There’s no hiding the fact that people have recently come together for a common cause: to moan and gripe about Facebook’s new profile layout. What exactly are they saying?
Media outlets wasted no time in reporting on the resentment users felt toward Facebook and its new layout.
The Huffington Post reported yesterday that the New Facebook brought, among other new features, hatred. Fresno, California’s ABC30-Action News interviewed students at a local university, discussing the irritations users were experiencing with the new layout.
I asked a few of my followers yesterday what they each thought about the new layout and, while some repsonses differed, the majority was that the new layout was just confusing and seemed rather pointless to change something that didn’t need changing. I raised the question:
In developing a series of blogs on your reactions and changes in the world of social networking, how do you HONESTLY feel about the new Facebook layout? Don’t just say “I don’t (or do) like it” — tell me why!
In a matter of minutes, the reactions came in. There were comments I found on yesterday’s blog post that expressed the same resentment toward the new layout.
‘Someone else shouldn’t decide what’s important for me.’
With Facebook’s new “Top Stories” feature, it comes down to the sad reality that the social networking platform will decide what would be the most interesting for you to read. In reality, it seems not a lot of people like being told what is interesting and what is not. Who would?
Also, there is resistance coming from the fact that many users can’t see all of their friends at once. “I found that some things that I actually want to see from people don’t even show up unless I go looking for their profile,” said Nicole W.
‘I don’t like lists for Facebook’
One of the other newest features that Facebook introduced was the little “Ticker” at the upper right-hand corner of the home screen. “The right side panel shares what my friends are commenting on, liking, etc.” said Michelle L.
The biggest gripe about the Ticker is that, to many, it seemed a bit “stalker-ish.” You could see every little digital move that a friend was doing. Facebook’s reasoning? It would make it easier for one friend to connect with another, by seeing a real-time feed of what your connections (or, ‘friends’) were doing every second.
Why can’t we just have a “Dislike” button, like people have been wanting in the past? Seems like it would really come in handy now!
The biggest question, I pose to you: WHAT DO YOU THINK? Let me know!
If you’re a user of the ever-changing Facebook, then you’ve probably already noticed the new… wait for it… LAYOUT.
A few of my online friends wasted little to no time in sharing their views of the procrastination outlet. Some friends linked the change of layout to Google Plus’ recent accessibility to the public (that’s right, there’s no invitation required now):
One inquired about the profile layout’s effect on Facebook’s mobile app:
The award for “Best Reaction to Facebook’s Layout Change,” in my opinion, goes to the friends who are going to switch social networking platforms as a result of the change and it being too difficult to understand:
What does this profile layout change mean for YOU?
Let’s admit it, Facebook (for many, including myself) was starting to turn into a website where we would spend most of our time aimlessly scrolling through profiles, photo albums and a News Feed. It was the place we went to procrastinate when we had to write a term paper or get a LOT of work done at the office.
If you’re a long-time Facebook user like I am, granted I subscribed and have been loyal since the start of 2007, you may remember the BASIC layout and the original photo uploader with the ability to put “Bumper Stickers” and “Wall Graffiti” on friends’ walls. Remember that?
BUT Facebook has definitely done out with the old and in wit hthe new add-ons and features.
I usually attempt to remain unbiased in these blogs, but I have to say that the new Facebook layout seems like an all-too-easy way to… ahem… stalk your friends.
Here are some of the changes:
There are new and very extensive security measures that Facebook has now taken with the new layout. It has now become possible to completely block a person from seeing your extire existence online. The settings, however, aren’t as easy to use as they once were.
While before, you could go up to your Privacy Settings and go through each section of your profile and adjust who can see what, it’s not as easy to do anymore.
Idea: Facebook could make privacy settings more user-friendly.
A few months ago, Facebook launched a trial run of this new layout, in which it tested a feature called “The Ticker.” This real-time news feed appeared at the upper right portion of the profile, allowing users to see every Like, Comment and View that a friend made on anybody’s profile.
The part that really bothers me is the fact that it is extremely simple to know just about EVERYTHING that someone is doing in just a matter of seconds. While much of that information was rather easily accessible in the past (e.g., go to a friend’s profile and see his or her’s “action”), it has now become almost brainless to see what people are doing.
Idea: Stop being annoying and weird, Facebook–go back to your friendly and fun self!
Friend Categorization and Subscription
Have you added a new friend yet on Facebook? Are you SURE they’re you’re friend? Or just an acquaintance? Facebook now allows users the option to categorize a new friend as either… OR a list name of your choice. Along with becoming someone’s “friend,” you can also subscribe to friends.
In essence, you can remain friends with whomever you want and subscribe to posts only from those individuals you find “worthy enough” to follow.
Idea: Facebook, stop copying Google Plus–your subscriptions are just like Circles. If I wanted Circles of Friends, I’d go to Google Plus… or just get a REAL social life.
This isn’t a “new” feature, but it’s still available and is still a bit creepy. You can take your mobile phone and link it with Facebook… Correction, with somebody’s profile. Each time this person writes a new status, you’ll get a text notification saying something like “Carlos Perez says…. // To reply, simply type your response here…”
A bit ridiculous to keep up on people so closely, yes.
A bit MORE ridiculous to have someone’s information simply texted to your phone.
Ultimately, I see it as this: the amount of information you are willing to publish online is your choice, and it could potentially devastate anyone’s reputation. Once things are posted to Facebook (or Twitter, or Google Plus, or LinkedIn), any content become public domain forever. You’ll notice the three screenshots I took from friends’ profiles, I politely blocked out their photos and last names–I didn’t have to do that.
HOW DO YOU FEEL about the new layout?? Please share!
Last month, I applied at a local marketing agency [which I will refer to it as JobOne]. I interviewed but didn’t hear back from them. A few days after interviewing with JobOne, I applied and was hired at my current job [which I will refer to it as NewJob]. A week after starting my new position, I received an email from the President/CEO of JobOne, saying something to the extent of:
I was recently looking at your LinkedIn account and see you’ve found employment. I am very disappointed in my company for not getting back to you sooner. While we are very pleased and wish you the best at NewJob, I suppose this gives truth to the saying, ‘If you snooze… you lose.’
If your situation ever changes, however, please be sure to contact me, as we would gladly take you in.
President/CEO of JobOne
My first thought? WOW–they’d want to hire me.
My second thought? Potential employers ACTUALLY check out LinkedIn!
My final thought? How can I optimize my profile for other future employers to find me a strong candidate for employment?
Here are five tips I’ve found in research (and experience) on how to use LinkedIn to find a job:
Photo by Flickr user: LaMenta3.
Internal use of social media is something that businesses are slowly beginning to adopt. Some companies use social media outlets (e.g., Facebook accounts, personal blogs) to develop a strong internal voice for employees, wherein they are able to express their concerns or suggestions about their work. Other businesses have specific social media websites that allow employees to connect with one another, in hopes of forming a more comfortable work environment.
In researching this fairly new trend, I ran across three main examples of how businesses are internally utilizing social media.
For the avid social media user, blogs are nothing new. There are two primary types of blogs: the public-driven and the internal variety. The public blogs can offer consumers a more intimate view of a company’s product or the employees of the business. From a business perspective, the public blogs can provide targeted content to the public, in hopes to raise revenue or simply interest in the product it is promoting.
Kodak’s public blog is a prime example of this targeted content: the majority of the posts focus primarily on photography and not Kodak’s cameras. Since common sense tells us that photographs can only be obtained through the use of a camera, Kodak is then targeting an audience that would genuinely care about their product (the camera). From there, the audience is more likely to transition from “blog reader” to consumer.
The second type of corporate blog, the internal variety, is primarily used as a community hub where employees are able to meet, share their latest work-related news or troubleshoot any business challenges they are facing. This type of communication is essential in the field of public relations, as practitioners need to stay on top of the latest news and trends, to develop the most relevant campaigns.
In addition, this internal communication provides unity amongst employees who voice their concerns or opinions and are promptly attended to.
Some might argue this as an office version of Twitter. Companies must set up their own corporate account and only then, can employees use their work e-mail addresses to create their own internal account.
With Yammer, business can create profiles and employees can update their company on either progress on a current project or simply how lunch was. This internal social media outlet offers the opportunity to improve internal communication while simultaneously boosting team morale.
From a public relations perspective, Yammer also introduces many employees to the uses of other social media websites (like Twitter). The more familiar and comfortable the employees are with forms of microblogging, the more likely the company will be able to pick up Twitter accounts as both a customer service and product marketing channel.
This corporate social tool is similar to the public social tool, Digg. Pligg can be customized solely for corporate use, in which all social activity among employees will relate to a product or brand. Some companies are building Pligg into their existing intranets, in an attempt to develop social bookmarking with their staff.
From what I’ve discovered, Pligg can be used as a website to motivate an employee’s thinking of an idea through the use of a voting and ranking system that has made its counterpart (Digg) such a large success. A company’s ability to call upon the staff to offer unique thoughts or ideas and voice their experienced opinions in one website is helpful, to say the least.
Ultimately, companies are able to make the most out of internal use of social media by being able to harness collective thinking and collaborative efforts among employees, for a greater outcome.
I assumed that all college students viewed social media in the same manner: Facebook is the main source of interaction and the easiest way to make friends. To college students, I assumed, friendship was truly validated by accepting a friend request on Facebook.
I assumed incorrectly.
Over the past two weeks, I conducted a series of interviews with students of California State University, Fresno, to try and gain a true understanding of why college students use social media.
I was able to obtain responses from six students, but only four of them were willing to give their answers on camera. The input I received was interesting and proved that many students are more knowledgeable about social media and social networking than one might expect.
What types of social media do you use and why?
At the start of each interview, the student was asked which social networking websites he or she was an active user of. Aside from the popular Facebook and Twitter, many students are active users of MySpace and Tumblr. Two of the students said that they have Flickr and Xanga accounts, but rarely log onto either website.
The second part of the question grew the most interesting, as each student gave his or her reasoning for using these social tools. Overall, the six students that participated, used social networking to simply keep up with their friends. For these students, social networking has become a platform by which one person can communicate to a multitude of people.
How do you believe other students are using social media?
“Without Facebook, I don’t know how I’d get through college,” one student said in her interview. “I think other students find comfort in knowing that there’s a place where they can post their feelings and somebody is going to listen to them.”
The common theme in the responses I received was that social media offers college students a channel to vocalize their opinions and feelings. Students are comforted in knowing that somebody is going to listen to what they have to say.
While one student believed that social media (Facebook, specifically) was a platform for college students to waste their time and “rot in front of a computer screen,” most interviewees were aware that social media is going to play a large factor in their futures.
Here are some of the responses students told me:
Should social media be incorporated into the classroom setting?
There were mixed reviews on this topic: while some students believed that social media should become part of curricula, others believed that it should be kept a separate entity, something for personal use.
Most students believed that social media shouldn’t be part of a professor’s lesson plan, but should be made available for students to have open communication about the class itself. Trisha Rodriguez, a child development major at Fresno State, believed that social media could be used as a communication channel for students to obtain clarity in the classroom. She proposed a Twitter account be created for a specific class, or a Twitter list (with a hashtag) that would allow students to ask class-related questions and get short, quick responses.
Overall, students believed that social media shouldn’t be completely ignored. They each commented that social networking would make a nice addition to the classroom setting, but (depending on the specific class) should not be a part of the curricula.
Here are some of the responses students told me:
How do you believe the job market is effected by social media, if at all?
I was surprised by the amount of awareness each student had when it came to their perception of others on the Internet. Most students said that they knew one needed to be careful of how they presented themselves online, as it could effect their getting employed with any company.
“You need to be able to censor what information you put online,” said Allyson McCaffrey, psychology major at Fresno State. “A picture of you, drunk, at a party can paint a negative image of you.”
One student believed, however, that employers should show respect for their employees and completely ignore how that person is presenting themselves on the Internet.
Overall, students were aware that employers are now using social media as part of a background check on potential employees, before (and during) employment. While Facebook was once considered a simple social website, it can now be considered a large contender in how easily you get hired.
Here are some of the opinions students had on social media in the job market:
Students seemed to have a strong grasp on the severity of social media in our lives. They believe that it can be used in both a selfish and professional manner. Overall, I found that students believed social networking websites to be communication platforms.
College students have a lot to say–they simply want a place to be heard.
One might call it an epidemic: high school and college students are no longer talking in person, as their primary means of communication is found online, on Facebook. Others see it as a godsend: businesses can now reach out to consumers in ways they would have never imagined, more than 20 years ago.
With Facebook having more than 500 million active users and Twitter claiming more than 106 million registered users, it seems almost mandatory that businesses focus their attention to the online community. Of the variety of outlets that businesses now have in the world of social media, I examined three main websites that businesses use primarily and tried to discover why they’re using these outlets.
Facebook has become the online tool for business to connect directly to communities and to consumers. Online forums still exist, but began to fade as Facebook’s popularity grew. Facebook’s 2006 decision to open itself up to third-party developers sparked this decision. If you’ll recall from an earlier post I created, “Facebook for Everyone,” I closely examined how public relations professionals could utilize Facebook to their advantage.
I’ve found that businesses tend to use Facebook in a means similar to that of public relations practitioners. There are two primary ways that businesses get engaged in this specific social networking website: groups, and business-to-consumer communication.
An excellent way to keep interested consumers informed about your business or organization is to develop a Facebook Group. Facebook groups are an in-depth means of communication for businesses to focus their attention on a specific subject (e.g., a seasonal sale or a new product launch).
People will join a business’ Facebook group because they want to stay informed about the business. Therefore, it is imperative that a business continually update their group with valuable information. Unlike spam e-mail or bothersome “junk mail,” Facebook Groups can be visited at a customer’s convenience–businesses must have the information available.
We live in a busy world, to say the least, and now most people don’t have the time to sit and read a full-length blog. Twitter offers its users a place to update the most valuable information of a company (or a person’s life) in a concise manner (140 characters or less).
The smart business is not using Twitter as an advertising channel, wherein they continually talk about their products or services. Most businesses use Twitter as a marketing channel to promote their own business profile and remain involved with their “followers.” Some companies utilize Twitter as a medium to promote special deals and because of Twitter’s broad reach, thousands of “followers” receive the information instantaneously on their computers or mobile devices.
One can argue that this once-popular social networking site began its downfall in 2006, with Facebook making itself openly available. MySpace.com, however, still offers itself as a good means of social marketing and some businesses still use it.
Marketing oneself on this social website, however, can be a bit tricky–many community members look down upon blatant commercials and advertisements. MySpace is sometimes seen, by some, as a place to simply advertise oneself rather than develop one’s personal brand. What I tend to find on MySpace is smaller brands or personalities developing profile pages that build an online following rather than marketing. Browsing through the profile pages on MySpace, it’s easy to find hundreds of music bands with MySpace pages.
One tactic that nonprofit organizations are using to build their brand, is having “fans” recommend their organization to friends online. Yet another tactic is to have employees build personal profile pages on MySpace and spread the message of the nonprofit through details shared on these personal pages.
As with all good marketing strategy, it’s beneficial to develop useful content for followers, friends and fans to read. Businesses need to adhere to what their customers want and create messages that will be most advantageous to those consumers.
Ultimately, this all begins with choosing which social networking site will be best for your business.
**For a map of a few Fresno businesses that maintain a social media presence, click here.
There are millions of blogs on the Internet, and with millions of blogs come millions of opinions. For most, a blog is a “safe haven” or a place where one can share personal opinions and viewpoints to millions of people (or, at least to those who will take the time to listen). It’s simple for anybody to log on to blogging sites such as Blogger or WordPress and create a professional-looking blog in a matter of minutes.
What many people forget is that there are some public relations professionals who use blogs to not just share personal viewpoints, but organizational and professional ones as well. Public relations professional Dave Fleet, for example, won’t simply blog about the day’s happenings, but will use his blog as a means of “exploring the intersection of communications, marketing and social media.” Brian Solis also offers an astonishing amount of public relations knowledge through his blog.
As for myself, I’m not a professional–I’m a student. I’m slowly learning processes and tips on how to become that public relations professional I aspire to. From some of the research I’ve done, I’ve concluded on three reasons for public relations professionals to blog.
1. Be aware of the conversation around you. In doing public relations work, it’s important to know what the public is thinking about you or your company. If the conversation about your organization is going downhill, you’ve got to run ahead of it and stop it.
In blogging, you’re able to monitor what others are saying about your or your business. Keep up with the ever-opinionated society and ask for their feedback on your blog. You can’t be successful if you don’t listen.
2. Get yourself out there! Join the conversation. In the field of public relations, you need to be proactive. A reactive professional is not going to succeed far in his or her career. By participating in the conversation of those around you, online, you’re able to stay on top the public opinion.
You want a large amount of readership for your blog. Go out and get it. The Internet is ideal for you to network yourself or your company to its maximum. Get yourself out there and interact with others in your industry.
3. Start writing and develop the conversation yourself. Everybody wants to hear positive feedback. We cringe at the thought of people “not liking us” or “what we represent.” That doesn’t mean, however, that we have to conform into something we’re not. Take control. Blogging, for public relations professionals, is an amazing opportunity to take the reins and start forming the conversation about the industry yourself.
Develop a blog that people are going to talk about. They might not agree with what you’re campaigning for, but people will start talking. Why? Because of you.
You might find a blog of interest, one that might inspire you to let your voice be heard around the world.
I recently had the opportunity to interview one of the professors in the Mass Communication and Journalism Department at California State University, Fresno. Professor Betsy A. Hays sat down with me last week and discussed her view on how the public relations industry is evolving with the developing world of social media.
In her 11 years working with Fresno State, Professor Hays believes that we now live in a world where communication channels are practically endless. She believes that the media needs public relations professionals more than ever, as a means to receive information.
The most important thing, however, is content. If you don’t provide the world with valuable content, nobody is going to care.
Throughout the course of her interview, Professor Hays discussed the following topics:
– How has the field of public relations evolved since the development of social media?
– Should social media be incorporated into the classroom setting?
– What are some good ways to utilize social media to promote one’s own personal brand?
– Should teachers and students interact on social networking websites?
The video is only a five-minute clip of a 30-minute interview, displaying only some of her responses. Other portions of the interview will be posted at a later time.
In a social world that is moving faster than we can imagine, it’s difficult to stay relevant for any person or company. In a recent video developed by Social Media Energy, it states that their research has found 83 percent of all businesses utilize Facebook. Over 700,000 businesses actively use Facebook pages.
For businesses to remain profitable, they need to maintain their relevance in their field. In my interview with Peter Lang, social media strategist and CEO of Peter Lang International, he compared relevancy to life in the ocean: “The most successful sharks in the ocean can follow their prey and keep up with it.”
There are many businesses that create things that are flawed due to their inability to keep up with the ever-changing trends and they simply don’t have the learning capacity, according to Lang.
Lang offered his top three reasons he believes WHY BUSINESSES FAIL to properly represent themselves online:
1. The business does not know that new social tools exist.
A lot of businesses, surprisingly, do not realize that there are many new team collaboration tools online for their benefit. OnePlace, however, is a website that offers organizational and productivity tools for personal and professional use.
Most businesses don’t utilize these proactive tools; they build themselves on retention. The company will retain old communication tactics because they feel they are not broken. While they might not be broken, they aren’t optimal in today’s society.
As the video itself showed, social media can deliver “great value” to any company, as 41 percent of business owners will testify.
2. The business refuses to adapt to change.
Think of the time you last heard from a business that they will “reply to your e-mail within five to seven business days.” Fairly recent, I’d assume? Think of the time you last saw a business reply to you within the hour on Twitter. Not too recent, I’d assume?
Take the example of Tony Bosco: after having a bad experience at Wow Bao, a restaurant in Chicago, Bosco tweeted about it. The owner of the restaurant read the tweet and responded immediately, offering Bosco promotions and special discounts to try the food again. Bosco complied because of the “immediate interaction” he received, he said.
As in the case of Wow Bao, it’s the simple ideas of listening, responding and problem solving that will really create an adaptive organization.
3. The business has interns represent its brand.
Imagine letting a high school freshman teach a graduate course at a university—this almost never happens. In today’s market, according to Lang, many businesses are hiring interns to develop the company’s social media pages. The interns are representing the company’s brand.
In many cases, the intern doesn’t know how to properly use social media to represent the company. Even if the intern is capable, he or she will still become a liability to the company–this new student has become the voice of a company to an entire online universe.
In this case, you’re putting your company at risk by allowing an inexperienced inter represent the company through social media.
As I learned from my discussion with Peter Lang: stay relevant, don’t be afraid to adapt to change. Develop your online presence wisely. Everybody is watching, listening and perceiving you.
Don’t forget: perception is reality.
I want to begin with the story of a group of teachers from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, N.C who got in trouble for Facebook. They each had pages on the growing social networking site and each posted a variety of inappropriate comments about their students, their school and their job. Some posted inappropriate pictures of vulgar poses and inebriation. Many parents found this behavior quite unacceptable, and one parents commented that she expected this type of behavior “from teenagers and not teachers.” Teachers have images to uphold, after all, and they shouldn’t tarnish this over the Internet, right? Leaders of the CMS school district took appropriate action and terminated some of their employees. While this story might be two years old, the message remains the same: how public do you want to make yourself regardless of it you have “an image” to uphold?
In her welcoming keynote address at the 2010 SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas, Danah Boyd discussed the idea of “privacy and publicity.” Boyd goes on to define that what is public shouldn’t always be publicized. She talks about differentiating between “PII and PEI:” The former, Personally Identifiable Information, is information that people are more comfortable with sharing, what they want others to know and how they want others to find them online. The latter, Personally Embarrassing Information, is what most people want kept secret–it may get into the hands of someone who would use the information mischievous.
But now, from a public relations standpoint, how are practitioners supposed to handle this idea of public versus privacy? With the developing simplicity of anybody to log on the Internet and post about themselves, the ethics of any PR practitioner is highly challenged as he or she must distinguish between what is necessary and what is excessive information to use.
In Boyd’s address, she says that “people regularly calculate both what they have to lose and what they have to gain when entering public situations.” In essence, people aren’t stupid. They know what they’re getting themselves into.
It’s all in the morals of the practitioner, I believe, as to how “limiting” public information is in developing any campaign, etc. A practitioner could be presented with an array of personal information about somebody, but that information (morally) shouldn’t be used, as it could be permanently harming to that individual and his or her reputation.
To the individuals themselves: be conscious of what you do online. You’re putting your information out into a world that can make you go viral in seconds. Literally. The teachers from Charlotte learned the hard way.
While you might not have bad intentions, be aware that you could, as Boyd puts it: “find [yourselves] in a lot of trouble in ways that [you] weren’t expecting.”