Posts Tagged: social media

Businesses and Employees: Boundaries in Social Media

This week I’ve been watching a favorite restaurant do their own social media. Normally I love seeing people at least try these tools on their own, even if they do it wrong, but in this case it is making me cringe. What are they doing wrong, you ask?

1) Forcing their employees to get personal accounts on a variety of social media services such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, and more.  This is uncool for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that social media use is a very personal choice for people, and not the right choice for everyone.

2) Forcing these employees to then a) give the account info to customers for connecting in addition to the company account info, instead of just giving folks access to the company accounts and b) to use their personal accounts to promote the company.  No, no, no. This is all kinds of not ok!

3) Requiring password access to the employee accounts. Employees – do not give your employer access to your personal account this way. Stand your ground. By giving the employer or employer’s representative this kind of access you essentially allow them to impersonate you at will on social networks, if they are especially evil, and to see your private interactions and info if they are somewhat less evil. Even if they have it and never use it, really – how can you think this is ever ok? Defend your space and your right to a personal life separate from your workplace.

Companies, you have no right to require your employees to use social media, much less to use it in their own name then to promote you.  That crosses a line.  It violates boundaries, breaks laws, and in some cases enables cheating on social networks, among other things.

Personal accounts are none of the business of the… business as long as the employee doesn’t defame them, and it should be the employee’s choice to represent the company in that venue and not be required to be used for the company.

Instead, simple employee guidelines should be in place as part of the company employee manual for those who do have personal social accounts how to represent the company should they CHOOSE to do so and how to handle disgruntled ex employees and other issues, and employees should be given posting access to the main company profiles and instructed to post using their initials under the company umbrella instead.

Companies if you’d like help navigating the tricky waters of bringing employees online and having them help man the official company accounts, reach out for it.  But for pete sake don’t invade your employees’ lives just to make a buck.  It’s actually worse than automating social using tools like PAL, and you all know how I (and your customers) feel about soulless automation.




A Month of Listening

Recently, I took a month (well, 40 days, to be exact) to just listen online instead of blogging. It gave me a unique opportunity to examine how much content and interaction out there is of value and how much is just so much regurgitated noise.

While I was listening, I also turned off all of my online filters. I do that periodically to make sure I am in touch with how the internet and social media appear to someone who may be new at it.

Some of the things I saw people new to this more social, more vocal, more prolific internet struggle with include:

  • Repetition
  • Relevancy
  • Source Trust
  • Filtering
  • Time Management
  • Boundaries
  • Data Ownership
  • Legal Issues
  • Human Resources Issues
  • Tool Choice
  • Engagement Levels
  • Rate of Return

That means over the next few posts I’ll try and address these issues in such a way that you and your business can glean benefit. I want to give you steps toward being online without sinking your business from spinning your wheels.  I do this at least once every year, and I am always so happy when it’s time to turn my own filters back on.  Interestingly, I also noticed a dramatic increase in the number of web savvy people who are starting to buckle under the weight of shifting filter needs as well, so I won’t be leaving the more advanced users out of these posts.

If you or your company struggle with these issues and more, and want to know how this internet and mobile focused word can help you reach success in spite of it’s challenges, you can trust us to help you navigate your way through and build a stronger business.

Portsmouth: City by the Sea

As with any conference, or in our case, (UN)conference there is a new place to see around the venue. We are very excited that this year Podcamp NH is in Portsmouth.  Portsmouth is a great location, starting with the awesome views of the waterway.  Wait, scratch that, it is autumn and cold…So lets say leaves, let’s start with Fall Foliage.  Just kidding. Portsmouth is known for it’s waterways, but more then that it is known for shopping and food.


From coffee to swanky dinner, the seacoast is known for it’s eateries.  *I am going to interject here and tell you that there is an after party planned for Saturday Night. Details to come soon.* First we can start with the awesome Portsmouth Gas Light Co. Restaurant, with night life, dinner and great drinks.  If you enjoy Breweries then Portsmouth has it’s own.  The Portsmouth Brewery is a hand brewer that is open for lunch and dinner.  There are also tours of the brewery.  These are just two nearby resturants for lunch and dinner.  We will have a breakfast spread at the venue, but if you prefer to stop somwhere else there is Cafe Kilm and a Starbucks near-by.


Just a short drive from downtown Portsmouth is the Kittery outlets for shopping.  Check out the website for a complete list of stores.  Along The main streets of downtown there are small and interesting stores all along the way.

During the lunch periods and after conference time and even during your law of two feet we encourage you to explore Portsmouth.  And enjoy the weekend!

Don’t Let Others Distract You

You’ve found your groove. You’re focused on your dream. You’re putting into practice the ideas you discovered from early adopters and early investors in this whole “social” space from books like Twitter For Dummies, Trust Agents, Crush It!, Get Seen, and so many more*. You’re stoked – you can feel your dreams realized, a step at a time. Then, you get distracted.

Have you noticed you get distracted by the very minds who inspired you in the first place? It’s not always just a coincidence. In some cases, it’s intentional. In other cases, it’s more benign – a thought leader, as they become called, wants to keep generating ideas and sometimes simply doesn’t think of the impact it may have on the person the ideas touch. Other times, they do. A Gary Vaynerchuk or a Chris Brogan** or others say they are “redrawing” or “refocusing” or “going beyond crushing it” and “stepping up their game” or [insert other vague yet seemingly positive language] here.

It makes you feel inadequate. It makes you feel left behind. It makes you feel like you aren’t moving fast enough. It makes you feel as though you have to keep up with the Joneses. It makes you stop focusing on your goal.

Did you know that the skill I use the most in my job is my education in psychology? Did you know that distraction, envy and inadequacy are very effective techniques for sidelining the competition? Did you know that in this new economy with these new tools, at this rapid pace technology flies, you are just as much competition as the heavy hitters who have come before?

If you didn’t know that before, know it now. Listen to the “thought leaders” when it helps you, but check in with yourself daily. Make sure your eyes stay on your prize and stop thinking you have to veer off your track each time someone with a bigger megaphone tries something new. Should you stop innovating? No. Should you innovate wisely and according to what works for your resources? Yes.

Now get back to work, hustle, and stop letting me distract you.

* Yes, they are Amazon affiliate links. I read a book a day – it helps me feed my addiction.


** I adore Chris, Gary, Steve and the rest of my colleagues. They are awesome. You should still focus on what’s good for you and your business above all else.

SMBNH & SMBME Join For Education

Register for SMBNH & SMBME Join for Education in Portsmouth, NH  on Eventbrite

NOTE: THE EVENT IS ON August 20, 2010.

Ticket sales end on 8/19 in the evening. Do not confuse the Eventbrite ticket end date with the event date! 


This month, your Social Media Breakfast is a joint effort between SMBNH founder Leslie Poston of Magnitude Media and SMBME founder Amanda O’Brien of Hall Web Services

In NH we’ve had two Education themed SMBNH mornings (here and here), where you have heard from folks breaking new ground in education from all over the state. Now we’re bringing some of the bright minds from Maine down to collaborate and share what our neighbor is doing for social and education. 

We hope to foster a greater feeling of community between the education communities in both states, and we hope you enjoy our three speakers from our sister state of Maine and meeting our attendees from both NH and Maine this month.

Thank you to our sponsors:

a destination for people writing and reading about the role of social media in education, particularly in independent schools and colleges. edSocialMedia the company has held a Summit, a dozen hands-on social media Bootcamps around the country, spoken at numerous conferences, hired our first full time director, and expanded our services to include social media strategy and consulting.


WhippleHill Communications provides targeted communications solutions for independent schools seeking next-generation Web services. Our core Podium platform combines powerful content management and student data management software in a modular system designed to allow schools to add functionality at their own pace. Our Partner Ecosystem brings industry solutions to schools through Podium’s open API.  As a Software as a Service company, WhippleHill’s hosted solutions are secure and updated regularly at no additional cost.


Hall Tools include SERP data, Site Statistics, Conversion Data and Social Media Mentions – offering a more complete user source and traffic model




Theme for the 14th Social Media Breakfast: Social Media for Educators

The 14th Social Media Breakfast NH is also the first SMBNH and SMBME collaboration.

This one will be all about topics related to educators using Social Media and as our third foray into education here in NH, will feature speakers from our neighbor: Maine.  

In addition to Leslie Poston (myself), who will be your host and MC for the morning, you will have three speakers giving three brief presentations on topics relating to the theme for the morning. 


Opening Remarks by Leslie Poston (SMBNH founder)

Alex Steed (ME) from Opportunity Maine is putting together a local report card for schools that is heavily social media based and will be talking about his project.

Tucker Kimball (ME) from Gould Academy will present a case study on how GA uses social media.

Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers

Q&A session (we do a Q&A with all three speakers at the end. Amanda O’Brien will moderate this portion)

Closing Remarks and announcements by Leslie Poston

This is going to be a great breakfast!


There is a huge lot at the Marriott. I believe they validate parking, but have not confirmed this yet for you. 


The Marriott is at the corners of Deer St, Maplewood Ave and Hanover St in Portsmouth. The address in the sidebar will get you to the parking entrance but is not their official address.

Event Center:

Look for the blue awning to the side of the main entrance – that’s where we’ll be!



Let’s make SMBNH crackle with energy and success! See you there!

The Power of Why

Inspired by a TedX talk, I share why I do what I do, and ask why you do what you do.

The talk that inspired me and the Twitter friend’s blog I heard it from

Restaurant Basics: Online Engagement

We talked about the challenge of inserting adaptive media into your restaurant time crunch. It’s difficult to see where you can fit it in when you are holding down 100 hour weeks trying to keep your dream afloat in a tough economy. Even if you don’t have time to do your campaign yet, you should still be present in the social web space.

If you do nothing else, make yourself aware of where you are online. We’re looking for you where we are already, as potential customers.

• Have a Facebook Fan Page, not a personal profile for your business. (And make sure you enable your business page wall to show everyone’s posts, not just yours.)

• Claim your business on Foursquare, Gowalla (and other location based services). Don’t know what I’m talking about? Google “location based services”.

• Claim your business on review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and more. Sure it’s scary to let people be honest, but it also gives you room for improvement to be available on these sites.

• Pay attention to your customers. Listen to them talking about what they do online. Do they love email in your establishment? Go with Constant Contact or Blue Sky Factory and do email campaigns. Do they text constantly while they sit and eat? You need  or a text based awareness service. Listen. Your customers are giving you clues.

These are what I would consider the basics right now in social media for a restaurant. Things you can do on your own with very little technical knowledge. Even with low to no engagement, doing these things will passively help your business by making it easier for those of us who do engage to share when we interact with your establishment in some way.

Adaptive Media In School (More Than Social)

I’ve been doing a lot of education of our educators here in NH this summer, from Keene and Franklin Pierce in the west to UNH on the coast and more. It’s been a blast helping them grasp the implications and possibilities for adaptive media in the classroom, in the curricula, throughout the infrastructure and on into the future lives of their students. I thought I’d collect a few of my slide decks here for you, and some of the tools I’ve been talking about, so that you have a handy resource. I try to find fresh slides for each presentation, but a few do repeat – it is a traveling lecture series, after all. The aspect that is most fun for me is that each time I teach the course, I have new examples and methods to add. This means educators across the country are finally getting it. That is a good thing.

Social Media 101 For Educators (Given at Keene State, May 2010)

This slide deck touches on the very basics of social media for those educators that needed an intro to some of the more prevalent tools and issues with use. If you know what Twitter is, are familiar with the Facebook privacy documents, and more – you can skip ahead. I do love how much the Facebook privacy interface changed in the weeks following these slides, but it’s important to note: while the interface may have simplified dramatically, the policies did not. Take the time to read them.

Social Media 201 for Educators (Given at Keene State, May 2010)

This was for the advanced educators at Keene, a lively and interactive bunch. There were less slides and more hands on brainstorming and creativity here. Look for Keene to do some big things in the way of adaptive media plus education – they have an engaged and intelligent bunch of educators led by a connected and forward thinking provost.

The Role of Social Media In Education (Given at UNH, June 2010)

Tools for Education and Adaptive Media

These change all of the time. I’ll have to make a note to come back and update this post once in a while to keep them fresh. Important to note: in June 2010, Twitter will require all clients to use OAUTH instead of a password log in. This means some of your favorite Twitter apps will stop working if their developers haven’t decided to toe the line. I’m not sure how that will change the Twitter tools scattered amongst this list.

Here are a few social tools to get you started integrating adaptive media into your class and school:

TwapperKeeper is useful for collecting the group notes centered around a hashtag and saving them for future use and study

QuoteURL can put different tweets from certain folks into one page. Useful for project summaries or live lecture notes.

Google Wave now integrates into Blackboard

Don’t overlook the cell phone as a tool for announcements, notes, Q&A sessions, class participation and more

CiteMe is a Facebook application that cites sources in proper APA, Chicago, MLA, Harvard and Turabian styles

CoverItLive allows classes to take notes live and include multi media and other items as they go

Notely has a Facebook integration for their existing application to bring the classroom into Facebook

Moodle is an open and social tool similar to Blackboard

CourseFeed Another Facebook application, this one helps student figure out which fellow classmates and classes are online and easily join the group, page or discussion

Eduspaces is a social network devoted entirely to education, students and educators

DoResearchForMe This one I find a bit hard to swallow. It’s intent is good – to keep students from completely relying on Wikipedia articles by leading them to other sources – but I think the kids should learn this skill without training wheels.

CampusBuddy helps you find other students at your school. Useful for those times when people have changed their network to a city or town instead of a school.

Twiducate is a social network for schools

Schoology is a digital classroom set up integrating social media aspects with learning management

Flashcards is a Facebook based flash card creation application

ClassNotes a Facebook app that lets you visually share your teacher’s notes with others

Quizzinator helps teachers create, store and print quizzes, worksheets, and more online

Google Docs, Google Wave, and other online collaboration tools are invaluable in a class

Stop Treading Water

One of the easiest ways to spot a snake oil social media consultant these days is to look and see who is still promoting “awareness” of social media. People, I’m pretty sure the planet is aware of “social media” now. Folks need real education and real help from people who have been in the trenches doing it for a long time, not “social media days” or light weight seminars devoted to awareness.

People seem to treat social media as if it were new, getting bogged down in the oil slick of shiny object syndrome, distracted by every new tool that comes along. And that’s just it – these are simply new tools for an old idea. Social media is not new (and I still hate calling it social media). Social media just looks prettier now and is easier for the average person to use. Continuing to think of it as new and to get distracted by awareness exercises will only have you treading water.

JAN 16, 1978This was the day that social

That’s 30+ years of being social using technology, folks, in a variety of ways and tools as we evolved the technology, and it doesn’t even include other social tech, like a simple phone call, a shared radio program or other ways humans have always tried to find common ground and like minded folks and increase successes. Now can we stop distracting ourselves with talk of awareness and just begin integrating this set of new tools into daily practice already?

Insert Tab A Into Slot B: Boilerplate Social

It is relatively common for every 20 or so proposals sent to turn up at least one recipient who replies “Well that’s great, but I really just wanted someone to ‘create buzz’, can you A) take out [essential proposal component] B) take out [business development component] C) charge less but do all of the work for me ‘for now’ D) [other random request that treats the social plus business consult as if it were a dollar menu]”? To me, that helps weed out customers who aren’t serious, but I see other consultants bending over backwards to price themselves low and make automated options for people and scratch my head.

First of all, this isn’t an automated business we’re in. It is true that some clients and their products or goals can lend themselves to some automation (see ReverbNation for musicians, or IndieGoGo for film, for examples). The reality comes into play that even those clients will eventually have to get their hands dirty and get involved with the people who are interested in their social efforts. If you are automated then you aren’t listening, you’re missing opportunities, and you aren’t growing like you could be.

Second, if you are a consultant and you don’t value your product (which is often yourself) or your knowledge enough to charge for it, why are you in business? If you aren’t comfortable charging a price and sticking to it, perhaps in the back of your mind you think what you offer has no value, and if you think that – so will your potential clients. Figure out what you know and what it is worth, and charge accordingly. Perhaps this post from Christopher Penn will help you get some pricing perspective.

Finally, as I mentioned yesterday, you can’t go social and introduce all of the shiny new toys and tools and strategies that compliment your business without making sure your business can support the interaction. That where the business development, web site and other aspects of what I offer come in – it goes way beyond social. You will need to make at least a few organizational changes to accommodate customer interest, because you can’t force the customer to interact in only one way any more. You may be there for sales or news updates only, but your customer may throw you a customer service curve ball – you need to be ready. Your web site and other media (print, TV, etc) presences need to be ready to be social too.

What this all means for the customer is an adjustment in thinking about how they do business and what kind of benefits this will have for you and your customer. Interestingly, this post is about only a fraction of what I offer. The social media and business development is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the cool things I get to do with clients, it just seems to be where a handful of folks get mentally stuck. What this means for the consultant is that you need to offer something you value, or no one else will value it either and you’ll be on this treadmill of rejection and price cutting until you throw in the towel or price yourself out of business – self doubt isn’t sustainable.