Facebook Admits Data Breach of 6 Million Users

facebookThe world’s biggest social networking site has admitted a year long data beach of more than 6 million users involving their phone numbers and email addresses. Last Friday, Facebook divulged to the public that the data breach has been ongoing for more than a year.

The data leak was said to have been caused by a technical malfunction in their archive of contact information belonging to their users. Users of the social networking site who downloaded the contact data of their friends acquired other information which was meant to be private.

The Facebook security team fixed the bug last week after they were notified of the technical problem. Although, the data breach has been ongoing for more than a year, Facebook did not publicly announce the glitch until 21st of June last week.

Facebook posted on their blog that they currently have no evidence to suggest the bug has been exploited maliciously,  they have not received any complaints from users nor have they seen any anomalous behavior to suggest any wrongdoing.

Recently, many Internet users have been baffled by the disclosures of major Internet companies in USA who have revealed to the public about the requests by the U.S Government to collect their data. This latest development however is reported to have caused uncertainty about privacy using social networking sites. It is reported that the U.S government has been pressurizing social networking companies to give them the details of their users. The surveillance program with the name PRISM has caused a lot of disinterest in social networking sites including Facebook, Google Plus, Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo and many others.

According to Raw Story:

A Facebook spokesman said the delay was due to company procedure stipulating that regulators and affected users be notified before making a public announcement.

“We currently have no evidence that this bug has been exploited maliciously and we have not received complaints from users or seen anomalous behavior on the tool or site to suggest wrongdoing,” Facebook said on its blog. Read Full Article

 

 

Using Twitter

I ran a course on Twitter for beginners recently and was amazed how many turned up and continue to want to learn about social marketing.

using twitterI use Twitter a lot and the analogy I gave the attendees on using it to their advantage was it’s like a newspaper where you can send out headlines to your story. Then, ‘lure’ visitors back to your website or blog to give them the full story, and usually they stay a while to find out what you do.

This sparked a debate of Google Plus as to whether it’s a good idea to have everything in one place like Google Plus or have an external blog or website? I am somewhere in the middle on this one and will continue to use my blog and websites for a while longer.

Surprising how the analogy really gets them thinking. Twitter for me is a great tool, and I use it every day for lots of different things and reasons which are mainly headlines of what I’m up to. I think this is the case with most people, unless you fall into these categories:

  • Have a lot of time on your hands
  • Love to go back and read stuff when you have the time
  • Group stuff together to read later, this is me!

Using Twitter as an attention grabber is a tool because it’s harder to do this effectively on Google Plus, LinkedIn or Facebook. People expect more time and thought to have gone into the post, whereas on Twitter it’s the opposite, short precise headlines are the order of the day.

Think about how you want to use Twitter to communicate or whether it’s to get visitors to your website, blog, Google Plus, LinkedIn or Facebook page. It doesn’t really matter how you use it, but making sure you do is what counts. See you in the twitterverse at @keithmcmean

Google Plus and The SEO Impact

by Keith McMean

With the increasing number of social media networking sites appearing, it was only a matter time before Google came out with its own which is called Google Plus. Aiming to steal a march over Facebook, Google Plus is attacking the web with much gusto. Known for being the first to roll out like buttons, Facebook has revolutionised the way marketing is being done. However, Google is using its search engine klout to lure individuals and organizations into using their social media platform, and its working.

Getting on the bandwagon?

google-plus-seo-300x169Following this, Google Plus is starting to pave its way through the internet and into the everyday minds of people who want great quality links back to the main Google search. With the internet being one of the most used media in today’s communication race, Google decided it was time to capitalise on this and create something never seen before. Unlike other social networking platforms that are confined with their threshold of information, Google Plus allows its users to both socialise and use Google search engine facilities at the same time. Killing two birds with one stone, many people are realising that Google Plus is indeed something to ‘hitch their wagon to’.

So What’s The Impact to Social Media Sites?

The best thing, for me is, how Google Plus impacts on SEO. SEO, as we know it, involves optimising websites to have good rankings in search engines. But with this revolutionary innovation, Google Plus and SEO would be the perfect bed partners. Now people can ‘like’ websites and content and Google will read this as a website that people actually find helpful. Similar to getting a backlink from another website, this is very helpful to be able to sort out the good, the bad and the downright ugly websites. People can now control the way Google Plus and SEO work. Instead of past methods where in people would just embed masses of keywords into articles to receive high rankings, Google Plus and SEO will work in a way that high ranking will be received via user feedback. The more people that ‘like’ a link, the better rankings on Google. We are finding this with some of our websites.

Visitors to websites and blogs can now give feedback on content and information that actually helps them and Google will rank this feedback by reorganizing the rankings in search engines. An even better aspect of Google Plus and SEO is that web marketers and writers would have little or no choice but to write good quality content. If they want anyone to actually read it, they need to put fantastic quality content out there, if they do Google will reward them for it. Gone are the days when web writers could write about anything and then scatter as many keywords into an article as possible to get hits on searches. This is great news for us because now we have quality articles posted on the internet. Most of the websites we click on will actually be of help to our work and our lives.

I still find it hard to believe that many internet marketers are still wary about Google Plus just because it’s one of the newer social media networking sites and its impact in SEO, or maybe it’s because it’s Google? Information dissemination will now be even better and more substantial compared to past efforts.

With Google Plus and SEO working hand in hand, it will definitely bring about many valuable changes for the web, your website or blog.

Social Media for Social Good 2nd in Series: Social Media vs Social Marketing

by Keith McMean

What is the difference between social media and social marketing?  I firmly believe this goes back to the very start of social media when in a very short space of time we had the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There were few others, but for this post I will stick to the main ones popping up and grabbing our attention. Then, Google Plus and Pinterest came along and the game changed again. Please don’t do what a lot of others have done and discount email marketing, it’s still one of the best ways of reaching people who care. During this series, I will go into more detail about the pros and cons of each, and how you can maximize each to improve your marketing strategies.

Social Media Icons 1Now, what I am going to do is take you through what I believe are the main differences between social media and social marketing.

Social Media: To me this has always been about the tools, email broadcast, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest I left one important ingredient out, Blogs…how could I, well I have been ill. Doesn’t matter what your weapon of choice is, WordPress (mine), Blogger, Typepad etc they all do a similar job. These are the tools of our trade. Very much like newspapers, TV and Radio they broadcast and distribute the news to the people who want to listen to what we have to say. These have been the game changers in marketing over the past five years or so.

Social Marketing: This is a whole different ball game, this is how we get out listeners, community or tribe to take action on what we do. It’s no good having a great message, story, service or product if no one is taking action. So how do you get people to ‘take action’? Well this is a skill in its self, just like traditional marketing is. Now some would say it’s the same, but believe me it’s not, I have seen some great, what I would call traditional marketers, fail miserably online and that goes the other way too I might add. I think each one has subtle differences and should be approached in different ways.

Why do I think that? Well this isn’t a way to get you to sign up for anything but this was one of the things I really gave some though to over the last few days. I think the main difference is timing! You see in traditional marketing everything is at a slower pace, not much slower I admit, but slower none the less. You have to have all the copy and imagery in place before your message goes out, this can be the same online too, no difference to what I am doing now, a careful measured approach. But online Twitter gives you the chance to put out a ‘headline’ message instantly and we see them every day. I will explain what this means to you and your business once inside the SMA as there is just too much to go into here. This is a very high level view of one aspect of marketing so don’t take this as ‘that’s all there is to it’…it’s not!!

But one thing I do know is…marketing has changed forever!

So what has this to do with me being ill? Well a lot really. When I first though about the Social Marketing side of the web not a lot of people were doing much about it, now there are a few, but as in everything some good…some…not so!

My idea was to give you a head start on a whole new way of marketing, yes we will go through the tools and how to use them, but what I really want to show you is how to market your business to a whole new audience, a global audience if you like. You see most start too far down the line, they think that we already know what we’re doing because these ‘tools’ have been around for a while know. What they don’t realise is not everyone does when it comes to this stuff, so that’s really why I started the SMA to take you through social marketing right from the very start and in a structured way that helps you learn all about marketing your business online.

Now some will say that this post is nothing more than a glorified advert for my Social Marketing Academy, but let’s face it if you have read this far then you ARE INTERESTED in knowing more and take this as your first lesson in online marketing: keep your audience engaged, interested and entertained and you won’t go far wrong.

If you are interested and you do want to know more about the Social Marketing Academy follow this link.

Have a great day and please leave me a comment on what you are up to…

Social Media for Social Good Series: Why are Search Engines Ignoring My Content

Why is my content being ignored by search engines? I am sure this a question any small business owner or event promoter has thought at one time or another. Is hiring a search engine optimization firm the answer to getting your business on page 1 of Google….Yes, but who can afford that when you don’t have a budget for marketing. Technology is a wonderful tool for the economically challenged to promote a message or view point. But, to be effective, one must understand the structure of technology in order to achieve the best outcomes.

I will be sharing information on how search engines work in order to assist you in developing more effective marketing strategies. This particular article may help explain why search engines may be ignoring your content. However, the series will focus on solutions by providing information on what you should consider when picking out a domain name, blogging platforms, increasing your search rankings, managing your social media, marketing strategies, analytics, and more.

Leaving Web Links in Multiple Places in Hopes of Increasing Readership

Have you ever seen this on twitter or Facebook, Check Me Out at www.example.com or Read How to Have a Better Life at www.example.com? Most people don’t click on these links because they resemble the nasty spam that will hijack your account. Often times, your targeted network tends to travel in the same circles.

When people see these types of post on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, this technique may backfire especially if you have not established yourself as a trustworthy brand. If you have an established reputation, this same technique can be the fastest way to provide information to your networks quickly.  Be careful with this one, it is a double-edged sword. Best strategy, leave an excerpt of your post and a read more link back to your website for the full article. This technique provides enough wording for search engines to categorize your content without dismissing you as spam.

How Do I Avoid Be Labeled as Spam by Search Engines

When Google bots and other search engines crawl the web, their robots are program to ignore content resembling computer generated spam. Blogging is one of the best techniques to introduce yourself to new readers and/or potentially consumers. However, many users of blogging platforms do not understand how robots extract information from their sites. Even though the blog displays a beautiful polished post when you hit publish, Google and other web crawlers only read the information you typed inside the box.

If you switch post views to HTML view, this is the code that google and other search engines extract when crawling your site for new data. By leaving certain elements out of your posts, you are missing opportunities to prove yourself as a trustworthy source. Inside each post area, a byline (By John Doe) with a link attaching your name to a biographical page should be included. This is very important for someone without an established web presence. Additionally, if someone subscribes or import the rss feed from your blog into another platform, the author information will not be included if it’s not contained inside the post or programmed in the rss feed. This means you are missing another opportunity to display your authorship and further establish your reputation along with the great content you wrote.

Maximizing Social Media

Google bots and search engine crawlers are extremely sophisticated. If you are a blogger or small business owner, you need consistency in branding across your social media platforms in order to gain the most leverage from their ranking power.  This consistency will help search engines cross reference and analyze your posts on various social media platforms to determine whether you are a real person or a spam account.

However, this may create the necessity to establish or separate your web persona social media accounts from your personal social networks.  Understanding social media is a complex topic by itself, so be sure to research which option is best for you.  Last, I suggest utilizing a social media manager such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. Either of these two free options will help you reduce the time spent updating various platforms in addition to maintaining consistency across all platforms. Here is a great article to start with called “Nine Rules that Will Revolutionize Your Use of Social Media”.

 

When Will Google Groups Be Upgraded to Google Plus Communities

by Deona Hooper, MSW

Google groups were cutting edge when they were first introduced in the late 1990’s. They allowed large numbers of people to interact while bringing listserv technology to the masses. In comparison to Google Plus Communities, Google groups resemble a covered wagon in need of a twentieth century upgrade. I believe converting existing Google Groups into plus communities will help bolster and further enhance interactions on the new Google Plus social media platform. Most importantly, it will promote enhanced communications for many nonprofits and social good organizations who overwhelmingly utilize Google Groups for intra-organization communications.

I often find myself quietly irritated with Google Groups because they clog up my email account despite using the digest function for various different groups. Visually, Google Groups is unappealing and using my email is still necessary for me to engage without having access to the visually stunning mobile app that Google Plus provide its users.  Also, valuable resources can be lost in a black hole of long conversation streams, and its very difficult to review resources added to your group. If a group member does not see information shared in the moment it was sent, good luck hunting it down later especially if it’s an active group.

Here is an except from article on Forbes Magazine on Google Plus and Google Communities:

But what if Google Plus is just a fad – the next Friendster instead of the next Twitter? Sherman argues it has two killer apps that will eventually draw the public in. The first is Google Plus’Communities feature, which allows groups to form around particular interests. “Three weeks ago, I wouldn’t have said Google Plus was an easy place to meet people,” says Sherman, “but now it’s amazingly different. You can even join the community as a brand, which you cannot do on Facebook, and you can interact with your potential customers, influencers, and people of interest.” Indeed, she points out, “there are a ton of influencers who are concentrating on Google Plus these days.” And as she wrote in a recent blog post, “GooglePlus can give you access to influencers who might not notice you elsewhere…There is a nice spirit of camaraderie that people seldom feel with well-established platforms.” Read More

Which would you prefer?

Google Plus

google-groups-new-ui-2010-2

 

Photo Credits: Google.com

Don’t Believe the Hype: Social Media Decision Tree Exposed

by Deona Hooper, MSW

smdecisiontree

I was on Twitter yesterday when I came across the social media decision tree seen above that was designed to assist people in deciding where to update their status and the best platform to use. Foursquare, Google Plus, Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook were the identified social media platforms in the decision tree. Upon closer examination, Facebook emerges as the ideal place to post if you are addicted to likes, if you are alright with your parents seeing it, and if it’s not boring. Appropriate social media decision-making tools on what to share and what not share are not based on promoting any particular social media platform over another rather than the effects it will have on yourself, friends, and family. For an example view, “Digital Citizenship Poster for Middle and High School Classrooms”.

In case you missed it, last week, Facebook unveiled its new search tool called social graph which is being hailed as an enhanced search engine for Facebook users. The new tool adds photos, Facebook likes, and status updates that allows Facebook users to conduct searches on what their friends like. Sounds good right?  For some reason, Facebook users are under the assumption that when you give something a thumbs up that its anonymous. Well I got news for you…..it’s not!  For anyone who plans to be a business owner and/or have a professional life, I urge you not use the social media tree above.  You have to ask yourself is this new Facebook search engine designed to enhance your user experience or enhance the ability of those who want to market to you?

Several new articles on Mashable.com exposes exactly how the new Facebook search engine will impact Facebook users. For instance, Facebook can now list for you the profiles of married people who likes prostitutes and link the profiles of their spouses. Want to know who likes racism and where they work?  Well, Facebook has now made it easier for you to find out.  Here is an excerpt of Tumblr Serves Up Hilariously Awful ‘Actual Facebook Graph Searches’:

Time to triple check those privacy settings, Facebook users. As Graph Search slowly rolls out to the billion-strong user base, we’re learning more about the bizarre, and somewhat disturbing, liking habits of users.

Enter the “Actual Facebook Graph Searches” Tumblr page, a collection of surprising results found by using the social network’s fancy new feature. The man behind the Tumblr page, Tom Scott, told Mashable that all the results are legit — though some Graph Search skeptics have raised an eyebrow towards the Tumblr. In the page’s FAQ section, he also claims to have found even more disturbing results that he didn’t share.  Read More

Also View:
How Facebook Graph Search Can Descend to Creepiness

Why Bloggers and Businesses Should Invest More Time in Google Plus Than Facebook

by Deona Hooper, MSW

Google Plus, the latest social media platform developed by Google, has made great strides in its effort to compete with Facebook. Facebook may have more users, but its new EdgeRank algorithm has been found to greatly diminish users’ ability to share updates, but don’t fret.  Facebook has a solution to solve this problem for a small fee of course. In the past, many could understand paying a fee to promote content to people outside of your friend list, but now I have to pay to reach my own friends? This is ridiculous! I am going to tell you several reasons why investing your time in Google Plus is better than investing your money into Facebook.

Google is the most widely used search engine on planet earth. What Google  has done and said, “If you use Google Plus, we will promote your content on our search engine over those who don’t”. Do you know how powerful of a search engine optimization tool this is just for using Google Plus? There is no down side to this if you are a blogger or a business owner. Google plus is a very rich and visually appealing platform to use.  They offer Google Pages for your business which is equivalent to the Facebook Fan page.  Additionally, they offer Google Plus Profile Pages which is the counterpart to the Facebook Profile Page. Recently, Google Plus began offering communities which are designed to compete with Facebook groups. Most importantly, I believe the Google Plus mobile app and iPad app are absolutely visually stunning  applications. When you add Google Hangouts on top of all that, could it get any better? Why pay for Skype or Ustream, when you can conduct a Google Hangout with up to twelve people and live stream it using Google Air on Youtube for free? For cost effectiveness and top notch quality, I am one tech geek that is truly impressed with Google’s new suite of products.

As if there couldn’t be more, well there is! By investing time into your Google Plus profile, Google will now integrate your blog posts with your Google Plus profile in search returns. Lets say someone searches for a key word and out of the list of search queries only one post shows up with a picture. Which search return do you think will likely attract the person conducting the search? If you guessed the one with the picture attached, you are right. I have attached an example for your review. This is a first page search query. Don’t believe me,  search for “famous social workers” yourself.

Also View:

Google Plus v Facebook on Mashable.com

famous social workers - Google Search

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