Monday, April 22, 2013

Facebook Home: Is user privacy a concern?

With the announcement of Facebook Home for Android and the HTC First, HTC’s Facebook phone, people now have a chance to use the widely popular social networking site in a whole new way. They will be able to send messages to their friends and check their News Feed directly from their phone’s home screen without even opening the Facebook app.

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While the new Android launcher’s features may eventually win over avid Facebook users, tech experts, especially those who attended Facebook’s April 4 event in Menlo Park, California, think that Facebook Home is only a gimmick and that, knowing Facebook, there might be privacy problems that can crop up in the future, such as GPS location tracking services that passively and continuously run on the phone in order to send location-based advertising to users.

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However, that fear may be unfounded, as reports that Facebook has confirmed that Home will not be actively tracking users’ GPS location, even on the HTC First, where the launcher is built right into the phone’s operating system. Furthermore, data on the activities of other applications, such as Foursquare check-ins, will not be seen by Facebook. Still, location-based ads can and will be offered to users if they use Facebook to check-in to a location.

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Despite some privacy concerns, there are people who believe that Facebook Home is a powerful software that can potentially disrupt the telecom industry.

Socialtyze is John Bohan’s answer to branding and social media marketing issues. Visit its website for more information about its services.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Social media monitoring: Screening and background checking using social media

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Before applying for a job, most applicants update their resume, get a haircut, find something decent to wear, and rehearse their “why you should hire me” lines. However, with 2 out of 5 companies now using social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace, to screen applicants and perform background checks, it is now imperative that applicants also add cleaning up their social networking profiles to their to-do list.

Many applicants may not be aware that posting inappropriate comments and using foul language online may be grounds for rejection. However, studies show that the biggest factor that contributes to an applicant being rejected is having provocative photos publicly posted online.

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The main reason why an increasing number of employers use social media for background checking is because it is a good source of personal information that can’t be found in an applicant’s resume. These pieces of information may signal red flags, like gang involvement, drug use, drinking problems, and potentially violent behavior, which can affect a person’s work performance. Current employees are also not safe from social media monitoring as they may post content that is damaging to a company’s corporate image.

Thus, it is a wise decision to stay on the side of caution by deleting unruly photographs and posted negative content, and setting appropriate privacy settings to avoid risking one’s career because of these indecent online content.

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Growing engaged audiences in social media to promote brands is media expert John Bohan’s goal when he established Socialtyze. Visit its website for more information.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Checking accuracy: Using social media as a news source

An increasing number of people are using social media these days, and with world-spanning information access now available 24/7, more people have started using social media as their primary news source, which raises this question: Are breaking news reported in social media outlets, like Twitter and Facebook, real and accurate?

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Information that flows through social media is fast, and news spreads around quickly like wildfire. For instance, the Arab Spring, a revolutionary event that spanned many countries and toppled governments, was found to have been organized through Facebook and Twitter.

However, this fast flow of information is also a downside of social media since many incidences of inaccurate or even doctored or falsified information being passed on to billions of people have occurred in recent years. The Lil Wayne incident is one example. On March 15th, news agencies around the country reported that famous rapper Lil Wayne was hospitalized, but from there, their stories began to deviate from one another. According to Lil Wayne’s Twitter account, he is doing well and even thanked people for praying for him and sending out love. Lil Wayne’s friend Mack Maine also said that Lil Wayne is, in fact, alright and is even watching the Syracuse game with them. However, celebrity gossip site TMZ tweeted that Lil Wayne was in a critical condition after suffering from more seizures. With these many versions of a single story, it is hard to find out what really happened.

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As this example shows, it is imperative that people first check the veracity of a story being shared over social media before sharing it to others, so as not to contribute to the noise and the distribution of gossip masquerading as a news story.  

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Socialtyze, which was founded by advertising maven John Bohan, helps its clients understand what it means for a brand to be social. Visit its website for more details.