Keeping Your #Personal #SocialMedia Presence Separated

This blog entry is about your social media presence and how I believe you should deal with each part of your personal social media presence.  I am not exactly an expert at Social Media, but I would say that I pretty understand 95% of it.  So, in essence I know a little bit.

What Is Your Social Media Presence?

Your social media presence is simply the media outlets that you push your content through, like your Facebook page, your Twitter handle, your Linkedin Link, Your Instagram name, your Blog with tags and categories, and any other place where you publicize yourself and your content online.  I would go further and describe any social media site you have a presence on.  For instance I am running events on both Meetup and Eventbrite, so I would give them some thought to being part of your social media presence.  I am now big on Periscope and Meerkat, the new streaming social media peer to peer apps, that are part of your new social media.  There are also a bunch of new sites like Behance and Thumbtack.  They are for finding work, but they have your profile there, so they are contenders for social media.  There are others like Snapchat, Ello, Path and so on, and so on.

What Do I Mean By Separated?

Now that I have identified the media outlets that can be referred to as social media, you should make a decision about who you are online.  Who do you want to be?  And to whom do you want to be that person?  I personally think that Facebook has nothing to do with business or personal networking.  That’s just an opinion.  Therefore, if you meet me at a business networking event and then ask to Friend me on Facebook, I am basically going to ignore the request.  If you ask me to link to you on Linkedin, that makes sense to me.  If you are my cousin from Holland (shout out to Nico) and you want to share some photos of the family then friend me on Facebook, not on Linkedin. Twitter is similar.  I think its all business, but you have to decided what it is for you.  If you think that all social media is open to you for your personal life, I think that this a big mistake.

What Is Your Personal Persona?

I believe Facebook is more of a personal network thing.  I think that you don’t want people eventually to be able to find a photo of you drunk in college on your Facebook page.  That will have a long term impact on your being hired for work.  I think that people need to understand what each of these social media outlets are good for and how they are going to use them.  I am also seeing Instagram and Snapchat as being purely personal relationship based and not for business relationships.  You need to make sure you control your personal social media and decide once again who you are online.

What Is Your Business Persona?

I personally think that Linkedin is purely a business relationship social media.  It has been used for some personal use, but once again leave that to Facebook or Instagram.  I am not even a big user of Facebook , but I am advocating to use it solely for personal use. Twitter I use for business purposes.  I have seen it used for personal uses, and that is ok, maybe.  It depends.  If you ever wanted to change who you are, what you believe and keep a business profile, you need to make an early decision about what you tweet about.  If you want to keep a personal Twitter account separate from a business account, then set up a second twitter account. I have about 5 I use.

What Is Your Political Persona?

Finally there is the point of view social media from a political point of view.  This is one that I always felt would trip me up, so I have never tweeted my political opinion or written a blog entry on my business blog about politics.  Nor have I entered a political opinion on Linkedin.  I think that you could do this, but you have deal with the repercussions.  For instance, half the people you work with will never agree with your point of view.  If they can read your tweets about who you hate running for president, then you are really giving away your political point of view. I don’t even think using Facebook for this is a good thing.  Trust me, half of your family has another point of view.  Why piss them off as well?  So, how to deal with this is to create another personality on twitter and in my case political blogging.  I have a pseudo name I have been politically blogging under for 12 years.  I don’t do it often, but when I have an opinion I use my alias, not my name.  I don’t like it interfering the other parts of my social media world.  It is not necessary.

Lessons Learned

Don’t mix your personal, business and political personas!  Keep them separate and up to standards that make sense.  Mixing these social medias at will between personal and business are quite dangerous.  Next time you don’t get that job offer, it could be because of your highly voiced opinion.  There is tons of space for opinions on-line.  In order to have good relations with everybody in your life, you need to make sure you keep these worlds segmented and separated so you are not seen as the enemy.  In fact, if you do a great job of this, your friends or associates with differing opinions will come to respect you.  Keep it out of the office. At DSX Labs, our tech incubator over the past year we have a saying, when the republicans come in the door we are republicans and when the democrats come in the door we are democrats!

 

Search, The Internal Frontier

I’ve recently taken on a project which includes a complicated “Internal” site search.  This website not only needs to be found on the web, but members can run specific searches against specific elements on the website, click on subcategories and then create filters.  Sounds a bit like an eCommerce search, right?  Well, it’s not, but eCommerce is a good starting point.  This blog article is going to explore what I know about internal website search and places they have solved it well or not so well.

First off, there are two kinds of searches online as you should know by now.  You got your World Wide Web search now referred to as a Google search, and an internal website search.  It may not be so easy to figure out which kind you are doing these days, because an internal search quite often is using Google and/or the Google Appliance, a box Google sells you that manages a “Google like” private search engine for your website.

I first ran into a hybrid search, what I call “Directed Search” when I was hired for a consulting gig at The Limited, VictoriasSecret.com.  They had no search box at the time.  The year was 2005.  I mention that, because that shows how large, successful brands, can get stuck in the past.  They required the customers to click on the word search, then click on something like a bra. Then you would have to choose your size and finally choose a style and color.  It was like 9 clicks to checkout. Well that was unacceptable.  But it made sense from a technical standpoint.  A lot of things make sense from a technical point of view.  Having a system that holds people’s hands through a step by step search can make sense, but not with bras.  At VictoriasSecret.com, later that year after I had left, the search became a search box, and finally you could put the word “Pink” in that box and get some results and then make adjustments on the left for price, color, size, etc.  Point is, that not all searches are equal.

I have been studying two well used online internal search paradigms to solve my problem, Linkedin.com and Bankrate.com.  Both websites have a complicated, MIT level issue with data, and getting customers to the right answer, without taking up too much time and without losing them in “advanced” areas.  I think both sites live and die by helping the members find their way to a person/company or whatever int he case of Linkedin.com and to a mortgage company in the case of Bankrate.com.

Basic Versus Advanced

I think we can all agree that the best searches have a limited amount of functionality at first.  If you read my article on “2 Online Marketing Segments: Insecure Focused, Secure Unfocused“, you will see that you need to accommodate the less sophisticated, yet ready to go, user like myself first and foremost.  I admit I don’t read everything, and I would guess that 80% of the population is like me.  But for that 20%, there are extreme details they want to know, and they WILL use the advanced search. So, you got to keep everybody happy.  It is not easy for Linkedin.com for instance.  You will notice they have it easy to find people, but if you start peeling back the layers, the advanced search is there.

One Click Versus Many

One UI goal and conversion goal for all searches is to reduce the clicks.  This means if something can be done in one click that’s great and lets say no clicks, that’s even better.  Remember with JQuery you can have a no click solution, where people type things in, look at Answers.com and others, and have it change as you enter your search terms.  The way that Linkedin.com solves this is by having a little drop down for the search, which means you can choose what kind of search you are starting before you enter data, people, company, group, etc.  This is really innovative and useful.

Complications & Third Parties

So sometimes a search can not be as straight forward.  There could be third parties who have ad-space making it advantageous for search to take a little bit longer (a few clicks).  Bankrate.com is a great example of searches where, in order to search customers correctly, they have to know where you are looking to get a mortgage and what type  you are looking for to even start the search.  For instance I would be looking for a 30 Year Fixed in Boca Raton, Florida.  Then they can start the search… So for some searches it is more about getting the basics in place, and then start the filtering.

No matter what kind of search you set up.  Trust me the Google Appliance is not for everybody and there are still about 15 companies out there which provide third party internal Saas search products like Omniture and Autonomy.  If you are an eCommerce company you can’t live without them.

 

 

Marketing Trend: Our Decreasing Need To Remember Anything

Years ago in the not so distant past there used to be these little black books we all carried around that held in them names, addresses and phone numbers. Ah, yes we called them address books and phone books. To those of us not well endowed with the gift of memorization, these little books were very, very important. Ok, you know I am being facetious. Along with the demise of these little black books (I personally see the iphone/ipad as the death knell), there is also a big trend, in fact a marketing trend, that we don’t need to remember much about who we know, where we go online, who we email in order to contact others. Why is this important? Well if you look at the recent trend of social bookmarking, social media and sharing sites, like Addthis.com, you are seeing a new paradigm emerging where we don’t need to know this contact information anymore. In other words, social networking and other kinds of sites are becoming the conduit for our contact information. The question is how and why can you capitalize on this trend.

Phone Numbers, Cell Phones & PDAs Start The Know Nothing Trend

Let’s step back a bit. I had been in the cell phone business back in the 90s, when the first internal phone books emerged. They were good and you could choose from a list of people to call, but when you broke, lost your phone or upgraded, you had to go through the painful move your contacts over process. But long before cell phones, landline phones, the old phone companies had those 10 digit numbers you had to remember. I am saying “had” because I believe phone numbers one day will be so obfuscated, you won’t need to know a number. In fact maybe you just say a name and your smart device finds that person.

When the Palm emerged (how soon we forget) it had all kinds of contact information apps on it. When the Palm merged with a cellphone, we were ecstatic. We would no longer need to keep that litttle black book for phone numbers. We still had to keep the address book around for the written addresses and some emails at that time. In the late 2000s as the phones got smarter, we were able to keep our contact list, integrate lists eventually with things like Google and Gmail. This made it possible when I lost a phone to get back at least an old copy of my contacts. But we were not free of having to remember some information.

Tell-A-Friend

As a little side note here, we had put the Tell-A-Friend page on almost every site we built up until recently. The problem of course with Tell-A-Friend is, if you don’t remember their email address, you couldn’t tell a friend. So how close a friend were they. So in the early years of the web, you remembered all your friend’s email addresses and if you didn’t, you copied and pasted it from your email program. But this is where the little black book came out.

Google Throws A Life Line

Gmail was the first really great implementation of a technology that naturally offered up contact information, such as email addresses and names of previous email contacts in a way that was unobtrusive. It used a natural intelligence that was not dorky or difficult and did not bother you. Using my Gmail account, I would just start to type either an email address or a name and it would show the contacts I needed. You could still search Gmail and find it other ways. Now, the geeky at-heart will email me and tell me that there were others before Gmail with this capability. I am sure of that. But this is the place I remember losing my “email” mind and not having to add email addresses to my little black book. I think it was around 2003 or so for me, but it doesn’t matter. What is important is I don’t know your email address if you asked me now!

Make It So Linkedin! Now We Don’t Have To Remember Ourselves

The emergence of Linkedin.com is much more than just a place for our business info and contact info. It created a place where we could put our resume information and not really have to maintain a physical resume. We are not totally there yet, but it is the beginning of another little piece of paper shoved into my little black book going away. The critical aspect of LinkedIn is it allowed people to change jobs, lose their primary email address, and keep in contact with you regardless. If you are LinkedIn with somebody, they can change their email address and life is good again. You don’t lose them. Next time you login to LinkedIn they have a different email address but life goes on just the same for your contact relationship. And the ability to use LinkedIn to communicate to you with “send them a message” changed the game. This small innovation in the business world has made it so even my little Gmail artificial intelligence is not that important anymore. The ability to contact and communicate within these types of applications was well underway with the big daddy of them all coming to town, Facebook.com

Social Networks, Honey Where’d My Brain Go?

So now that Facebook is upon us and seemingly consuming 90% of the online time of people who seem to have all the time in the world for Facebook, a second phase of this trend is now kicking in. We no longer need to remember not just phone numbers or email addresses. We don’t even have to remember our friend’s names. When you share a link or webpage on the web and you use one of the many sharing mechanisms, like Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Vimeo, and there are others, life has gotten easy to ping somebody. If you use Facebook sharing to share you can send your message by searching for a face now, right? That conceptually means that you don’t need to remember anybody’s name anymore. And I see this trend increasing as Facebook logins and other types of sharing mechanisms seem to be everywhere these days.

The Final Frontier: Smarter Devices Means You Can Be Even Dumber!

When you got your first iPhone and you logged in to iTunes, and you downloaded your first Angry Birds app, the trend became apparent. You did not have to enter your email address each time. Just enter a password. Apple knows who you are, your contact info and basically we don’t need to know ourselves (email-wise). The whole concept of remembering your email address is becoming less important. Once you are on an iPad you don’t need to enter your email address to get on a list with an app. You buy things through iTunes. And if you use Words With Friends by Zynga you interact with people that you don’t really know and your contact info is embedded somewhere on a hard drive in the cloud (“the keyword for India hard drive storage”). So smart devices are making it so we don’t need to even know who we are.

What’s Next?

Well, I have no crystal ball, but obviously Facebooking your way around the web, using Facebook to contact and communicate is here to stay. The smart devices to me represent a major change in how and where this contact info lies. I noticed recently in my Android phone that I can sync my contacts with Gmail and/or the main company I use so I don’t lose it. I guess in the near future some of these mechanisms many cross paths either through mergers, acquisitions or just a central control system, like the old phone company.