Skillshare is another resource to add to your portfolio if you occasionally have a need to upgrade your skills or the skills of your employees. Click on the link above to watch a video (in a new window) of an interview that one of the co-founders of this organization (formed about a year ago) gave to TechCrunch.
While the program is not in a position (yet) to offer certifications or degree programs and does not qualify for Federal student loans, it has a lot of potential for corporate and individual training programs, casual learning, and learning "for fun."
Classes can be taught in person or online (most are in-person), and anyone can sign up to be a teacher. That last part is not as terrifying as it sounds, because the founders are committed to providing both quality resources for teachers and quality training for students, so the company will help you get ready for your first class or upgrade your teaching skills. The teachers set the price of the tuition, and a very reasonable 15% of what is earned goes to Skilllshare (to help keep the site running).
A list of the feature is HERE, and a list of current classes by city is HERE (or you can just choose "all cities" to get an idea of the types of courses that are being offered). If you already have skills and want to share them, you'll notice that some of the courses are needing teachers. If you don't see one that suits you, you might consider posting your own.
It's a very interesting idea, and I'm going to enjoy watching it's progress. If you decide to take a course (or teach one), I hope you'll share your experience.
Apparently, there are a few HR departments out there (including a few state agencies) which are asking employees and employment applicants to provide the passwords to their social networking profiles on Facebook or other social networks. The reason given is that this is both an inexpensive way to do a background check on a potential hiree, and a way to keep tabs on current employees' communication.
The public outcry about this focuses on employee privacy. It is a privacy violation, but that's not the biggest problem. The main issue here that any human resources manager who would think it's a good idea to log in to employees' or potential employees' private social networking files - then keep a log of those passwords - is setting his or her company up for a massive lawsuit and/or public relations disaster.
As Cindy Krischer Goodman points out on The Work/Life Balancing Act, by accessing private data employees might not normally share with an employer, the employer can make itself vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits.
On a more practical level, if someone's profile is hacked - even if it's by a phishing scammer - that person is going to automatically suspect anyone who has the password to his or her profile. Would you want your human resources office to be constantly on the defensive against accusations of hacking into people's Facebook accounts, for example, and spamming their entire contacts list (a common occurrence on the popular social networks)? Of course not.
For those who have not been in the corporate workforce in a while, no, employers do not typically want your passwords. Generally, there are policies that prohibit sharing of any passwords - even the ones used internally for company-owned software programs. No respectable employer who understands social media would require you to give your password to any of your private accounts.
Meanwhile, if you are asked by your employer or a potential employer to provide your password to any of your private (not company-related) profiles, what can you do? Here are some options.
1) If this is a potential employer, consider whether or not you actually want to work for someone who would require this from you? Maybe this is a good time to just say, "no" and walk away.
2) If you really need the job (or need to keep the job), consider setting up dummy profiles just for this purpose, and give those passwords to the employer. If you do this, make your "real" profiles visible only to your close friends and family while you are working there.
When I was in school, I remember being told by advertising experts that "any publicity is good publicity." Perhaps in some industries, this is (or was) true. I remember Jerry Falwell galvanized what he referred to as the "moral majority," primarily by making statements that drew negative attention from the press, and some politicians and political pundits still seem to live by this principle.
Those not involved in social movements or politics, however, might want to re-think this old adage in the age of the internet - where good and bad publicity really never dies, thanks to the search engine caches.
When people are thinking of making a significant purchase, they tend to Google the product to see what people are saying. If the search engine results return a lot of bad publicity, it is likely the customers will keep shopping - fair or not. Recently a local young woman was in a dispute with her former mother-in-law. When the young woman was not where she was expected to be for a visitation appointment, the mother-in-law used her influence with local law enforcement authorities, and managed to have an Amber Alert placed on the mother. The mother and children were soon "found," perhaps because they weren't hiding, but that young mother may have a bit of explaining to do each and every time she applies for a job or considers dating someone....perhaps for the rest of her life. Amber Alerts rank pretty highly on the search engines, and when anyone enters her name into the search engines, they are likely to see her name, her photo, and her children's names and photos before they really see anything else. I'm sure this isn't the type of attention she was wanting.
So what does this mean for your website and your blog? Some folks still think that generating a little controversy is a good way to attract free media attention, or internet publicity. Maybe this will work, but it could "blow up" on them in the wrong way. Remember, whatever happens online will not just be on the six o'clock news, then be forgotten. What happens on the internet truly does stay on the internet - forever. Make sure it's something you're still going to be proud to read a few years from now.
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SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Profile Management |
Mashable had a great post over the weekend, listing the factors that make a tweet credible, according to researchers from Microsoft and Carnegie Mellon University. The data seems to confirm what we discussed last week pertaining to networking and reciprocation, regarding the idea that there is a trend away from "following" or subscribing to a bunch of people online just to grow a network. According to this study, this practice can actually be a detriment to perceived credibility, at least according to this study.
So what does work?
According to this same study, it appears some of the old-fashioned methods of gaining credibility may be seen as more valuable, especially in their fancy new "new media" clothes.
At the top of the list of items which increase one's perceived credibility online are peer review and demonstrating that you are a subject matter expert in your field, along with backing your data with credible references. These concepts have always been important in the fields of academia, literature, science, and journalism - whether in print or online. Increasingly, they are finding their place into new media, and (at least indirectly) into the search engines, which are an important lifeline for young researchers.
Which brings us back to your website, your blog, and your social networks? How can you increase your online credibility?
1) Network with other industry experts. Link to their quality content when it makes sense to do so.
2) Establish yourself as an expert in your industry by being the go-to place in your market niche.
3) Make sure the sources you link to are high-quality credible ones.
4) Be current in your delivery, but make sure your grammar is correct and your graphics are professional
What are the ways the people you follow online convinced you that they are credible?
In this ever-changing world of social media, it's important to keep up with what the "cool kids" are doing online. Or are the "cool kids" spelling that with a "k," now, as in "Kool Kids?" I don't think we're supposed to call them "groovy" anymore, but I have noticed a resurgence in the term "hipsters," thanks to the occupy-everything movements.
Well, whatever you want to call them, it's a good idea to keep up with the techniques that work. Back in the good ol' days (circa 2009-2010), it was considered rude or in bad form online to simply use a social networking profile as another one-way broadcast medium. Only huge corporations with established name recognition like Coca-Cola or people who were just impossibly cool like Hollywood stars could get away with having gazillions of followers or friends and not really following anyone back.
However, as people tried to gain name recognition by "mutually following" everyone on the web, they found that their networks became full of people who were doing the exact same thing, and no one was really getting a lot of benefit out of it anymore.
So what is the purpose of your social network? Is it to drive traffic and links back to your blog? Is it to target your prospective customers, and give them a convenient way to communicate with you? Is it to actually develop a meaningful relationship with old friends from school? Is it to build your online reputation so a Google search for your name returns positive results in your current job search?
As you can imagine, the people you will want to include in your network will be different depending on your primary reason for social networking. If your only goal is blog traffic and links, then probably the old method of gaining as many followers as possible will work for you. If you are trying to build direct communication with your potential customer or client base, you might want to limit your "mutual" following to people in that demographic. If you're social network exists for personal reasons, you might want to increase your privacy settings, and network only with people you know personally. If you're wanting your online profile to look great in a job search, you'll need to maintain a public profile, and be very careful about what photos and comments you let those old friends from high school tag you in ;-)
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SEO/SMO/SMM , Online Profile Management |
Ars Technica has confirmed what a lot of us have suspected for a long time, that Facebook photos may never be truly "deleted" from Facebook's servers. That's the bad news.
The good news is that unless you're famous enough (or infamous) enough that people are actually linking to your Facebook photos from their e-mail or other places on the web, it is unlikely that anyone will see those "deleted" photos. It's also good news that as of this time, they can't be searched by your name. Finally, you may be relieved to know that this primarily applies to photos on Facebook - not comments or posts on Facebook.
So, how would the photos be found? By the image file (ending in .jpg) that is associated with that photo. You can find the link to the image file for just about any photo on the web by right-clicking on the photo, then selecting "properties," or "image properties," as your browser allows. Although it's a little more tedious, you can also find the link by clicking "view" at the top of your browser, then "source," then scrolling through to find the image file you're looking for.
With that image file address, it is possible to view images that may have been deleted from the site they were originally posted on - until the images are finally deleted from the server. Apparently, Facebook is not highly motivated to purge these old deleted files at this time (and why would they? Remember who their paying customers are).
Bottom line? This is a good time for a reminder not to post ANYTHING on the web you wouldn't want everyone in the world to see - including your family, friends, and potential customers or clients. Even if you have second thoughts and delete the content, you never know what that stuff could come back to haunt you.