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: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/02/21/5589881/tcu-ad-apologizes-his-for-facebook.html#storylink=cpy

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.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Forced Transparency

Starting Feb. 20, Facebook will take the veil off "brand" pages by revealing who is posting what.  I think it's a great move, and something that for the most part I've followed at all three stops along this social media way.

I did endorse the school speaking on the first announcement, but thereafter, you had to identify yourself at the end of the post.

Now, all posts will be annotated, and it will be a good thing.

Well, unless you are the mystery MSNBC tweeter that got fired a week ago for the comment about conservatives and the Cheerios commercial.  Can't get away with that anonymous post and departure on Facebook soon.