Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Web Secret #169: FollowFriday Helper

If you are on Twitter, you know that though it sounds counterintuitive, the more people you follow, the more followers you have.

If you haven't learned how to add #FollowFriday to your arsenal, now is the time. FollowFriday started in 2009 with the following tweet:

I am starting Follow Fridays. Every Friday, suggest a person to follow, and everyone follow him/her. Today its @fancyjeffrey & @w1redone.

The idea was to think of interesting people you already followed and recommend them to others. The concept took off like wildfire. On the first FollowFriday, there were almost two #followfriday tweets per second at its peak. And the movement continues to thrive.

FollowFriday is successful because:

1. It’s easy. It takes little effort to send a tweet.

2. It’s participatory. You can suggest one person or 100 people. You can get endorsements from one person or a hundred people.

3. It’s karmic and it feels good. It’s a great feeling to simply say, “I think this person is great. You should follow them.”

I liked the concept, but was too lazy to implement it, until I found the handy Follow Friday Helper. FF Helper is a free twitter app that makes it dead-easy to recommend tweeps on Twitter. Sign up. FFH shows you a list of your most active users on Twitter. You can then create #FollowFriday tweets with just a few clicks.

This takes seconds. The max time I was willing to dedicate to this effort.

Try it, you'll like it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Web Secret #168: Social Intelligence

Social intelligence is not just the name of a year old company that "scrapes the Internet for everything prospective employees may have said or done online in the past seven years," according to a recent NY Times article.

Social intelligence needs to become your way of life.


More and more companies are performing social media background checks on prospective employees. Some are outsourcing this task to (SI). SI assembles the good and the bad on each candidate.

The bad? Online racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons and clearly identifiable violent activity.

SI's reports remove references to a person’s religion, race, marital status, sexual orientation, disability and other information protected under federal employment laws, which companies are not supposed to ask about during interviews. Also, job candidates must first consent to the background check, and they are notified of any adverse information found.

Less than a third of the data surfaced by SI comes from major sites like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Much of the negative information comes from comments on blogs and posts on smaller social networks, Tumblr, Yahoo listservs, e-commerce sites, bulletin boards and even Craigslist.

Then there are the photos and videos that people post — or find themselves tagged in — on Facebook and YouTube and other sharing sites.

Don't say I didn't warn you. In 2010, I told you to "shut up." Still, users often don't realize that much of the comments or content they generate is publicly available.

Remember that 75 percent of recruiters perform online research on candidates. And 70 percent of recruiters in the United States report that they have rejected candidates because of information online.

You have been warned.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Web Secret #167: Smartphones

I am staring at my iPhone.

Hard to believe that less than 5 years ago, I didn't have a smartphone.

It has become essential to me, along with my MacBook Pro, and my iPad.

I will tell you why.

(Hats off to Damon Darling's "How I Learned to Stop Worrying by Loving the Smartphone" which inspired this post.)

1. I am no longer lost.
I have profound and legendary geographical agnosia. Translation: I can't find my way out of a paper bag. l can't find my way around the small town in which I live. I need GPS at all times, every day, the minute I leave my house. Fortunately, there's an app for that, GPS Drive. Now I am oriented at all times, even when I am walking.

2. I no longer waste time.
I can work anytime, anywhere. Answer e-mails, write my next blog post, make business calls. I am so efficient.

3. I no longer waste time.
I am always waiting for something, somewhere. My doctor's waiting room, my dentist's chair, the supermarket checkout line, are boring no more. I can read a book on my Kindle app, play Words With Friends, plan to break into a bank (The Heist), even conjure up a vacation planning to do list (InstaTodo.)

4. I know everything.
Thank you Google. In a matter of seconds, I can look up anything. Thank you TED - I can listen to great minds sharing their wisdom, in under 20 minute sound bites. Thank you Krulwich Wonders, for giving me something smart to talk about at cocktail parties.

5. I can shop for anything.
I sometimes need stuff delivered to me ASAP. A hard to find shade of Burt's Bees lip shimmer, a video editing program like Final Cut Express, my favorite hard to find Itoen Jasmine Green Tea. Ah, the wonders of's Prime program. For $75 a year, I get two day free shipping on all these items and so many more. Have you checked out Amazon lately? They have it all. Even the filter for my 2003 Maytag fridge.

I love my smartphone.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Web Secret #166: Adobe Museum of Digital Art

TED is an online archive of "riveting talks by remarkable people." You can view the talks by category, one of my favorites being "jaw-dropping."

I don't jaw drop easily. In fact, the last time my jaw dropped was in the 1980s, when I stood in the middle of the precarious Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, (the fifth highest bridge in the United States), 650 feet above the Rio Grande river.

Then just a few weeks ago, I had my first jaw drop of the 21st century.

Over a website. I kid you not.

I wish I could take credit for finding this as of yet not completely constructed website, (my 17 year old son showed it to me), but if you want to see what the Internet might look like in 2050, check out the Adobe Museum of Digital Art.

To fully understand the concept, watch the explanatory video, or if you are more adventurous, look for the white building, and click on that - then explore.

And that is all I am going to say.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Web Secret #165: Web 2.0 Suicide Machine

When it comes to protecting your reputation on the web, sometimes the best offense is a great defense.

That's why we may all need the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine. Congressman Wiener needed it...

In a nutshell, the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine is a service that helps users tired of Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter, to "commit suicide in social networks," by automatically "removing their private content and friend relationships," (but without deleting or deactivating their accounts).

Let them explain it - in this somewhat tongue in cheek video:

This is my aside for Gen Y:

Do you remember the inanities you posted on your Facebook during high school? During college?

Before you enter the job market, especially one that sucks as much as this one, sign up for your suicide.

For you, it isn't optional.