Monday, April 07, 2014

Can Someone Explain the Logic?

Please Facebook.  Simple answers.  What relates to what content.  What we can do to tag that content so it makes sense to the end user.

In the classic sense -- I don't trust a media outlet when I know the kind of errors they make regarding me, my interests or my employer.

Facebook -- when you offer up random (and potentially offensive) related content -- you do the same.

Earlier today, I saw a story on the new women's basketball coach at Arkansas.  They served related content with a spoof expansion of football and a feature on craft beer.  Really?

But The Facebook -- like the Honey Badger -- don't care.

Stop more silliness like below (how does Junkyard Dog and King Herod relate . . . .)?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Secrets of the Related Story

As Facebook morphs again, the new feature of related stories after you click on a news item from a friend intrigues me.  Anyone figured out what drives it, and how we get our content into those hoppers?

Meanwhile, we return to a world in which the click interaction of our followers becomes the prime metric.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

UPDATE: The Judge Steps Out

Michael Maggio issued a statement that he indeed is "geauxjudge" on Tiger Droppings and exits his judicial race in Arkansas.

 “I take full responsibility for the comments that have been attributed to me. I apologize deeply for my lapse in personal judgment and for that, I have no excuse. The comments posted were not acceptable. These comments are not a reflection of who I am.”

Call it the disassociation effect in reverse.  Just because I used a pseudonym it really isn't me.

Some broader things to consider are how did Maggio end up in this place? Granted, a run though all of geauxjudge's posts made it fairly easy to conclude it was either Maggio or someone extremely close to him.  He opined on too many things that only he would know from his professional life (first rule of message board - no personal details).

Yet on a board the scale of TigerDroppings, seeing this forest for the trees . . . well you wouldn't just need a road map, you'd need Google Earth to back up that far.

Unless you were tipped.

And that is what Maggio hinted at in his statement. That Blue Dog Report, one of Arkansas' more notable political blogs, didn't just accidentally sift through the website.

Regardless, we are once again reminded of the permanence of the supposedly ephemeral digital trail we leave behind.

If you want a recap, Arkansas Times has one here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Once Digital, Never Anonymous

Mike Maggio is learning an old school lesson today. You can give yourself a screen name, but that is no guarantee of anonymity.  The Arkansas judge, and his wide ranging opinions on the LSU message board Tiger Droppings, are now political fodder.

Rule number one of message boards: they have your IP addresses. If you work for a public entity, you  are toast. Just an FOIA away from having your desktop IP revealed. Triangulate that with what survive provider you use for mobile and home service and the "well, that may be my work computer but anyone could have accessed it" excuse is done.

Rule number two: too cute by half screen names.  Geauxjudge. Really?

For these and many other reasons, I've operated under a very simple guideline on the sports message boards: be yourself.  As a public spokesperson, any and everything is on the record, so you've always found me as "BillSmith" where I have gone.

Not everyone can get away with being Ranger77. Maggio sure didn't.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Another Job Ended by Social

The cautionary tales become routine.  Today's edition involves the sharing of a Facebook link, ostensibly inside "friends" security, that was quickly shared out and to the wider world.  As a result, Craig Featherston is now former assistant AD at TCU.

The content isn't that important -- you can read here from the Ft Worth Star-Telegram -- what precipitated Featherston's decision to leave the Horned Frogs.

What does separate this event from other famous job-ending faux pas (by tweet | by drunken tweet | by photo | by posting | by video) -- this was sharing a link, not creating it.  Although, Featherston told the S-T[he] posted a message he said he didn’t write “but could have.”

Read more here:

The main takeaway:  in spite of best efforts by media consultants like Danah Boyd's attempt to create "context collapse", you will be taken at face for your comments.  And, in this case, the ones you share.

I segue to Boyd, who was interviewed today on NPR related to her new research book, It's Complicated.  The key to understanding the use of social by various groups is the context.  Based on the story, I don't think I am stretching to say that Featherston falls into "context collapse."  (Granted, Boyd is studying teenagers.)

As a former UT student during the time of the TAMU bonfire tragedy, he said he was sharing a comment among friends.  He talks directly to the Star-Telegram about the impact, and you have sympathy for the situation.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Is 65 the new 140?

I've said for some time, just because you get 140 characters on Twitter doesn't mean you should use them.  And that it's no good to prattle on with "extensions."  You need to leave space for the retweet and comments, so keep it around 100 if you can.

Now this: 65 characters.

Why?  Found first as it relates to writing good headlines for media releases that will work well in Google's search.  Because the Google truncates heads past 65 characters.

But here's some compelling additional info on 65.  For email subject lines.  For SEO tagging. More and more items are wanting you to say it in less and less space.

Once upon a time, I wrote for the bible of preseason basketball: Street & Smith's.  Those stories had hard word counts that were inviolable.  You quickly learned to drop modifiers, bloat and words like inviolable.

Writing short, tight, meaningful prose is much harder than bloviating.

Forced Transparency (Not Yet)

Friends point out what I overlooked -- the new Facebook annotation of who actually posted on brands is for admins view only.


So when was the last time that a Facebook feature that reveals more about your data stayed private.

Betcha what I took the policy change to be comes to pass before it's all said and done.

For all the folks who want to keep their branded social shielded, consider my age old advice:  Digital assets are extremely portable and once posted are always available.

Can you say . . . screen captures?  Wanna know who really is doing Brand X's work for them?  Everyone an Edward Snowden.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Of FOIA and folly

Every public institution runs into the digital age dilemma: what should we archive and what are we required to archive?

One solid rule of thumb is making sure you can produce documents if asked that pertain to your business activity.  And doing that on Gmail to avoid the state's servers . . . . well, that is proven to not stand up in court.

Two recent FOIA-related articles via PRSA's daily email bring this balancing act into focus.  The first details the SNAFU by the U.S. Navy in sending its strategy memo of how to cut down on a FOIA request to the requester.

Ah, there are some old time favorites:  "encourage the sender to 'narrow the scope'" to avoid "fishing expeditions."  The tweet with the screen cap is here.

The other is this new product: Confide.  Marketing hype says it's "snapchat for the corner office."  In other words, a way to have erasable communications to avoid those pesky FOIA fishing expeditions.

As many have learned the hard way, Snapchat isn't as secure, and surely the same will be for Confide.