How to Send Your Reputation Up in Flames

Posted in Privacy, Ramblings, social media on 2010/03/21 by emilyseong

This is going to be short. Its just a few words I wanted to add to @tacanderson’s blog post Think Before You Tweet: The Do Not Tweet List.

Specifically, I wanted to expand on the first item in “The Do Not Tweet List.”

  1. Don’t complain about your customers on Twitter. They are listening.
  2. DM is not IM. It’s not a secure communication channel.
  3. Disclose conflicts of interest: Clients, Competitors, Partners.
  4. Don’t get defensive about negative criticism of your company or products.
  5. Don’t publicize private issues or jeopardize the company’s working relationships.
  6. Unless soliciting community feedback is part of your product development, don’t  tweet about products under development.
  7. Don’t post about company financials before an earnings call. This can get you and your company in trouble with the SEC.
  8. If you have a gripe about a coworker or your boss talk to them about it. Tweeting about it is passive aggressive and makes you and the company look bad.
  9. Don’t spam your personal account with irrelevant work promotions. Promoting work is fine if it’s relevant to your followers.
  10. Don’t think having an anonymous account makes any of this okay.

Any thinking person can tell you that how you talk about your existing customers and clients is crucial to keeping them. However, many people forget that your existing customers aren’t the only ones listening/reading. No, indeed you have another kind of customer that I see forgotten time and time again: your FUTURE customer.

When I write this it may seem intuitively obvious, but my observations tell me that in fact it is not. I’ve seen some very smart, very successful, very business savvy people do so many thoughtless at best, stupid at worst, things on Twitter, FB and other public forums.

The long an short of it is that the internet is public. Information you share can be shared and viewed with our without your knowledge. If you flame a brand through any of these channels make sure that 1) its warranted and 2) that brand doesn’t have important implications within your networks 3) they are likely never going to be a prospective customer to you.

Now I know there are some folks out there who will read this and immediately get their backs up because the internet is supposed to be transparent, open, and uncensored. Alright. I hear you and I’m not disagreeing…necessarily. Rather I’m saying that part of the power of the internet is that nothing stays online. Many things may start online, but the best things inevitably make their way out into the rest of the world. I’m all for transparency, openness and a candid approach to internet life; however, understanding that what you say online can get you fired (or possibly worse never hired) in the real world is essential to making informed decisions about how you contact yourself while in front of your keyboard and monitor.

And Now For Something A Little Different

Posted in Ramblings with tags , , , , , on 2010/02/12 by emilyseong

Usually I write about school, tech, social media, politics, ie “head stuff”. Rarely do I write about heart stuff. Seeing as Valentine’s Day is on Sunday this typically Seattle overcast Friday seems like a perfectly good day to break from my normal routine and write about something a little different: Love. Ok, that was unnecessarily dramatic. I’m not going to write about love I’m actually going to write about Twilight. Yep. Twilight as in the book about vampires and Forks.

Betcha’ didn’t see that one coming.

Last week I was convinced by a co-worker to give Twilight a try. I hadn’t read any of the books or seen any of the movies, but never one to turn down a book I haven’t read it took little convincing for me to give Twilight a chance. I figured if I hated it no harm done and if I didn’t then I reaped the benefits of a good read.

I read Twilight in about 2 hours. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. I liked it, but more importantly I understand why other people like it. It’s a love story, and its a love story that appeals to the cultural context myself and my peers come from. Metaphorically, Twilight tells the ultimate love story because in it love truly can conquer all–even death.

Those who know me wonder how I could read a book that features a woman as weak as Bella Swan. Yes, I agree she’s weak, but it doesn’t really bother me. I suppose it seems that part of this new fangled feminist idea should be that women get to choose, but not that they HAVE to choose. Woman should be able to go to work or stay home. They should be able to be fierce or be meek. It’s the same for men. Go to work or stay home. I don’t really care as long as you work it out with anyone in your life affected by your choices I don’t see as its any of my business. I fancy myself a fairly strong woman, but I’ll tell you having a door opened for me puts a lift in my day. So as for Bella Swan’s weakness. I think it doesn’t matter. It’s her choice and as an empowered modern day woman its her right to choose.

So in conclusion I guess what I’m trying to say is I think I can be a fierce, fabulous, modern day woman and still have room in my heart for a little old-fashioned chivalry in the form of a glitter skinned vampire. Just Good Business

Posted in Business, Technology with tags , , , , on 2010/01/18 by emilyseong

I first posted this on my company’s blog as Google vs. China The Costs and Longterm Benefits.

Yesterday Google announced that actions do not go unpunished. In this case a large scale cyber attack on Google’s (among others) infrastructure prompted their refusal to continue censorship of search results, and to threaten that they may pull out of China’s search market completely. It appears that the attack was motivated by efforts to obtain Chinese human rights activists’ information.

At first glance Google’s standoff with the Chinese government over this breach of its security evokes two reactions. The first, motivated by business logic, questions the seeming craziness of leaving the fastest growing and largest market (measured by population) in the world. The second applauds an iconic corporation for standing up against censorship laws and the spurious politics of a major government power.

Both these initial views of Google’s actions are overly simplistic. It is unlikely that Google’s motivations are purely altruistic. I say this because of Google’s track record. Historically they have tended to abide by all laws in a country of operations regardless of the politics. Just last week the Wall Street Journal ran a story about Google’s compliance with Indian censorship laws a perfect example of how Google’s business relies on playing by the rules so to speak. Therefore, in understanding Google’s threat to pull out of China I turned instead to a set of business motivations. Based on this lens here is my analysis of why Google can afford to and may choose to pull out of the Chinese market (atleast for a while)

1. If Google pulled out of China there would be little short term impact. They would stand to lose a potential $600 million (according to JP Morgan) a number representing just over 2% of their estimated revenue of $26billion.

2. Google is built on trust from its user base. A cyber attack that compromises the faith of users in Google’s security is simply bad business.

3. The nature of the emerging networked information economy in which Google functions amplifies the effects of a breach in security and can lead to widespread mistrust thus affecting many more markets than just that in China.

4. By pulling out of China a market in which is currently dominated by Baidu search Google may have achieved the ultimate marketing coup: Marketing through absenteeism. Twitter conversation indicates that many in China will feel a strong sense of loyalty to Google and a new sense of loss if Google decides to leave. Tweets such as –“@qhgy RT @Lyooooo: If Google leaves I won’t use Baidu or let my children or grandchildren use it (If I have them) #GoogleCN” indicate that perhaps Google’s absence will only serve to grow their brand, so that upon a return they will enjoy a much higher usage than prior to their departure.

These four factors contribute to my belief that Google’s motivations are far more rooted in classic business than in forward thinking corporate activism. When push comes to shove Google may very well bow out of the Chinese market, at least for the short term; however, I doubt that decision will stick forever, and we’re bound to see Google return perhaps once they’re more confident in their security, Baidu loses footing in the Chinese market, or the Chinese market becomes too important (in Google’s worldview) to ignore.

Even if “No One Wants Online Privacy Anymore”

Posted in Article Links, Marketing and Advertising, Privacy with tags , , , , on 2010/01/11 by emilyseong

Below is an excerpt from a blog post I wrote for my company’s blog. Read the full post here. I was reminded off this post this morning after reading Mark Zuckerberg’s comments about online privacy, a view that is summed up as “Face It, No One Wants Online Privacy Anymore”. Be this true or false (I would guess that for many its false) the following are some thoughts on how to live a private life in an increasingly public world.

So what should the savvy social media user do in the face of this rapidly changing landscape?

There are a variety of options ranging from the extreme (social media suicide via tools such as this “web 2.0 suicide machine”) to the painstaking approach of carefully controlling the privacy of all social media interaction (manipulating the privacy settings on each wall post for instance). But for those that are not ready to abandon the world of social media, and who do not have the time to make their participation a full time job this rule of thumb should help you navigate the slippery slope of social media and privacy: Control the conversation.

How do you control the conversation?

  • It’s actually not that hard.
  • Make the things you’re proud of easy to find.
  • Be smart about what you post, and don’t worry too much about the little things that are outside of your control. Sure they may be some embarrassing picture living in a friend’s photo album, but if there are 50 great pictures then it’s likely that one picture will have a limited impact.
  • Overwhelm any potentially negative content with positive content. Do not allow yourself to be up for interpretation.
  • Put yourself out there the way you want to be known.

In short, create a personal brand and then sell it, and remember the occasional unflattering photo, or ditzy status update won’t necessarily be your undoing, and may actually increase your authenticity a very important trait in and increasingly socially networked world.

Social Media 2009 Highlights in Video

Posted in Article Links with tags , , on 2010/01/08 by emilyseong

Accurate and entertaining video on the Social Media highlights of 2009.

Great quotes and links to contextual articles for those that missed the original moment:

“iphone OS 3.0 came out. Among it’s innovative triumphs: Cut and Paste”

“United broke guitars…and the guitars fought back on YouTube”

“We Own You — In February Facebook released new terms of service. They were received…poorly.”


Google and Indian Censorship

Posted in Article Links, politics with tags , , , , , on 2010/01/06 by emilyseong

I find it interesting that there are many concerned with Google’s growing dominance in the world and fear a Google hegemony, but at the same time Google is criticized for not involving itself in the politics of issues like censorship. This morning Techdirt ran a story based on a WSJ article that discusses how Google is complying with Indian censorship laws by taking down content an action that some have felt is objectionable.

“While it is disappointing that Google appears to be willing to simply accept, rather than question, some of those laws, the bigger issue may be with the laws themselves.”

Disappointing? I see this as reassuring not disappointing. I would rather that corporate behemoths obey the law rather than break it. Wouldn’t you? While I don’t agree with censorship laws in almost every situation I also do not agree that it’s the role of corporations to determine legislation. Unquestionably the problem is with the laws themselves, and those who hope to affect change should pursue legal, political avenues and leave business out of it.

A Passionless Presidency

Posted in politics with tags , , , on 2009/12/21 by emilyseong

Turning to my RSS feed this morning I was surprised and pleased to see this post from Sense and Nonsense. Entitled “Another Passionless Presidency” it delves into my biggest problem with Obama as a candidate. During the campaign my friends were shocked by my lack of staunch support for a candidate they assumed would be a shoo-in for my affections. A self-avowed moderate with decidedly liberal leanings many of them in issues that pulled Obama and myself into alignment, my friends couldn’t seem to understand my inability to get excited about Obama. I found myself explaining over and over that I felt he didn’t have enough emotion. I’m a passionate person and passion is something I value in other people. It makes me trust them because its symbolic of their emotional humanity. While I haven’t noticed any change in Obama’s lack of emotional energy it seems others have begun to. John’s post cites an op-ed piece from the Boston Globe where Neal Gabler accuses the president of running an emotional deficit saying:

“there is one big thing that the administration lacks: passion. It is hard to remember a presidency that was as passionless as this one is – a presidency that puts down no markers, draws no lines in the sand, makes no stand. That, even more than the compromises themselves, may be what really riles Obama’s old supporters. It is that he doesn’t seem tortured by the compromise. Simply put, Obama seems to be missing the passion gene.”

For me this hit the mark clearly articulating my lukewarm feelings toward our newest president. While I’m glad that Obama was able to motivate our country in a stirring demonstration of political engagement in the election, and I regret the short time it has taken for the love affair to wain I have to say I’m not much surprised. Obama’s doggedly logical, reasonable, unruffled demeanor makes it difficult to relate to him emotionally, and I would guess makes it difficult to cut him the slack afforded to a more human seeming president.

Ironically, as his presidency has continued I’ve actually found myself feeling more and more sympathy for our young president. It may be that the increasing volume of his critics and the palatable disappointment from many that expected government upheaval has elicited my feelings of compassion. My lack of expectations means that I was not disappointed, and rather saw the difficult circumstances by which Obama has been shackled–the economy and Afghanistan to name just a few. I guess perhaps I am just a slave to my emotions, and in Obama’s case I needed something to relate to. The plight of a man with good intentions plagued by difficulties outside of his control and increasingly criticized may have provided just that. All I know is that as the critics volume rises so too does my sympathy.

I suppose only time will tell whether or not Obama does in fact posses the passion gene, and whether or not his campaign and election will be the brightest moments of his presidency. I hope not, and I hope that one of these days Obama or his publicists will allow the cool reasoned facade to crack. The American people are passionate (as often misplaced as this passion might be) and they need an equally passionate president to lead them. Come on Mr. Obama get mad, get sad, get excited, get something and do it like you mean it, too!


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