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Mary Biever | One Writing Mother | Tag Archive | Facebook
Tag Archive - Facebook

Spawn Day?

As soon as I read what my teen had written as a birthday greeting on a friend’s Facebook wall, I nearly collapsed to the floor in a combo grand mal seizure/stroke.

“Happy spawn day.”

Where did he come up with this? What was he thinking? Then the dreaded:

What will other parents think when THEY read what MY kid wrote on Facebook?

I dashed to the intercom and paged Richard, “Get here right NOW!! Emergency!”

He raced up the stairs to find out what catastrophe had struck. “Look at that post! Talk to your son right now and get him to delete it. I can’t talk to him about spawning!”

He read it and told me, “Spawn means something different to a gamer. In video games, when you get a new life, it’s a spawn day. The status if fine. I’m not talking to him.”

So it ended. I resigned myself that all the other parents who know nothing about gaming would congratulate themselves that they were doing a better parenting job than the Bievers.

But then I got to thinking.

Don’t we want spawn days in life? If a spawn day is like a second chance day, then I’m glad to get them when I can. Maybe I can’t undo every mistake of the past.  Consequences last a lifetime.

However, I can forgive the problems of the past and make peace with them and spawn a new outlook in the present. Even if the same problems hit that have hit hundreds of times before, I can resolve to look at and repond to them differently.

When I change me and make who I am right now more giving and forgiving, I can change my whole world.

Which reminds me of a lesson I taught teens over and over again when I used to teach religious education classes on Sunday mornings:

God gives us room for second chances. No matter how badly we mess up, He’ll be there to listen and love us when we’re ready to ask.

I know I’ve made more than my share of mistakes. Even so, I got the chance to begin now, reinvent myself, and build a better life.

Thank God.

Today is my Spawn Day. It can be yours too – if you decide to make it happen.

Here’s to second chances! Cheers!

Mid Life Gone Social

Date nights are rare for parents, even when the kids are teens.  While we ate dinner at Gracies, I promised not to use my phone to text, Facebook, or Twitter while we ate. And I was so good I didn’t even sneak into the bathroom just to check messages!

I loved my fortune when it came, snapped a photo and used Hootsuite to post it on Twitter. And then had to reply to the comment a friend made.

After dinner, we went grocery shopping so I could buy enough food to fix spaghetti the next night for 20 hungry adults and teens. When I tried to decide how much meat and pasta to buy, I grabbed the phone, called my favorite cooking partner, and told her, “Phone a friend time. You’re my friend.  How much do I buy?” Saved once again, by my phone!

Richard said not a word of complaint as I replied to a few messages through the evening

Then I told him I was going to go urban and wear white flannel snowflake shorts on top of my red and black plaid flannel pajamas.

“I’ll snap a photo of you wearing them and tweet it,” he offered.

I said not a word.

“Think Ashton Kucher with Demi on Twitter, with the bikini shot. This would be your flannel shot.”

I nodded.

“Then I could post it on Facebook and tag you.”

I nodded again.

“Then I’ll alter the photo and use it in a blog for Copper Lion,” he continued. (our digital retouching business)

I nodded again.

“And when you’re finished, my turn. I’ll do my first video,” I finally replied.

“Good!” he answered.

“Topic? How I Bobbitized my husband,” I concluded in the most loving tone possible.

Pause.

“I think we need to rethink our strategy,” Richard concluded.

Conclusion? I did not wear white snowflake short pajama bottoms on top of my flannel plaid pj’s. No photos were taken.

Our wedding vows included sickness and health, richer and poorer, but didn’t mention Facebook and Twitter.  Nevertheless, we’ve hung in there, through AOL, Myspace, today’s online flavor of the year, and will adapt to whatever comes next down the web.

NOTE: This blog began at 7:47 a.m. I asked on Twitter and Facebook which of a series of topics to blog today. Humor – or my attempt at it – won. This is my response.

Should I do more impromptu blogs, with YOU choosing the topics? You Tweet or Facebook me a topic, and I reply? If you think so, comment or contact me. This could be fun.

8:16 a.m. Finished 29 minutes after I began.

How not to be THAT mom on Facebook

THAT Mom

The only thing scarier to a teen than mom’s saying, “I wanna be your friend on Facebook” is when grandma says it.

How do we avoid becoming THAT mom? We often learn Facebook while or after our kids do, without parenting role models. I was on Facebook a year before my kids were, and I taught workshops on family Facebook safety. Here’s what we did:

  1. Stay legal. Facebook Terms of Service don’t allow users before age 13.  Teaching a kid to lie about a birthdate for faster gratification is not smart. Facebook users under 13 place Facebook in violation of federal statute. Underage kids who get caught get kicked off.
  2. Be friends. On our kids’ 13th birthdays, they started Facebook, and mom and dad were their first friends. A local prosecutor friend was their third. “Why does HE have to be next?” our kids complained. If he was their friend, they might think twice about posting something stupid. That would help protect their personal brand. Check privacy settings monthly because their settings change.
  3. See but don’t be heard. Much. Watch what’s posted, but don’t comment or like everything your kids post. The less you post, the more likely you are their friends will friend you.  Teens think adults who comment or like too much are creepy stalkers. If you have a smartphone, subscribe to their feed and photos. 
  4. Be vigilant. If another adult tells you to look at your kids’ postings, do so.  Once, I warned a parent something looked off. That’s when the family discovered their 15 year old had friended an out of state predator.
  5. Beware the games and apps. I no longer have time for games. When I first started, I accidentally sent a Valentine postcard that said “I love you” to my husband. And my friends. That posted on their walls. Including teens. I spent an afternoon deleting them.
  6. Veto if you can. If your kids post something stupid, try to get them to delete it. I told my kids if they post something on Facebook during school hours, I may correct their grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.  It works better if I tell them privately than post the correction publicly.  Any band or movie whose name includes a 4 letter word or “sex” in it cannot be mentioned.
  7. Encourage. One of my favorite role model moms – online and in real life – posts on each of her kids’ walls on Facebook at least once a month, “I love you.”

Being a mom of teens online is comparable to real life. Watch, encourage, admonish sometimes, and always, always love them to pieces.

9 Steps to Starting Social Media

“How do I get started?” people ask when they decide to try Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn for business.  Follow the same steps you would take when planning a long distance business trip. 

  1. Plan. Before you take a business trip, you decide why you’re taking it and what you hope to accomplish. “Go somewhere and business will come” is not a sound strategy.
  2. Train. Before you drive a car on a business trip, you learn to drive the car. Riding in a car does not translate into instant driving skills. You learn the rules of the road, safety tips, and more. Driving lessons take time. Give yourself time to learn to use social media.
  3. Organize. Decide who will go. Who do you send on business trips, and how do they best represent your unique brand? What will you do when you get there?
  4. Budget. What tools will you buy, and which freebies will you leverage?
  5. Equip. Travel is mobile. So’s social media. Get a smartphone so you understand your customers better.
  6. Target. Who is your dream customer, and how can you best find that niche via social media?
  7. Converse. Listen to your target customers, respond, and ask them questions. Build a relationship.
  8. Streamline. Over time, social media takes less of your time. Tools like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, and NutshellMail can help you use social media on a schedule.
  9. Evaluate. Measure results. Experiment with various strategies and determine which work best for your customers. This will help you set short and long term goals.

The key to social media is the word “social.”  It’s about people.

If you can…

  • Balance the personal and the professional..
  • Be real and be smart while you’re being transparent…
  • Listen and respond….
  • Build your own brand indirectly as you build up the community around you….

Social media will help your business not only survive but thrive.

6 Blogging Tips for Boomers

If Charles Dickens blogged today, no one would read him.  He used too many words.

Boomers can have great ideas, but they have to relearn how to write if they want people to read them. Less is more. Long is never read. How can a boomer with great ideas learn to sift for gold and shake out the good stuff? What tools should they use?

  1. Twitter. Tweets are limited to 140 characters. Savvy tweets use 120 or fewer characters so they are more easily retweeted. The more you tweet, the better your writing will shift to the new paradigm. Overly long tweets will make you look old school and past your prime time.
  2. Main Point. What’s your main point? When I teach document layout to non-graphic business people, I tell them to print a page, hold it at arm’s length, and squint. What stands out the most is what the average consumer will see first. Design the rest of the ad around that point. This applies to writing too. Step back from your blog, squint, and determine the main point. Write around that point. If you have more than 1 point, you have more than one blog.
  3. Blog with Word Count. Don’t just blog. Keep the word count at 300 to 400 words. If you go longer, you have a blog series. Start with your premise, your thesis, and evaluate every word and sentence to assure they are essential to your thesis. Don’t repeat yourself. Cut the fat.
  4. Bullet. Bullets are like related tweets and are more likely to be read.
  5. Graphic. Include a graphic or video with your blog. Back link it to your website for better SEO.
  6. Link. Tweet your blog on Twitter. Link it on Facebook. Link it on LinkedIn. If you link properly, it will be read more often than if you just include it in a status line. When you link correctly, your graphic in your blog will show on Facebook and LinkedIn. Links with pictures get more clicks.

I blogged back in the days of 900 word limits. Today’s blog is not a 5 paragraph essay. It is not a dissertation. It is a foot in the door. Smart writers use these tools to powerpack a content rich punch that stands out from boring blogs.

PS: Have keyboard. Will blog. For hire.

8 Questions for a Social Media Pro Before Hiring

If you are going to hire a social media professional, what questions should you ask?

  1. What’s your Klout? Klout measures individuals’ social media impact. Its methods may not be perfect, but social pros should have a Klout score of at least 30 (most social media pros have scores much higher than 30).  When you enter a Twitter handle (must be public), you will pull the Klout score.
  2. What are your favorite platforms? A social media pro should be familiar with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and blogs. Pros need to understand the social media spectrum and how to best use each platform. How do they integrate Groupon offers, FourSquare, and Facebook places into campaigns?
  3. How do you build your community? Social media done well builds better communities. Do they use their Klout to bring people together? Do they share their toys? Are they involved in local, state, or national social media efforts? Do they attend or present at social media conferences or barcamps? If so, which ones, and which topics?
  4. How do you define best social media practices? How do they handle ethical issues? Do they emphasize strategy or tactic? Do they encourage open, honest dialogue?
  5. How do you have fun with social media? Good social media pros never take themselves too seriously. Fun, creative pros develop fun campaigns.
  6. How do you measure results? Your campaign strategy should have measurable goals with your specific, niche audience.
  7. What’s your time frame? Instant results from a social media campaign are as reliable as weight loss programs that promise major results in a few weeks. Do you want a quick splash or a long term gain?
  8. How do you train clients? Do they evaluate your full social media branding and train employees? If they don’t train clients, do they make referrals? Do they not only teach you how to use social media for branding but also market research?

Google your social media pro.  Evaluate their blogs, videos, and photos. Do they look like a good fit for your company and its culture? How good are they are beginning, continuing, and responding to conversations by way of Facebook, Twitter, and more?

Ask good questions. Ask the tough questions.

Better to build a strong social media presence with a solid foundation than to build one in sand that has to be fixed later.

5 Steps to Fix a Bad Facebook Picture

What do you do if someone posts a photo of you on Facebook  that needs to be removed?

  1. Change your Facebook Settings. If you go to privacy settings, you can customize it so only you can see the photos or videos in which you are tagged or designate who can see the tags.
  2. Untag Yourself. If you are tagged in a less than flattering picture, go to the list of who is in the picture, hover on your name, and untag yourself. Once you are untagged, others will not be able to retag you.
  3. Delete the Photo. If it is your photo, delete it. If one of your friends has posted or tagged you in a bad picture, then don your Dale Carnegie supercloak.
    1. Contact the person in real life and politely ask them to remove the photo.
    2. Contact the person by Facebook message and ask them to remove it. This is not the time to be hostile; use words like please, thank you, and have a nice day. Only the picture poster can remove it. If you are rude, you risk harming your friendship or making your friend so angry the picture stays or new ones are added.
    3. Report the photo to Facebook.
    4. Even if the photo is deleted, people could have downloaded it for posterity.
  4. Knock It Down. If you can’t get rid of the picture, get good ones taken and tagged to knock the bad one down the view list.
  5. If You Aren’t Good, Get Good. With the abundance of cameras and flipcams, what happens in Vegas stays on Facebook/Twitter/the Internet forever.

Photos and privacy issues get tougher when children are involved. Some children have family issues that require them not to have photos published. Ask permission of parents first. Check the privacy settings of your photo albums.

What are our choices with photos and privacy?

  • We could don burkas so no one will know who’s in which photo.
  • Or we can try to find ways to be part of the conversation and protect our privacy as much as possible. 

Smile. You’re on candid camera. So am I.

The Person Behind the Keyboard

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” the Wizard orders Dorothy when she’s trying to leave Oz.  She ignores the voice, peeks behind the curtain, and discovers the wizard is human.

The best communicators - in real life and social media – slip through the curtain to give us a glimpse of the person behind the mask.

When we write by email or private message, remembering there’s a person on the other side of the keyboard is imperative. We’ve all gotten poison pen electronic messages. 

One recent morning, I sat down at my computer to joke with virtual friends – my family was still sleeping. I had just finished 2 of my most stressful days of the year – days full of difficult paperwork that’s worse than tax time.  My friends and family had cheered me through these hated days in person, on telephone, and via email.  I was ready for a break and a laugh before my first cup of coffee – time for Christmas to begin!

Instead, I read a terse private message that lacked nuances like please, thank you, Merry Christmas, etc. The complaint had merit, but the tone oozed anger from each sentence. Ouch. My family was all still asleep, and I didn’t want to wake them to cry on their shoulders.

So I tweeted that I was hurt by a private message and needed someone to make me get back in the Christmas spirit. Within a minute of my tweet, I got a first response from a friend sending me a joke. Then another. Then more.  I chatted w/a Facebook friend who texted me encouragement throughout the day.

As I sat in my still-dark living room, with tears rolling down my face, I was not alone. I had shared a glimpse of myself behind the social media curtain, and friends responded. They were my lifeline till my husband woke up, and I could cry on his shoulder.

We often talk of the business and educational value of social media. First and foremost for me, social media builds relationships.

When Twitter, Facebook et al are done well, they reveal to us the person behind the keyboard – good and bad.

Social media inspires me to be a better person behind the keyboard – and to help others do the same.

Oh – and thanks to @News25JordanV, @StevenWABX, @MarketingVeep, @Hsing3Kinder, @TalinaN, @DanaMNelson, and @PlanningForever – and my FB texting encourager – for answering my early a.m. Tweet for help.

Snow Day Express

We didn’t have a snow day in southern Illinois in January, 1978, when I was in the 7th grade; we had a snow month. After a 16 inch storm one week and a blizzard the next – leaving 8 foot snow drifts – the town’s lone radio station announced, “All schools in the area are canceled until further notice.”

How times of snow day notices have changed. Now we have multiple channel alerts:

  • TV and radio stations on air and web
  • Websites
  • Oncall systems to telephone and/or text families
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

When schools debate the To Close or Not to Close question, families, teachers, school corp employees, and students all discuss it online, before the world. Smart schools provide an official voice to the social media conversation. They develop social media policies that encourage conversation in a constructive manner.

Slipping into Old Geezer mode to compare the present to the Blizzard of ’78.

I was a pedestrian newspaper carrier during that winter. I walked to the newspaper office downtown and then delivered papers to every store and home on either side of Main Street. Every Monday through Saturday of that winter, I delivered the paper, even the day the wind chill hit 10 below.

Snow drifts 2-3 foot high divided the middle of Main Street. As I went from customer to customer delivering papers, I warmed up in 1 store to then venture to the next.

That newspaper, with the radio station, were our town’s lifeline. Weather radios did not exist for consumers. Our pre-cable TV news was from Evansville, Indiana.

Now, when the threat of severe weather hits, we watch the forecasts on the news and listen to them on the radio. We rely more on news online than in print. Facebook lets me see how the storm impacts my friends. Twitter gives me a view of the storm’s impact on our area and what will happen next.

If or when a comparable blizzard hits, technology will make it easier to survive.  Smart schools will leverage tech to communicate better.

Maybe, if or when a future blizzard happens, my grandchildren won’t miss a month of school and trudge a paper route. Schools will keep classes going online, sharing information instantly with students in ways not yet invented.

RosenKlout & GuildInfluence Are Dead

RosenKlout and GuildInfluence discovered the power of Klout on their Social Media footprints and decided they needed to raise their Klout to show just how influential they really were.

G: Happy birthday!

R: Thanks. Did you Tweet that?

G: Yes. Then I got my 3 month old daughter to Retweet it.

R: I’ll Retweet it and thank you.

G: Then I’ll thank you back.

R: I’ll get my pet dog’s Twitter account to retweet you and post Bark! Bark! at the end of it.

G: Loved the birthday photo on Facebook.

R: Thank you. Did you see I tagged you?

G: Yes. Told you thanks under the picture and then shared it on my wall.

R: Good! Did you see the status I wrote of how much I appreciated everyone’s birthday wishes?

G: Yes. Last I saw, there were 10 comments under it.

R: I liked the first 5. Top News for sure.

G: Top News is good. Should double the number of comments.

R: Next month, I’ll hold a birthday contest and choose one of my friends who wishes me happy birthday and give them a gift card.

G: But your birthday is today.

R: I’ll change it tomorrow. A monthly birthday will increase my Klout 12X the rate of a birthday only once a year.

G: More influence, more Klout.

R: More Klout, more influence.

G: Amazing how our Klout scores are always the same.

R: Our Klout scores ARE nearly the same. Amazing, isn’t it?

G: Time to check in to buy your birthday cake. 4square and Facebook Places.

R: If you have a birthday and don’t Tweet/Facebook it, you have no social media life.

G: Or Klout.

R: Influence matters.

G: Stop moving so I can take a picture of your picking up your birthday cake. Then it’s time for the party.

R: I already blogged 5 Steps to the Perfect Birthday Party.

G: Funny. I blogged Excellent Parties in 5 Easy Steps and linked yours.

Unfortunately, as RosenKlout and GuildInfluence were discussing their social media strategy to maximize facetime from RosenKlout’s monthly birthday party, they walked through a red light and directly into the path of a truck.

If someone had taken a photo of the accident and Tweeted/Facebooked it, their Klout would have skyrocketed.

Unfortunately, no one did. If it isn’t on Facebook, it isn’t official.

So no one knows what happened.  Though blogs have been written….

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