Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

Sharing Email and Facebook Passwords – Way of the Future?

January 19, 2012 1 comment

Crazy kids. The New York Times reported that many teenagers are sharing passwords to their email and Facebook accounts as a sign of affection. It’s the ultimate show of trust when a young couple reads each other’s emails and text messages. Aww. The article goes on to compare this to teen sex, because both are discouraged by parents.

And because a penis and an email are like the same thing.

Seriously, this got me thinking about the bigger implications of privacy on the Web, and the difference in adults’ and kids’ attitudes toward sharing everything, including passwords. Adults may think that password sharing is verboten because:

1) the Web was once a place where you could communicate privately, sometimes anonymously. Remember those snarky comments you used to be able to make in 2002?

2) we’re accustomed to secure passwords in the workplace requiring at least 8 letters and a special character. Sometimes this is so secure that we have to write it down on a Post-It.

3) we make purchases and manage our bank accounts online.

While we still conduct a lot of business online, the Internet is no longer the private space it used to be, thanks to Google and sites like Facebook that require people to use their real names. Try registering on a new site, and you’re hit with the Open Graph, which asks you to sign in with your Facebook account, thereby sharing all your activities and comments on that site with your mother-in-law.

Kids may not think sharing passwords to email is such a big deal because they don’t use email much anyway, preferring IMs and social media. I remember once when I tried to interview a teenager for an article, he didn’t reply to my email for two weeks. When he finally responded, he asked me to message him on YouTube instead, where he was active every day.

Kids think email is for old people, and their posts in social media are public. So really, where’s the harm in sharing a password with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Especially if the messages are anything like, “OMG, did you see what Derek and Lisa did today? They are sooo cute!”

Or: “I’ve gotten my mom addicted to Fruit Ninja. My plan is all coming together now; I expect a new iPhone very soon.” (This is a real post by a girl from Albany, Calif. Not sure if she shares passwords with her mom.)

Most adults think passwords should be kept secret. But teenagers, and the evolving trends in social media, not to mention the dumb mistakes that public figures make—Oops, did I just Tweet that naked picture to all my voters?—are showing that privacy on the Web is a thing of the past. Perhaps now, instead of Elaine from Seinfeld wondering if a guy is “sponge-worthy,” she would question if he’s “password-worthy.”

In the end, if a relationship sours, you can always change the password—and then share it with your next love interest.




Share and Listen in Social Media

It takes just a few minutes to create a page on Facebook or Google+, but it takes a lot more time and effort to succeed in social media. Once you have your pages set up, how do you engage audiences? What content do you provide?

Let’s say that you are a fledgling pizzeria in Seattle, and you want to drum up more business. Here’s what I would suggest.

Promote – This is a no-brainer. Whet people’s appetites by posting some close-up photos of your pizzas. Get them drooling over your cheesy slices. Or post a fun image of a guy throwing dough into the air.

Ask Questions – People love giving their opinions. Ask questions, such as what’s your favorite pizza topping? Do they like mushrooms, pepperoni or pineapple? What’s your favorite kind of beer? Asking questions is a great way to crowd-source and get ideas for new menu items.

engaging audiences in social mediaListen – The greatest aspect of social media is that it allows you to have conversations and build relationships. Once you post a comment or pose a question, be prepared to listen and respond. People appreciate it when the response is left promptly.

Share Related Stories – Share links to interesting stories that relate to your business. Is there a story about how cheese is made? Is there a story about how to keep fit and eat pizza once in a while?

Share Stories that are Local – If you live in Seattle, talk about the Mariners, Bumbershoot, or how it doesn’t rain nearly as much as everyone thinks it does. You’re not just about pizza, and people will feel more connected to you as a person.

Share Stories about Other Businesses – That’s right, other businesses. Don’t be afraid of driving people to your competition. Your customers can’t live on pizza alone, and they will remember you if you shared a recommendation of your favorite seafood restaurant or ice cream parlor.

Offer Coupons for Loyal Followers – Try offering a coupon–say 10%–for those customers who come in through social media. If you’re skeptical of coupons or can’t afford to give a discount to everyone, start with a service like Foursquare. You can offer a free beer for three check-ins, rewarding your most loyal customers.

All of this takes time. Whatever your role, you are most likely busy with your day-to-day tasks. Share the social media responsibilities if you can. Get more people in your business involved to strengthen your social media presence. Zappos, for example, encourages all of its employees to Tweet. This allows them not only to engage more customers, but to keep its staff more engaged with each other. A team like that leads to better business.

Facebook Tutorial – Usernames for Facebook Pages

April 20, 2011 1 comment

Every once in a while, I see an ad that instructs people to go to Facebook and search for blah, blah, blah.

There’s a much better way to promote your business on Facebook: usernames. Usernames for your Facebook page allows you to promote a short and memorable URL. For example, the New York Times has a page at Microsoft has theirs on This eliminates a much longer address that includes a 10-digit number that identifies your page. The Facebook username makes it easy to promote your company on business cards, ads, or by word of mouth.

How to Get a Facebook Username

  1. If you are a page administrator, sign into Facebook and go to your organization’s page.


  2. Click the “Edit Page” button near the top right corner.
    facebook edit page


  3. Click “Basic Information” on the left. Then click “Create a username for this page.”
    facebook create username


  4. Follow the prompts and enter a desired username. You can have the username if it’s not already taken by someone else.

Tips on Choosing a Facebook Username

  1. Facebook usernames cannot be changed once they’re set. Dicuss with your team and pick a name that best represents your organization.


  2. Choose a name that’s easy for people to remember and type.


  3. Be very careful when setting the username. If you mispell it, and confirm the name, you cannot undo the typo.


  4. For more information on usernames, visit the Help Center on Facebook.

Apple’s Facebook Username Fail
When the usernames were first offered by Facebook, there was a mad dash by companies and individuals. Microsoft, New York Times, Gap, etc. have all secured their usernames. I was able to get mine for my personal page at One company however, completely failed in the username game: Apple. is owned by a Chinese girl who looks to be about 7 years old. Apple had to settle for a longer username:

Apple Facebook Fail


Increase in QR code response

April 13, 2011 2 comments

Along with the jump in mobile web traffic, I’ve noticed an increase in response to QR code advertising from January to March 2011. QR codes are black and white codes that can be scanned by smartphones to bring up a website. As you can see from these graphs, the increase in response from month to month is significant.

Visits to my org’s website through QR code 1
qr code response increase

Visits to my org’s website through QR code 2
qr code increase

Background Info: In January, my org put out 3 ads that incorporated QR codes in Dallas and Cleveland. By February 1, we had 12 QR codes running in ads in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and New York, in addition to Dallas and Cleveland. But from February to March, there was no difference in the number of ads that showed QR codes. In fact, our ads stayed the same in all markets.

So I wonder if the jump that we see from February to March can be attributed to the fact that QR codes are becoming more visible in billboards and magazines, and more people are taking notice of them.