Archive for January, 2012

Facebook for Kids? NO

January 31, 2012

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Parents are humans. They make mistakes. Dealing with colds, homework you forgot how to do but have to help your kids with and (gasp) the fact that kids cost a fortune can’t be easy. Thus, I forgive the many misguided parent who says – “my child is on Facebook and I’m worried.” Young grasshopper parent, let me school you.

If your child can still be referred to as a child…they ought not to be on Facebook. Decoded: If your kid is under 13, Facebook is NOT for them. Am I a prude? Sure. Is this a smart suggestion? Double sure. The offline world is barely safe enough for adults – much less the online world for kids. As for Facebook for those under 13? Its akin to letting your child have some wine with dinner – every night…like a bottle…and then wondering 5 years later why the kid grew up to be a future aa attendee (and we don’t mean American Airlines).

Why? Lord knows teens and adults are addicted to what is playfully called “Macobook” in the Caribbean. As February approaches in the Caribbean, the freeness of the carnival season (on Trinidad anyway) gives rise to idle thoughts, party photos and, well, candid shots catching amusing (read as on the boarder of vulgar) moments in parties known here as fetes. You don’t let your child fete so why allow them to watch that FB facilitated live stream of the woman dancing around in a lace top?

Ok exit Carnival as my prude-ness may seem like a cultural snub. Enter the photos of brutal car accidents, sex offenders caught in the act or much more commonly, the “slack talk” that dominates many a status in the hope of installing amusement. You would not expose your child to this day to day so, why let them surf facebook where it can be so prevalent.

I am not stupid. I know the world is changing and even traditional media can bombard people young and old with material heretofore (take that for an old fashioned word) deemed forbidden. My suggestion is not censorship but rather caution. All young ones need conversations about digital footprints, about not talking to strangers (on or off line) and on the new power of photography. these convos need start long before signing on to any social network. Not just this dominant oNe about to be IPO’d for 100 billion.

Before signing on ask your young one some questions?
1. Why do you needed to be on Facebook?
2. What do you understand Facebook to be?
3. Do you understand we will share access to your account and I can cancel it at any time?
4. Before posting any photos or videos, do you understand the need to seek the permission of your parent and anyone else in the video/photo
5. Do you understand that everything you put up there can be potentially viewed by strangers?
6. Do you understand privacy settings?
7. let’s agree on potential consequences for online behavior that does not meet our family’s expectations

It’s not all perfect but hell, it’s a start. Again Facebook under 13 not ok but regardless of age, these 7 questions should form the foundation of a young person’s pre social media life.

Do you have the context

January 4, 2012

Who are you talking to and what do they already know, feel or fear? As corporate communicators, it is our job to know the answers to these questions before even lifting a pen or typing the first letter of a comms plan. Even when you get the answers to these questions, without organizational history, understanding and, having worked within the company for more than a few months….your communicating without context is groundwork for project failure.

When starting at a company the best CEOs spend months simply listening and then work with teams to lay out 5 year plans in one year bite sized pieces. Your job is to chew on those pieces and create strategies with fellow employees to make these plans come to life. Don’t make the mistake to ignore historic views as, even the most disgruntled, ├╝ber busy or apparently apathetic team member likely holds the key to the success of comms plans. Why? Communication without context is like giving a speech on the US national mall to Abe Lincoln’s statue – you’ll be do muni acting for communications sake. You need an audience to be engaged for your project to be successful and that takes time, understanding and a whole lot of time. So the next time you get a bright idea, ask yourself if you have the history, the pulse of a company and the support of those already communicating (or thinking they are) to ensure you have not just objectives and activities, but the context necessary for your comms plan to be a success.

Hugs. (read other posts for that context).

Tech addiction.

January 3, 2012

So you got that device you wanted this holiday season. So did your mother, brother, cousin, aunts and scarily enough your children, nieces, nephews and cousins new burns all seem to have as well. The result? Tech addiction. What are the symptoms?

1. Long periods of silence when two or more are gathered for alleged social activity (offline socializing)

2. Being asked to “hold on one sec” while your companion checks their device – more than three times in an hour.

3. Said device, or worse devices, become your new alarm clock/ sleeping buddy/ last thing you check at night/ note book/ main communication tool. If you find yourself using said device in the bathroom…you may have an advanced case of tech addiction.

Tech addiction can have pronounced negative impacts on life. Indeed a diagnosis for tech addition is usually swiftly accompanied by:

1. The afflicted individual having few healthy off line activities. Activities such as hiking, biking, skiing or…worse…swimming have all ceased to even be considered.

2. Real life relationships have been diminished. Afflicted person blames the world’s lack of understanding of the importance of these tech devices as the reason.

3. Multiple device syndrome…person has more than 3 devices always connected to the web and always within 2 feet of individual. Person may also have financial trouble due to incessant app purchases…

Save yourself now! Pick up a hobby for every device you own…and make it an offline one. Have an offline conversation with those showing signs as soon as possible…sending them a message online may not be as effective as an offline hug…

Save yourselves!

*closes ipad…heads to bathroom to get ready for day…turns on Ihome to accompany getting ready…ensures mobile is charged…*

Don’t Make LinkedIn another Facebook

January 2, 2012

Happy New Year. I’ve bitten the bullet and begun to dig deep into my new year’s resolutions. High on the list was updating my LinkedIn profile – a task I highly recommend to all but rarely get the time to do myself. As I sorted through well over 300 connection requests, I realized how many people miss the importance of LinkedIn. They confuse it with Facebook. They mistake connecting for “friending” and thus potentially derail their professional online presence. Thus, my decision to blog today came naturally. Facebook is about friends. LinkedIn is about work and connections – don’t mix the two.

My inbox was riddled with great requests from colleagues in my field and in fields I interact with. Co-workers with whom I have met and worked with and even the odd consultant with whom I have done business. The decision to connect there was easy. Their networks will likely have future business leads for my consultancy and, chances are, we may have tips and advice we can swap digitally should we never be able to make it to the next “networking” meet up. But to the sad few that sent messages about appearance, who admitted to wanting to connect to get access to my contacts to “promote their business” or “link up for drinks”. Alas, with a furrowed brow, I clicked ignore.

In a world where lines are constantly blurred, the decision to keep your online life “professional” is hard enough. Why dilute the one site that can really help with that (LinkedIn) with watery connections? If you are connected on LinkedIn, see it as a professional link. Not all these folks may be drinking buddies, but chances are, your LinkedIn connections are people you may want to work with again.

Just my two cents. Happy New Year. Look out for more frequent blogs – that too is on the new year’s resolutions list (along with drinking more water and finding a way to be successful without working as hard…wish me luck on that last one!).

Hugs! (Professional ones).