Archive for the 'Social Media' Category

Facebook Timeline Launches: Four tips to keep personal information private

By Marlesse Marino (@marlesse)

It is official folks, Facebook Timeline is here! Instead of a seeing a disjointed list of wall comments, status updates, mobile uploads and Farmville requests, the new Timeline displays an organized and visually interactive story of your Facebook life dating back to when you first signed up with the social networking site.

Facebook users will also have access to a new tool called Activity Log. According to a blog post by the Timeline team, “your activity log is a place where you can review all your posts and activity, from today back to when you first started using Facebook. Only you can see your activity log.”

Along with the awesome new interface (it’s seriously beautiful, check it out here if your profile hasn’t updated yet), comes a potentially not-so-awesome new way to expose parts of your life that you never intended to share with your employers, clients and my personal nightmare – FAMILY MEMBERS. In a September post, former Mashable editor-at-large, Ben Parr went so far as to state that Facebook Timeline was assisting in euthanizing the concept of privacy.

According to the Facebook blog, “Timeline gives you an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect your most important moments.” While this sounds poignant, there are certain “important moments” on Facebook that I would appreciate that no one “rediscovers.”

With Timeline making it easier than ever to find out what your best friend ate for lunch two years ago, or for others to find out what you wore on Halloween as a college freshman (Cave Girl – don’t judge), I thought it would be pretty useful to provide a refresher on Facebook privacy and the perils of over-sharing on the Internet.

1. Update your privacy settings: Since Timeline shows everything you’ve posted in a single view, it provides easy, scrollable access to your past Facebook blunders. Although Facebook Timeline is rolling out today, you have a seven-day review period to go through your profile and hide or delete unwanted posts, so take advantage. Facebook offers security and privacy tools for a reason – use them!

(Photo courtesy of

2. Be mindful of who you talk to online: The old saying, “stranger danger” is definitely applicable to people you talk to on Facebook or any social networking tool, not just the weirdos in vans with tinted windows advertising free candy. Take for example, this story by New York Times Bits blogger, Nick Bilton. After receiving a comment from a user on Instagram, Nick goes on a 10-minute stalking session on Google which culminates with him finding the full name, phone number, home address and place of employment of a person who commented on a few of his Instagram photos. You would think that writer for The New York Times won’t hunt down your personal address for fun, right? If you did, read Nick’s article proving you very wrong.

3. Discriminate when deciding to share information:  There are tons of Facebook applications out there, so be cautious when allowing anything to access yours and your friends’ personal information on Facebook. For an extreme example of the amount of information you share when you permit application access to your account, check out Take This Lollipop. Take This Lollipop is an interactive short video, which shows a deranged man in a windowless room looking at YOUR Facebook page. The site asks you to sign in with your Facebook login, takes information from your account and weaves it into the video. You get to watch a creepy man stroke pictures of you with his grimy hands, and then continue to stare in horror while he use Google Maps to find out where you live. This video terrified me to the point that I deleted every app that was on my account.

4. If you have to ask, don’t post: If you have to question whether something is inappropriate, don’t post it. It probably is, so just tell your friends in person. The Internet will not be at a loss if your potentially inappropriate comment doesn’t make it onto the World Wide Web. Even if your privacy settings are extremely limited, an error in the system can make that once-private comment available to everyone. Just last week, Facebook had a snag that exposed personal, private photos of many of its users, including Mark Zuckerberg. The glitch was fixed almost immediately, but the system was down for enough time for me to get the personal photo below of Zuckerberg hanging out with his girlfriend and his adorable dog below!


These tips boil down to one thing: Once you post something to the Internet, it’s there forever. Think twice before you hit enter, especially now that Timeline allows for even easier access to your private life.

What are your thoughts on Facebook Timeline? Do you think it puts an end to privacy? What steps are you taking to keep your personal information hidden?

Speaker Spotlight Series with Rue La La: The Value of 210,470 Facebook Likes

By Sarah Borup ( @SarahBorup)

Rue La La’s fan base is nothing to turn your nose up at. With 210,470 Facebook likes and 23,149 followers on Twitter, they’re doing okay. But, what happens when you put those numbers into context?

Competitors HauteLook, with 70,820 Twitter followers and 388,655 Facebook likes, and Gilt Group, with 136,568 followers and 342,673 likes, come out on top – if numbers alone is your metric.

Tuesday night, a few of us Beantown SHIFTers listened in on Millennial Branding’s Speaker Spotlight Series as Stacey Santo and Colin Hynes acknowledged the numbers game, and reminded us about that good ‘ol truism: quality over quantity. Mary Sullivan (@marys213) left thinking,

“What really became clear was that Rue La La gets social media. It recognizes and understands that having engaged fans is more valuable than having a large number of fans. As PR pros, I know we constantly stress this to our clients, but it’s nice to hear it from the brand perspective.” 

I couldn’t agree more. As a company self-proclaimed as not only using social, but being social, Stacey and Colin had a few more words of wisdom to share.

  • Curation – Branding is about curating a lifestyle. For Rue La La, this translates to making shopping easier and more interesting, and life more stylish.

PR Takeaway: The brand is powerful across all industries, including tech and B2B. Content being shared, conversations carried on and everything in between create a company lifestyle. All PR activities should map back to those pillars, as well as the life the company wants to lead.

  •  Social ROI – Clear objectives lay the foundation for ROI. Rue has an additional customer service Twitter handle, measured on how fast they reply and resolve customers’ issues.

PR Takeaway:  Without a clear vision of what a social channel is being used to accomplish, there’s no chance at quantification. This was a great reminder that numbers aren’t the only metric. Sentiment and engagement count, big time.

  •  Audiences – Knowing your audiences and keeping them happy is at the heart of business, hence Rue’s monthly member focus groups. User experience is a concentration for companies across the board.  

 PR Takeaway:  We have so many audiences in a single day – clients, coworkers, reporters, bloggers, Twitter followers, so on and so forth. While we don’t hold focus groups, we know how to best give the experience our audiences want when interacting with us.

  • Change – Industry change is lightning fast and competitors introduce new things…often.  Another SHIFT PR gal, Linda Battaglia (@LBattaglia), listened closely as Stacey said, “competition makes you stronger and better, and keeps everyone moving forward.”  In Linda’s words, “She put a positive spin on having competition – pretty motivating!”

PR Takeaway:  Learning is continuous, and it happens through curiosity, formal training, experiences and sometimes morphing competitors’ success and making it your own.

All in all, we walked away with new ideas and validations on old ones, as well many reminders that a company must do what works for them. It’s about wearing many hats, but only if you can wear them all well.

Why Awards Matter – SHIFT and the Bell Ringers

By Derek Lyons (@dwlyons)

At SHIFT we like to believe we are different from other PR firms.   Those differences take on a few distinct forms:

  • The creativity we bring to the table each and every day for client programs
  • The way we use social media as a transformative element for ourselves and our clients
  • How we are a talented bunch who value dedication and determination

Now, I’m not saying you need a shiney plaque sitting up on the wall to affirm these beliefs.  But having some external recognition doesn’t hurt right?

As an 11 year veteran of SHIFT, I was proud to see all of the above attributes on display in the multiple awards the agency and individuals took home at the recent Publicity Club of New England’s annual Bell Ringer awards.  Whether it’s a Gold Bell for Rapid 7’s Organizational Identity Campaign, the company’s employee-driven Slice blog taking home the only win in the Agency Blog/Social category or our own Amanda Munroe being bestowed with the inaugural Ringer Award, it was a banner night for SHIFT’s Boston office.

I can tell you the office was buzzing and we’re proud that both our clients and industry peers know and respect our work.  Congrats to all the SHIFT winners, and we’re already planning on taking home even more next year!

Social Media IMPACT with Pub Club NE & PRSA Boston

By Kate Binette (@katebinette)

With more than 1,147,000 Twitter followers and about 1,410,000 Facebook fans between them, the panelists at a recent Publicity Club of New England and PRSA Boston event had much to offer in terms of social media strategies and tactics.  Earlier this month, Amanda Guisbond (@agbond) and I headed downtown to hear Christi McNeill of Southwest Airlines, Peter Panagopoulos from WGBH and Elaine Driscoll of the Boston Police Department speak on all things social.  They shared interesting and unique insights into their social media programs and provided great tips and tricks for PR pros executing social programs for their clients.

Mike Volpe, CMO of fellow Boston company HubSpot, moderated the panel and kicked off the night with a few surprising social media facts:

  • People are now spending more time on social media than on email, with more than 100 million tweets pushed through each day and one out of every eight minutes on the Internet spent on Facebook.
  • The average person views over 2,700 Web pages per month.
  • 40 percent of B2B companies and 60 percent of their B2C counterparts have secured clients on Facebook.

It’s obvious that the social sphere is still continuing to grow, and with B2C and B2B companies making business connections through Facebook, a social presence is increasingly important for all of our clients.  But what are the tried and true tactics that hold up across industries?  Here’s the quick and dirty from the panelists:

  • Use social media to set the tone for traditional media.  Social media should be a supplement to traditional outreach and vice versa.  Elaine explained that when news hit about Osama Bin Laden’s death, the BPD’s quick execution on Twitter helped set the tone for local media conversation.  The Department also filmed a 30-second statement from the commissioner explaining that there was no threat to the city of Boston.  Every news station in the city referred to the BPD’s tweet and used their video, limiting hype and keeping the public’s reaction under control.  Similarly, quick action from Christi and the rest of the Southwest Airlines social team on the company blog and Facebook and Twitter pages helped alleviate calls from the media in the wake of the Company’s most recent plane crisis. 
  • Find a monitoring schedule that works – and keep the approval process short.  Monitoring 24/7 is a challenge, but it’s important to keep track of tweets, Facebook posts and events in the news that require a response.  At the BPD, a few quick internal conversations revealed that several 911 operators had a personal interest in social media.  The all-day, every-day access provided by the operators, combined with a nimble approval process, ensure quick action and response.  Christi’s team stays in touch and divides and conquers – communication is key!
  • Stay in touch with influencers, and stick to what works to reach them.  Christi found that catering to aviation bloggers and inviting them to Southwest Airlines’ media day helped broaden their reach beyond the airline’s traditional customer base and engage a niche group of aviation enthusiasts.  Peter explained that WGBH strives to give the people what they want – despite efforts to promote more interactive content on the Antiques Roadshow Facebook page, tune-in messages and appraisals see the most engagement from fans and keep them coming back for more.

To sum up the night, the panel shared their top tips for a successful social media strategy – in 140 characters or less, of course:

  • Have fun, and be relevant. – Christi
  • Inform, and be thoughtful.  – Peter
  • Don’t overtweet, and always be relevant. – Elaine

What do you think are the most important parts of a relevant, successful social media campaign?

Social Media Camp NY

By Nicole Kruse

I recently attended the Social Media Camp NY event, which occurred during Social Media Week NYC 2011. I was able to attend six great sessions. While all of the speakers were captivating and shared many useful insights regarding social media, I found two sessions particularly useful. The first session reminded me that great social media ideas don’t have to be a huge production, but rather a simple, relatable concept. My biggest takeaway from the second session was to “fish where the fish are.”

Execute on Everyday Experiences in an Extraordinary Way

Saul Colt, Head of Magic at FreshBooks, shared ways to create word of mouth with no budget using social media. He inspired the audience by sharing the following tip, “Create something so fresh and fascinating; people will have no choice but to share it.” Essentially, he urged us to execute on everyday experiences in an extraordinary way.

For example, for one company, he built a trade show booth that looked like the fruit stand from Arrested Development, and gave out bananas with his company name stickered on it.  It was a conversation starter, an icebreaker and very low budget.   I really like how Saul successfully executed on such an uncomplicated, practical, everyday idea.

Saul suggested holding brainstorms with your team to find interesting ways to connect with customers and get your brand noticed. You may recall the below successful, creative social media campaigns:

•    Burger King’s Subservient Chicken
•    Old Spice’s “Smell Like a Man, Man”

Have any of you come up with great social media ideas you’ve put into practice?

Location, Location, Location

In a presentation about the future of social media in 2011, moderator Howard Greenstein shared what he believed to be the future of social media: location, location, location. Location can mean many things:

•    Where individuals find information about you and/or your brand. For example a website or Facebook page.
•    Where individuals talk to you. For example, in person at a retail store or in the comfort of one’s own home on the telephone.
•    Where people are when they share with each other. For example via a text, tweet or email.

I found it interesting to think that individuals can be in more than one location at once. For example, individuals can physically be at a retail store, while simultaneously texting or tweeting with friends about their experience and visiting the brands Facebook page.

Howard believes that companies should be “located” where everyone is… Facebook! According to’s press page, the site:

•    Has more than 500 million active users
•    50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
•    Collectively people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the site
•    More than 200 million active users access Facebook through their mobile device
•    People who use Facebook on their mobile devices are twice as active on Facebook than non-mobile users

Just for fun, I thought I’d share this colorful interpretation of The Future of Social Media 2011 drawn by Dean Meyers.

Photo courtesy of Dean Meyers

What are your social media predictions for 2011?

The Last Exorcism: Getting Creepy with Chatroulette

By Mike Fearon  (@mdfearon)

Yesterday, I went around the office to play a quick word association game with my fellow SHIFTers. During which I begged the question, “When I say Chatroulette, you say?” My respectful, upstanding co-workers responded with:

“Creepy”  “Naked”  “Sketchy”  “Nudity”  “Gross”  “Surprising”  “Creepy Guys”  “Laughter”

Since the days of El Pres sporting a tux on Barstool Sports’ Chatroulette Wednesdays, Daily Show spoofs and Merton, the Ben Folds impersonator, marketers have been looking for a way to connect with consumers on Chatroulette (or whatever Chatroulette becomes now that experiment #1 is over – I hope this experiment has nothing to do with 2009’s “The Box.” If it does, we’re doomed).

Cracking the Chatroulette code is not easy. At worst, you’re left with impressions like those top of mind for my co-workers and I. At best, you find one or two fully clothed, intelligible people to chat up. Then, against all odds, came last week’s Chatroulette promotional campaign for the horror genre film “The Last Exorcism,” premiering today.

If you haven’t seen the video, it’s a compilation of creeps who think they are about to peep on a girl on Chatroulette but are then left completely skeeved out when their would-be exhibitionist goes full-on Linda Blair exorcist. Warning: Put your ear buds in, this video contains NSFW language (are you surprised? This is Chatroulette after all).

As a movie buff, I really appreciate this effort – especially knowing the rules of the horror genre made famous by Wes Craven’s “Scream.” If you’re not down with the rules, the Cliff’s Notes version states that if you do anything inappropriate (drugs, sex, drinking, etc.) then something bad will happen to you. In the above video, the Chatroulette folks were breaking the horror genre rules and quickly given their comeuppance.

In the end, the marketing campaign may be more memorable than the film (remember “The Blair Witch Project?”). It will be interesting to see if the video’s two million-plus views translate to the big screen, but I would never have considered watching a PG-13 version of “The Exorcist” without “The Last Exorcism” Chatroulette video. Personally, I find it poetic that the best example of marketing on a platform notorious for its creepiness happens to be for a creepy movie. Hopefully, this is not the last we’ll see of a company’s creative use of Chatroulette.

Double Trouble for Dunkin’ Donuts

By Mikinzie Stuart (@mikinzie)

If any of you “Like” Dunkin’ Donuts on Facebook, you might have noticed something less than palatable appear on your news feed recently. This is because Dunkin’ Donuts was spammed on their Facebook page earlier this week with provocative links and images (seeing as these images are NSFW, we will just say they involve young women and the phrase “scantily clad”).

Hmm... something's missing.

Contrary to what you may think, the real crime wasn’t the spam itself; it was the fact that it took Dunkin’ Donuts 12 HOURS to acknowledge the spamming to their Facebook community. Even after the initial wave of images was finally removed, naughty photos and links kept showing up, flooding the company’s Facebook page throughout the following day.

Fellow SHIFT colleague, John Carter, noticed one of the racy spam videos pop up on his Facebook news feed and brazenly “liked” the spicy video. To prove a point, of course.

“More than anything, I think it points to the gap between content creation and community management when it comes to social media. If you look at Dunkin’ Donuts’ Facebook page and other initiatives, they’re doing some really great stuff; the donut creation contest and fan of the week are both absolutely genius. But their actual one-on-one interaction with consumers is rudimentary (at least on Facebook),” said Carter.

While DD Facebook fans waited and watched to see how the company would respond, it was disappointing when Dunkin’ Donuts followed up with a simple boilerplate apology to angry comments left on the Facebook wall by loyal customers:

“Thanks for your concern. We’re responsible for protecting the integrity of this community and take this very seriously. In accordance with DD Facebook Etiquette, all of these posts have been removed, flagged and banned. Any future posts of this nature will also be dealt with accordingly. We’ve always tried to keep our Facebook page open for fans to share and post links, pics and videos. Unfortunately, there will inevitably be a few individuals who abuse this. But rest assured that we’re on top of this and will always do everything in our power to keep this type of content off our fan page. Thanks, Ben”

As the conversation around the Facebook flop moved to Twitter, it was clear the damage had been done. Even though Dunkin’ Donuts quickly responded to customer tweets about the spammers, the fall-out had solidified, with complaints about: 1) the fact that it happened (and was left unattended) in the first place, and 2) a weak attempt to resolve the problem via a blanket apology.

So, what can be learned from DD’s double-down? Too many brands are concerned with the fancy bells and whistles of their social media space and forget that they need to have someone moderating the content. Granted, mistakes do happen: Dunkin’ Donuts could have had technical difficulties with the Internet down all day; the person in charge of monitoring the Facebook page and scanning for coverage could have been off sick that day; or maybe, and more likely – the company wasn’t investing enough time in regularly checking up on its Facebook page.

As one of the administrators of SHIFT Communications Facebook page, I check the space multiple times a day. I do this not only to moderate what is being posted on the Facebook page wall, but to understand what is important to SHIFT’s various audiences and what it takes to maintain the outward image of our company.

It’s just unfortunate that, as of late, Dunkin’ Donuts has been outdone by those other double Ds.