Media whether paper, broadcast or digital form has been a part of our communities for centuries and people navigate to these sources for news, stories, and information. Then in the late 1900s, social media was introduced with online social networks bringing everyone the opportunity to channel their voice. There are so many options to choose from today, that everyone has forgotten about MySpace that was one of the first networks to gain popularity in the early 2000s with over 1 million users.
The growth of these online social networks has unearthed a plethora of behaviors in online engagement that produces unconventional and uncontrolled channels of misinformation that was never the intent of building social digital communities for personal and professional connections. People who are motivated by gossip and stretch the facts began to use the platforms to incite cyber bullying and intimidation. Adding to the complexity of these disruptive behaviors, the online profiles allow users to hide behind their profiles by creating imposter identities.
Over the years the online social ecosystem has evolved conversational media to share pictures, videos, blogs and messages that opened the doors for businesses to reach the consumers who were quickly navigating to digital forms of media. The innovation and development of cell phones widened the ecosystem two-fold bringing millions within reach to proliferate their brand. However, it also brings lessons learned when engagement backfires if diversity and inclusion was not part of the marketing campaign analysis review. To avoid the pitfalls and understand how to create influence, define a strategy with the steps shared by Hubspot.
There’s no denying that we will encounter disruptive engagement and social engineering scams, but understanding the protocols and guidelines of the forums will help filter out the noise and mitigate the risk of damaging reputations. And it is equally important to learn if there are any social media guidelines that are published by organizations that protect their brand and hold employees accountable for their online interactions—regardless of whether posting is done on work or personal time. Hootsuite is a great resource for understanding how to navigate the ecosystem and this article outlines the difference between policy and guidelines.
Most recently Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been under fire for their lack of monitoring and shutting down misuse of their platforms. Each of these online media giants have published rules and standards when users sign up for an account and create a profile. However, once users become engaged, social psychology dictates user performance and this article published by Social Media Today gives some insight how this takes shape.
The digital world will continue to evolve as innovative technologies are introduced and our lives are surrounded by the world wide web of applications available on our laptops, mobile devices, TVs and even kitchen appliances! Doing business, banking, learning, shopping, and interacting will surface many opportunities but the channels come with risk. It will be imperative to learn how all the cool stuff works but most importantly understand the vulnerabilities too. Here’s a few tips published in this comprehensive FCC Small Biz Cyber Planning Guide:
Employ these strategies for email, texting and social networking
- Avoid opening unexpected text messages from unknown senders – As with email, attackers can use text messages to spread malware, phishing scams and other threats among mobile device users. The same caution should be applied to opening unsolicited text messages that users have become accustomed to with email.
- Don’t be lured in by spammers and phishers – To shield business networks from cyber criminals, small businesses should deploy appropriate email security solutions, including spam prevention, which protect a company’s reputation and manage risks.
- Click with caution – Just like on stationary PCs, social networking on mobile devices and laptops should be conducted with care and caution. Users should not open unidentified links, chat with unknown people or visit unfamiliar sites. It doesn’t take much for a user to be tricked into compromising a device and the information on it.
In closing, continue to drop in on social media conversations but exercise additional caution and pause before posting anything that could possibly cause adverse impact. Modeling positive online behavior will not only build a positive e-footprint but will naturally filter out the noise.