What is Social Media?

LinkedIn pulls a "Facebook" - How to get LinkedOut!

Did LinkedIn just pull a "Facebook" privacy move?

LinkedIn has recently changed user privacy settings, by default, to give it permision to include photos, posts and related activities of LinkedIn Users together with third party paid advertising. Thus making the user an implied endorser of a company, product or service, without his/her explicit consent.

The actual text reads as follows: 

This change was made to users privacy settings without any public notification.

In an age of transparency and the need to trust the owners of social media platforms, this was a ham-fisted way of gaining permission to use (abuse) LinkedIn Users' images and implied affiliations in order to shift more advertising.

There are plenty of people that would love to have the exposure of being included in paid advertising that is served up to the LinkedIn community. LinkedIn did not need to try and "sneak" this new permission into their relationship with the users that pay the freight and create the demand.

When will the owners of social media platforms learn to trust the users as much as they expect the users to trust them?


Since this was posted, LinkedIn reacted to the negative feedback it received from its users and issued an apology and a change to how the ads display. However, all users are still opted-in! 

It is good to see that LinkedIn responds quickly to its users, however, the real right thing to do in this case is auto-opt out all users and ask those that want to participate in the program to opt-in.

There are more than enough people that want to share their interests that LinkedIn does not need to force the users into the option. It is this kind of forced sharing that prompts the user community to look for alternatives like Google+.

By failing to opt-out all members, they have missed an opportunity to do the really right thing and regain the trust of their users.

Read the official LinkedIn response here.


How to Unsubscribe from LinkedIn Social Advertising

If you want to know how to unsubscribe, the following steps describe the process:

  1. Click on your name at the upper right hand side of the LinkedIn home page when you are logged in. then Click on "Settings".
  2. On the Settings page, click on "Account"
  3. Click on "Manage Social Advertising to get to the page where you can choose to opt-out.


Once on the page, simply un-check the box and save. 


Is GOOGLE+ the missing link?

Do Need a GOOGLE+ invite? request one from tbarkan@socialstrat.orgyou feel that Facebook is just too social?

Do you struggle to use LinkedIn effectively?

Hate the idea of “tweeting” every fleeting thought?

You might just find the new GOOGLE+ is the missing link you didn’t realize you were missing!

GOOGLE+ is the newly unveiled social application that fills a very unique and important niche in the social media landscape that is currently dominated by the big 3 of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Even in its just released Beta version, GOOGLE+ has gotten a lot of things right. In GOOGLE fashion, it has made its solution simple, clean and intuitive. I think GOOGLE+ is going to be very attractive, even to social media skeptics that are put off by Facebook’s hyper social/casual interface, LinkedIn’s increasing narrow application and Twitter’s flotsam of never ending status updates (I mean who can really “follow” 1,000+ contacts?).

Circles of Influence

GOOGLE+ is an incredibly easy and intuitive way to organize connections and contacts by allocating them to “Circles” like family, friends, business contacts or any category you care to define for your various classes of contacts and connections. The way that GOOGLE+ has provided this feature is both natural and easy to apply and is visually easy to organize.

Let’s Huddle and Hangout!

One of the most powerful features of the new GOOGLE+ is the ability to collaborate with multiple colleagues, right from within the circles you have created. For example, you might have a “finance team” circle that needs to work on your annual budget. Using GOOGLE+ it becomes incredibly easy to share documents, use live chat or to hold a video conference with up to 10 simultaneous participants. Whatever the purpose, the point is that real collaboration is very easy and spontaneous, even if the participants are using different devices (PC, Android and Apple for example).

Sparks of Interest

Making use of GOOGLE’s powerful search engine, you have the ability to follow any topic or item you choose. You also have the ability to share the interesting links you find with individual circles or with all of your contacts. This is an easy way to keep track of ongoing topics that you want to monitor right from your GOOGLE+ profile page and includes links to web pages, blogs, videos or any other media you can find on the web.  

The bottom line…

GOOGLE+ seems to span the gap between being too social and public (Facebook and Twitter) and having too narrow a use (LinkedIn and LinkedIn Groups). For someone like myself who tends to use social media for professional and business purposes, GOOGLE+ let’s me feel comfortable to use it for professional purposes while managing more social contacts.

For associations that have established Facebook pages and LinkedIn groups, there is no feature yet in GOOGLE+ to establish a corporate page. However, as a collaboration and communication tool, it looks to be a great solution for internal teams, committees, task forces, member special interest groups or any other application where a defined group of like minded people want a really easy to use tool to share information, collaborate  and communicate in real time.

GOOGLE+ is worth a look, even by the most ardent social media skeptics!


Need a GOOGLE+ invite? Just send me a request at tbarkan@socialstrat.org!



Social Media and HR - What are the legal risks?

The explosion in the use of social media by employees and customers has dramatically increased the level of exposure for organizations to reputational risk, IP leakage, copyright infringements, anti-trust issues and more. 

Social media has created a minefield, especially in the area of HR management, with the widespread use of online tools to find, vet, recruit and manage staff.

Now that every employee has a virtual megaphone to the world to share confidential information, intentionally or through poor judgement, organizations need to understand what the risks are and how to defend against them through education, sound social media strategy and appropriate policies.

Finding a legal expert that understands these issues is not easy.

Fortunately for Scripps Networks Interactive Inc., Cynthia Gibson (Vice President Legal) is an expert that understands HR and the evolving area of social media related legal risk management. 

Recently, Mrs. Gibson delivered an incredibly informative 90 miunute webinar that was packed full of practical information, including:

Which laws apply?

Not only did Ms. Gibson review the applicable laws but she also cited recent cases and examples.

• The Electronic Communications Privacy Act

• The Stored Communications Act

• Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

• National Labor Relations Act

• Privacy Rights

• Free Speech Rights

• Federal Trade Commission

• Whistleblowers

• Lawful Non-Work Activity Statutes

• Reporter’s Privilege

• Limitations

What are the Challenges for HR & Management:

Social media is a powerful new tool for both recruitment and management but it comes with a host of challenges for managers.

• Background checks

• Discrimination

• Harassment and Retaliation

• Disloyalty

• Insubordination

• Employee monitoring

What are the Risks to your Organization

Senior management needs to always have an eye on risk management. Many of the legal risks associated with social media are actually not new. What is new is that now every employee in your organization has the capacity to do far greater damage must faster and wider than ever before, requiring a new degree of diligence.

• Litigation

• Disclosure of confidential information and trade secrets

• Defamation

• Copyright violations

• Unfair competition

• Competitive intelligence

• Negligent hiring and retention

• Damage to reputation

Social Media Opportunities and Best Practices

Not everything to do with social media represents risk and downside, there is of course, great opportunity to grow your organization, improve communications, gain new customers, find outstanding employees and earn new revenue.

The goal is to be able to leverage all of the positive opportunities that social media promises without incurring undo risk. Ms. Gibson does an excellent job of explaining the risks that exists, citing examples of recent cases, and providing some straight forward advice for managers on how to leverage social media wisely. 


NOTE: Access to the recorded webinar session is still available. For just $149.00 you get:

•Instant Access to the recorded Webinar for 6 months!  

•Copy of the presentation slides

• Free bonus materials: “Online Community Management Guidelines and Checklist”!



Nothing to Hide

In his most recent book, "Nothing to Hide", Daniel Solove (John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law at George Washington University) makes compelling arguments about the false balance and trade-offs being made between privacy and security.

Although Prof. Solove is focused on the issue of 'privacy vs. national security', many of the same points made could apply to the tradeoff of 'privacy vs. commerce' as relates to social networking platforms and information aggregation by companies.

For example, he talks about the types of potential harm that can be done when massive amounts of information are collected, whether willingly (ie. in Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare, or any other social media related application), or surreptitously. He describes four categories of risk:

Aggregation:  When small bits of information are combined to paint a detailed picture or profile of an individual, perhaps well beyond what that person would knowingly allow to be compiled about themselves.

Exclusion: Being prevented from knowing what information is being collected and/or how it is being used. (Who really reads the "Terms of Use"? Who knows how extensively your information is being shared with 3rd parties?)

Secondary Use: The use of information that is collected for one purpose that is then used for a different purpose without the consent of the data's subject. (People join social networks to share information and connect, no one really joins a social network to become a highly targeted marketing prospect or to have their data repackaged and sold).

Distortion: When information that is gathered is used to interpret a behavior or create a profile of a person that is incorrect or misleading. Especially when the data subject is unable to change how their profile is being used, interpreted or communicated.

Although Mr. Solove was pointing out the real and potential dangers of misuse of information by the government, the same principles and dangers apply when data is misused by corporations. Especially now when individuals are willingly giving up hordes of information about themselves without really understanding how that information is being used or even by whom it is being collected, shared, sold or manipulated.

Mr. Solove argues that the entire legal concept of privacy and laws designed to protect privacy need a rewrite.

I couldn't agree more at a time when social media platforms are pressed to turn a profit and this pressure pushes them often in the direction of excessively or unethically exploiting the information they have collected from the members in their communities.

To read more about "Nothing to Hide" visit Prof. Solove's blog "Concurring Opinions".


Is data protection in the EU about to get even tougher?

If your organization holds data for European Union citizens or does business in the EU, then you need to know about current and potential EU legislation for the holding and use of personal data.

The EU already has one of the strongest frameworks for protecting citizen privacy and is contemplating changes to make the law stricter especially for online properties like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, etc.

The following links are to sources of information about current legislation and to comments from Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner, about making protections even stronger. (note: copy and paste links into a browser window).

Bloomberg article



EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding's official information and webpage



EU Data Protection: links to description of the laws, enforcing agencies and related items



EU Data Protection Article 29 Task Force links and resources