Faceboot and podcats, photosharking and downloafs: everyone makes mistakes

One keystroke can result in an uncomfortable typo, or a twitchy finger can post something too early…or worse, something you didn’t want to post at all. Here are some suggestions for what to do in common situations when something goes wrong:

General typos or incorrect facts
As you can see from the title, I get a bit of glee from the typos I’ve seen or executed over the years (Full disclosure: I am responsible for podcats and downloafing). While you may be inclined to quietly slip in a correction, with any kind of live document that social media provides (blogs, tweets, etc), it’s proper form to make the correction and note it either parenthetically or at the bottom of the piece if the correction is something like an error of fact or a misspelling of a person’s name.

Getting hacked

Even socially savvy people get hacked. There are great tools out there like 1Password, but if you’re not ready to part with money for the extra security, there’s a chance someone will get into your Twitter account and spam your followers, or possibly even attempt to spread malware with shady links. Here’s what to do in that situation:

  • Change your password. Make it a little tougher to guess than the last one.
  • Remove/trash/unsend anything the hacker sent if you have the option.
  • Send a public message to your followers (or email the same people who were emailed the first time, or DM the same people…etc.) letting them know you’ve been hacked, apologize in very simple language, and ask users not to open links if the offending Tweet (or whatever) may still be cached somewhere.

In short: don’t panic, but deal with it quickly and do apologize for inconveniencing people. You may not have been lazy when you came up with your password, so it isn’t really your fault, but as a matter of etiquette, it’s nice to let your friends and followers know you may have inconvenienced their day.

Conversations or photos and video that weren’t meant to be public

ImageObviously, this is the one that may not be completely fixable.

First: Conversations. The easiest place to make this mistake is Twitter, where the D@_____ command never seems to work. I’d recommend never sending a direct message outside of the “direct message” window and never using the “D@” prompt.

But in general, be honest and humble. If you really did say it, own up. If you were a snarky jerk, owning up to being a snarky jerk at the start is always better than claiming something was taken out of context or altered. Because like it or not, The conversation is now public. You don’t have to draw massive attention to it, but if asked about it, admit it’s you, apologize if needed, and move on…

…and NEVER discuss anything that needs to stay personal online. Don’t share passwords and logons through email and texts. There’s a reason your bank won’t put your account number in the email.

With photos and videos: These can spread fast, but if photos are yours and weren’t shared by the person with the rights to share them (note that this is a complicated issue based on who took the photo, who’s in the photo, and more), you have some recourse with social sites to have them taken down. Check the terms of use of each site to find out how. Another tip: Be good giving your photo files unique names, perhaps include your own name in them. If you’ve got a Google search set up for yourself, there’s a chance the descriptive text on that photo might travel along with it. You may get a heads-up if it goes beyond where you intended it. If you have the software to assign full metadata, all the better.

These tips barely scratch the surface, but I’d love to have some more discussion in the comment section. Any other great typos out there? Security tips I missed?

Social Media: Flexing your muscle when everyone’s an “expert”

Flexing muscles

Flexing muscles

My LinkedIn profile headline lists me as a social media expert. Icky, but I feel okay using the word given how much time I devote to it. In truth, it’s as overused as ninja, guru, and all of those other words social media enthusiasts used to adopt to show we were…well, more than just enthusiasts.

There’s ninja-guru-expert saturation, whether resumes back it up or not. I was recently told of an upper-middle social media manager position that received applications in the triple digits, but half were thrown away because said “experts” had no professional experience. I sympathize. It can be tough to try to break into a career that you think you might have a knack for. But the saturation of social-media specific candidates in the job market means employers can wait for someone with identical traits to their last employee, or someone fresh out of a program that addressed the newest technologies and theories–and hire them at fresh-out-of school prices.

Is there any hope for a job-seeking social media-type in a market of me-toos and cheaper-thans? Who knows? But here are some tried and true job tips modified for the socially-networked world:

Your day job is not the only place looking for social media help at less than market value. Why not offer your services to an organization worthy of your help?  Don’t just skim through craigslist; think about your passions and the kind of help you’d be most effective giving. A passionate volunteer is a good volunteer. If a group truly doesn’t spring to mind, try VolunteerMatch to find a local group that needs your skill set.

Volunteer positions can supplement your daytime skill set and show that you’re willing to work beyond closing time for things you care about. I’ll throw in here that I’m a dedicated volunteer for alt+library Friends, and every marginal bit of growth I see because of our social media or general communications is completely rewarding to me.  Did I mention volunteers feel like they have more time in a day?

Make the Most of LinkedIn
I know a lot of people my age (yes, Millenial–what of it?) who shy away from LinkedIn. Don’t. If you’re not going to be a shameless self-promoter other places, at least gather the links and explain your input to all your social media projects for various jobs here.

Be a shameless self-promoter
I’ll be honest. This one is incredibly tough for me. I’m an introvert’s introvert. But it’s likely you’re working for someone else, and part of why you revel in social media is that you’ve gotten to be the Great and Powerful Oz: you get to build a large, powerful community during the day but get to go home as the plain old man behind the curtain at night. There are ways to self-promote without selling your soul. Start a blog where you share tips you’ve learned along the way, for example. Curate a tumblr of posts related to a hobby under your own name. Anything that will keep you interested and attach an individual social media voice separate from that of your employer.

Why does that last one matter? With enough lead time and Hootsuite, the truth is that anyone can broadcast an organization’s posts. It’s up to you to show why you can do it better and for more than an intern’s pay.

Final note: I’m a huge fan of the Back to Work podcast, and highly recommend checking out episode 132. The whole thing is enjoyable, but around the 35-minute mark, Dan and Merlin begin discussing what makes people begin feeling like frauds in the professional sense. For so many of us who did make up our jobs and have felt the ebb and flow of success in an emerging/emerged/made-up field, it’s a fascinating and therapeutic listen. Please do check it out.

Five quick tips for cleaning out your Inbox



You probably have more than one email address. The Gmails and Yahoos of the world combined with your work email mean you’ve got a lot of incoming mail to deal with, and unless you’re an organizational whiz, one of those boxes will be neglected at one time or another.

The tips below are specifically designed for those times when one or another account has become too much to handle. I’ll cover daily maintenance like rules and folders another time. 

Run a search for emails from donotreply
It’s a one-word phrase that can send as much as 25 percent of your neglected inbox to the trashcan instantly, but it’s a step people often forget, or try to do manually. These “do not reply” emails will get rid of months-old “breaking news” updates, expired sale notices, and anything you can almost certainly safely delete as a first step. 

Run a search for the letters fwd
This one will filter out chain letters, lolcats, paranoid conspiracies from uncles, et cetera.  In fact, I recommend creating a rule that sends fwds outside of work (or from particular coworkers…you know the ones) to a separate folder. You’ll want to scan the results of this search a little more carefully than the last, since there is a slight chance there may be something legit here.  

Reorganize your inbox by files with attachments
The same shady or annoying flotsam and jetsam can exist here…with pictures! Either that, or in your absence, someone has sent you a lovely little virus. The point is, use the same scanning technique you used above, but be extra careful and avoid downloading any of these files unless they’re safe and vital to keep. Mass delete the rest.  

Pick a date and delete
Chances are, anything important that you had the chance to deal with would have been re-sent in a certain time period. If that time has passed, It may be best to avoid the frustration that comes along with trying to deal with it. Pick a date in a manageable-for-you time period and delete anything before that day. 

Take the opposite approach
Use the search function to find what you are looking for and delete the rest. If you were able to let it go with little negative result, just search for VIP names or subjects, read and save those, then delete the rest.

Optional Step Six: Do a little dance
…because really, what’s more satisfying than deleting email?

When is it Done?


I’m crushing your head.

My least -favorite high school English teacher had a saying: “Turkeys are done. You are finished.”  As much as we didn’t see eye to eye on any other issues, this little nugget (no pun intended) has stuck with me for approaching two decades, and its veracity goes beyond the grammatical.

You see, I’m a big fan of not over-writing, especially online. Brevity should be digital writing’s watchword. In other words: Your writing may be done long before you are finished. Learn to live with it.

If I were truly practicing what I preached, this piece would end here. I do have another idea to share, though: how you can continue to share ideas while keeping your concepts brief:

  • Links Be they supplementary, contrary, or whimsical, don’t be afraid to send your users elsewhere. After all, they had to find you somehow, too, right?
  • Reading Lists Try providing an annotated bibliography or list of what you’ve been reading lately. This is a great way to help elaborate how you formed your ideas without sounding like an essayist.  You can, however, sound like a junior high term paper writer. Watch out.
  • Serial pieces If all else fails, limit yourself to a word count and stick to it. If you need to go beyond that, leave it for another installment.

Please feel free to share your tips on brevity and knowing when to stop in the comments!