Is Privacy the Cost of Convenience?

Privacy, convenience, direct mail, direct marketingAfter the recent outcry from users when Instagram changed their Terms of Service, I started thinking a little more about privacy and how much we’re willing to give up to use some of these social media platforms. I don’t operate under any delusions that there isn’t some sort of cost inherent with using these free social and online services. They are, after all, going into these start-up ventures to make money from their service, one way or the other. I try to refrain from knee-jerk reactions anymore, especially with as quickly as misinformation can spread.

Recently, a piece of direct mail showed up in my mailbox. It was for OutboxAustin.com (It’s actually just Outbox, but targeted to acquiring Austin residents). The tagline on the piece proudly stated: “This could be the last piece of junkmail you ever receive!” Needless to say, I was intrigued. Could this be like that program that allows you to unsubscribe from all the junk mail you receive in your email inbox, but in real life? I decided to look into it a little. What I found was pretty surprising:

So what do you think about this method of convenience? Is this something you’d be willing to do, or have you already given Outbox a try? If you’re a direct marketer, how does do you feel about this type of program? I’d love to hear your thoughts below, or in the comments section of the YouTube video.

Thanks for reading. Now go get your social on!

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The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of July 19, 2012 (“Get to know our customers” Day. Find out something new about those who keep you in business.)

Social Gnome hoard image

  • This could be a game changer for this year’s election. USA Today reports that the state of Washington will be the first state to allow voters to register via Facebook. If ever there was a way to make registering to vote more accessible to the general public, this is the way to do it. Facebook users will be able to register to vote through an app on the secretary of state’s Facebook page, and they’ll even be able to share the app on their timeline for friends to see. This is going to be the new ‘I voted’ sticker for the digital age. Kudos to the state of Washington for taking the initiative on this and force feeding democracy on those too busy to register to vote because they’re clicking ‘Like’ on the latest meme.
  • I. Love. Lists. I use lists for everything. I use Evernote to organize lists of blog ideas. I use the notepad function on my iPhone to make lists of movies to see or places around Austin to check out. When I saw this headline on Twitter, I got uber excited. Lifehacker provides the Five Best To-Do List Managers apps. I will be checking these out myself to see which works the best for me, but the prospect of using some the listed features to organize my many to-dos has me tingling with delight. What? I like lists…
  • Jay Baer offers up a really interesting post discussing the difference between Social Media Influencers and Brand Advocates. He makes some very interesting points both in how each can be useful in their own way, and how very different they can be from each other. For those of you who prefer a more visual approach, the post includes a great infographic. For those of you who have a little bit of a nerdy streak, there’s even a dig at Aquaman. Who doesn’t love a good dig at Aquaman? I’d also like to take this moment to thank Jay for introducing me to Curate.Us, which allows me to quickly clip visual snippets from sources and place them in my blog posts as you see here. It’s such a useful tool.
  • As long as Stumbleupon.com continues to find me crazy weird things like this, things I would have never found  on my own, I will continue to let it eat up valuable resources from my time. (It is a great way to stay occupied on the bus ride home from work though.) Since I found this on Stumbleupon, and there really aren’t any other links or info on the page, I can’t tell you much about who made it or where it came from. You may find yourself fiddling around with it regardless. Who doesn’t love taking 15 seconds to drag the mouse and create unique melodies? I submit that there are very few people on that list.
  • Here’s an really interesting dynamic chart following the changes in how we consume music over that last 30 years. It’s really interesting to simply watch the trends from one technology to the next. I’d love to see the jump in just the two years after the chart stops. Once again, I found this on Stumbleupon, so I don’t know who exactly created it or where they are pulling their data from, but it appears relatively accurate, or at least it makes sense. From the web address, it appears to be coming from digitalmusicnews.com.
  • Lastly, Stanford of Pushing Social shares an interesting analogy with regards to why you may not be getting the interaction you want or hope for in your blog. It seems a pretty simple concept that he discusses, but one that still so few seem to grasp in this digital world of “look at me, look at me!” Stanford always writes great stuff and is quickly becoming one of my favorite go-to people for blogging advice. Pushing Social is worth following for bloggers of any caliber to find quick, to-the-point advice that you can put to use. This one is a quick read, and worth checking to make sure you’re not THAT guy that he points out in the post.
  • Last minute addition to wrench your heart a bit. Thursday night, at the midnight premiere of the Dark Knight Rises, a man in a gas mask wearing all black decided to throw tear gas and open fire into the crowd. At the time of writing this, 12 are dead and many more wounded, some of them being children. I simply don’t understand it. 24-year old James Holmes has not given a motive yet, but that doesn’t matter. People were excited about a movie and he ruined their lives. Unbelievable.
So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know. Did I miss anything great that you came across? What do you think about the ability to register to vote on Facebook? Would you like to see more social integration into important parts of our society as we know it?  Are you a list-maker yourself, and do you already use any of the apps Lifehacker spotlights? Weigh in below with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents! Go to the app store and download Google Currents for your iPhone or Android and subscribe to Robzie Social HERE!

The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of July 2, 2012 (Did you know July is National Cell Phone Courtesy month? Also, the best month of the year!)

Social Gnome hoard image

  • Last week I had an article about Google+ coming to Flipboard, and this week it’s all about the New York Times. I’m very happy to see Flipboard getting the attention it deserves. It’s a really slick app with a great interface, and I was concerned about its well-being when I wrote my post about Google Currents and the threat it posed. This deal with the NY Times should really drive more traffic to Flipboard, and get those who potentially never used the app to check it out and fall in love with it, as many of us have. Flipboard is available for iOS devices, Kindle, and Android devices.
  • Gojee, an up and coming recipe sharing platform, looks to be getting funded up to attract some of the food-loving Pinterest crowd. Any Pinterest user will tell you that that their feed is full of boards from kitchen queens, culinary kings, expert foodies and wish lists of the less experienced (mine is simply titled Food I Want In My Face). Gojee is described as the “Twitter for food” and could potentially couple well with the multitude of recipe sharing buzz that Pinterest has created in the last year or so.
  • The plight of the small business owner is a constant struggle to stay relevant and visible in the shadow of the big guys. Although a strong online presence helps, sometimes it can feel like a hopeless battle, especially trying to keep up with all the changes that Google is doing. Here is a great article from Entrepreneur.com discussing some things to do to try to make yourself visible in Google’s eyes (and therefore everyone else’s).
  • In what will likely be a pretty important decision, a court judge ruled that Tweets are public (same as if they were shouted out in the street) and therefore should not be accompanied with any expectation of privacy. The court has ordered Twitter to turn over months worth of tweets by an Occupy Wall Street protester in order to prove that he was aware of the police orders that he was blatantly disregarding. Check out the whole article.
  • Finally, summertime is now in full swing. The fireworks really make it feel official (along with the sweltering heat, depending on where you are in the country or the world). Entrepreneur columnist Teri Evans provides some summer reading picks from multimillionaire entrepreneurs. There’s a few I’ve already heard of (and a couple standby classics), as well as a couple I might have to add to my list.
So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know. Did I miss anything great that you came across? How do YOU feel about the ruling on privacy of tweets on Twitter? Do you use Flipboard, and if not, will you use it to keep up on New York Times articles? Weigh in below with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents! Go to the app store and download Google Currents for your iPhone or Android and subscribe to Robzie Social HERE!

The Social Gnome’s Hoard

Welcome to the Social Gnome’s Hoard, a collection of this week’s most interesting finds from the Social Gnome’s internet travels.

Week of June 7, 2012:

Social Gnome hoard image

Image courtesy of PushingSocial.com

  • Stanford at Pushing Social offers up some Essential Tools for the Savvy Blogger in a recent post. He even breaks it into three sections: Research, Writing, and Promotion. I’m happy to see that Buffer made his list for the Research and Curation portion. I’m a huge fan of Buffer (if you haven’t been using this amazing curation tool – which integrates seamlessly with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for the web – then be sure to check it out here). I’m surprised to see that Evernote didn’t make his list for Planning, the tools that did are top notch.

Image clipped from Seaquence.org

  • You guys, this has got to be one of the coolest things I’ve found on Stumbleupon.com. Seaquence.org has put together this digital music maker of sorts and, as the site puts it, “Adopting a biological metaphor, you can create and combine musical lifeforms resulting in an organic, dynamic composition.” The interface is really easy to use and you can add multiple “organisms” to add depth and variation. You can also donate to the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts from their homepage. If you search for Seaquence on YouTube, you’ll even find some video clips that people have put together showing off their run at making biological music. It’s cool. Check it out. If you make any videos yourself, let me know and I’ll share them with my readers!

Klout.com

  • I’ll be honest, I use Klout because I love free stuff. Whereas so far I’ve gained early access to a couple up and coming social networks like Learni.st and LoveIt, I actually received my first physical Klout perk in the mail last week. I mean, it wasn’t a new car or a digital device to test drive, but I was still excited about free goodies in the mail. I got my Lipton Tea & Honey samples (Pineapple Mango) in a huge envelope. They gave me quite a few. The stuff is pretty good, but a lot sweeter than I typically go for. Also, 8oz of water is not enough. I filled an entire drinking glass and it was still flavorful. Not bad. It’s good on a hot Austin day, but too sweet to drink tons of it. (Disclaimer: I was given a free product or sample because I’m a Klout influencer. I am under no obligation to received the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.)

Photo by Marcus Kwan
(aperturismo on Flickr)

  • Facebook is throwing around the idea of dropping or removing the minimum age restriction for usage. Currently, the minimum age is 13, according to Facebook’s terms. Of course, some parents have helped their uber-social tween get Facebook accounts anyway, but there are some interesting ideas being tossed out there. One of the big concerns, according to the Washington Post, is the collection of data from and targeted advertising to children. Another idea being considered is having parents’ accounts have an administrator-like control over a child’s account. This, of course, could be a point of contention as a child turns into a teen, but could be a genius move for Facebook. Not only would it allow millions of kids to create accounts, but it would thereby force any parents of those kids to have an account, use it more often to monitor their child’s usage, and interact with Facebook more than they may have previously. We’ll see where the dart finally lands on this issue, but it will be interesting nonetheless.
Promote your blog with Social Media

Image from SocialMediaExaminer.com

  • Some of these tips from Social Media Examiner, if you’re even a slightly experienced blogger, may be common sense. However, this post offers up some really great tips and ideas for using the various outlets at your disposal for promoting your blog. In my case, I share a link to my blog posts on my Google+ profile all the time, but it never occurred to me to paste the entire text into the status update (since Google’s character limit is ridiculously huge0. Not only does this mean people can read your post without leaving Google+, it also is better for SEO!
  •  And finally, this music video by a band called Driver Friendly was shared with me by my friend and coworker Calli. She’s a great local music guru for me and she actually used to listen to these guys when they were first getting their start. I have to credit them for making a great music video, a tribute to Tom Hanks movies is a pretty unique theme. It was even Tweeted by Tom Hanks himself, which is amazing for a small band. Check out their nicely produced video and check them out on Spotify or iTunes if you like their music.

So there you are. Another weeks’ worth of noteworthy, interesting or just funny content to keep you in the know. Did I miss anything great that you came across? Can you name all the Tom Hanks movies in the music video? Let me know with your comments.

Now go get your social on!

Follow this blog on your mobile device with Google Currents! Go to the app store and download Google Currents for your iPhone or Android and subscribe to Robzie Social HERE!

Can’t Keep Up? Which New Social Networks to Consider or Ignore (Part 3)

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

I’ve begun dabbling in other social networks, just to see what kind of things are popping up now that Facebook had its less-than-stellar IPO. Although I still see Facebook hanging around for quite a while, there are definitely some others that may be worth noting.

Path not Pinterest

Path – The mobile-only network

Path

You can’t talk about emerging social networks without bringing up Path. I won’t spend too much time discussing this one, as I’ve actually already written a blog post reviewing it here. There are still some aspects of Path that could bear improvement, and for me it’s still not quite engaging, since I haven’t succumbed to adding a bunch of randos yet. I think it sorely needs some sort of way to search out common interests for those of us who don’t have a bunch of friends on it. Otherwise, it’s a great mobile app with a fluid interface. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s worth a look, especially if you’re heavily involved in the mobile sphere.

Another network that just came to my attention as emerging is Social Dashboard. I came across this article thanks to Repost.us, and I have requested to be accepted as a beta tester. For now, you can read up on this “socially conscious” network (or is it a browser? Not sure yet). The big deal with this network is that there’s a major focus on respecting user privacy, not profiting from user information, and streamlining with other networks. Sounds interesting and I hope to get more information to share soon!

5 years ago Facebook replaced MySpace. 2 years ago the movie “Social Network” exposed Facebook’s beginnings. Today, Facebook’s User Agreement permits them to sell your behaviors to the highest bidder. Social Dashboard is being developed as the next leading social network. Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB…

Continue reading

CISPA and Internet Privacy

SOPA and PIPA have come and gone. Protectors of internet freedom rejoiced a major victory when these two fell by the wayside. However, the anti-piracy brigade isn’t done yet: Enter CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, text here). CISPA would be an amendment to the National Security Act of 1947, adding a section that addresses “cyber threats” and “cyber security” measures.

I will start this post by stating that I am NOT an expert in digital public policy. I often rely on outside sources to help me understand the legal jargon that most proposed bills entail. Also, to be fair, I get it. Piracy is bad. Those producing music, tv shows and movies are not getting some of their pieces of the pie because it is being shared for free somewhere online. Advertisers’ money is not being well spent when people aren’t going through the standard legal channels to view their media. My biggest concern is that, in writing these bills and their following amendments, there ALWAYS has to be something put in the wording that allows for things that make the rest of us uncomfortable. There is always some phrase or paragraph that just sounds like those drafting it decided to see how much they could get away with, as long as no one was paying attention.

Image from Wikipedia

For CISPA, there is quite a bit of vagueness that has many people unsettled. Although the bill claims to not be targeted at shutting down or censoring websites, the wording is vague and seems as though it could be easily malleable to fit unintended needs. I am also concerned with another part. There is a section which I am interpreting that “As long as the entity reports a cyber threat or cyber security risk, it does not need to be reported to the general public.” I could be misinterpreting the underlined section below:

(C) if shared with the Federal Government—
‘‘(i) shall be exempt from disclosure under section 552 of title 5, United States Code;
‘‘(ii) shall be considered proprietary information and shall not be disclosed to an entity outside of the Federal Government except as authorized by the entity sharing such information; and
‘‘(iii) shall not be used by the Federal Government for regulatory purposes.

It sounds to me that reporting this is up to the discretion of the entity as long as the government knows about it. If a company’s security is breached, and they have sensitive information about their customers, they don’t have to tell us? Is that right?

What is also scary about CISPA is that it actually has support from some key online players, namely Microsoft and Facebook. Scary fact number two is that Anonymous has begun digital attacks on some of the bill’s other supporters, most recently Boeing, among others. Would they have the audacity to hack Microsoft and Facebook? That could lead to some pretty serious repercussions for the rest of us in terms of social media marketing.

What are your thoughts on CISPA? Do you translate the above section differently than I do? Do you think Anonymous will attack Microsoft and Facebook next? Chime in below.

Also, for anyone interested in signing a petition agains CISPA, here is a link to one from FreePress.

Now go get your social on!