Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/marybiev/public_html/wp-content/themes/StandardTheme_274/admin/functions.php on line 229
Social Media | Mary Biever | One Writing Mother
Archive - Social Media RSS Feed

4 Success Tips for Social Scholarship Hunts

Parents of college students looking for college scholarships must become socially savvy, if they aren’t already.  In the old movie Spencer’s Mountain (Henry Fonda and Maureen O’Hara starred in this movie by Earl Hamner, writer of the Waltons), they try to find a way for their oldest son Clay Boy to go to college. In order for him to qualify for a scholarship, he has to learn Latin quickly.

Last year, KFC Scholars gave away a $20,000 scholarship in a Twitter contest, to a student who won with a single Tweet.

Colleges and scholarship committees routinely do social media background checks to ensure top applicants’ presence online matches the carefully crafted applications, essays, and interviews.

New century, new skills. If you want an edge up on scholarship hunts, you and your teen need to learn to use social media pronto. And I don’t just mean how to post a status and a picture. It’s knowing what to post and how to post. And knowing what not to post. Social savvy is like the vitamin supplement to a scholarship search.

Basic tips to get started:

  1. Google search news alert is your friend. This lets you receive regular emails for any new online sites that mention a name or phrase.
  2. Makeovers aren’t just for homes or fashion. A teen who has been online since age 13 may need to do some spring cleaning of old information. I help business people package themselves online and sometimes help teens as well. Sometimes, it’s a matter of learning best practices.
  3. Twitter is your ally. With the hash tag #CollegeChat, I have learned countless tips this year to help me better help my daughter with scholarship applications.
  4. Colleges are already here. Colleges are watching what students post and Tweet. They are inviting applicants and incoming freshmen to join Facebook groups. Some are creating parent groups as well. Some are friending incoming freshmen.  This is an opportunity for students and their families to distinguish themselves from the pack with constructive posts and the ability to ask good questions.

In Spencer’s Mountain, Clay Boy learns Latin, wins the scholarship, and goes to college. Of course, he later goes on to become a writer of hit movies and TV series.

For me, my teens are at the beginning of their scholarship and college journeys. I don’t know what the ending will be. But I do know that savvy use of social media is a tool in their college prep arsenal to give them their best chance at a better education.


6 Ways to Succeed at Pinterest With a Little Bit of Trying

Pinterest can be a great tool to gather new ideas from your friends and inspire one another.  If you are new to Pinterest, here are steps to follow to make it work for you.

  1. Content first, numbers second. When people start on Facebook, Google Plus, or Twitter, they may at first worry about how many are following them and who they are following. Don’t. Follow great people who share great stuff and then you share it.  The more good stuff you share, the more others interested in your areas will find you and follow you.
  2. Make your boards. Then pin cool things on them. Create boards with clearly specific titles on them of things that interest you. Then fill them.
  3. Put great photos on your web pages and blogs. This is the number one most important note for web designers and bloggers. The picture on the page is the new king – make it big enough and interesting enough to grab attention on Pinterest when you share anything from a home tip to a recipe. (Note to photographers and digital artists – Pinterest is a prime time business opportunity.)
  4. A hard sell will fail. People go to Pinterest to glean ideas. If you post a hard sell that teaches me nothing, I will not not follow and will not share it.
  5. Check your snarkiness at the door. The people I see on Pinterest are interested in constructive pins that build communities and help others. I’ve seen a few try to lower the Pinterest tone with mean boards that make fun of things; this is the wrong platform for that. Tweet your snarky frustrations instead of pinning them.
  6. Don’t just sit there – pin something. The best way to learn to use Pinterest is to jump in and start pinning.  If you start a Pinterest and create no boards and post nothing, it looks like the person who starts Twitter and never tweets.

The first hour I was on Pinterest, I had the same gut instinct I felt 17 years ago, when I was working in a maternity/baby store, and we unpacked our first shipment of Beanie Babies to put on the shelves. I immediately told my husband those ducks and everythiing else would be the biggest thing since pet rocks. Now, I wish I had bought very one of those first shipments that day.

What strikes me about Pinterest is that women I know who have Facebook accounts but rarely if ever share anything are pinning their hopes and dreams on boards on Pinterest and inspiring their friends to do the same.  A pin at a time, they are socially sharing their dreams and ideas.

Stopping Jerry Springer Syndrome in Social Media

Social media that inspires people and builds communities must be on guard not to fall into a Gotcha Social Media trap.

Social media can be a fantastic venue by which we can shed light on customer service problems quickly. However, it also runs the risk of thoughtless, tweet on the impulse rants that can go viral and don’t give people a first chance to fix mistakes without public humiliation or virtual lynching.

Two weeks ago, when I was angry about a horrid dressing room experience, I wrote a livid blog that roasted the company involved. Leveler heads than my own, especially that of my husband, told me to NOT post the company’s name but give them a chance to fix the problem. So I wrote my blog without mentioning the company, went through corporate channels, and watched to see what would happen. And I chomped at the bit, wanting to do more.

Through my blog, awareness of dressing room safety was raised. The company involved sent national representatives into the store with the problem and fixed them. If the solution works, they will broaden what they have tried here and expand it nationally.

Bottom line? A problem was addressed and fixed without my publicly crucifying the company and turning loose a virtual lynch mob where every socially conscious social media expert jumps on the bandwagon, retweets and shares the incident so we can “make” the company fix it.

So now corporate America knows the effects of gotcha social media. We who are on social media must guard ourselves and our keyboards so we don’t devolve into a Jerry Springer studio audience lynch mob where we yell “fight! fight! fight!” whenever there is an injustice in this world. Sometimes, it’s ok to keep our social powder dry until we determine whether or not we really need to use it.

As the mother of teenagers, I have another worry about gotcha social media. In the past week, we’ve seen what happened when a teen-aged cashier put something racist, offensive, and inappropriate on a restaurant receipt. It went viral, went global, the teen got fired, and the restaurant went into major damage control.

As the mom of 2 teenagers and the friend of others, I worry about what happens to a teen who makes a stupid mistake and does the wrong thing. I’m an adult and I still do wrong, stupid things sometimes. Instead of crucifying the kid who does something wrong, would it sometimes not be more constructive to make it a teachable moment and give a second chance?

It’s easy as someone who can instantly communicate with thousands of people with a single tweet, Facebook status, blog, or pin on a corkboard to air what is wrong with our world.  In the process we might just wreck a life and dismiss it as collateral damage, done as a testament to our new power with social media.

But I wonder – should we find a way to think twice and try to work within the system and work to preserve the dignity of those involved, including those who wronged us, before we rant in front of the whole planet?

Would it hurt us to work a little harder to err on the side of mercy? Isn’t that what the song “Give Peace a Chance” was supposed to mean?

Pinterest = Next Generation Social Sharing

As Mark Zuckerberg changed the rules and interface of his Facebook playground, he opened the door to the next generation of social sharing – beyond faces to things and ideas showcased on new platforms like Flipboard and Pinterest.

Why and What has happened to shift the direction of social media?

There’s a limited amount of time we can spend talking about ourselves and other people before we want more. We want to talk about things we enjoy and ideas we like.  The newer platforms fill this new interest.

Pinterest has created a virtual niche that people – women in particular – can embrace. I like trying new things for dinner or organizing something better. Now, instead of swapping a recipe at the office or over the back yard fence, I can see a pin on my friend’s board – or someone else’s – and if it fits me, I can repin it and share it with my own friends.

I’ve had an address book for almost 30 years and have relied on it. Now, the role of that address book has been supplanted by my phone contacts, Facebook, and LinkedIn worlds. I especially love how Facebook can link with my phone contacts so if I click on your picture, I can call, text, email, or Facebook you instantly.

However. No 2 women ever stood over a backyard fence comparing one another’s address books. The constant changing of the Facebook’s interface accelerated the interest in a different media.  Pinterest is user friendly and offers a quick start, letting me immediately watch the boards of my Facebook friends or Tweeps.

Instead of a linear list of statuses, I see cool pictures of the things that interest me the most. In my case, that involves recipes, some home decor, and home organization plus fitness info and inspiration. If you love photography or travel, you can create your own clipboard of what you love. So instead of telling what I love, I show what I love and learn more about it at the same time.

I’ll still keep my address book, Facebook, LinkedIn et al. Pinterest can’t replace those tools.  It wasn’t meant to. Instead, it takes social sharing to a new level, the new trend.

This is the beginning of the shift of social media to more sharing. If you want to do social media well in the next generation, you’ll need to bump it up a notch – a little less name dropping and personal branding and a little more sharing of content of value with a great picture attached.

I just read several leading gurus who all talked of how Google Plus will become the flavor to taste for 2012. I disagree. It’s a reworked retread of what we already have, wrapped in multicolor analytics with a Google search time bomb for a ribbon.

The real new trend will instead be social sharing that teaches and delights – by way of things and ideas more than people.

The Peekaboo Fake Facebook Security Tip – Why It Doesn’t Work

If you see the following status on Facebook, be on guard. Not only does this lack merit – I list 3 problems with it - it increases your security risk on Facebook:

With the new ‘FB timeline’ on its way this week for EVERYONE…please do both of us a solid favor: Hover over my name above. In a few seconds you’ll see a box that says “Subscribed.” Hover over that, then in the box that appears, scroll down to bottom where it says “unsubscribe”. That will stop my posts and yours to me from showing up on the side bar for everyone to see, but MOST IMPORTANTLY it LIMITS HACKERS from invading our profiles. If you re-post this I will do the same for you. You’ll know I’ve acknowledged you because if you tell me that you’ve done it I’ll ‘like’ it. Thanks

Another version of this includes to unsubscribe from comments and likes. Problems and then the major security risk this causes:

  1. Subscribing just impacts your news feed. If you unsubscribe from someone’s page, all that does is remove that person’s information from your news feed. If you remove the comments and likes, you’ll remove the information from your news ticker. It in no way restricts your own information. It in no way restricts the information from the person whose page you just unsubscribed. You can still view that person’s Facebook profile as you would had you never unsubscribed. That person will still be able to see your Facebook profile as before you unsubscribed.
  2. Unsubscribing like this gives a false sense of security. Following this tip, which does nothing whatsoever to improve security, can give a profile user a false sense of security which could result in that person not following the real, effective steps in protecting Facebook privacy.
  3. Mobile doesn’t show the ticker.  With the increased number of people using Facebook via mobile, the new news ticker isn’t visible. So those who unsubscribe from likes and subscribes are doing steps which impact fewer actual Facebook users.

Often, young children play peekaboo and cover their eyes. Just because they cover their eyes doesn’t make the world disappear. They just don’t see it. This unsubscribe tactic does the same thing.

Finally, the biggest problem/risk with this. I know most of my neighbors and chat with them. I keep an eye on their house, just as they do on mine. What if I went to my friends and neighbors and asked them,

“Please do me a favor. When you drive down my street, don’t ever look in my driveway and see whether or not our cars are parked there. That will stop you from seeing my car and MOST IMPORTANTLY will LIMIT THIEVES who want to break into my house.”

If I publicly post this on my property, who is going to honor my request? The bad guys? Or only my friends who were never a risk in the first place?

If my friends and neighbors don’t glance at my house when they happen to be driving by it, will that improve my home security? No! It just means they won’t notice if I’m not around and someone does break in.

If I get my Facebook friends to unsubscribe from my posts, or my comments or likes, isn’t that comparable? What if I’m not on Facebook for while and my profile is hacked? If I’m hacked and my most trusted friends and neighbors aren’t keeping an eye on my profile via the news ticker and I’m not available, won’t it take longer for me to find out it happened?

Why would I remove my first line of defense in home security or Facebook privacy and tell everyone I’m removing it? You shouldn’t either.


The Whos and Whats of Facebook Timeline Security

Who and What are the keys to Facebook security with Timeline. How do you work with Whos and Whats to share information but protect yourself from harm?

  • WHO. Your first line of defense is who you share your information with. Check your privacy settings – if you are sharing something with Everyone, Global, or Public, then you are saying that information is available to any of the other 800 million Facebook users on Earth, which is 1 of every 13 people on the planet. Then, think carefully about who you accept as friends. If you need to accept certain people as friends for business reasons but are uncomfortable sharing your information with them, then put them on a restricted status. Another new option for Facebook friends is to put someone in the acquaintance group. Then set your privacy settings to restrict what acquaintances can see. Be sure to do the same with your photo albums. Check your privacy settings every month to make sure they reflect the privacy level you prefer. If you tag people in a photo, are tagged in a photo, or tag or are tagged in a Facebook status, then that photo or information is then available to the friends of everyone who was tagged. If you’re uncomfortable with that, then untag yourself.  Basic rule: Sharing means sharing – if you don’t share information with someone, that person can’t use it against you.
  • WHAT. There is no rule that says you must share everything on Facebook. In the questions in the about section, you don’t have to answer all the questions. Choose carefully what you share. If you don’t share it, it’s less likely to be made public. If you have certain information you use in making password selections, don’t share that information on Facebook. Review your old posts and information. If you don’t want them easily accessible, delete them. Yes, right now you have to delete them one at a time – just like you posted them one at a time over time.

Finally, we need to understand what Subscribe means. Today I’ve seen Facebook posts asking friends to unsubscribe from their feed. If you unsubscribe from someone’s newsfeed, all that means is that person’s status updates will no longer show in your Facebook news feed. If you ask your friends to unsubscribe from your news feed, you are simply asking them to no longer see your status updates in THEIR news feeds.  I have not yet discovered a way this reduces the risks of others hacking into your Facebook page.  If someone unsubscribes to your news feed, that person can still access your Facebook page.

The only way I can see unsubscribing increasing security is with mobile devices. If I lose my phone and someone steals it, the thief could look at my news feed and glean information. If you are unsubscribed, the thief would not see your information in my news feed. However, an enterprising thief could still go through my friends on my phone and glean information one at a time.

My caution with the lists of friends is to be careful what you post in the first place. Someone may be placed in the wrong group. You may share your information with the wrong set of friends. The former Congressman Weiner learned last year what happens when you confuse private postings in social media with public ones.

My blog How to Lock Down Your Facebook Privacy Settings will take you step by step through protecting your Facebook privacy.

Bottom line: be careful who your friends are and what you share. It’s the same on Facebook as it is in real life. There is no quick one click fix to social security – on Facebook or real life.  Just think before you share.


Parents of College Applicants and Facebook

This is my first venture watching my daughter apply to colleges and hunt for scholarships. Five of the 6 colleges she’s applied to have responded and accepted her, some with scholarship offers.  While we’re waiting on word from number 6, I brace myself for the daily mail bombardment.   Most of the mail is directed to her, but some of it is for us, with more information about the colleges.

One school has a terribly convenient feature – my daughter was invited to a closed Facebook group for her freshman class, and I was invited to a closed Facebook group for parents of new freshmen. Over 300 parents are in my group, which also includes members of the colleges admissions staff and others.

Parents can post where their kids are from and ask questions about the campus. We compare notes on which programs our kids applied to, and more. If we ask a question about scholarships or other campus info, one of the colleges representatives answers the questions within 24 hours.

The list is rather active, but I’m learning a lot about the college and getting a different perspective beyond what I normally would.

It must be uncomfortable at times for the university. Scholarships are beginning to be awarded, and from the postings of parents, I have a good feel for which colleges have begun awarding scholarships.

As a parent, I like the university’s willingness to take a risk and empower parents and future students to learn more about their potential college.

Social media’s not just for college students any more. Sometimes, it’s for their parents.

Frictionless Sharing in the Bathroom

If the Family Bathroom had an app to post onto a newsfeed of frictionless sharing….

(Mom read on the newsfeed that Johnny used Ax and yelled at him because it stinks. Susie stepped in the bathroom and screamed because the smell of Ax makes her stop breathing.)

(Mom stepped in the bathroom and nearly stopped breathing because of the smell of Matterhorn mixed with Ax. She said nothing because Dad wants to be as cool as the Old Spice Guy.)

If you wondered what Frictionless Sharing is, here’s an extreme example. You sign up for an app for something you do – like listen to music, watch a movie, or read news articles. After your sign up, it will appear in your Facebook news feed. If your friends want to see more information about the specifics of that song, article, or movie, they must sign up to use the app too so their information is included in frictionless sharing.

I am transparent and do share things I read, see, watch, and do along with places visited. However, I practice intentional sharing. I say what, I say when, and I say how much is shared. Instead of sharing everything, I share that which is remarkable.

My problem with frictionless sharing is that it reduces the likelihood that I will think about what I share. So I will share too much. And I will share so much that no one cares.

Apply that to Facebook friend math. If the average Facebook user has 130 friends and 50 friends opt in for frictionless sharing, it’s going to look like Farmville gone viral in hell. When an app starts posting frictionless sharing information now, I block all posts from that app.

I don’t care what happens in your bathroom as I’m too busy taking care of the bathroom dramas in my own home.

Too much frictionless sharing will lead to a massive information dump which might work well with a Bathroom App.

(note – all links for products in this blog are Amazon affiliate links. Do you think that frictionless sharing just might look like an overdone commercial?)

Facebook Gone Bad; What Block, Restrict, and Hide Do and Mean

It’s hard to do, but a key survival rule in the Facebook jungle is to not get tangled in the swamplands. Don’t take things personally. There are times we need to know some ways to protect ourselves and to understand when others have restricted their access as well. Here are 3 ways:

Block – If you block someone, that person cannot find your profile in search, cannot see your wall, cannot see you tagged in a photo, and cannot see our comments. It is as if you do not exist. If you have a mutual friend, you may see that person in a photograph, but the person’s name will not be tagged. If you block someone and later rethink that decision, consider carefully before unblocking. Facebook will not allow you to reblock that person for 48 hours. There are people I block, and I am sure others have blocked me. That’s their choice – I’m fine with that.  The key is to not take it personally. To block someone, click on the drop down arrow in the upper right corner, Privacy Settings, and then Blocked People and Apps. This is where you type in the person’s name or email to block.

Restrict – In your smart list on the left of your Home page, there is a list called Restricted. If you have a friend you need to keep as a friend for business reasons, but you don’t want that friend to have access to all your information, then click on that restricted list. In the upper right hand corner, click on Manage List, Add Members. Add that friend to the list. After you do so, that person will still be your friend. However, the only parts of your wall’s information that will be visible are posts you make global, or public. (I don’t recommend public posts on Facebook because once you do a public post it’s easy to not reset it so all future posts are public instead of restricted to friends.) There are people on my restricted list for varied and personal reasons. There are also “friends” who have opted to restrict my access to their walls. That’s their right. It gets awkward when it was one way and they later restrict it and I realize it. The key is to not take it personally.

Hide – Some of my friends are hot heads who enjoy more drama in their lives than I do in my middle-aged years. I go to Facebook to connect and build communities. If someone continually starts fights or is angry, I will most likely hide (or unsubscribe) from that friend’s updates. We can still be friends. My friend will never know the news feed is hidden. But I can enjoy my morning coffee without a heaping spoonful of angry ranting stirred into it.

You can choose who to invite into your own home. Same for who you invite into your social media world.

Yes, Your Small Business Does Need Social Media

I thought I was sitting in a lunch from 2005 as the business person next to me began, “I’m the only business owner in my national franchise who refuses to do social media. It’s a total waste of money.”

After I listened to him expound the shallow waste of Facebook et all social media a few minutes, I asked him, “Do you know what I do for a living?”


“I work with small businesses, with their social media, their websites, and their blogs to build them businesses to grow their customer bases. Helping businesses grow by way of Facebook is how I make my living.”

End of conversation. I didn’t expect that conversation at the end of 2011. We were at a social function where I could not share what I know and what I see:

  1. With our own marketing business, if we had not embraced social media 5 years ago, I do not believe we would be in existence today. It’s a key method by which we build stronger and deeper relationships with our out-of-state clients.
  2. Facebook shares provide over 1/3 of the traffic to my website. Twitter, Google, and LinkedIn combine to direct even more traffic there. With my blog, Facebook is the primary route by which my blog attracts new readers.
  3. Most of the new business opportunities I’ve enjoyed in the past 2 years are the direct result of my work on social media.
That doesn’t mean slapping together a Facebook business page, posting on it for a few weeks and then getting bored and quitting. It means developing a strategic plan of consistent engagement which integrates blogging, the web, and social media. It can include video, a mobile app and email strategies as well.  Often, this is more than a sole business entrepreneur can handle, and they delegate parts of their marketing to other people.
That doesn’t mean slapping together a Facebook business page that is as annoying as the TV furniture/car commercials I mute and walk out of the room. It means finding a way by which your company can interact with your target market – with words and images that connect with people.
The good news is social media marketing is measurable. It’s possible to determine which times and approaches generate the best business sales.
Page 2 of 9«12345»...Last »