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

Busted or Not?

Please answer the question at the end of this blog: was my son busted or not?

I’m a huge advocate of finding ways to incorporate social media into the classroom. Twitter offers a world of real time opportunities to build peer connections and learn from brilliant people all over the planet. To that end, I enjoy Mondays when I have time to join the #smcedu chat and encourage social media clubs on college campuses.

The ways teachers can leverage social media to enrich classroom experiences are endless. 

But there’s another side to the coin. In my spare time, I lead a teen discussion group on classical literature; my son is one of the members. When the new Facebook groups debuted, I decided to create a private group for the teens involved (and their parents) so we could exchange study helps, assignments, and answer questions.

Today, I posted a link to a study guide to help them read The Iliad. My son immediately commented that the link was one ugly website. Problem: he commented during school time, which means he was playing on Facebook while he was supposed to be working on Algebra. I immedad iately commented under him – why are you on Facebook instead of math?

So my question is: did I bust him for goofing off during official school time? Or was he learning in a different manner from previous generations? 

And for students: would you revolt if you started getting assignments from your teacher in a study group on Facebook? Or would you appreciate getting information in a place you already surf?

My Spinach Stuck in Teeth Test

I didn’t know I had spinach stuck between my 2 front teeth at a business lunch.  Thank God I had a friend who told me.

Friends have helped me a lot over the years with almost embarrassing moments.  Juggling family, a business,  and a job means I have done some stupid things. Ranking near the top in the years when I struggled to get out the door without baby spitup on my blouse:

  1. Wearing a shirt backwards to a cookout
  2. Wearing moccasins with my business suit into McDonald’s because I forgot to slip on my dress shoes

I’m grateful for trusted friends who save my bacon before I accidentally fry it. Wouldn’t it have been awful if they hadn’t told me?

The same thing happens on social media. Years ago, my first month on Facebook, I sent an “I love you!” card to my husband.  Except I clicked the wrong box and posted it on all 60 of my friends’ walls. One of them told me what I had done, and I spent an afternoon removing it from every single wall.

If you are my friend on Facebook, and it looks like I’ve been hacked, or if I posted something in bad taste or with a spelling/grammar error, tell me privately.  I would rather know I have spinach between my teeth on my Facebook wall than walk around smiling at everyone where they notice it and I don’t realize it.

My social media footprint is my brand. I’ve slowly figured out what my brand is – learning by doing badly at times. I learned my social media is a place to build and encourage – not incite debate.  I’m a teacher & encourager, not an arguer.

If you’re my friend, and I see that you’ve been hacked or have a potential problem on social media, I’ll most likely call you – if your phone number is listed in the Facebook phone book.  If you post a status with the words my,stupid, boss, I’ll probably warn you before it appears on the “My Stupid Boss” community FB page.

I have known people who have lost scholarships, jobs, and clients because of posting something stupid on social media. College is expensive. A good job is hard to find.

You can “let it all hang out” without letting the spinach dangle between your two front teeth. 

So show those pearly whites and smile! You’re on candid social media!

Five Deadly Villains in Social Media World

“Where’s your portfolio?” Clients always ask that of commercial artists.  

Digital illustrators and retouchers like my husband, Richard Biever, gladly show their work to prospective clients. Clients then can evaluate them. One of his portfolio pieces is linked.

When you hire social media strategists, evaluate their portfolio.  How do they personally use social media? Where do you look? If someone offers to train you on social media, make sure the person uses all of the following well:

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Geolocation platforms like 4Square 
  • Blogs

Check their Twitter klout rating (the higher, the better). Do people retweet and reply to their conversations? Who is in their peer to peer network?  Who do they recommend that you follow – locally and globally?

Five Villains to Beware in Social Media World:

Paranoid Protector: The Protector only posts protected tweets. Twitter is a global conversation, and that only happens if you share what you say with the world.

Bullhorn Blowhard: They blast “What are you selling” instead of “What are you doing?”  Social media is not a billboard; it’s a conversation. 

Zombie-Tweeter: They link all Facebook and LinkedIn to Twitter.  If you follow a zombie and receive an auto-dm reply, avoid at all costs.

Undead Follower: They never speak, never reply, and no one’s really sure if they breathe. Social media requires a voice, and avoid the expert who never speaks up or out.

Vampires:  They beg for your blood but never offer to help you back.  Your blood – and how it can help them – is their only interest in you. Social media vampires may live forever, but no one cares because no one reads their tweets or their posts.

We can beat the social media villains. Unfollow them. Don’t friend them. Don’t promote them.

Because social media is transparent, given time, bad guys show their true colors. The villains get caught.

The good news Social Media World has more Superheroes than villains. Superheroes with truth, justice, and a good sense of humor, beat villains every time.

Your company has a unique spot in the social media world.

Seek out the Social Media Superheroes and soar around the planet, faster than a speeding tweet.

A Tale of 3 Audiences and a Hammer

Last week, I spoke to 170 high school students about how they can brand themselves better with social media. Message: what happens on Facebook can help or hurt you in the job market. Add good content.

This week, I showed over 50 somethings how to use Facebook. Message: use it to build relationships and promote your community.

And I attended RE Barcamp in Indianapolis, honing my own social media skills for business. Message: leverage it to add content to build your business.

3 audiences, different demographics, different reasons for using social media.  All still had the same message:

  • Be honest
  • Be positive
  • Teach
  • Delight or amuse
  • Share your toys
  • Help your friends

In each audience, I heard a few negative comments:

  • Students won’t learn anything with social media.
  • People are selfish and stupid in social media and in real life.
  • Facebook is stupid, but I have to learn to use it to see pictures of my grandkids.

I disagree with all of the above:

  • College classrooms can use Twitter as a backchannel for life conversation. Three business owners from Evansville IN and two business consultants from Washington, D.C., talked to our high school groups live, while we were presenting. Live classroom conversation with pros around the world excited students more than a traditional lecture.
  • People on social media want to do good things. They just need to see how. This month, I saw strangers offer a guitar for a paraplegic student who wanted to try to learn to play. Strangers donated meals for an anonymous family facing a medical emergency. When a young mother faced a 14 hour surgery, prayer requests spread via social media around the planet. When a local shelter for the poor needed funds, an active social media user posted requests and personally collected over $1,200 in 3 hours.
  • The older man who said he thought Facebook was stupid left my class two hours later, ready to promote community events in his own hometown.

Social media is a tool, like a hammer.  If I have a hammer, I can choose how to use it.  I can tear things down or I can build them up.

If I have a hammer, I would rather use it build a home, a tribe, a village, and a better world.

Whatever I do with that hammer will show in social media.

Will the social media mirror show you using your hammer to build a town or tear one down?

7 Steps To Finding Your Pet Via Facebook

The giant sucking sound you hear is the hole that opens in your heart when you realize your pet is missing.

If you are well connected on social media, Facebook and Twitter can help you look for your pet.  Here’s how to look on Facebook:

Digit's FB photo helped his owners find him!

  1. Have a digital picture of your pet on your computer.  Make it a shot where your pet is easily recognizable. I don’t recommend including people or kids in the shot. You want people to see the pet, not the people. Especially don’t recommend kids in the photo to protect their privacy.

  2. Make sure your Facebook friend lists includes some neighbors who live in your area.
  3. Find Facebook pages of media outlets in your area. WIKY in Evansville, Indiana, posts lost pet photos as a service to its fans. “Like” them. If none in your area offer this service, ask your favorite one if they will.
  4. If your pet disappears, post the picture of your missing pet on your wall.  Do this directly in Facebook, not from Hootsuite. You want the link to be sharable.
  5. In the caption area, tell the pet’s name, breed if it helps, any special characteristics, where the pet was lost, and contact info to reach you. If you have a landline and a cell, I would post the landline phone # as you don’t know where this will go.
  6. If a media outlet helps with this in your area, send the photo of your missing pet to them. 
  7. Ask your friends to share your photo with their friends, and pray the right person sees the photo. Be sure to ask them to show the picture to everyone in their family at home.

My Facebook friends had a Saturday night drama with a missing dog last night.  Digit’s owner posted this photo and the situation.  Her drama had a happy ending. 

 The daughter of a mutual friend of ours, who lives nearby, took her kids in a walk, hoping to see Digit.  They spotted Digit, cowering in the doorway of a nearby college fraternity.  Digit was terrified, but my friend’s resourceful daughter acted like a Dog Whisperer to calm him and coax him to their home.

Because our friend’s family had seen Digit’s photo on FB, they knew who he was and where he belonged.  They, and other friends began posting details of his find on different Facebook walls.  By this time, people who knew neither the owner nor Digit were part of the story.  We were all glad to read Digit was back home with his happy family.

Another friend posted on my wall that she had posted a photo on FB when her dog disappeared a month ago.  A friend saw the photo, was visiting the dog pound, and recognized her lost dog at the pound.  Her dog was saved because of a photo on Facebook.

Then a friend shared that she found a lost dog on her porch, posted his photo on FB, and he was returned to his owners. She added, “Facebook saved him.”

If you’re on Twitter, you could do the same with Twitpic and tweets, but that’s another blog.

Social Media Savvy = the New Survival Skill

“Kids have to have the skills for this century,” I told a mother about social media.

“Yes, I know. That’s why my kids study robotics,” was her answer.

Robotics has as much to do with social media as an electric weedeater does with cars. Operating one has nothing whatsoever to do with the other.

Sometimes parents tell me that letting their kids use social media is a privilege.  I’ll add to that: it’s a parent’s responsibility to ensure their teens know how to use social media. 

Not just to post

  • “I’m booooorreeed. Text me at xxxxx.” on FB. 
  • photos of girls gone wild on spring break on Myspace
  • videos of boys busting out all over on Youtube
  • status lines like “I hate my job cause my boss is stupid and our customers are a royal pain.”
  • joining groups celebrating flatulence with four letter words.

Parents must encourage their kids to add content and value to the social media conversation.  Teach by example is the best way.

This is a survival skill. Watch Socialnomics on Youtube.  Already more people search Facebook for info than Google.  Employers evaluate social media in their hiring decisions. Scholarship committees background check before giving money.

As parents, we pay for SAT/ACT prep classes.  We seek tutors, drive kids to sports, and work to help them get ready for college. Shouldn’t we also help them develop social media skills to distinguish themselves from the pack?

Legally, teens can begin to use most media outlets at age 13. Don’t start them early; not everything on social media is G rated. Do start them as a younger teen so you can observe their use of social media and they can learn to handle tough situations. This is like driving lessons – you want to coach your kids through their first experience driving on ice to help them learn to handle the slick spots.

Basic ways teens can use social media well and benchmarks they need:

  • Post information on Facebook. Know how to discern friends and how to post appropriately.
  • Discern who to add as friends and who to refuse. Understand privacy settings and how to adjust them.
  • Upload photos and videos directly to Facebook and have the wisdom to know the difference between a photo to post and 1 to delete.
  • Upload a video to Youtube by age 16.
  • Create and maintain a written blog by age 17. I use WordPress. Let your kids write their blog on their passion. When they write about what excites them, it will develop their knowledge base, their interest, and their writing skills.
  • Search Twitter by age 17 and set up a  Twitter account by age 18. (Under 18 Twitter account could be under a pseudonym with a non-face photo for security purposes.)
  • Use Twitter well by age 18 – to engage in conversations and real time chats. College textbooks are often dated as soon as they are printed. Twitter is the fastest way to keep up with tech changes and opportunities in every field and to meet the industry thought leaders.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile before leaving for college and begin to collect references and network contacts.
  • Know how to audit their social media footprint and make sure they are branding themselves well.

Bad things can happen when teens drive cars. So we teach them to drive well & pray they stay safe.

Ditto for social media.

Along Came a Spider – Real Time Problem Solving

Case study in how real people solve real problems faster via social media.

One week ago, I attended the Social Media Club of Evansville monthly meeting, where Robby Slaughter of BlogIndiana spoke about building business productivity with social media.  I met a new mom there, Talina, and we began to follow each other on Twitter.

Through Twitter, we learned of common ground as coffee lovers.  Then we learned we both blog, enjoy Excel, and try to be environmentally friendly parents.  She has a baby, and my kids are now teens. We commented on each other’s blogs and became friends via Facebook.

Last night, I saw her tweet she was trying to figure out what kind of spider she found in her house.  I asked her to post the picture on Facebook.  She posted it, and then I shared the photo, asking my friends who are pest control experts to ID the spider.  Within an hour, two competing local pest experts ID’d the spider.

Not only did they ID the spider – they had a civil conversation about spiders in general. By this morning, a 3rd pest pro had posted.  Among the 3 of them, they had ID’d the spider, discussed where it was usually found, assured us it was not poisonous, and given a quick way to get rid of the spider.

What did I learn on Facebook today? This varied color orb spider is large – they are usually this big in the fall.  It is an outdoor spider, usually found in soffets and on porches, spinning large webs by which it catches other insects.  Sometimes they eat so much when they fall to the ground, they are so full they “burst” on impact.

Oh – & what did I learn about social media? Last week, Robby Slaughter asked for a good definition of social media.  I said it’s a tool by which real people build and enhance relationships in the real world. 

Along came a spider and sat down beside her and proved the point.

This could be a case study in how companies on Twitter can be first responders to potential customers. 

But that is another blog altogether…

Is Your Social Media Network Disaster Ready?

My grandparents survived the worst tornado in American history on March 18, 1925, when a mile-wide tornado ripped a 219 mile path of destruction across the Midwest, killing 695 people and destroying 15,000 homes.  It took days to learn who had lived or died.

When an F3 tornado struck Evansville on Sunday, November 6, 2005, killing 25 people, I thought of “The Tornado.”  Thank God we had cell phones and Internet access.

Evansville immediately responded.  Brad Gair of FEMA commented, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a community of people come out so quickly to help each other. All communities come together after a disaster, but this one is exceptional.”  

Every church and group sought ways to help. More people wanted to help than there were means for them to do so.

I was part of a homeschool network with an email list of over 200 families in 3 states.  A Yahoo group was our social network of choice; 5 years ago, grownups avoided Facebook.

For 2 weeks, our community turned its email list into Info Central.  Each of our families connected with its own network of faith and family, and we could share information quickly.  One mom was asked one evening to prep 500 sack lunches for relief workers.  Within 2 hours, we had a church kitchen and called for volunteers/donations.  The next morning, food poured in along with volunteers.  We prepped and packed 500 lunches for the Red Cross by 10 a.m.

With our network, we got information before it hit the news.  A dad told us who to call to get listed as a volunteer.  Once areas opened, we used our list to post requests for basic needs.  If someone heard of an elderly couple with a front  yard full of trees to be cleared, we posted it, and someone helped.  I think every call for help we heard was met.

What we did by email in 2005 was an early form of what Twitter and Facebook do today.  In future disasters, I foresee mobile stations arriving to help people charge smartphones and provide emergency wi-fi access for victims.

Facebook can be more than Farmville.  It is a vital link in disaster preparedness.  

Is your social network ready for the next disaster?

(Tornado photo courtesy of Stock Xchng.)

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Churches: What’s Your Social Media Footprint?

Last month, Nibby Priest wrote, Are You an Evangelist for Your Community?  

Take that a step further – Are You a Social Media Evangelist for Your Church?  How does your church make use of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, blogs, and Foursquare to reach out to its congregation and beyond?

How does a church approach with new evangelization?

Reserve your name: Even if you don’t plan to use them now, go to social media sites and reserve your name before someone else does.   You can use them later.

Listen first: Listen to your community and people’s concerns.  How can you best be a beacon of light to the hurting?  St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times.  Use words if necessary.”  Listening and helping people works better on social media than standing on a corner posting Bible verses constantly. Don’t proselytize as people will unfriend and unfollow you.

Be generous: Promote and encourage good people in your area.  Share opportunities and ways to help the poor and serve your community.

Be real: Who you are Sunday morning should not contradict who you are Saturday night on the town or Wednesday morning in the office.  Neither should photos or videos.

Where do you get started? 

If you do social media well, it will boost your search engine optimization and make your church’s website appear higher on Google rankings.

Facebook – begin with a Fan Page.  Fan pages work best for public groups to reach others and share information quickly.  Groups work best for private groups where you select and restrict members.

Twitter – we need more Twittering pastors who can be funny, engage in conversation, and lift people’s spirits. Writing in 140 characters or less makes writing more concise.

Youtube – start a video blog with a simple message and talented musicians in your church.  Keep it short.

Blogs – post blogs of no more than 450 words to encourage people.

Foursquare – make sure your church’s location is listed on Foursquare.  Someone can post a tip of when services are held.  Members who are comfortable doing so can “check in” when they are there, and your church’s location with a map will show on anyone using Foursquare in your area.  Visitors who search Foursquare will see your church and see that it is a congregation with active, welcoming members.

Real life relationships begin and can be made stronger with social media.

For centuries, missionaries ventured to foreign lands and mastered new languages to evangelize.  That is still important.

We have a new way to share.

In the beginning was the Word.  Now the Word can be tweeted, blogged, and YouTubed. 

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