As the World-Wide-Web becomes more and more like the Wild-Wild-West with the addition of new social networks such as Google+ as well as the MySpace cyber face lift, it’s time to pause and take a look at how we are representing or mis-respresenting ourselves in the digital world.
If you ask any Hollywood agent, they’ll tell you there really aren’t any original ideas out there. To stand out in the crowded digital playing field, you need to have a unique voice and build your brand.
So what happens when you see your company logo on another’s profile on a social networking site? Perhaps they’ve found it on Google images or were just hoping you wouldn’t notice. Between Google alerts and your friends in the blogosphere, one can only hope that you’re keeping a digital eye on your brand.
Recently, I shared the story on Huffington Post of how my personal identity was copied on Twitter for the second time in two years. Twitter doesn’t take this lightly. They call it impersonation. I say, imitation isn’t a form of flattery.
In the first case, I notified Twitter. Five days later, the account of the copy-cat was suspended due to suspicious activity. In the second incident, I was fortunate that a social media friend spotted it upon first tweet. The person using my logo apologized and removed it from their profile.
Without further digital adieu, here are my recommendations on how to protect your brand identity.
- File a copyright registration for your logo at copyright.gov
- Create a Google alert for your personal name, company name, and tagline at google.com/alerts
- Create a search with your keywords on Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or other social media software management tools
- File a trademark for your company name and logo at uspto.gov
- Take any digital dispute offline
- Report any blatant incidents to the social network
Social media attorney Adrian Dayton agrees with this approach. “Social networks take identity theft extremely seriously, most people don’t realize that if they are a victim the first step is to notify Twitter, Linkedin or Facebook immediately,” said Dayton.
Dayton knows about this first-hand as one of his clients, an NFL player, had noticed that someone had used his name and jersey number to create a fake account and started tweeting critical messages about the team. “All it took was a single email to Twitter and the offending account was removed. It may take more than that if you aren’t somebody famous, but most social networking sites will take action,” Dayton added.
At the end of the digital day one can only hope that our friends become each other’s social media police. We need to keep looking out for each other.
Have you experienced impersonation of your company or personal brand? Comments are welcome.
Here’s what our client Jill Alexander from The Divorcée Sale had to say about her Social Media Bootcamp.
Mashable and CBS News joined together at the rooftop studio of CBS.com’s What’s Trending for the second annual Social Media Day in Los Angeles.
The event, created by Mashable and held in 90 countries around the world, included 1400 meetup’s. I was fortunate to have attended the Los Angeles gathering at CBS’s What’s Trending headquarters along with many of my social media friends.
Adam Ostrow, Mashable’s editor-in-chief welcomed us at the rooftop party with a 360 degree view of Hollywood. Shira Lazar, producer and host of What’s Trending gave us a tour of their studios, where Evan Lowenstein, founder of Stageit was performing and streaming live .
Guests enjoyed cocktails from Veev, wine from One Hope, a photo booth from Polite in Public, and snacks from Pop Chips and Pretzel Chips.
No social media event would be complete without a contribution to social good. HeadBlade, who provides razors and grooming products for the shaved head look, donated $1 for each tweet with the hashtag of #SMDayLA to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a volunteer-driven charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.
Among the attendees were my social media friends Amanda Coolong, Marsha Collier, Curt Buthman, Michale Pilla, Heather Meeker, Matt Meeker, Melissa Rowley, Marla Shulman, Seth Shapiro, Calvin Lee, KW Low, AV Flox, Alana Joy, Robert Moran, Kevin Winston, and Andy Sternberg. Many thanks to Marsha Collier for taking the photos.
Reactions to death and dying are spreading like wildfire on social networking sites. From live tweeting of Michael Jackson’s funeral on television to the overwhelming, emotional, and political responses to the death of Osama bin Laden, people are turning to social media to mourn the loss of loved ones, leaders, and opponents.
I first started studying what I call the “Social Media Obituary” when I started writing my second book, The Rules of Netiquette: How to Mind Your Manners on the Web. I had observed how friends of mine were reaching out to express their sadness when friends and family members were ill and passed away. I noticed how people connected on Facebook to advise friends of funeral arrangements. At first, I was uncomfortable with the “Social Media Obituary,” but have now that when handled in good taste, which is very individual, there is a place for a web page, site, updates, and a way to remember your loved ones.
In my article on the Huffington Post entitled, “The Social Media Obituary,” I went into great lengths to discuss not just it’s position as a place to hang your social media hat while mourning, but the responsibilities of friends on social networks when someone is crying out for help. The comments on my Facebook page were thought-provoking. They ranged from, “We must look out for each other,” to someone who wished a school friend a Happy Birthday on Facebook, only to find out that the friend had passed away.
In the most recent case, Emily Longley, a single woman, was found dead in her home in the U.K. after posting a Facebook update saying she had a stalker and was scared. A memorial page was created in her honor on Facebook, which now has almost 16,000 comments from mourners and strangers. In other cases, teens and students who were cyberbullied took their lives. These tragedies might have been prevented if we took time to look at their Facebook updates and jumped in to help.
The primary focus of The Social Media Obituary are on tribute pages being created on Facebook. It’s become both a home for us to share our joys and successes, while dealing with real-life issues such as sickness and death. While our relationship status updates include, “Single” to “In a Relationship” to “It’s Complicated” to “Married” and “Divorced,” we don’t have a category to say, “Deceased.” Some profiles stay active on Facebook as a memoriam. Others remain due to lack of digital housekeeping. Tribute sites have been filled with inappropriate comments and have been pulled down. One thing that is known for sure, we now mourn and grieve with the help of our social media friends.
The full article can be found here on Huffington Post. I look forward to reading your comments on the issue. If you get a moment, do like us on Facebook.com/RulesofNetiquette where you can add your comments and thoughts.
It was an honor and privilege to speak at the Beverly Hills Bar Association on Social Media for Lawyers.
With the majority of attorneys without a facebook page, I had the opportunity to teach them how to create a page, set their privacy settings, and show the ways to provide compelling content on their page.
Prior to the meeting, I spoke with Ethan J. Wall, Richman Greer, P.A., who through his involvement in the Meritas Leadership Institute, helped lead a survey about social media and lawyers.” This survey of approximately 400 attorneys by Meritas, a nonprofit legal alliance, found that just over 1/3 of the attorneys are using social media for business. One out of four attorneys who have used social media said that they have increased their business as a result.
The hesitancy was agreed upon by attorneys in attendance of the Beverly Hills Bar Association meeting who confirmed the Meritas results, with Linkedin still being the number favorite site.
Of the 34.5 percent of firms with social media accounts, it was interesting to note the following results:
- 53.3 percent have Facebook accounts
- 68.9 percent have LinkedIn accounts
- 37.7 percent have Twitter accounts
- 27.0 percent have blogs
At the end of the evening, the percentages shifted as over 30 local Los Angeles attorneys now have custom facebook pages and social media will replace traditional networking for client development for law firms of all sizes.
If you’re wondering why you should go to BlogWorld and New Media Expo – May 24-26 in New York City this year, there are several excellent reasons why.
First: BlogWorld is being held in conjunction with BookExpo America for the first time! This is excellent news for social media enthusiasts and aspiring authors. As one who has been featured at BookExpo, I can tell you that it is the largest book conference in North America. Your entry fee gets you into BEA for Free!
Second: You’ll have the chance to meet agents, publishers, and other authors who will sign copies of their books for F.R.E.E! As an author who was in the exciting Authors’ Autographing area the past two years, it’s an incredibly exciting experience.
Third: You’ll have the chance to hear social media giants and bestselling authors Gary Vaynerchuk and Jeffrey Hayzlett, who are both Keynote Panelists along with numerous social media experts.
I have attended both BlogWorld and BookExpo America and can tell you this is a marriage made in social media heaven.
Admit it. You come home and log onto your computer, check your iPad or PDA and look at Facebook before reading your emails. If this is the case and Facebook has taken over your world, do you want to change your browser’s home page to reflect your online behavior?
Apparently Facebook thinks you should do so, or at least they would like to make it easier for you to spend more time on their site. Already most users log on daily for 45-60 minutes to the social networking giant. Today, when I logged onto my account using the Firefox browser, I was greeted with the option of setting Facebook as my home page. Although I frequently look at Facebook before I settle down to write, I still prefer having my own business home page appear when I open up my browser.
For those whose love affairs have Facebook are at the top of the totem pole, this new feature might be for you.
If you plan on making Facebook your home page, please let us know. If you think they’ve gone overboard with taking over your life and the world, we’d like to hear from you.
Ever since Steve Jobs announced on March 2nd that the iPad-2 would be released on March 11th, I waited with enthusiasm for the day to arrive.
The fear of standing in long lines at the Apple store resulted in my calling the Apple sales line early this morning to find out the details on how to purchase my iPhone 64 GB 3-G model. It’s expected that over 600,000 iPad 2 tablets will be sold this weekend and I was determined to be one of them.
The sales representative at Apple was extremely helpful and told me there would be a 3-week wait to receive the device. Impatient as many others were, I called Verizon Wireless to see what their turn-around would be and found out that the local store would be getting their arrival at 4:00pm, local time. iPad enthusiasts had the opportunity not only to purchase their iPad today at their local Apple Store, but the tablets were also sold at Best Buy, Verizon Wireless stores, Walmart, AT&T, and Target.
The sales associate at the Verizon Wireless store told me to stop by just before 5:00pm and assured me there wouldn’t be a wait. It sounded too good to be true, so I decided to arrive 2-hours early at 3:00pm, local time along with a book to read and my own folding chair. I checked in on foursquare and happily tweeted that I was first in line waiting for my very first iPad.
Unfortunately, there was some confusion at the local store and we were told we needed to sign a 2-year data contract. Angry purchasers insisted the information was wrong and a confrontation erupted. The information was indeed incorrect. No apology was given for the miscommunication.
Those waiting in line shared which model they wanted to purchase. I knew I wanted one in white. The gentleman behind me wanted one in black. One woman was buying an iPad-2 for her fiancé as a birthday present.
Unfortunately, the local Verizon store only received four boxes of the long-awaited tablet in their shipment. There were many angry people who waited in line for over an hour, only to find out the store was out-of-stock after the first few in line finished their purchase.
At 5:10pm, I went home with my new iPad-2. Although my first choice of a red leather cover was unavailable, I realized I was one of the chosen few in the neighborhood. I’ll be using the iPad-2 for presentations, editing in iMovie, and to write content for a variety of websites and blogs.
Did you get an iPad-2? Will you wait for the frenzy to be over?
You may have a social networking profile on Facebook and Linkedin and spend time tweeting with friends on Twitter. What you may not have is a Google profile, which I highly recommend.
I view my Google profile as a combination of Linkedin and Facebook profiles. It allows you to have a bio about all of your work, not just one particular industry or job. As I’m the CEO of two companies, I direct many people to my Google profile. It allowed me to have a photo gallery of pictures from Picasa or Flickr. It allowed me to add links to articles I was featured in as well as links to my book page, sizzle reel and more. I was socially in love with my Google Profile.
Although Google profiles have been around for a while, when Google Buzz, their version of sharing your updates and whereabouts was introduced, they made a big mistake and forced that to become their landing page. Many of us were upset. If you found the profile, you never made it to the beautifully customized “About Me” page. We were stuck with Buzz and I stopped posting. The only way to get rid of Google Buzz as the landing page was to deactivate it, and along with that your entire Google profile which would disappear completely. As an end around, I created a bit.ly/JulieSpira which would go directly to the “About Me” page, but it was a social bandaid.
Finally, last week I took a peek at my Google Profile and was thrilled to share that they did a cyber face lift to make everyone ecstatic. The new look and feel is perfectly aligned with other social networking sites. You could select your 5 favorite photos, looking quite like Facebook’s profile stream. They call it the Scrapbook. Even better than the Facebook profile, you could actually describe what you do at the top under your name.
The only problem with the new version of the Google Profile is they shortened the space for your custom links, so the description appears to be cut off. At the end of the day, it was worth getting my profile back. You can still enjoy sharing on Google Buzz as it now appears as the second tab on your profile. I’m sure everyone is thrilled with this change and I’d like to thank Google for making this long overdue revision.
If you need help with your social media and creating your Google Profile, let us know at SocialMediaMore.com/contact
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Julie is a Social Media Wizard! In less than 5 minutes, she had me up and running with my own URL on Facebook in minutes and taught me social media tips that would have taken me months and months to figure out on my own. Her expertise is invaluable!
Owner, The Bracelet Bar at Serenity