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Refresh Miami event tonight: How to build a social network

Hey folks - if you're in the Miami area tonight, there's going to be a networking event focused around how to build a social network using WordPress and BuddyPress. The group is called RefreshMiami, and Web designer David Bisset is doing tonight's presentation. David tells me it'll be pretty basic, but good for any managers, business owners or bloggers interested in setting up their own social network. Here are the details from RefreshMiami:

May 27th: Refresh and Reboot!

Come join us for an evening of learning, discovery, and socializing as we “Refresh and Reboot” for another year of new media innovation in South Florida. We look forward to hearing about the stuff you’re working on at our meetup this Wednesday, May 27th.

David Bisset - @dimensionmedia will present on how to build a social network using WordPress and BuddyPress, which has recently been released. David specializes in website strategy and design and is an expert on WordPress and WordPress multi-user platforms.

We will also talk about the other new media and tech events in South Florida, and you will have the opportunity to introduce your meet-up or event in two minutes or less.

There will be food, wine, beer, sodas, and other snacks and refreshments. Please make sure you RSVP at the facebook page. Find out more about RefreshMiami. We will be meeting at 7:30pm, at:

3301 NE 1st Ave Unit L207
Miami, FL

Directions for getting to Brikolodge:
Brikolodge is in the Midtown4 building, on the south side of the building (follow the signs). Midtown 4 itself is at the southeast corner of NE 33rd street and NE 1st Avenue. There is plenty of parking along the street, and several garages a block or two away (next to target or the other stores on S Miami Ave).

View Larger Map

Posted by Bridget Carey at 11:49 AM on May 27, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Getting real about Twitter

So the other week I was a guest on the Digital Trends podcast, where I was interviewed with Mark Milian, Tech Reporter from the L.A. Times. We talked about the future of Twitter and the pros and cons of using it... and the reality that it's not a social network fit for everyone.

Listen to the mp3 of the show here!

Posted by Bridget Carey at 12:36 PM on May 21, 2009 in Twitter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

WITI South Florida pannel discussion on social networking in the workplace

Yesterday Niala and I had the honor of moderating a WITI event where technology gurus from local companies spoke about social networking in the workplace, and the security challenges that come when employees use social media.

The panelists included Pete Nicoletti, vice president of secure information services at Terremark; Jay Patel, senior manager of IT advisory services at KPMG; Gabriel Ruiz, director of technology at ADX Technologies; and Kevin Tracy, a senior consulting systems engineer for network security and mobile solutions at Cisco.

It wasn't easy to take notes when you're the moderator, but I did want to summarize some of the great advice the panelists shared with the group Tuesday night at Cisco's Fort Lauderdale office.

The talk jumped between companies blocking Facebook at work, to horror stories of what can come up when you Google search your name ... but all panelists always came back to the core idea of using common sense and setting a social networking guideline for employees.

Fact is, everyone has different ideas on what is acceptable social networking behavior. A millennial might not see a problem with posting party pictures on their Facebook page, because hey - that's their private life and people should understand that. And someone else might not see anything wrong with sending out public tweets about the company layoffs when they are in the middle of the private meeting. The boss might not see things the same way. So there really needs to be a workplace discussion on professional image and making sure you keep personal stuff private, and always think twice about what you post online. Because even things you delete can hang around on the Web.

Jay Patel said he "avoids social networks like the plague." He was off the grid until he broke down and got a Facebook account to get details on his high school reunion gathering. He sees the value in social media, but the biggest problem he has with it is how easy it is for you to lose control of your professional image. Social networks are evolving at a rapid rate, and the information we post about ourselves is being spread and shared in so many ways that you lose total control over what is being posted about your personal life -- and not even privacy settings can do much good. "The technology can't keep up with the technology," he explained.

Pete Nicoletti stressed to keep personal and work stuff very separate. And for personal things, he thinks it is best to not use your real name so it can't be found easily by employers. Kevin Tracy shared the same tip. In Nicoletti's work, he's seen the worst of the worst of corporate social networking disasters, and some of the nastiest problems occur when you share your password with someone and then that person posts horrible things on your profile under your identity. And damage control with a public relations team ain't a cheap or a quick fix.

Tracy mentioned that Cisco has documents for employees regarding social networking faux pas at work. I think this is a great idea.

You can have security programs and measures in place to protect company data from spilling out -- and it's smart to implement tools like that for the workplace. But Patel said at the end of the day, your biggest security flaw is people.

Does your work have a social networking guideline you have to sign? Is it detailed, or does it just stress to use good judgment? Does your human resource department have a workshop on dos and don'ts? Do you even worry about getting in trouble at work for what you do on social networks in your personal time?

Posted by Bridget Carey at 07:24 PM on May 20, 2009 in Facebook , Privacy settings , Security | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Facebook linking to Gmail

There are more than 200 million people already actively using Facebook. But in the quest to make it ever bigger, Facebook said yesterday that it was now supporting OpenID and Gmail accounts for logging onto to Facebook. You've always had the connectivity between email accounts, especially in looking for friends on Facebook, but this is truly linking Gmail to Facebook at the same time.

Still, I'm curious as to how many people are actually out there on Gmail who aren't already using Facebook. I checked with the folks at Google, who would only say that there are "tens of millions" of people who are using Gmail. The Facebook folks hope that linking the two accounts will create more active users, so we'll see...

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 11:10 AM on May 19, 2009 in Facebook | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Social Networking: Tool or Nightmare?

That's the title of a panel Bridget and I are moderating tomorrow night for the local group of WITI, Women In Witi_logo Technology International, in Fort Lauderdale. For more information, click here.

But in the meantime, just curious: what does your boss (or company) think about this question? Do they approve of your social networking, and encourage it at work, or are you banned from Facebook and the like in your office?

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 05:40 PM on May 18, 2009 in Facebook , LinkedIn , MySpace , Twitter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Facebook manners video

Hey, it's Friday, so just for your viewing pleasure, one of our Poked readers sent in this video about how to mind your manners on Facebook. It looks like it's done an internet "dating and relationship" media company called YourTango.


Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 12:58 PM on May 15, 2009 in Facebook | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Beware weird links in your Facebook messages - Boface worm attacks

The Internet is under attack! But no need to riot and loot just yet.

First, Google goes down this morning. And now I'm seeing a wave of malicious links being sent through Facebook messages. If you get a weird link sent to your Facebook inbox - DO NOT CLICK IT! And you'll know it's weird when you see it because it won't be your typical .com or .org address. Other Poked readers are reporting getting these links as well.

The ones I'm seeing say something like "Hello" in the subject line and have a very short link with random numbers and letters in the body of the message... the links are all ending in ".im"

Clicking on the link will infect your computer and you'll unknowingly send the link to other friends. News of Boface worm attacks came out today, and they're going to increase in the next few months.

Posted by Bridget Carey at 02:36 PM on May 14, 2009 in Facebook | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tips on using social media for your business

Last night at a Social Media Club of South Florida meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Realtor Ines Hegedus-Garcia shared some great tips with the crowd about how to use social media for your business. She runs Miamism.com and uses several forms of social media to market her real estate business. She's also on the advisory board of The Social Media Marketing Institute. You can find her on Twitter as @Ines.

As a real estate agent, she has to face the growing challenge of people finding homes on their own through the Internet. You can pretty much find any product or service with a little Google searching these days. So if you're going to use social media to market your company or services, you need to be clear about what value you bring to the table and how you are unique. What can you bring to your profession that no one else can?

"Find out what you're passionate about and what makes you different," she said, adding, "Be genuine. Don't be something you're not. Be yourself."

She said she spends about 5 to 6 hours a day on social media, which includes blogs, Twitter and Facebook. But if you're not sure how to fit it in your day, start by including it in your schedule and see what works and what doesn't. Of course not everyone can dedicate 5 hours a day.

She said being web savvy is no longer about building a webpage that lists your credentials. It's about being helpful to others you connect with online. Of course Niala and I are always preaching about this very thing -- it's it's about what you bring to the conversation that makes you valuable.

This also plays a part in Twitter netiquette. It's not about how many followers you have. It's about what you bring to the conversation.

"Don't go to your friend's followers and say follow me," she said. "It's not about quantity. If you don't engage these people, you're not going to achieve anything."

Hegedus-Garcia encouraged the crowd to combine their personal life with your professional life. I agree -- but of course there needs to be a balance. She tweets, blogs and posts videos about her love of mojitos to promote the Miami scene and encourage people to move down here, but she doesn't get sloshed. She also doesn't have her children mentioned anywhere on her social networks for their protection -- not even a photo on Facebook. Since she uses Facebook to connect with friends and professionals, mixing private things on Facebook isn't something she feels comfortable about doing.

I can understand that. These days it's getting so hard to keep personal stuff, well, personal on Facebook -- even with privacy settings, there are ways of seeing things.

Another Twitter netiquette tip she gave: The hard sale is not welcome. Don't just push your stuff online without interacting with others. You're human. Don't always be the pushy salesman.

The more people that connect with you online increases your social capital -- it's your online influence with a network of people that trust you. Use that social capitol to help others. If you receive a favor, pay them back.

"Start doing favors before you ask for favors," she said -- like retweeting other people's stuff that you like before you ask for people to help you on Twitter.

She also brought up what Niala and I spoke about in a previous post: Have a human name behind the Twitter account, not just a cold company name.

"If there's no person behind the brand, it loses strength," she said. "If people aren't engaging you, its because they don't think you're human." She added, "People want to talk to you, not a business."

Oh, and you can't just dip a toe in the Twitter pool and give up after a week it doesn't work. "You have to try things for at least six months," she said. "Be consistent about it."

Posted by Bridget Carey at 12:33 PM on May 13, 2009 in Facebook , Privacy settings , Twitter | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman on social networking, Part II

As promised, yesterday I posted some videos of Reid Hoffman talking about what he thinks about some netiquette issues, the future of social networking and how he handles the volume of his emails (although I must admit, he didn't respond to the one I sent him, so maybe he's not following his own advice!).

Here's some other things he said that I wrote about in today's newspaper column:

I didn't expect to walk into an interview with LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman and have him hand me his actual business card -- after all, Hoffman helped start the social networking site that lets working professionals connect virtually.

For the record, he had business cards because he was at a conference in Miami Beach called Endeavor Entrepreneurs, which brought together people from developing countries.

Usually in this space, Bridget and I provide tips for people on how to deal with their coworkers online. But since we had an expert in town, we thought it should be our turn to ask for advice.

Not surprisingly, Hoffman thinks working professionals who haven't yet should ''dive right in'' to social media sites -- not just LinkedIn, but Facebook, Twitter and the like.

''I think the reason it's critical is because if you look at it, every individual now is essentially their small business, and a little bit of an entrepreneur themselves,'' said Hoffman, who founded LinkedIn after running business development for PayPal.

The Silicon Valley veteran has helped finance sites like Facebook, Flickr and Technorati, and sits on the boards of Six Apart, Mozilla and most recently, Zynga, the online social gaming company.

With that in mind, I sat down to pick Hoffman's brain. In keeping with the spirit of our column, we spoke about his netiquette peeves, but also about what to do on LinkedIn at different life stages, and his thoughts about Web 3.0.

Q: Do you have something that people do online that drives you crazy?

A: I would say the primary thing, from a LinkedIn standpoint, is communicate to people you know. Don't send invitations to people you don't know. When I get them, I ignore them or sometimes hit ''I don't know them'' because this is meant to be a vehicle for setting up relationships with people you know.

If are thoughtful in how they write the invitation, I reply to let them know how the system should work, which is that I connect with people I know and have some basis of trust with.

Whenever you're writing to someone you don't know, make sure you understand why they should be interested. It's all interaction and an exchange, so be clear about what's valuable for them in interacting with you.

Q: Would you give different advice to a 20-year-old vs. a 40-year-old on what to do on LinkedIn?

A: When you're 20, frequently people think, ''I don't know what my professional network is.'' But you do. You have your family, friends who have recently graduated who are in the workforce, professors, people you've met in summer internships -- that's what your professional network looks like. When you're 40, it's not just that but colleagues and former colleagues, people you've met at conferences that you've bonded with.

Q: Where do you see the future, in terms of Web 3.0; what's the next step?

A: Silicon Valley's always mad after the future, the phrase Web 3.0 has been kicked around a lot. I don't know that it has coherent meaning -- people have used it to mean video, software platforms and building applications, to mean mobile. I actually think we're still in the midst of Web 2.0.

I have a specific definition: when millions of people participate with their real identities and their real network. LinkedIn is one, Facebook is one, blogging can be another. How do you build these really powerful applications that change how are you live in this world, here? That's one of the really interesting problems and opportunities. I think there are things happening in Web 2.0 that haven't even gotten attention today. I think the game is just beginning.

I was surprised at the firm stance he took about LinkedIn being about how people should really know each other -- and emboldened by the fact that he actually uses the "I don't know this person" button when a stranger tries to connect with me, because I've been pretty chicken to use it. But I guess there's a reason why that button is there -- because Reid  was probably behind creating it! Does anyone else out there use this button frequently, or do you just ignore them by archiving them?

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 11:45 AM on May 12, 2009 in Friending , LinkedIn , Twitter , Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

LinkedIn's Reid Hoffman shares his netiquette pet peeves

I sat down with LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman to talk netiquette and a few other topics. We went all multimedia on Reid, and some of his comments have already been used in The Miami Herald Business Show. And, I'll be featuring more in tomorrow's Poked column. In the meantime, some video snippets like this, where Reid shared about what people do that drives him crazy online.

Here, Reid talks about what he thinks is the most under-used feature of LinkedIn:

And, how he deals with emails:

And finally, what he thinks about the future of social networking platforms:

Posted by Niala Boodhoo at 05:37 PM on May 11, 2009 in LinkedIn | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

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