Tag Archives: Social network

Are You Being Manipulated?

mind control

Social media has changed drastically in the past 5 or 6 years. Small tightly knit communities have grown to ubiquitous parts of our daily life. The exploration of online human interaction and its ramifications has created an immense conversational platform widely used for marketing and commercial purpose, with a huge group of participants whose contributions seem to be aimed at creating of specious influence and false celebrity.

The attraction of social spaces centered around the engagement of individuals for their mutual growth and benefit. And those of us who were active in the early days of this evolution in communication spent hours in conversation about social contracts, social objects, and social capital.  They were, simply put, the terms under which we engaged, the things we had in common which became the focus of conversation, and the acquisition and depletion of online goodwill. The center of much of the online activity for business centered around the concept of ” doing well by doing good” – contributing to the communities you participate in without expectation of a quid pro quo , anticipating that doing the right thing and being generous would be its own reward. It was a wonderful place to be an active participant, but as the landscape changed, many people seem to have lost their  way.

As the second and third wave of participants arrived, they seemed to confuse visibility with influence and pontification with authority.As people engage online with the intent of building a name or a brand,they seek the highest visibility, and the greatest acclamation. As Ryan Holiday says in his book “Trust Me I’m Lying:Confessions of a Media Manipulator” , “Media was once about protecting a name; on the web it is about building one”. We must be careful of what name we build.

In a recent conversation with a friend of mine, Leslie Ebersole, about a Facebook group we both are active in, she said ” If I share something with a person for their private use I don’t expect them to project it as their own work, that will in fact influence other people…. I honestly am dismayed by so much of what I see in social media. For example re-tweeting someone’s post feels almost like cheating unless you have interesting or useful commentary on it”

Leslie’s thoughts are spot on, and reflect the manner in which thoughtful confident  people interact. People that create, or effectively curate, don’t need to plagiarize in order to appear smart – they are smart. But in a world of smoke and shadows , where Klout scores are confused with actual influence, and every comment  made in a Facebook group is received as if it was an authoritative statement, we are in danger of following people that have no business leading.

I’ve been involved in a couple of conversation recently about Klout for example, and what influence means. To me, people who can create change in the physical world have influence. Not the circular sycophancy whose online engagement is “You’re Great, No You’re great, OK, We’re all great”, but people whose actions actually cause the change in behavior of large numbers of people. People who can make a call or a request and see something happen. That to me, is influence.

Authority to me? That comes from knowledge combined with experience, not from the number of times you tweet or the amount of time you spend interacting on a Facebook group. If you’re a real estate professional that listed 140 properties last year, I am more than willing to listen to what you did and how you did it. But if you aren’t exceptional in your actual performance or even just real world activities, your online visibility doesn’t impress me in the least.

To build social influence, social capital must be acquired. It has been years since Tara Hunt wrote her book “The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business”  but the concepts of social cap[ital that she discusses is as valid today as it was then. Tara pointed out that acquiring good will online was a valuable way to integrate yourself into the community and that then, when you needed the good will of the community, they would in turn provide you with what you needed because of your good actions to that point. But when you do things that cause you to lose social capital – like appropriating the thoughts or work of others and portraying them as your own or betraying a confidence by using in public information gained in private, you lose credibility and your actions will begin to be met with negative reactions , causing you to lose social capital.

Holland says “..it is a world of many hustlers, and you are the mark. The con is to build a brand off the backs of others. Your attention and your credulity are what’s stolen.” And that is the danger of taking too much of the conversation at face value. Be thoughtful and know not only what is said, but who is saying it, and the basis they have for making their claim or statement.

Great personal brands are based on being real , being authentic, and being consistent, and giving value to the communities you belong to. They are built of ambition or plagiarism, or publishing popular cliches or memes. People want to be connected to people they can value. Think that’s not true? Back to Leslie again who said (in a private note to me that she has given permission for use here) , “I love the interaction and development of ideas that can happen with social media. I love sharing and doing whatever I can if I can help someone. But I am back to the idea of the importance of reciprocity and mutual effort when one is part of a community.”

So the good guys still exist, but you , the participant need to be willing to peek behind the curtain and differentiate between those that look like they know and do stuff , and those that actually know stuff and do stuff. I have faith you can do that, I just hope you will.

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The Best Ways to Get Unfriended and Unfollowed on Facebook,Twitter and LinkedIn

join my network by Tom Fishburne

Join My Network Courtesy of Tom Fishburne

I guess it had to happen.

People heard that there were a lot of consumers using social media, and perceived that those consumers had gotten together for the sole purpose of moving forward the business agendas of anyone with a computer or smartphone. Sadly for those of us who were exploring this new frontier, a whole new raft of socially unacceptable behavior was about to be born.

Using social media for business purposes is a balancing act, trying to increase your acceptance and build trust with an online community while advancing your legitimate business purpose. Like anything worth doing, its worth doing well, but if it isn’t done well, it can boomerang and actually decrease your standing with your community or their desire to listen to any of your communications. Here are a couple of things that tend ot drive people crazy online

  1. Automated responses – When people tweet or connect with others online  they aren’t looking to connect with an automation – they are looking for a real personal connection. A response that is obviously an auto-responder causes an almost immediate disconnect – leading may people to block, unfollow or unfriend the person who thought they were acknowledging the new connection. When people take the 2nd day of the e-Pro course, at one point the tweet out to the e-Pro team. We will respond personally, because that’s what there effort was a personal effort. Its no a lot of effort for the positive responses it brings us.
  2. Thoughtless Broadcasting- I get a lot of unsolicited requests on LinkedIn, a network that I keep the closest watch on and am most protective of. For example, I rencently got a request from someone in my marketplace that said  “Find out why I use LinkedIn. Stay in touch and build your professional network.  – (Name Redacted) .”  Seriously? I don’t even know you. Why would I care what motivates you? Even in this smaller social space, we constantly get messages from people promising us things we don’t want or need, indicating they have no idea who we are or what we are interested in. These folks don’t take the time to cull their list and be sure that the message they were sending is at least potentially appropriate for the recipient. Direct mail marketers are more considerate than that – but then again they have to pay for stamps.
  3. Careless Commenting – I’ve always felt that we have two reasons and one mouth for a reason – listening is at least twice as important as speaking, and thoughtful speaking is far more important than speaking at all. People often feel the need to speak first and think later – but when they do that online, they create a permanent record of their thoughtlessness. Just as people need to wait before they send an emotion filled email, they should wait before posting an emotion filled response on Facebook or on a blog post. And if you are the target of such a response, remember that there are those online who live for the controversy. They make themselves appear larger by being the center of controversy because they have little or nothing of value to add to the conversation.

Interested in building a network online? Its very simple and can be explained in just a few words. Be Transparent, Be Genuine, Be Consistent. When people know who you are, know what you care about, and know that they can rely on you, they want  you as part of their network. Upon reflection, it seems so simple, and yet, for many its so hard. I hope that it isn’t hard for you.

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Making Facebook More Relevant

Facebook groups have become the place for community conversations on Facebook. Unlike Pages, where businesses or brands or small professionals promote their brands, products and services, people actually go to groups to speak to each other about the things they care about.

When people speak more about things they care about the conversations get really interesting and the conversational thread can get very long and involved. As a result, sometimes it’s way too much work to find the point or piece of information that had been shared when you need it.

Chris Smith and Jimmy Macklin have been instrumental in starting some of these conversation magnets in the real estate space, and the problem of the “lost pearls” became evident really quickly in a Facebook group entitled “What Should I spend My Money On?” The group, which has grown to 4200 members, has wonderful conversations by the users of hardware, software, products and services about their specific experiences good and bad. Being a neutral arena, the comments and conversations both pro and con garner a tremendous amount of interest, but with the ever increasing numbers of statements and comments it soon became difficult to find the information about that particular product or service you wanted information about. Only a short while after the group was created, members were looking for conversations from a day or two earlier, and bemoaning the difficulty in finding the information they needed.

And thus was born Curaytor. This social search engine allows you to search Facebook groups by topic, company, person or information source . In addition to the What should I spend my money On? group, the team added the “Raise the Bar” group and “Tech Support Group for Real Estate Agents” and the conversations generated by roughly  their 6900 members, and an iPad and Evernote group as well. According to Chris Smith, “We can add any Group that is open and plan to quickly”.


Now real estate professionals and consumers have a place where they can go to find that interesting position, comment, product or service by topic, company, source or user, with a very simple and easy to use interface. People can , with one click pick topics that are trending, popular, new, or recommended by “staff”  who I assume are Jimmy and Chris who have been trusted sources of recommendations for quite a while now. even popular “curaytors” make their appearance when you search, hand picked by Jimmy as good sources of information in these groups. Their search is a custom search that looks at Tags, posts, and comments, using algorithms to determine the what newcomments and the number of interactions to determine what’s trending,

I’ve played with the site, and it is easy to navigate, simple to get absorbed in as you go from conversation to conversation. Social search has been a topic of interest for a while now, but Curaytor is an intriguing application and will, judging from the buzz about it already, could become a valuable resource for its users.


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Six Steps to Facebook Safety

With over 900 million users, Facebook has become an integral part of modern society. And with the huge number of daily users, it has also become a prime target for cybercrime, and a real danger for the unwary user.

Below is an infographic produced by Column Five for ZoneAlarm, showing just how these attacks are taking place. With almost one in five links on newsfeeds opening to a virus, and over a half million logins compromised every day, users need to know how to protect themselves and minimize their exposure to risk. With a simple six step program, you can make your Facebook experience a safe and pleasant one.

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Instant Success with Instagram

We have all become photographers.

Its almost impossible to attend an event, go to a historical landmark, or watch a sunset without  seeing someone using their phone to capture the moment.

Smartphones add to the photography explosion by providing numerous apps to enhance the photo taking and editing process. On of the most popular of these is Instagram, not only because its simple and easy to use, but because it has a strong and engaged social aspect. Instagram provides a simple and easy way to enhance and edit your photos with just a few taps of the a screen and its users are an engaged and responsive community that shares and comments and likes at an amazing rate.

Facebook‘s acquisition of Instagram took this already important player in the social space and amplified their reach and potential, and increased our need to have a plan to utilize the app and the community it provides access to in a thoughtful manner. Instagram is not only a cute and easy to use app, it can be a very powerful tool for using photos to increase involvement with the people you are connected to. Here is a terrific infographic from our friends at ColumnFive and Marketo that can help you simply create , curate and tag your photos, both new and existing to connect with your target demographic in an effective and personable manner.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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