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Credit: Jordan Brock on Flickr

You might still think of Facebook as “that social network for college students” but in the past few years it has become much more than that.  Over 2/3 of Facebooks users are out of college and the fastest growing demographic of users is those 35 years or older.  What does that mean for you?  Well, if you are a college student, you probably have received (or will receive) a friend request from your mom, and if you are a mom, you’re probably feeling like you are missing out on your child’s life.  With 13.9 billion minutes spent on Facebook in April alone, you might have reason to feel like you’re missing something.

There are plenty of guides online for beginners using Facebook. Facebook for Beginners has a good list of guides available online.  If you are looking to do something specific, just type your question into Google and chances are you will find an answer.  I don’t want to regurgitate basic how-to’s that you can find online.  Instead, let me tell you:

  1. How to control privacy settings
  2. How to interact with your kids, nephews, nieces, etc. without feeling like the only adult at a big bar mitzvah party.


Part 1: Privacy Settings

The default privacy settings that you want to take a look at: (1) Profile, (2) Search, and (3) News Feed and Wall.  Of the three, you are probably most worried about your Profile Settings.  This area controls who can see you and what specific people can see about you.  Let’s start there!

1. Profile Privacy

onlyfriends

The default privacy settings for Facebook allow for everyone to see your information.  You probably don’t want this.  Go through and change the drop-down menu to “Only Friends”.  You have to select this for every element of your profile.  Facebook calls this “increased customizability”, I call it “annoying”, but whatever. Make sure to changes the settings for your contact information as well.

Now, what if you only want some of your friends to be able to see your profile?

For example, say you are a professor at a university and don’t want to “reject” friend requests from your students, but don’t want them to be able to see you sunbathing in Puerto Rico.  There are two ways to do this, creating a limited profile, where you choose which friends you don’t want to see your profile, and creating an exclusive friends list, where you choose which friends you do want to see your profile.  I would recommend the latter as if gives you a little added security because you have to consciously choose who gets to see your profile.

Take a look at my screenshot tutorial on How to Create an Exclusive Friends List for step-by-step instructions.  Repeat steps 3-5 for any element of your profile that you want to be private.

Quick Tip: Still unsure whether your profile is actually private?  Test it!  Type a friend’s name next to the “See how a friend sees your profile” box and Facebook will show you how they would see your profile.

2. Search Privacy

Search visibility depends a lot on the purpose of your facebook account.  Take a minute and ask yourself: why am I on facebook?  Through Search Privacy, you can control who can find you in a search.  I often recommend being searchable, just not viewable.  That way, people can find you if they want, but you control what they see.  Here are the settings I suggest:


searchprivacy

1. Unless you want to be invisible, set your Search Visibility to Everyone. Now that your profile is super private, your search visibility doesn’t have to be as strict. 2. Choose your Search Result Content. Your “Search Result Content” is what people see about you when they search for you. A profile picture is useful to distinguish you from other people that share your name. 3. Decide whether you want to be searchable on Google. The last area of Search Privacy, “Public Search Listing” allows Facebook to send a link to your Search Result Content. I recommend this for anyone interested in establishing their personal brand or looking for a job, but otherwise it is probably not necessary.
3. News Feed and Wall

The last section of your privacy settings, News Feed and Wall, gives you some control over what your friends see on their Feed (their Facebook homepage).  I unchecked all of the fields on my account, but it is really your choice.

My Personal Public Service Announcement: As a parent, you should be telling your kids about social media privacy, not vice versa.   13% of teens said they posted naked or semi-naked photos or videos of themselves and 28% of teens posted personal information that they normally would not have revealed in public.  It is your responsibility to know about social media privacy and to inform your children of the dangers of revealing personal information on the internet.

And there you go; your facebook is now guarded against rando stalkers and creepy colleagues!   Congratulations!  Enjoy your new worry-free social network.  Check back next week to learn how to interact with your sons, daughters, nephews, nieces, (weird kids next door, students, god-children, etc.) without appearing like the technologically-challenged older relative.

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August 21, 2009 | Filed Under Post, Uncategorized | 1 Comment 

So now you know why you need to manage your online reputation. As an artist or as a job-seeking individual, future clients and employers are looking and you need to take control of what they see. Let’s look at a few easy things that you can do today to clean up your Facebook profile and avoid missing out on opportunities because of embarrassing content.

chug chug chug chug (Photo Credit: lochnessjess on Flickr)

chug chug chug (lochnessjess on Flickr)

1. Untag any pictures you wouldn’t want your boss seeing.

Be ruthless with this. I don’t want to see any pictures of your first keg stand or the outrageously inappropriate costume you wore for Halloween.

2. Don’t let embarrassing pictures be taken of you in the first place.

If you are thinking to yourself, “I’m going to have to untag this” then maybe you shouldn’t take it in the first place. Also, there should be absolutely no pictures of underage drinking or illegal drug consumption in your profile.

3. Make an exclusive friends list for your pictures.

Most people create a “Limited Profile” list of friends, where they choose who they don’t want to see their pictures and other content. Instead of this, try creating a “Pictures Viewable” list of friends, where you choose who you do want to see your pictures. This reduces the number of random people viewing your content, because you have to consciously choose who gets to see it.

custom

  • Go to your Friends page and “Create New List” titled “Pictures Viewable”.
  • Now click “All Connections” and select the friends you want to see your pictures by clicking “Add to List” and selecting “Pictures Viewable”.
  • Go into your Profile Privacy Settings. Select “Custom” on the drop-down menu next to Photos Tagged of You.
  • Select the bullet “Some Friends” and type in “Pictures Viewable” or whatever you named the group.
  • Uncheck any networks you had selected previously.

Now, in order for people to see your pictures, they must be manually added to this exclusive group.

4. Change your privacy settings.

Facebook, by default, allows almost everyone to see your profile. This is probably, not what you want. Explore the Privacy Settings menu and customize to your liking. In my opinion, the safer the better. Here are my suggestions:

  • Limit your profile visibility to “Only Friends” or something more exclusive.
  • Have your Search visibility set to Everyone, but only allow people who find you in search to see a Profile Picture, link to add you as a friend, and a link to message you.
  • Create a public listing for search engines. You still want people to be able to find you, just not able to stalk you.
5. Don’t forget your profile pictures.

Even once you have created an exclusive friends list for your pictures and untagged any embarrassing photos, you still have to go in and manually delete any profile pictures that you might not want visible. Click directly on your profile pictures to browse through your Profile Pictures Album. Hit Delete Photo for any pictures that don’t meet the same criteria you used to clear up your other photos.

The 9 most frequently searched terms on Google about “facebook privacy” are about breaking into private facebook profiles. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to remove any and all incriminating content. Manage your online presence, take out your digital trash, and enjoy a spotless, searchable reputation.
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August 7, 2009 | Filed Under Post, Uncategorized | 1 Comment 

Have you Googled your name recently? While self-searching might seem a little narcissistic, it is becoming a vital practice in managing your personal brand and cleaning up your online reputation.

According to a survey by Jump Start Social Media:

  • 48% of hiring managers use Facebook, 75% use LinkedIn, and 26% use Twitter to research candidates before making a job offer.

In addition, according to CNN.com:

  • 34% of hiring managers choose not to hire a candidate based on what they find in online profiles.

Managing your online reputation is becoming more and more important, whether you like it or not. Penelope Trunk writes that you do not have to quit your day job to pursue a career in art. To help maintain or obtain that day job, let’s look at some of the things you can do right now to start cleaning up your digital dirt.

1. Start by Googling Yourself

If your employers are going to be googling you, then you should know what they are going to see. This preliminary search will give you an idea of where you stand with your online identity. Is there a lot of embarrassing stuff out there about you? Is there nothing out there about you (this is an equally important problem that I will discuss later)? Set up a Google Alert that will let you know every time a new search result appears with your name.

2. Make a list of your online profiles

facebook profile

Compile a comprehensive list of all your profiles on social networking sites and any other profiles that might come up in a search for your name. The object of managing your personal brand online is not becoming invisible, but rather controlling what future business contacts, employers, and colleagues will see. For profiles and accounts that you do not want to show up in search results, simply use an ambiguous display name and avatar. Use Google to remind yourself of profiles you might have that you forgot about.

3. Clean up your “Big Three”

If hiring managers are looking on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, then you definitely want to be visible in those places.

CNN says that “of the hiring managers who use social networking sites for candidate research, 24 percent said profiles encouraged them to hire the job seekers.”

Being on these sites can give you a leg up against the competition, but only if you are conscious and cautious of the material posted. When considering any social network, keeping in mind that privacy is a precaution, not a solution. If content is online, then it is accessible one way or another.

There is a happy medium between being private and being invisible. If employers search for you and find nothing, then you look sadly out of touch. Check back tomorrow for specific steps to privatizing and cleaning up your Facebook profile.

To get a head start: Untag your keg stand pictures.

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August 6, 2009 | Filed Under Post, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

facebook icon

Social media has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for independent artists looking to promote their events and performances.  An individual artist can significantly increase their audience turnout without using any money by reaching out to the over 250 million active users on Facebook.   These tips will help you start thinking creatively about using Facebook as all the possibilities are still being discovered.

1. Use your fan page

targetthisupdate

Your fan page is like your base of operations.  This is your home on facebook where fans can learn more about you and your upcoming events.  With Facebook fan pages, you are able to “Target Your Update” to a specific area when sending messages.

For example, say you are going on a 5 city tour in New England.  You could send one message to all the states in New England, a different message to each city you are visiting with more specific information, and a general wall post with comprehensive details for your fans to see.  Make sure to follow the 5 Rules for Artists Using Social Media.

Tip: To increase your # of fans, try having a sign-in/sign-up sheet at each of your events so that you can email attendees thanking them for coming and inviting them to become your fan on Facebook.

2. Create friends lists

Facebook allows you to organize your friends into different categories, giving each of them various “tags” that help you more effectively communicate with the people that matter the most.  These are great for maximizing the support of your personal connections.  Organize your friends into different tiers so that you can send them more direct messages.

Facebook makes it insanely easy to quickly invite your 500 friends to an event.  So easy that we are constantly spammed with invites to events we don’t really care about (sorry, I’m just not that interested in your “Meatloaf and Jenga Party”).

Mass inviting guests can be dangerous because your connections that don’t really care will likely ignore you, and your friends that would gladly support you could be insulted that you sent them the “mass invite” instead of something more personal.  To avoid this, create different categories for your friends (ex. frequent supporters, occasional supporters, professional colleagues, etc.) so that your invites and updates can be marketed directly to them.

3. Hold contests before the event

umphrey mcgee's

Umphrey’s Mcgees Lights (TomK. on Flickr)

You want to harness the power of your fans to promote your event.  Word of mouth is viral and will help increase your exposure.  Try offering a weekly prize claimable at your event for fans that do a status update or tweet about your event.  Now your fans become your promotional partners, increasing the likelihood that they will attend and giving you viral publicity for very little cost.

Example: The Umphrey’s McGee held a scavenger hunt at the Rothbury Festival in early July via Twitter, where successful treasure hunters were rewarded with DVDs, keychains, and a hand written note from the band.

4. Collaborate with other artists

Collaborating is a great way not only to meet other artists that share your interests, but also to reach an entirely new audience that might not have known about you.  Try hosting a joint event that both artists promote.  Guest post on each other’s blogs leading up to the event, cross-link to each other’s facebook pages and websites, and feature the other person’s art on your page.

5. Do a daily raffle for free tickets

The week before your event, you want to kick promotion into high gear.  This is the time that people are finalizing their plans and you want to be on their calendars.  Create buzz by having a daily raffle for free tickets (or if it is an unticketed event, give away some other prizes).  This isn’t necessarily to get those ticket winners to come, as discounted tickets decrease attendance, but rather to give a daily reminder about your event and to create an incentive for your fans to tell their friends.

Or try this: Michelle Mangione will be raffling away a free guitar signed by Grace Slick.  To be entered you must sell 10 copies of her recently released CD.  Brilliant.

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July 29, 2009 | Filed Under Post, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

When I say “rapper”, what do you think of? Probably not a preteen girl spittin’ rhymes about how she isn’t ready for a boyfriend yet. This documentary might change that.

PStar (Photo Credit: ewphoto on Flickr)

PStar (Credit: ewphoto on Flickr)

P*Star Rising is a documentary by Gabriel Noble that follows the growth (literally) of a 9-year-old female rapper from Harlem named Priscilla Diaz, stage name: P*Star. While I don’t know if I would have picked a name for a 9-year-old that produces google searches about the adult entertainment industry, I was instantly won over by this little girl’s wittiness and extremely apparent charisma. The film recently premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. Check out the trailer.

We can all learn a few things from P*Star, the artist, and Priscilla Diaz, the girl.

Connections make you or break you. P*Star wasn’t born rapping (although that would be pretty sick). She didn’t get signed by a record label because of her musical genius. She got signed because her father, an ex-rapper from the 80s, knew the right people.

While most of us aren’t lucky enough to be born into families with connections in the field of our choice, we can use social media to forge connections with people that will help advance our career. Start seeking out people on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter that will provide you with an outlet for your work. Maybe it is a museum curator, or a record producer, or an employer. Join the communities that these people are part of and start a conversation. Make a connection by asking questions or establish yourself as competent by answering other people’s questions. The questions can lead to an email, the email to an interview or audition. Most successes don’t come from luck; they come from someone saying “Hey, I know this great person you should hear about.”

You can’t do it alone. There are going to be hard times. Really hard times. I don’t care how strong you are, you can’t believe that you are going to make it without some support system. Whether it is monetary or emotional support, you need someone that will always be stable, because there will be times when everything else is not.

Have an interesting story. The thing I like most about P*Star is that she has a story. She grew up in poverty with a heroine-addicted mother and cocaine-selling father. Her father cleaned up his act and took her in, teaching her how to rap. She had her first gig when she was 6, was signed to a record contract at 10, and now has a leading role on PBS’s revival of The Electric Company. Find some things, or a series of things that make people go, “Cool!

Originally published on StillIndie.com

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July 16, 2009 | Filed Under Post, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment