Archive for August, 2012

As we explored in Part 1, any Government has reason to be wary of social media and the legal implications that go with it. So we know that there are risks, but where do they come from?

Firstly, I highly suggest you get your bearing by checking out a Map of The Internet.

There are a number of risks associated with social media within an organisation however I would like to focus on four key risk areas I feel are highly relevant no matter what sector you work for:

– Technology (Covered in this blog post)

– Reputation (Covered in this blog post)

– Information (Covered in part 3)

– Statutory risks (Covered in part 3)
Through many years on the internet and working in an information security role, my interactions with the majority of people look something like this:

This might be seen as pessimistic, until you start looking at what real world consequences can result when ‘Risks go Wild’… it’s far less sexy than the American College girl you’re picturing in your head I assure you… now get your mind out of the gutter and focus!

Let’s look at how these stack up and where a good policy can work towards mitigating risk as much as possible:

– Technology – Why people are afraid of it

No, seriously, people are afraid, they don’t understand it, they find it difficult to comprehend and this can mean having a very frustrated customer on the other end of a Helpdesk phone call.¬† To highlight this this, a recent study even found 51% of those surveyed believed the ‘Cloud’ was affected by the weather.

The flipside is you may actually have a very cleaver social engineer on the other end trying to steal your Apple account details. The scary thing is this actually happened to happened to Mat Honan of WIRED magazine fame who had his whole Apple identity compromised.

Educating your users and having a policy that enforces this is key to ensuring technology is used to benefit the organisation rather than expose it to further risks. Simple giving open access to new technology that people have no idea probably looks something like this:

– Reputation

For a crash course on managing your online reputation, I highly recommend getting staff or users to read Anton Koekemoers article on How to manage your social reputation. This will set the groundwork for users who have never heard of ChirpChrip or BookFace before by giving them the basics.

These basics need to be enshrined in company policy, especially for Government as they represent the public face of what is often perceived as a ‘faceless’ organisation. Who are the men and women in suits? What do they do? Why are they going through my garbage bin? Those cuban cigars aren’t mind I swear! Castro? Isn’t that a milkshake? I digress…

The point I’m trying to make is that even if you’re not a multi-billion dollar enterprise, you still have a public face. For Governments this lesson is essential as you’re delivering human services to the public, and you want to be damn sure they feel valued and appreciated especially when the people you are delivering services to are they ones paying your salary.

To elaborate on an example from Part 1, can you image if the Police posted up a picture of a person in handcuffs with the caption “GOT THE BASTARD!! #cops>crims #21jumpstreetallupinthismotha #yeeeaboi”. What message does this send the public? Do they feel protected by upstanding people who put their lives on the line everyday? Or do they see a bunch of cowboys who are a law unto themselves.

Presenting a clean, professional image yet human image to the public ensures a solid reputation is established. This is cemented by ensuring staff are either limited to what they can post by incorporating Technology, limiting who can post on behalf the department in question and of course having reviewers and approvers before it sees the light of day.

More to come!

Information and Statutory Risks will be discussed in Part 3!

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I’ve decided to take a different approach to blogging today. For those who want to skip the preamble, scroll down past the pretty pictures.
As Catherine Weber points out, It’s no secret why blogs fail. I think this image (taken from linked article) sums it up:

With that said, I am taking an ‘Agile’ approach to blogging instead of the usual (but very well written!) ‘WALL OF TEXT” that seems to adorn every other blog I come across, sadly, including my own.

Some humour to lighten the mood with my new found enlightenment, this seemed very relevant as today we were discussing what media managers actually do all day, this seems to fit the consensus.

Anyhow, this entry is Part 1 of 2 around legal risks and risk mitigation strategies for organisations implementing social media. Rather than focus on a private enterprise, I thought it would be fun to assess a different type of organisation, an entire Government.

So why on earth would the Government care about social media? They operate in the Public sector and have no profit margins to meet or shareholders to appease, that seems fairly straight forward right? I was recently sent this picture at work, and I know many who share this view.

But any Government is more like a business than you would expect, and they aren’t lazy like the picture above would have you believe either! While they do operate in the public sector, they are using tax payers money to fund their operations, thus tax payers operate like shareholders only their votes are the (political) currency. Governments provide a multitude of services across a huge number of departments who all deliver ‘human services’ in one way or another.

Why would the government worry though? What risks could apply to a publicly funded body?

Image for a minute the following:

  • Police Twitter feed tweets about an operation in progress involving highly classified information including names of individuals – This is a clear breach of confidentiality
  • Healthcare Facebook page posts a nation-wide alert about a (fake) deadly virus sweeping the nation – Reputation is damaged and mass panic, wasted resource and Statutory¬† issues come into play

I leave you with Kabrina Chang: Facebook got me fired – Legal and Management issues for Social Networking

Next post will be discussing where these threats come from, how they are relevant to the organisation and what social media policies should have in place to adequately address them.

Nothing to do on the weekend or being kept awake by your significant other snoring like a steam train at 3am in the morning? Why not upgrade your WordPress blog!?

I stumbled across 30 Most Wanted WordPress Tips, Tricks and Hacks on HONGKIAT.COM and some of them are great!

My quick list that I would give a go include:

10. Del.icio.us for WordPress which links back to your Del.icio.us account and shares your bookmarks

16. How to avoid duplicate posts

19. Del.icio.us save buttons to encourage users to bookmark your website

27. WordPress exploit scanner to ensure your site doesn’t have any buggy code

and my personal favourite

32. Create and Ajax-based auto-completing search field to guide your users.

I will be giving these a go over the weekend, once they’ve been tested I will let you all know so you can attempt to use / break them for me!

On a final note, some South African friends of mine put me onto a cider called Savanna – Dry.

For a refreshing afternoon drink give this a try

1. Buy 4 pack Savanna Dry and 2 lemons

2. Chill cider in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it’s in the freezer! I can’t stress this enough!)

3. Cut lemons into wedges and grind rock salt over them, the ratio of salt to lemon will depend on your palate, I prefer 2 lemon wedges (about 1/2 inch thick) with a decent dusting of salt.

4. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the lemon until most of the juice is out.

5. Open a cider and take a couple of drinks out of it to make room for the lemon. OK…but not amazing, correct?

6. Add the lemon pieces, then pour in the juice. This may froth up at you depending on the temperate of the cider.

7. Place your thumb over the top of the bottle and invert 2 – 3 times.

8. Drink up!

It might take a couple of ciders to adjust the salt vs lemon ratio but this a light, refreshing drink that always seems to hit the spot on a hot day.
Drink responsibly and enjoy,

Dan

Hello all,

I’ve been sick the last week so please accept my apologies that this post will be somewhat shorter and less meaty than usual.

I work in the IT Security field and because of this, anything related to risk peaks my interest for a number of reasons, however the main one we will be focusing on today is the benefits that accompany them!

Usually the first things managers in a traditional “1.0” organisation think of when Social Media is mentioned goes along the lines of “What?! We’re going to let them sit on the BookFace all day, and what’s it called, chirpy bird thing? Yeah right!”.

Time (you might have picked this up as a recurring theme) is usually the first thing on their minds, the risk of losing vast amounts of company paid time to employees frittering the hours away on social media. The flipside or benefit to this is of course the new pathways create interaction between employees, allows them to express themselves at work thus elevating their mood which is a good thing, as you can make more money by making your employees happy (Forbes, 2012).

External Social Media

On the “Interwebz”, areas of particular interest to me are security, loss of control, reputation and reliability. How can you control something that is out in the ether for everyone to access? Do you want to be the heavy handed “Post Patrol” that blocks all access full stop, or the fun light hearted manager who lets everyone play Farmville all day?

The answer in my opinion is neither, as both extremes are not going to get your organisation anywhere near a mature Enterprise 2.0 standard.¬†To minimise Risk and maximise Benefit you need Compromise. You also need another layer, Physical and Logical security controls in order to provide some meat in your sandwich. Furthermore, you need to foster a Social Media Culture within your organisation where everyone knows and agrees what fly’s and what doesn’t.

Physical controls help mitigate the risks such as loss of control as well as ensuring reputation is upheld by allowing only certain users to post on the corporate page, and granting read only access to the rest of the site. The benefit here is that users are still able to access the social media platform and knowledge contained within.

Logical controls revolve around policy and procedure which many consider to be, quite frankly, a drag. To all those who are in this school of thinking, let me assure you that policy doesn’t suck! Policies and procedures are out there to educate, guide and assist people who wish to use social media tools in the approved manner set out by the company or enterprise. A good policy will ensure users are aware of their roles and responsibilities, and the consequences breaking the agreed upon rules.

Culture is the fabric that binds it all together, a socially accepted take on what’s ok to post and what’s not, how long you should spend on a certain page or site or what to do if something doesn’t look quite right. It is this culture that will ensure policy is adhered to, physical controls are respected and respect for both the enterprise 2.0 platform and the company / enterprise is observed (or not as the case may be!).

Internal Social Media

I recently read a case study revolving around one Al Essa, CIO at MIT’s Sloan School of Management who used blogs and wiki’s to not only manage a multitude of projects across multiple teams, but also leveraged the platforms to create a collaborative Business Plan, sourcing input from his entire staff faculty.

Read more @ http://www.fastforwardblog.com/2007/01/16/an-enterprise-20-poster-child-in-the-it-department/

Well that’s all for now, I hope you all have a great week and a riotous weekend!

All the best,

Dan

As we explored last week, time is money and this seems to hold true considering the average recovery rate for a document is ~$120 (study by Gartner Group, Coopers & Lybrand, Ernest & Young). So, THIS week we are going to explore how Social Media can be used to consolidate and simply both our work life as well as personal life.

The biggest issue many people face is time management, and one would inclined to believe that after reading Steven Gedon’s website. As demonstrated above, it is imperative to ensure our time management is kept in check in order to increase our personal productivity as well as minimise waste. Most of us are ‘time poor’ and under constant pressure to fit everything into the day. If we are utilising Enterprise 2.0 principles for our business this includes checking blogs, Twitter feed, Facebook updates, LinkedIn updates and a multitude of other social media platforms. The solution to this is to consolidate what we have into a more manageable and user friendly space.

Mobile You One

advantage we have to overcoming our time constraints is the ability to be online no matter where we are thanks to mobile internet. The latest mobile networks ensure geographical location is no barrier to connecting with the online world, or enhancing the one around us.

To expand on this, over the weekend I downloaded two such Android apps which consolidate various social media platforms into the one application as constantly having to switch between them becomes a chore and thus, a waste of time.

TweetDeck

The first such app was TweetDeck, which enables the integration of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Buzz. There is some initial setting up involved however once your accounts are linked into the app you never need to sign in again and you’re only one or two taps away from multiple sources of content. There has been some grumbling about the lack of updates.

Seesmic

The next was Seesmic, this is based on the same principle as TweetDeck however only supports Facebook and Twitter. It goes a step further with the ability to add shortcuts to your phones desktop, linking directly back to specific pages or areas such as your Facebook wall, favourite photo album or friend on Twitter. I found this app more beneficial as I don’t require Buzz or Foursquare, the shortcuts ensure quick and precise navigation and the app updates appear more frequent. Both applications saved time as well as headaches of managing multiple applications. Consolidating your social media accounts into a single intuitive platform not only makes sense, it’s a must for anyone aiming for a streamlined, uncluttered social experience.

For more social media management applications check out Webtrends Top 10 Social Media Management Applications.

Training Yourself

One of the other things you can do is to keep a checklist of things to do, or install a time management application to see where all your minutes are going. There are a million of these so just go to the Play store (or iTunes) and have a look.

If you’re too rushed (or lazy), Business Pundit has put together a list of the 25 Best Android Apps for Business, and I would highly recommend #7. Astrid, as it incorporates checklists, tagging and priority settings all into one. If you misplace, forget, lose or simply don’t have your phone handy, if you’ve backed your list up you can retrieve from RembertheMilk.com. Hootsuite has been gaining popularity recently and is seen as a direct competitor to Seesmic. Evernote is also a strong alternative to Astrid, check them out and let me know what worked best for you!

A final note

Lots of people seems to be getting married around me and the issue of ‘how to we get all the photos off everyone?’ constantly arrises, which is why Wedpics sparked my interest. This is a fantastic ‘wedding photo aggregator’ that allows all your guests to login to a secure website, upload photos and ensure the Bride and Groom don’t miss out on that one photo that they will remeber their special day by for the rest of their lives. For the token value of $99 it’s a very good investment if you have to capture the day from every angle.

Also, purely for the geek value, Burner is a service that allows you to generate a ‘fake’ number which takes calls for you, forwards them to you and then when / if you feel inclined to cease contact with said person you can ‘burn’ their number. Call forwarding stops, the number you gave them becomes redundant. As only Mr Burns could articulate, my thoughts exactly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKUOB8MN4Kc
Have a great week everyone!

http://webtrends.about.com/od/pr6/tp/The-Top-10-Social-Media-Management-Applications.htm

http://www.businesspundit.com/the-25-best-android-apps-for-business/

Just another blog, this must be the feeling many face when exposing themselves to an estimated audience of 2,267,233,742, and with those numbers in mind it’s important to understand what makes blogging a success! Lets first establish from a business perspective, what those numbers mean.

For a business to thrive they require clientele, who generate income and the aim is to grow this income and create a thriving business. In essence, these numbers should represent an opportunity for success! Think about it, 2,276,233,742 potential income streams from across the globe, a platform that has seen 528% growth in just 10 years and is still growing on a daily basis, it’s a very sound investment so long as you do it right!

Truly successful blogs all have three things:

1. High quality content that is relevant to the subject matter the blog is devoted too

2. Consistent updates with new content, thus commitment to their readership.

3. Interaction with their readership

 

So what do all three of these have in common? In a word, trust.

Trust is what needs to be established with a readership in order to turn an ordinary blog into an extraordinary one. Ultimately what you want to achieve is a level of trust from your readership that you will not only provide new and high quality content, but do so on a regular basis to demonstrate your commitment to them.

The final clincher centres around interacting with the readership which ensures they feel their opinions are valid and they’re not being taken for granted. This feedback can be invaluable as it can be used to gauge what content should be included or not included, trending topics as well establishing yourself in a reciprocal relationship with your readers.

 

So what’s the purpose of this blog? In short, to create the only definitive and consistent source of high quality content you will need, that both inform readers on Enterprise 2.0 topics, as well as give in-depth insights into how they can leverage this new medium to obtain or maintain a business advantage over the competition.

In order to achieve this I draw on a large web of resources (no pun intended) in order to deliver accurate, current and juicy content that will ensure readers are exposed to trending topics, insightful interviews with industry experts and invaluable resources that they need to stay ahead of the game.

At the end of the day time is money, and I would hazard a guess that the rest of my readership like myself are starved for spare time in our day to day lives. With that in mind, each and every post is designed with two things in mind, being a high Return on Investment for their time, and to present things in a fun, informative yet easy to digest format.

So how do I get people to follow me?

For a start, aimlessly spamming your blog link or incessantly asking people to follow you on Twitter without actually contributing anything to the discussion at hand is nothing short of SPAM, Stupid, Petty, Aimless and Meaningless. This is the WRONG way to do things, as it sets you up as a person who only cares about themselves, rather than a member and contributor to the broader community you are blogging with.

What, you thought you were alone? There are entire communities already out there, part of your mission to gain readership is to gain an understanding of the community you are joining. What makes them tick, what makes them excited, scared, happy or downright raging mad!

Start reading and commenting on those who already have made it big, no one became an expert or authority on a subject overnight, no are they always going to have all the answers let along the right ones. Once you have read something, comment on it but ensure you are applying your knowledge and giving quality input to the discussion, then offer your contribution via a link to a blog post you have written that would add value to your audience. This approach ensures you are perceived as a valid contributor rather than an ego driven keyboard warrior.

Miriam Buhr has an excellent introduction on How To Create A Successful Blogging Strategy with Momentum that I found very interesting to read, and quite helpful in regards to time management strategies.

Over the coming weeks I will provide examples of what I feel are excellent blogs, what makes them successful and how you can replicate these elements to ensure your blog is a success!