Don’t Do What I Did: The Abbreviated Guide to Online Reputation Management

Since my post on transparency and authenticity for Mark Shaefer’s blog {grow} went up three months ago, I’ve received several emails from individuals who have either gone through what I did, or have had their reputations threatened with ruin.  Most of us have heard horror stories of a Google or Facebook search losing someone a prized position.  The bad guys out there know this, know that reputations and online identities are powerful and capitalize on that.

When I’m asked what advice I have to give, I usually begin the same way: Don’t do what I did.

I got scared, I felt alone, I felt a deep loss of identity and instead of standing my ground I hid.  This did the trick in the short-term, but in the long-term has caused significant problems.  I cannot be clearer on this: Do not do what I did.

Continue reading

Why Vaccine Advocates Don’t Need Google to Police the Internet

On Monday, Slate ran an article from Future Tense by Evgeny Morozov called Warning: This Site Contains Conspiracy Theories – Anti-vaccine activists, 9/11 deniers and Google’s social search.  The article is based on a recent study in Vaccine that examined the strategies, tactics and content of several anti-vaccination websites.  I would highly recommend reading the study if you have an interest in online science-based communication.

The study’s author, Anna Kata of the department of anthropology at McMaster University, outlines how anti-vaccination websites increase their own relevancy in Google search results through a myriad of what is essentially SEO, one-way and three-way link exchanges.

While Kata briefly notes possible solutions to the SEO issue, Morozov goes a step further by recommending two possible solutions: 1. A browser extension that would ‘red flag’ websites that use anti-science keywords and 2. For Google to “exercise a heavier curatorial control in presenting search results.”

I take issue with both of these proposed solutions.  Before I go forward, in order to ward off starting any conspiracy theories of my own, I would like to state explicitly that to the best of my knowledge Google isn’t investigating or implementing either of the options suggested by Morozov. Continue reading

Why Digital Health Communication Campaigns Measure the Wrong Things

I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that social media marketers get a little defensive when asked to quantify the ROI on their campaigns.  Often because those at the helm feel social media is asked to defend its use, where traditional media is not, but more frequently the defensiveness comes from an inability to measure.

Those in the non-profit realm are faced with another layer of complexity on top of the ROI question: public health and social marketing campaigns are typically difficult to measure and assign a “dollars saved” amount to, especially for short campaigns.  Despite this, health communication and social marketing campaigns have a greater responsibility to measure our campaigns and we need to do so honestly, accurately and transparently.

I’ve recently been able to review a handful of health digital media campaigns and it shouldn’t be shocking that they were either measured using the wrong metrics or have been declared successes using the right measures, when they were anything but. Continue reading

How Social Media Is Turning Us All Into First Responders

I’m not a doctor or a grief counselor but social media has turned me into one and it is turning us all into first responders, for better or worse.

Last year a friend posted Facebook that she was going to take her daughter, who had a fever, to a minute clinic to get her annual flu shot.  Her reasoning seemed sound at first blush: She was tight on time and her daughter was already sick and already miserable, so why not bite the bullet and do it now?

Several friends had weighed in on her status empathizing with her predicament.  I jumped in an urged her to wait at least 48 hours after her daughter’s fever had broken to have her vaccinated, or at least take her daughter to a walk-in clinic that night where a physician would oversee the immunization.  After my comment, my friend called the on-call nurse who told her the same thing. Continue reading

We All Need To Calm Down About Klout

Yesterday was a perfect example of why you shouldn’t build your brand around a score you can’t manage and can be changed without notice.  I’m talking about Klout.

I’ve received emails over the past several months from individuals who include their Klout score in their signature.  Someone recently gave me a business card with their Klout score on it. After yesterday when Klout changed its algorithm, lowering scores by as much as 20 points, I wondered if he was going to print new business cards. Continue reading

Should Minors Have Different Facebook Privacy Settings?

A few weeks ago I noticed that the Facebook status updates of a teenage relative were tagged with her approximate location.

FBMinorUpdate

Before I go on, I should disclose that my teenage relatives rarely listen to me when it comes to Facebook.  I’ve accepted that they’re still going to post /those/ photos, use /that/ language and write about /that thing that happened last night.

There are few issues I bring to their attention, but this one struck a nerve: Facebook was posting the location of a 17-year-old girl when she updated her status.  This somehow wasn’t right.

I noticed she was online and started chatting with her:

“Hey, you should disable the geotagging feature on your Facebook status updates.  Everyone can see where you are when you update.”

“Yeah, I’ve tried to take it off, but I can’t.” Continue reading

Don’t Be An Info Hoarder

I’m usually wary when I run into an info hoarder.  Info hoarders, more commonly known as resource hoarders, are individuals who closely guard their data, skills, contacts and resources from others in order to ensure their own importance on a campaign or in a company.

Nobody likes info hoarders.

Info hoarders hold up work and create an unnecessarily competitive atmosphere.  They let campaigns flounder by not sharing information, because they’re not in a lead position and inflate their own importance by being the sole keeper of the expertise. Continue reading