunting: You should have the same attitude about how you look online as you do about how you look in the office. Even when you're not interviewing for another job, there's still a standard of dress and attitude about coming to work and being a professional. How you appear online should receive the same kind of attention.

More people are bringing up Bridget's online presence in real-life conversations. Recently, someone she never met before called to pitch a story idea, and said how impressed they were with the way she brands herself online through Twitter and other social networking profiles.

Maybe they were just kissing up. But they still noticed her online presence.

Niala also realized recently that people were Googling her name more. That's because the top search result is a link to her on VisualCV.com, a free site that lets you track who's accessing your resume. From that, Niala could see the spike of Google hits -- sometimes, minutes after she had sent out a tweet, or message, on Twitter.

So, how do you look good professionally? First of all, Google yourself to see what comes up. If a site you don't like comes up, use a site like LinkedIn more often. That way, it will come up as a more prominent search result.

While you're at it, make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete, including adding a picture. It's not an online dating site -- you don't need to look attractive, just professional.

Also, see if someone you're close to can provide a recommendation for your page. Make sure to return the favor by recommending another colleague. LinkedIn recommendations are just a few sentences, so it's not that big of a deal.

Do you have good tips on how to look good online? Send us those, or any questions, to Poked@Miamiherald.com or just post a comment.

Posted by Bridget Carey at 05:08 PM on February 23, 2009 in LinkedIn , Twitter | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Update: Facebook rethinking terms of service

Just an update to the terms of service ruckus: Facebook says because of all the "feedback" it has received about the change, that it's returning to its old standard until they figure out what to do. Here's what was posted on its web site this morning:

Over the past few days, we have received a lot of feedback about the new terms we posted two weeks ago. Because of this response, we have decided to return to our previous Terms of Use while we resolve the issues that people have raised. For more information, visit the Facebook blog.

If you want to share your thoughts on what should be in the new terms, check out our group Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.


Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 12:31 PM on February 18, 2009 in Facebook | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Facebook & its Terms of Service

The Consumerist yesterday wrote a note about Facebook changing its terms of use policy, which according to Facebook's site, was updated on Feb. 4. Basically, according to the Consumerist piece, the change means you give Facebook a license to the rights of any public user content you post forever, even if your account is terminated, either by you or Facebook.

According to the Consumerist piece, and I checked it out, too, looking back an archived page from October of last year, these few sentences used to be part of the agreement:

"If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content."

That's definitely gone now.

Significant? The Twitterverse -- and the social media blogs -- are all abuzz this morning with conversations about the change. I'm thinking the real issue is that people never thought about the fact that they don't have the exclusive rights to everything they publish on Facebook.

What do you think?

Update: Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has spoken out about this issue. Read it here.

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 11:44 AM on February 16, 2009 in Facebook , Twitter | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

MySpace founder says it will never beat Facebook

The Sydney Morning Herald has a story this morning about how MySpace co-founder Brett Brewer said the site will never be able to be as big a Facebook. But Brewer also has predictions that Facebook will be trumped by another network in two years. Reporter Paul McIntyre wrote:

"But Mr Brewer, who has left the company to set up an online ad network that deals with both companies, also warned that Facebook is likely to be usurped as the king of social networking sites within two years by another entrant which will most likely pop up with better user functionality for mobile phones."

Read the whole story here: MySpace founder concedes social network defeat

I've been with Facebook for about four years now, so it is hard to imagine leaving it completely in two years. But Brewer makes an good point about the importance of mobile. What's your take? Think it can be trumped in just two years?

Posted by Bridget Carey at 01:01 PM on February 11, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Do you tag co-workers in the '25 Random Things' Facebook note?

How many more articles and blog posts can be written about the popularity of the '25 Random Things' note on Facebook? Clearly not enough, because this week Niala and I wanted to give our two-cents on the matter when it comes to tagging co-workers in your notes.

Now if you've been living in a cave with your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears for the past month, here's why this note is such a big deal: Facebook tells us that there have been nearly 5 million users who created notes in the last week -- more than double last week and more than any other week in the history of Facebook. And the daily number of users that get tagged in a note has increased by 5 times.

And with millions of notes made, you know people are sharing this with professional colleagues.

Which brings us to this week's Poked column, posted below for your reading pleasure:

And now, 25 Random Things About Us! OK, not really. But since a Facebook note like this has provoked such a firestorm recently, we thought we would weigh in.

If you haven't heard, the ''25 Random Things'' is an online note where you write 25 pieces of information about yourself that other people might not know about you. Usually, people tag others to let them know about it, and with the hopes they continue the process of sharing your own personal facts.

Millions of these notes have been created. Predictably, groups that hate the note have also sprung up on Facebook, including ''Boycott 25 Random Things'' and ``I Refuse to Complete the 25 Random Things List!''

We're not going to get into the merits of writing these notes. Suffice to say, there seems to be two pretty clear camps on this, and your Poked columnists are among them. Bridget thought it was self-indulgent and annoying. Niala liked reading them, because it was a way to learn more about some old friends, so she wrote one, too.

Still, both of us were surprised at some of the oversharing that went into these notes, with people baring some fairly intimate details about themselves that were subsequently made public to the Facebook world. MySpace is full of this, but many on Facebook may not be as used to this level of soul-baring.

Here's the thing: What you do in your personal life is certainly your own business. But sharing these details with co-workers can get pretty dicey -- or even worse, tagging your boss in a note inviting them into this sharing experience.

We've been fielding inquiries from angry coworkers who are upset that they've been tagged in these notes.

One worker categorized being forced to read them as ''a special level of Hell,'' in that person's words.

Which goes to show that you should think twice about who you include when the next wave of ''25 Random Things'' hits. Of course, the people who are tagged can just ignore it, but if you're a note-writer you should think twice about who you invite -- because a lot of co-workers have made it clear to us they find them annoying, akin to passing on a horrible chain letter.

And if you do publish notes, remember that you can limit who sees them.

Do all your coworkers, or the higherups on Facebook need to be among them?

What do you think? Share your 25 thoughts via email to Poked@MiamiHerald.com, or you weigh in at the comments section below.

Posted by Bridget Carey at 05:02 PM on February 10, 2009 in Facebook , Tagging | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Goodbye, Facebook?

Ok, not me. But this guy at Newsweek says he's quitting Facebook, because it's an "imaginary" playland and a waste of time. Ok, I'll agree with the time suck. And I think for a lot of people Facebook is full of imaginary friends. But I have a lot of real-life friends on Facebook and have found it's one of the best ways for us to stay in touch. And for all of those "imaginary" friends who I do agree tend to populate Facebook -- my life has gotten so much better since I turned off the ability for people to add me as a friend automatically.

I think it's easy to let your Facebook life spin out of control -- and this is the perfect example of that one. But what do you all think?

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 10:48 PM on February 8, 2009 in Facebook | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Following people following me, via Google, Twitter and VisualCV

Just got an email from VisualCV reminding me they're about to celebrate their one-year birthday.

There are a gazillion free resumes sites out there, and I can't remember how I found the folks, except that I stumbled across the site last summer when I had to update my resume for a conference. It allows you to create a resume and embed audio, video, pdfs, etc. Especially handy for a multiHall & Oates - Private eyes copymedia journalist such as myself.

One cool feature is it lets you see how many people have viewed your resume - as well as how they find it, which is most often via a Google search. Now, I have a fairly unusual name (I love it, and thanks, Mom and Dad!), so when you Google my name, the Visual CV site is the first to pop up.

Since I've been more active on Twitter in the past two weeks, the amount of people Googling my name -- and viewing that first link, the Visual CV, has really jumped. Sometimes, when I sent out a tweet, you can track within minutes the spike of my name being Googled and the hit on my VisualCV. I don't link my Twitter account to my VisualCV page, either.

Just another example of not just the power of Twitter, but how much people really are out there using Google to check you out.

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 05:10 PM on February 5, 2009 in Twitter , Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Don't cross the streams! (aka: don't put Twitter in Facebook status)

Niala and I have found that not everyone agrees with our column this week. It's been interesting hearing different viewpoints from readers this morning, and please keep them coming! The topic came to us after we participated in an online chat via Twitter. A group that labels themselves as LIONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) started a chat about social network etiquette last week, so of course Niala and I couldn't resist jumping in.

Streams The topic of streaming Twitter in your Facebook status came up. Niala and I hate it, but a few others couldn't see why we felt so strongly against mixing the networks -- or as Miami social media strategist Alex de Carvalho said over Twitter this morning -- "crossing the streams" -- haha!

Anyway, below is our column that ran today:

Last week, we took part in an online chat about social media etiquette. The discussion started off with a question: Is it poor etiquette to automatically feed all of your tweets into your Facebook status? (For those who don't know, Tweets are the short messages sent out from your Twitter account.)

We took a firm stand on this: Don't do it, for a couple of reasons. Facebook status updates and Twitter feeds were designed to be used in different ways. We think it's not only disrespectful, but confusing to the Facebook audience to put your Twitter feed in your status.

For starters, Facebook's status is designed to be written in the third person. (Example: ''Bridget is watching The Office.'') Twitter users write full sentences in the first person. (``BridgetCarey: I'm watching The Office''). Put your Twitter feed in your Facebook status, and it looks strange, and oddly repetitive (``Bridget I'm watching The Office'').

That's awkward; but it gets worse.

In Twitter, messages are sent off in short bursts and are typically part of a conversation. Twitter users also often use shorthand and codes that just don't translate in Facebook. So if you're seeing lots of @, #, and seemingly one-sided status updates on Facebook, odds are, you're seeing someone feeding from Twitter.

Before joining Twitter, we were confused and somewhat annoyed when people did this. And now that we're on Twitter, even though we understand, we still think it's wrong.

During the Tweetchat that started all of this, we were surprised that others didn't understand why we felt so strongly. We realized others don't distinguish between social networks like Facebook or Twitter. As one person said, why does it matter if it's all social networking? Another said they were so busy on both networks that they couldn't keep track of what was being said where, and wanted to cover all their bases.

We both found it enlightening to realize that some don't think of these networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) as separate environments with different audiences, and therefore, different purposes.

Are we being too harsh by defining it as bad etiquette to link between networks? Should people be more considerate of the different social network audiences? In other words, does it not matter where you put your content, as long as you put it out there?

Let us know by posting a comment below or e-mailing poked@MiamiHerald.com.

[UPDATE: Check out the comment posted below from Mike. Apparently the Facebook application "Tweeter" is somewhat of a solution to some of these awkward issues when crossing the streams. I just started testing it out now. (02/03 5:15 p.m.)]

Posted by Bridget Carey at 12:00 PM on February 3, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

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