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Social Media Policy or Police? September 30, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry Hardware, linkedin, twitter, web 2.0.
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Social Networking PoliceSocial Media Policy is a hot topic for most businesses. The larger the enterprise the greater the impact on the IT infrastructure. Bandwidth bottlenecks can occur quickly with employees all viewing YouTube, Vimeo and Viddler videos simultaneously. Reports on the reduction in employee productivity at work will lead you to believe that social media is a waste of time and that there’s no reason to be in Facebook on business time. Security issues are also a concern with the proliferation of social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter that offer apps, chat and email functions. So what should a company do?

Begin a Dialogue with Your Employees
Don’t just lock everyone out of everything! This reactionary approach will make your firm look like a dinosaur to your team as well as your customers. I’ve seen this implemented at large publicly held construction companies and I think they’ve shot themselves in the foot by locking out everyone with URL filtering. Determine which employees and social media applications can contribute to your company brand, market reach and customer relationships. Ask your marketing, communications and sales people including anyone involved with customer relationship management or customer support for their input. Check out your competitor’s website to see what social media applications and tools they are using. Often you’ll see a few icons listed somewhere on their site, an invitation to connect in the sidebar of a blog or perhaps an RSS feed of their social activity.

Establish a Social Media Policy
Start with defining what is acceptable and unacceptable when using social media sites as you do for email and cell phone usage. Yes, your Legal and Information technology teams will probably influence (scare) you enough that risk tolerance decisions will need to be made. My favorite book for addressing social media policy is The e-Policy Handbook by Nancy Flynn. You may have already decided that “we only allow LinkedIn”, period. Think again. The most popular Business to Business (B2B) network by far in the United States is LinkedIn and they’ve just added the ability to display Twitter feeds and blog posts on the Company Profile. Since blog posts often have videos embedded in articles, you may have just policed yourself into not being able to view your own marketing materials.

Get the IT Department on Board
With budget cuts across the board, IT is trying to do everything without spending money and often takes the “lock down” approach as the only thing they can do with the tools they currently have. Perhaps you should consider budgeting for new equipment, particularly firewalls that address social media. It’s not good enough anymore to rely on old technology. Traditional firewalls rely on port and protocol to classify traffic, allowing tech-savvy applications and users to bypass them with ease; hopping ports, using
SSL, sneaking across port 80, or using non-standard ports. It may be time to have your network traffic analyzed for applications, users and content, you need to know what bandwidth is used by social media and have a way to monitor and enforce your policies effectively. The Interface2010 Technology Symposium has this topic covered and while I attended the Scottsdale, AZ event last week, you can still catch them in a few other US cities this year.

We’re in the process of scheduling a webinar to help educate business owners and their IT departments on social media policy, monitoring and network security. If you’d like to receive a webinar invitation, be interested in a network audit or have questions, please ask us by posting a comment. Please share this with your business partners, IT friends, and customers.

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Social Media Safety Meeting Minute May 3, 2010

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, linkedin, records retention, twitter, web 2.0.
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The idea of a Safety Meeting in a minute is a great idea, which I must thank Tim Greene of Networld for sharing in a PCWorld article yesterday. What’s different if you haven’t figured it out is this is not your typical construction site safety meeting. We’re talking about Internet Safety and I believe the idea is fantastic.

The premise is if you had to take a 1-minute internet safety lesson before being allowed access to the Internet your employees would recognize just how important it is to protect their identity and the electronic information contained within the company. The article mentions many of the popular social media sites but doesn’t give you 10 lessons to kick start the idea. So why not make this blog post a place for everyone to share their ideas…and build a 100 or more “lessons”? I’m extending this to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter too (as I believe a 140 character tip will ensure the time constraint of keeping it to one minute).

Safety Tips

To get us started, here are a few of my one minute safety tips:

  • Know your company’s policy on Social Media use (Write a corporate policy on Social Media)
  • Make all your passwords more than one word in length and include at least one number
  • Never write (post) anything you wouldn’t want your mom or your boss to read (or see)
  • Text Messages from your Blackberry are “discoverable” so think of them as business emails
  • If you blog independently of work, make sure it is understood the contents are not the opinions of a past, current or future employer, but only that of the blogger’s
  • If you post while at work to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn make sure it is work or industry related (see corporate policy)
  • Never open attachments or click hyperlinks from people you don’t know and trust
  • Now that you get the idea, let’s hear your one minute (or less) lessons and Tips. I promise to share them with you all!

    Apps for LinkedIn – Words of Wisdom for Developers November 23, 2009

    Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, linkedin, web 2.0.
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    With today’s announcement that LinkedIn has opened up their API to software developers and TweetDeck stating in their blog that LinkedIn will be integrated into their next release, it is only a matter of time before we all have more business apps than the iPhone. 

    Here are a few suggestions to all those developers that want to make millions and really do have some great ideas that I just gleaned from the book Getting Real: The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application by Jason Fried:

    • Design smart by drawing out a few screen shots and then making them HTML before you start to program
    • Create a buzz before release with a few snippets and ask for email addresses to get early adapters enabled
    • Be passionate and create a blog for your adopters and keep your readers updated
    • Don’t wait til everything is perfect to launch…get a beta out for people to try
    • Keep it simple and streamlined so no one needs training to use your app
    • Offer a free version that’s easy to signup for
    • Focus…not every app is for everyone.  Keep your eye on your target audience!

    I thought this would get you all to read the whole book.  What’s in it for me?  Better designed, useful apps for me as a LinkedIn user of course!  I’m ready to try out new Web 2.0 apps for LinkedIn (especially for those focused in the construction, architectural & engineering industries) and hope to hear about all your successes soon.

    Attracting Blog Subscriptions November 6, 2009

    Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, email, web 2.0.
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    It’s a funny thing how everyone has a blog but most have a dozen subscribers if that.  In business you need to publicize your blog everywhere.  I tried promoting it via a plain hyperlink in my email signature but no one clicked on it…that is until I made it an animated subscription.  My email  signature now automatically cycles through the last five posts.  Every email recipient has the opportunity to see the topics I’ve recently discussed and decide then & there whether it interests them.  How’d I do it?  It’s easy…

    1. First Sign-up for Google Feedburner and enter your blog’s information (title, original address aemailblogsignnd new feedburner address). and save your feed details.  Don’t worry, this is free. 
    2. Click on the Publicize tab.
    3. Select the Headline Animator.
    4. Select email signature.
    5. From the dropdown, choose email signature and click next
    6. Follow the instructions in the pop-up based upon your email service.  It’s available for Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook Express, Outlook 2003, Yahoo Mail and has workarounds for Gmail and Apple Mail too.

    There’s plenty of other great features to help you with optimization and publicizing your blog with Feedburner.  I’ll make this a series of how to’s for the next few weeks.  If the construction industry starts using collaboration 2.0 (aka social media) for marketing and communication, for sure they will want to learn all these blog tips. 

    Share your success with us.  We like to hear from our readers!

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