Posts tagged ‘privacy’

Your Facebook Professionalism Policy: Balancing Your Relationships On and Off the Clock

For many Gen-Yers and young professionals, Facebook started out as a social network. Then, high-schoolers were allowed in. Now, understandably, more and more people are joining that range in age – and in relationship to you. Point in case:

  • My friend recently helped her mom create a Facebook account.
  • Another commented that all her co-workers want her to become a Facebook friend.
  • According to Quantcast, in July 208, 46% of Facebook users are 18-34.
  • in July 2007, ComScore reported a 181% growth of users ages 25-34, and a 98% growth in users 35+.

Thus, with Facebook going from social status —> professional network, it begs the question, what are the new the rules of thumb for one’s Facebook account? So I asked followers on Twitter. The results:

  1. All or nothing. One of the most popular answers was to go all access with everyone. This route shows to your co-workers and professional network that you own who you are. Nothing to hide. Some also responded that this helps increase the office culture and camaraderie.
  2. Oil and water don’t mix. It gets murky. Best to keep Facebook separate. One person commented that you can come to know too much about someone and that can distract from business.
  3. Go Half and Half. Others answered saying they prefer to keep professional work colleagues and co-workers at bay by using the ‘limited profile’ feature on Facebook. Or, setting privacy settings so only certain friends or groups can see certain applications, photos or the wall.
  4. Work It. Lee Aase, on his blog, Social Media University, suggest a shortcut. While waiting for Facebook to devise a way to better differentiate relationships with a system more sophisticated than the limited profile graph, Aase suggest creating a group for your professional contacts and name it “FirstName LastName Professional Contacts.” Aase explains further on his blog. Or, use Facebook’s friend lists to differentiate Aase also suggests.

No matter what you prefer, it’s best to adopt a strategy early, be wise, cautious and careful. Even those that believed in full access agreed that in the past year, they’ve tweaked their their own personal guidelines. i.e. Adopting the self-policy that one must meet someone in their professional network in person before they cozy up on Facebook.

For me, currently, I adopt a mix between the full access and the limited profile. This is largely for one reasons:

  • I want you to get to know me. I have nothing to hide. But, I’d prefer someone get to know me in person, before just reading my profile and making assumptions or place me into some category or description of who they think I might be. It’s one thing to know someone in the office, but it’s another to befriend a person.

Some other guidelines friends mentioned through my Twitter survey. Don’t post:

  • Inappropriate pictures (nudity, over-drinking, kissing, dancing, etc.)
  • Clean up those pictures from college frat days
  • Represent who you are, but be keen to what information sparks controversy
  • Don’t use foul language
  • Review your privacy settings
  • Understand what happens to your profile when you add an application
  • When you ‘become a fan’ or join a group, understand some may not get your inner circle’s inside jokes or may think you are endorsing certain ideas/services/products
  • If you wouldn’t show it to your mom, you probably don’t want your boss to see.
  • Don’t make your profiles busy or hard to read if you want to use it for networking.

What’s your Facebook Professionalism Policy? or, what do you think of mine?

photo credit: Flickr, Amit Gupta (from Newsweek article)

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August 10, 2008 at 1:34 pm 8 comments

Google Health Launch: Furthering Health 2.0? You Decide

I will come out and say that I am excited about the Health 2.0 movement….but I do not want to overlook serious issues of privacy and security for personal information. Simply defined, Health 2.0 = the merging of social media into healthcare.

Today, the beta for Google Health officially launched. With my blog, I try to bring up points on both sides, and pose questions for discussion, and here I definitely may need your help seeing more of the positives…or educating me on how the danger of the drawbacks is being decreased. With Google Health allowing the option of importing of medical records and information, tracking medical histories and all being added into the giant that is Google, I feel there are reasons for concern.

According to the site, Google Health can

  • Organize your health information all in one place
  • Gather your medical records from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies
  • Keep your doctors up to date about your health
  • Be more informed about important health issues

Automatically, upon reading this, I see a big challenge Google will face in launching this service: getting people to provide their medical records. I already am hesitant. Just how secure of a network will this be? I like to aim for objectivity, but with this new product, I will need your help as I see a few benefits, but many more drawbacks.


  • Makes juggling you and/or your family’s health records, coverage, medications, etc. easier as it allows for people to set up accounts for others, importing of medical records from medical, dentistry or eye care.
  • Allows for self-management in a central location and for one to be more informed and educated about health choices and decisions…as well as better following finances for your health coverage.
  • Users of Google Health can import medical records from U.S. pharmacies and medical facilities that include Longs Drug Stores, Walgreens Pharmacy, the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and several others.


  • Google says there is no financial incentives for its partners and has a Google Health Advisory Board, but I’m not yet convinced…especially when this service is still in Beta format.
  • Privacy and Security Concerns: Who at Google will see this information? What will be done with it? Why does Google want to get into the Healthcare field….beyond wanting a competitive edge with Microsoft.
  • In particular, this question in Google Health’s FAQs makes me raise a brow:

Does the data I store in Google Health get used for other Google products, like Search?

Yes, we share information between Google products to enable joint feautres. But no personal or medical information in your Google Health profile is used to customize your search results or used for advertising. For example, you could not search for your personal medical records on search.

Seems like we have to now with Facebook, continue to possibly update our security settings to secure our information.

How It Works

Google lists 7 Steps to Easy Use of Google Health

  1. Sign Up: For you and Google’s Health Partners, the service is free. (Must be 18 or older to create a profile.)
  2. Start tracking your medical history and learn about your conditions
  3. Import Your Medical Records from your doctor’s office or pharmacy. (Walgreens is already a partner.)
  4. View Your Medical History
  5. Discover and learn how your different medications interact
  6. Use Google Health to your own advantage: get second opinions, request prescription refills
  7. Search for doctors and hospitals

Survey Says…

  1. Dave, at Insomniac Dreams, is optimistic about Google Health and looks forward to having a central place for health information management.
  2. James Niccolai, at PC World, did a nice write up about the Google Health Service, recognizing its underlying mission, but also hinting that tweaks still may be needed.
  3. In late 2007, people may remember Microsoft launching HealthVault…some allude that the long-delayed launch of Google Health is a fighting match for Google to get some more competitive edge. In March, The Washington Post gave a view on Microsoft’s HealthVault versus Google Health here…concluding that perhaps the motivation isn’t 100% to aide those with their medical management, but perhaps to cash in on a growing ‘cash cow.’
  4. Be sure to update me, let me know your thoughts or if you posted on Google’s Heath Beta…it may be too early to draw conclusions, but I’m curious what other people’s first impressions may be…. =)

The Jury is still out…

May 20, 2008 at 3:58 am Leave a comment

Blogger Outreach Series: Law Issues Part B, Privacy

Continuing in my blogger outreach series, this post will focus on law that addresses privacy in regard to bloggers and blog content.


Privacy: Currently, privacy is not included in the bill of rights, but as technology increases, it’s developing into quite the controversy. To protect yourself as a blogger and the subjects included in your posts, it is important to understand the law surrounding online privacy issues and the increasing issues involving privacy

There are 2 ways to approach privacy:

  1. Your privacy as a Blogger AND
  2. the privacy of the people involved in your blog’s content

To protect your privacy as a blogger, there are some different approaches with strengths and benefits. These include:

Blog Completely Anonymously

  • Create a Psuedo-name
  • Do not give away identifiers in the blog’s content
  • For COMPLETE anonymous blogging, try Invisiblog, Tor and Anonymizer. These are applications that help you create an anonymous blog where the creators and hosts of the blog won’t even have access to your information, can hide your IP address, and allows for anonymous editing of your blog.
  • Limit Your Audience
  • To avoid being found in search engines or in Google, install a ‘Robots Text File Generator’ into your blog’s architecture.
  • Set-up an alternative email address.
  • Update from a public computer.

Pros/Cons: Privacy protected. But, if you desire more traffic, hits or views, this could limit you. And, you don’t get credit for your hard work and time into up-keeping your blog.

Blog Anonymously, but control who knows who you are

  • Create an alias…but with talking with friends, family, co-workers, or online contacts, feel free to share that it is your blog. But, you don’t have to put your name on the blog. This allows you to control who can identify the blog as yours, and allows you to control to some degree who knows you have a blog.
  • This is the option this blog SocialButterfly has chosen for a variety of reasons. Eventually, I will more than likely reveal my true identify, but in the meantime, I am collecting feedback on what employers, friends, colleagues think of someone wearing a ‘blogger’ hat.

Pros/Cons: Allows you to get feedback on what others think of your blog and protects your privacy to some degree meaning that random unique visitors can’t identify you without first contacting you and YOU deciding to disclose your identity to them based on your interactions with them.

Blog Openly, but control the type of information visible

  • Put a picture of yourself on the home page, along with a concise bio about your background and why you are blogging.
  • Consider the blog as a way to extend your ‘personal brand.’ So, your communications about yourself need to help build and add credibility to your blog.
  • Allows creator to develop long-term personal connections and relationships with readers.

Pros/Cons: This allows you take full advantage of social media at its best. As a small business owner, it allows to you communicate with possible consumers and to extend your business’ message and purpose and connects consumers to you on a more personal level. Cons include that you are personally identifiable on the web. Anyone can find your blog, know its yours, and may judge you on your blog before meeting you or making a personal connection with you. This could also affect potential employers or current employers.

Blog Completely Openly

  • This is an open, anything goes approach to blogging.

Pros/Cons: Your belief in free speech is rightly communicated and your views are open, honest and shared. However, you may have to provide evidence and reasons why you say what you say. Basically, be prepared to back yourself up. Cons could include potential employers shying away from you, or wanting to fire you because of your blog.

Some more points to remember as a blogger are found here including laws on political speech, unionizing, whistleblowing, blogging when you work for the government, and legal off-duty activities. Blogging about work activities when you work for the government is actually protected under the First Amendment according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Lessons from Privacy for people involved in the blog’s content:

  • If you plan on posting images, videos, or audio of subjects you interview or interact with, gain their consent before posting this material – especially if the material contains minors.
  • Get parental consent if the content relates to minors, and blur the minors face or voice if possible since laws pertaining to minors are much more strict.
  • If you shoot film or take photographs, to be safe, make sure it is done on public property unless you have the participants consent. This will avoid trespassing and invasion of privacy issues.

As blogging increases, it is important to note that many people have different feelings about anonymous-related blogging and the laws continue to change as the technology matures. And as a disclaimer, I reiterate, I am not a lawyer.

For more information on electronic privacy issues, see EPIC, the electronic privacy information center.

**If you are an expert in this area, please contact me as I’d be curious on your thoughts and feedback on this post. Thanks! **

March 15, 2008 at 3:05 am Leave a comment

Blogger Outreach Series 2: Law Issues Part A, Defamation and Negligence


Continuing in my blogger outreach series, this post will focus on law that addresses issues bloggers need to know, understand and be conscience about when deciding how to go about starting a blog, conduct blogger outreach or a blog marketing plan.

As the democratization of journalism increases, many bloggers can be considered journalists. One issue with the current Shield Law being debated in the Senate is that some would like there to be a definition on who/what is a journalist. Indeed, bloggers are recognized by the Supreme Court as having the same protections as media individuals and organizations since they engage in similar activities. (Since the Shield Law is currently developing, it is important to note that Shield Laws do not necessarily always protect bloggers). As of now, no such definition exists and the implications of such a definition, could be, well…interesting….and perhaps, dangerous.

But enough about that, as I admit, I’m no politician and I haven’t been following the case the whole three years it’s been going on. My point –> it is important for a blogger to understand some of the issues the law addresses .

As a disclaimer, I am not a lawyer, but these are concepts that must be considered in the broader media industry. There are many, but this post will focus on defamation and negligence, while part b will cover copyright and privacy.

1. Defamation

A person or organization can file suit for ‘defamation of character.’ For content to be considered defamation, a private plaintiff must prove:

  • falsity (this includes insinuation or implication)
  • about or concerning the plaintiff filing the suit
  • exposes the person to hatred, contempt, aversion or introduces an evil or bad opinion about the plaintiff

In addition, the law is written differently when the plaintiff is a public official or a public figure. A public official or figure must prove: actual malice. A public official is defined as someone who has been elected, appointed, presented to a position. A public figure is someone who is either known to the public already or someone who were drawn into the issue. Actual malice means that the false statement was published “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” To determine actual malice, courts will look at the process and extent of pursuing the truth.

Other way defamation occurs comes from misidentification.

Defamation Lessons:

  • Be conscience of legal terminology. (i.e. accused vs. alleged)
  • Take extra measures when any content involves a minor or a private citizen.
  • Double-check names or contact the person to fact check names mentioned in posts.
  • Before publishing an address, phone number or email, be sure it is the correct contact information for the individual/organization.
  • Be wary of depended on internet sources and search engines. This includes wikipedia. =)
  • If you do realize a mistake, correct it, and write a retraction. A retraction acknowledges the mistake and re-iterates its correction.
  • If you are faced with this issue, truth can act as a defense.
  • Satire, parody and hyperbole are not considered defamation.
  • Opinion is not considered defamation. But, whether you and the plaintiff agree that the statement in question can be classified as ‘opinion’ is another story.
  • Corporations are not public figures. They are judged like private figures.
  • There is such a concept as defamation insurance, even for bloggers.
  • Each state has a different statute of limitations for how long someone can sue after a posting has been made.
  • See here for more extensive details about issues of defamation and libel as it applies to bloggers.

2. Negligence

Negligence means that the author acted recklessly beyond that of a reasonably, responsible person would have. Private figures – friends, coworkers, people at the bus station – only have to prove negligence to win their case; whereas, public officials and public figures must prove actual malice.


If you are filed a law suit for what you blogged, the Electronic Frontier Foundation advises you to seek an attorney who is knowledgeable about Anti-SLAPP laws. SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, and the Anti-SLAPP laws are enforced to help people who get sued for making legitimate, protected speech about public issues.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation offers a link to the The First Amendment Project, which has a helpful FAQ on Anti-SLAPP laws. Please note, that Anti-SLAPP laws currently don’t exist in every state and tend to vary.

Stay tuned for my continuing series on Blogger Outreach, issues to address when developing blogging outreach plans.

Next week: Law Issues Part B, Copyright and Privacy

Helpful Source: 12 Laws Every Blogger Should Know provided by Aviva Directory

March 8, 2008 at 2:20 am Leave a comment

Meet Alexandra Rampy, aka SocialButterfly

I am a social marketing believer, blogger, practitioner, researcher and enthusiast. This site highlights the growing movement of social marketing. Learn more about social marketing and how to be your own socialbutterfly--> here.

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