Tag Archives: social media

unHacking Social Media

Famville ChickenIf a friend sent you a chicken as a gift online, would you click on it?

My use of Twitter has become somewhat patchy, as demands on my time increase. However I did come across something that caught my eye, someone tweeted

“WOW! You can see WHO VISITS your TWITTER profile. That’s cool! :) ”

Immediately followed by

“I just viewed my TOP20 Profile STALKERS. I can’t believe my EX is still checking me every day”

For reasons I can’t fathom, I casually clicked on the link supplied, and inadvertently gave a third party application access to my account, which then tweeted the same messages as above, but from me!

This type of spam is now going on all the time in Social Media, especially with Facebook and Twitter. Third party software makes social networking great, however it needs access to your account details to operate. You don’t want to get rid of it, because then you wouldn’t be able to do things such as tweet from your iPhone, or get updates of whose birthday it is this week on Facebook. Unfortunately to make it work for the good apps, it also has to work for the bad apps such as the FOLLOW YOU spam that caught me.

To fix this is easy, and also a little frightening.

In Twitter : Goto Account | Settings | Connections and then revoke access for anything you don’t want accessing your account.

In Facebook : Goto Account : Privacy settings | Edit your Apps and Websites Settings (bottom left corner) then remove the unwanted or spammy apps by clicking the x against each one.

In LinkedIn : Goto Settings | Groups, Companies & Applications | View your Applications then select the ones you don’t like and click the remove button.

The frightening part is how many apps over time I had inadvertently given access to my account. Although I was using only a handful, 39 different apps could access all my details on Facebook, including items such as the delightfully labelled “Vibrating Hamster”! Any of these could be sending out messages on my behalf, which I wouldn’t notice unless I was vigilant.

I don’t want to to have to give up Social Media, so have decided to diarise a task every three months, to check 3rd part application access to my social media. The definition of Spam maybe somewhat subjective, but if nothing else I want to make conscious, informed decisions about what I do on social media.

And yes, if you clicked on the chicken when it was sent to you on Facebook, you become a player in the Farmville Game, automatically allowing Farmville access to you account with right to update your status on your behalf. Not my thing at so many levels.

Personal Social Media Policy

I like the Christmas holidays, apart from making me feel like I’m a good parent when I take the kids off to do something interesting, it also gives me a chance to reflect on what I have been up to, and what I should perhaps be getting up to. Kind of a trees versus forest discussion with myself. This years tool of choice for mapping out my thoughts is a product called VUE – its a free visualisation tool from Tufts University in Massachusetts.

But that’s not the point of this blog. The point of this article is to tell you where I am going to post the photographs of my holidays, based on my personal social media policy.

You see a lot of people in organisations are currently discussing their organisational social media policies, but don’t have a personal one. I think that’s a mistake as with all things emergent from the internet you should have a go before deciding what your plan is.

My policy is based upon what I want to achieve.


Twitter is a real time social networking tool optimised for mobile services. Its designed to allow users to connect and share information in short bursts with the world. I use Twitter in two ways. For personal use and for business use. Consequently I have two Twitter accounts. The first one @Churchill_Melb I use to broadcast what’s happening at the Churchill Club eg “Just picked up Doron Ben-Meir as a speaker”. I have thousands of followers, but follow no one as I am using it to broadcast. It also automatically feeds my linked in profile. The second one, @One_Sock, I use for personal observations on the world such as “Does the Constitution’s S.44 disqualify you to be in parliament if you have ‘allegiance … to a foreign power’ ? #MarkAbib” I follow everyone who follows me, but disengage (unfollow) quickly if they are not amusing or generating original quality thought. It can be dangerous to automatically follow, as its public who you follow. Which can be embarrassing when its a known Ku Klux Klan member, as happened to me , or worse. I have around 150 personal connections on Twitter.


LinkedIn was designed to assist people in advertising their services and finding contacts inside potential clients. Consequently I use Linkedin in a number of different ways, but all of them are commercial, not personal. Firstly I use it to find people – like “who is big on Customer Experience in Melbourne?”. Secondly I use it to advertise my services as a corporate development guy. Thirdly I use as a scoreboard for how much energy I am putting into networking. I don’t like the concept of Open Networking (connecting with anybody who asks) as I feel there is little value in having connections that you don’t have mindshare with and being proud of the number of records you have in a database is quite frankly ridiculous. My LinkedIn rule is “I will only connect with you if we have met or had some type of correspondence”. Consequently I am connected to over 800 people, all of whom I know their story, and they know mine.


Face book was designed to connect and engage in a fun way with people you know, it wasn’t designed for promoting business. Consequently I mostly use Facebook for doing things such as sharing photo’s of holidays, sharing images I find hilarious or commenting on my friends amusing situations. I do not want people attempting to sell to me to know that I have just made sausages with an old friend. My Facebook rule is that “If Im not happy with you looking at pictures of my kids, I won’t be connecting with you.” Consequently I am only connected to around 80 people, all of whom I am comfortable with knowing my private life. My security is also screwed down. The chances of my information being misused or me being embarrassed are very small.

This personal social media policy means that I don;t have to be constantly on guard about what I share online and can get the maximum amount of benefit from Social Media.

Have a great Christmas Holiday.

Social Media undermines Sports Sponsorship

Its not news that Social Media is big business at the moment, and rightly so, because its a game changer.  Consider this:  If I am interested in raising awareness of my product with the type of person I who barracks for Melbourne Football Club I could take the traditional route and become a club sponsor.   Big bucks and a low level transparency on the impact.

Alternatively for say 1% of the price I could run a campaign on Facebook, targeting people who’s profile includes being a fan of the Melbourne Football Club.  And with Facebook I know exactly how many times my advertisement has been viewed and clicked though.

A quick look on Facebook shows the following fan bases for Australian Rules Football Clubs. These are people I can touch without having to pay a premium to the AFL or the club.

Team Facebook Fans *
Melbourne Demons 3,960
Western Bulldogs 4,254
Port Adelaide Football Club 7,408
North Melbourne Football Club 9,502
Brisbane Lions 10,207
Richmond Tigers 11,284
Carlton FC 12,010
Fremantle Dockers 12,617
Hawthorn Football Club 13,915
Geelong FC 15,532
Sydney Swans 17,677
StKilda FC 20,750
Collingwood Football Club 25,601
West Coast Eagles 32,845
Essendon FC 38,338
Adelaide FC 39,136
AFL 86,463
 * Note the number of fans changes everyday, plus in some cases
there is more than one fan group. In that case I have taken the higher number.

The same type of thing is also happening in other sports such as motor racing, Cricket, rugby and soccer.

Social Media platforms such as Facebook also allow you to be dynamic, trialling dozen of messages per day to optimise click through rates.  And the price is cheap.  I recently ran a campaign that was viewed by 5,400 graduates of a particular university one day.  The cost?  $130.

By the way, if I ran a business that made its dollars raising sponsorship funds, or was highly dependent on sponsorship for revenue, I would be very concerned about now.

4 Keys to deploying Social Media

Last Thursday the Churchill Club ran event on using Social Media for Sponsorship and Fundraising. It was a great evening with perspectives coming from Peter Williams (CEO Deloitte Digital), Jeremy Kann (General Manager, Sales & Commercial at Australian Grand Prix Corporation) and Vicki Kyriakakas (Communications Manager at Environment Victoria).

It was quite a wide ranging discussion, but the was some points on deploying Social Media solutions that I had the urge to share.

Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube etc) was very much seen as an emergent area where the community will determine where the value is – not the so-called “experts”.   So contrary to the general wisdom, the best idea was to start a Social Media activity, then seek to understand it rather than the other way round. Planning means you lag behind, not surf the wave.

Pete Williams of Deloitte recommended a four step process.

1. Start
Just Do It!. Get something going today. The barriers to entry are minimal – most social media is free to start using and very simple to understand.

2. Learn
Experiment with Social Media. There is no right or wrong way of using things, its completely up to you.  But trap your learnings so you can craft your strategy.

3. Amplify
When you think you have nailed some value, let the rest of your community know. They will either agree with you and get on board, or you will need to keep experimenting.

4. Let it run itself
Don’t don’t direct it, let the community find the value. A community manager is a good idea, but it should be a loose role, not formal because the community needs to self organise to survive.

The key to longevity in your Social Media strategy is seeing it as something your community can derive value from, rather than simply a marketing tool.

I thought this was a fairly handy process to keep in mind.

12 Essential Freebies for the GFC.

So Michel Hogan and I got invited together to a lunch on Friday. As part of our back chatter (using the free Skype Instant Messenger), I pointed out that if I tried really hard, I could probably eat for free during the week, in fact you could elevate it to an artform.

So having been through a couple before, I thought I would put together some recession busting tips.

  1. Dining – Go to as many free functions with food as you can, the more you say yes to the more you get invited to as you are on the mailing list . Learn to value finder food as dinner (its like going to Yum cha).
  2. Office – Home Office. Do I have to say more?
  3. Meeting Places – Really, who needs to have a meeting room when there are so many cafes around. Put the effort into finding interesting places with carpets that aren’t cramped (better acoustics). Learn to pace yourself on those Lattes.    Jelly can also be useful of you want to get some free buzz.
  4. Bags – Get your self a really nice selection of promotion bags. Some are really easy to “alter” if you don’t want to walk around advertising the “CPA Congress”.
  5. Transport – Get to know your Bicycle or free city promotional transport.
  6. Office Supplies – Who needs to buy stationary today? You’re being green right? But if you need to have business cards, you can get  free-ish from vendors such as Vistaprint ($o but plus freight). If you need pens, pick up some from your local doctor as they’re given thousands by the drug companies. Go to a couple of free seminars and you sure to get yourself a nice collection of free pads.
  7. Clothing – You’re in the 21st century, and the creative/dynamic man about town has the confidence not to be locked in with corporate prison uniform (or pay the dry cleaning bills).
  8. Your IT Infrastructure – Use Google for eMail, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks and Documents. Its all free and the processing grunt isn’t required locally. This means you can use a crappy old laptop that others would throw out. If you really need to, you can grab some free open source software to do things locally (eg Freemind)
  9. Internet Access – By the way, get to know your local free wireless hotspots to get your free internet access.
  10. Telephony – Since Skype calls don’t yet work on my Iphone on Australian networks (they would rather I made a more expensive GSM network call) its best to get yourself a good phone plan, then master SMS messaging.  Thats of course if your out of the office and can’t use Skype or another free VOIP service.
  11. Marketing– Use Blogger and LinkedIn as your free web pages. Use Social Media for marketing. Twitter like mad and ask and answer questions in Linkedin.
  12. Administration – And finally, use Saasu for your Accounting needs its free for 10 transactions a month.

Oh’ in my experience Government funded functions normally have the widest and most interesting selection of Canape. Enjoy!

6 steps to Blog Heaven

The another day Amanda Gome rang me for some advice on how to run her business to have a chat about some future events. We got to talking about blogging and how difficult it was.  I was in the first group of Bloggists for Smartcompany (around 20 of us) of which there is now only a handful left.

I asserted that writing your first couple of blogs is easy because everyone has a couple of articles in them.  However then it gets really hard because you have to deliberately create something new rather than just empty on to the page what you already had.

Amanda agreed as she regularly gets approached by new bloggists and now she just can just tell when someone is only a “3 or 4 blogger”.

I reckoned the issue was caused by the fact that the average wanna-be bloggers aren’t generally trained as journalists or even writers by their nature.  So blogging seems like a great idea but becomes hard quickly.  You can see this issue everywhere as CEO’s are conned into marketing by using social media tools such as blogs, but they run out of steam quickly when the reality of being “creative” sets in.  I regularly run into corporate blogs that have lost steam after 3-4 posts.

Amanda pointed out that I am a non-writer who managed to get through the 4 blog barrier, so what was my secret?

So here it………….

How I write

  1. Pick a time -I’m a systems guy so I like to organise things.  Monday after lunch is the time I have programmed into my Google Calendar for writing.
  2. Get an idea –  Finding something to write on becomes easier as time goes  on.  However the cheats way is to find a prolific twitterer or two on your topic who will uncover new things to investigate and share.    For me Guy Kawasaki http://twitter.com/guykawasaki posts about twenty items a day on new things around entrepreneurship, technology and interesting ideas.  I can’t keep up with all of Guy’s posts.
  3. Make your point – Simply re-posting a web link doesn’t have value.  I like to think about how and why rather than report on the what.  I like to create a number of dot points on the topic.
  4. Remember an Anecdote – Nobody wants to read a report, everbody wants to hear a story.  Revolution in Russia?  Make it the backdrop to a lovestory (Dr Zhivago ).
  5. Put flesh on the bone – Write the article starting off with your anecdote which then leads into the points you want to make.
  6. Finish it off. – Nobody wants loose ends so I find it much tidier to link the point of the article back to the opening anecdote.

I developed this as a process when I almost burst my brain trying to write blog number 4. According to my records I have now written around 110 weekly blogs.  Not bad for technical guy that came close to failing English.