Tag Archives: Facebook

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You Wouldn’t Send Your Child To The Pub, Would You …..?

 

Whether you love it or hate it, social media and online communications play a part in our everyday lives – work, rest or play.  The same can also be said for our children – choosing to talk to their peers using electronic means such as SnapChat, FB Messenger and Instagram.  But did you know that there are minimum age limits for the various social media platforms – just like smoking, drinking, voting and many other aspects of life we encounter as we go from childhood into adulthood.

A recent survey for CBBC, of 1,200 people aged between 10 and 18, found that 96 per cent were signed up to social media networks.   And it found that 78 per cent of those 1,200 people interviewed aged under 13 had joined at least one social network despite not being old enough

So, what are the age limits?

  • Facebook – 13 years old: “Creating an account with false info is a violation of our terms. This includes accounts registered on the behalf of someone under 13”
  • Instagram – 13 years old
  • Twitter – 13 years old
  • SnapChat – 13 years old
  • WhatsApp – 16 years old
  • LinkedIn – 16 years old
  • You Tube – 18 years old – but it will also allow a 13-year-old to sign up with their parent’s permission.

The NSPCC said that some sites can be a “dangerous place for younger children, potentially exposing them to bullying, inappropriate content or grooming”.   The charity found that 1,380 children – out of nearly 1,700 it surveyed – thought social media sites needed to do more to protect them and they reported seeing pornography, self-harm, bullying and hatred.

Quick Tips For Parents:-

  • Educate yourself about the various social media platforms (and remember – the Daily Mail is NOT the gospel!!)
  • Be open with your kids about social media and talk to them about the potential dangers of grooming, bullying and over-sharing. It’s a very fine line between friendly “bants” and cyberbullying.
  • Persuade your kids to accept you as a Friend/Follower. Promise you won’t hound them – but keep a respectful, watchful eye from a distance.
  • Check their Privacy Settings. Many of the social sites default to “the world and his wife” – change the settings so that only Friends/Connections can see the content your children are posting.  Food for thought:  A Profile set to Public, a simple selfie, and Location set to On means that anyone anywhere can locate your child.
  • Make sure you have access to their accounts/account passwords so that in the event of anything untoward occurring, you’ll be able to access their account and intervene if necessary.
  • Establish guidelines: how much time are your children spending on social media?  Do they have access to mobile phones/tablets after they’ve gone to bed at night?  Look out for signs such as tiredness and decreasing grades at school as these could be signs that your child isn’t sleeping at night.

Used in a positive light, social media:

  • Helps children connect with extended family and friends.
  • Helps develop better perspectives on various issues.
  • Helps learn new things, exchange ideas and hone their networking skills.
  • It helps provide an effective platform for enhancing your child’s knowledge.
  • It helps motivate children to get better at communication and encourages freedom of self-expression.

 

 

 

 

It’s Not All About You!

I’ve undertaken a fair few social media audits of late, and without exception, one of the things that leaps out time after time, across all platforms, is that businesses only tend to post about themselves.

OK, I appreciate that that’s better than not posting at all, but if you’re looking after the social media activity for a business, try to remember the 80/20 rule of thumb:  social media is not an extension of your sales funnel, so in an ideal world, only 20% of your outgoing content should be about you and YOUR business.

So, what should you post?

  • Be educational.  Share content relevant to your business/industry sector.
  • Share your knowledge.  What seems like part of the everyday to you could benefit someone reading your social media posts – think #TopTips!  Sharing your knowledge will also help to make you a “go to” source when someone has a need for something you’ve been posting about.
  • Look out for awareness days/weeks/months – these can be a great way to join in with daily trending topics and grow your audience.
  • Be current.  I recently had a frenzied three hours on Twitter on behalf of a client, Tweeting on their behalf during the final of BBC1’s The Apprentice.  As a result, their website crashed due to the increased demand in traffic (on a Sunday night!) and they had a spike in online orders.  All because I was being them, on Twitter, whilst watching TV.
  • Don’t be afraid to start conversations.  Twitter and Facebook polls are great ways to nurture engagement.  Ask questions.  It’s human nature to reply.

In summary, don’t be like Donkey.  If you take the “pick me, pick me, pick me” approach to your social media, you’ll soon lose Followers and the Likes will dry up.  Be engaging, be educational, be amusing – and they’ll keep coming back for more.

If you’re still struggling, and would like to book a Social Brainstorm, get in touch and let’s see what we can do!

Vaguebooking? Please stop it. Now!

For many years now I’ve held a pet peeve, primarily with Facebook although it does pop up on other social networks from time to time.  So, imagine my sheer joy at discovering that I’m not alone.  I’m actually in the majority, maybe the masses.  There’s even a recognised word for the thing that makes my blood boil ……. ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to “vaguebooking”.

Vague-whatting I hear you ask?  Allow me to explain.

You log in to your Facebook account to see what’s being going on since you last stopped by, perhaps you have a picture of your cat to upload or you’re checking in to a swanky restaurant for the evening, and then you see it.  The status update along the lines of –

“That’s it.  Never again”.

This my dear readers is known as vaguebooking.  Those irritating status updates which inevitably prompt concerned comments such as “hugs”, “DM me bab” and my favourite – “U OK hon?”.   Always, without fail accompanied by an emoji or three.

Why do social media users feel the need to post such inane drivel?  I appreciate that we’re all different but surely, if something affects you emotionally to such a degree that you feel the need to partake in vaguebooking, you need to get off social media, pick up the phone and talk to a real friend.  Better still, do it in person, over a coffee or glass of wine with real – not virtual – hugs/rants/tears/joy.

If you’re in a bad place, Facebook can have a tendency to skew reality:  it can appear that all your Facebook friends are having the time of their lives; glamourous holiday photos, check-ins at luxury hotels or restaurants and the occasional celebrity encounter.  It’s understandable that being force fed this false reality when you’re not feeling tickety-boo can drive you to post a cry for help, being deliberately obtuse in the small hope that some of your friends will put their wonderful life on hold and find 10 seconds of their time to post an equally cryptic comment back to you.

Really, unless you’re in the midst of teenage angst please stop this thing known as vaguebooking now.  You’re not doing yourself any favours and I’m 100% sure that your real friends would much rather you call them for a chat to offload your woes than read about your hard time on a social networking site.

5 Top Tips For Successful Networking

Now, I’m guessing you wouldn’t expect to win the first marathon you ever entered, would you?  However, if you train hard, apply yourself, invest the time and really work at it, subsequent marathons will eventually get easier, your finishing times will improve and the personal rewards will follow.

Well, the reality is that the same can be said for networking.  Time and time again, I come across  business owners who just don’t seem to get the importance of networking and the positive impact it can have on your business.  The classic line I often hear is “I went to a breakfast meeting once, but didn’t get any business from it so didn’t go back again”.

Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

When done effectively, networking should play a pivotal role in how you  grow your connections and ultimately win new business.  There are so many different networking groups that trying one and dismissing the whole thing as not for you is a bit like saying “I don’t like Chinese food” when in fact you may have had noodles once and not been overly keen!

Personally, I enjoy breakfast meetings – I tend to be a morning person, plus it leaves the rest of the day free to run my business.  However, we’re not all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7am – not to mention early morning commitments like packed lunches, the school run and the time it takes to commute to the workplace.   We all have different budgets for our networking efforts, as well as different levels of comfort zone.  Networking is a long-term investment, not a quick fix and I hope my 5 top tips go some way to helping you when it comes to taking the networking plunge.

  1. Shop around. Most networking groups offer one or two free visits before they ask you to commit and become a full-time member of the group.  Take advantage of this – you can usually instinctively tell if its the group for you during your free visits, and assess who the other members of the group are, potential synergy with them and work out your budget for membership (financial and time!).  However, be careful not to become a “serial networker” or you could soon find you have a reputation that is far from flattering.
  2. Prepare well, before you walk through the door for the first time.  Does the group have a website? A social media presence?  Do you know anyone already in the group? Ask them what the format is – do you need to prepare a 60 second pitch?  Is there a one-seat policy and if so, is your seat available?   Is there a membership fee? If so, is it annual or a one-off?  What are the expectations of members when it comes to bringing guests, referrals etc.  Trust me, it’s better to find all these things out up front as part of your prep than join and not live up to the Ts&Cs of membership.
  3. Learn to listen. Believe it or not, its not all about you.  A  room full of seasoned networkers should make you feel welcome – you may even get “buddied up” with a member of the group for your first visit.  Naturally,  you will be asked questions but remember to ask them back and listen with interest at the responses.  Open-ended questions (how, what, when) will make for better conversations than closed questions (do  you, have you, are you).  You’ll be surprised how much you can learn by just shutting up and listening to those around you!
  4. Think about your 60 second pitch. Plan ahead what you want to say to the room.  Rehearse it if it makes you feel better.   It may sound daft,  but when you’re standing up and the clock is ticking, its easy to forget such fundamental pieces of information like  your name and what your business is. If you need a crib sheet, have a crib sheet – there’s no shame in reading from a set of notes.  Just don’t go over the 60 seconds – if everyone else in the room can stick to it, then so can you.
  5. Collect and connect. Offer your business card to the group members and take one of theirs in exchange.  After the meeting, connect with them on LinkedIn, follow and mention them on Twitter, Like their Facebook page.  Networking doesn’t end the moment you leave the room – follow up with anyone you were particularly interested in getting to know better.  Request a 121 with them over coffee – this is where the real value of networking begins to take shape.

Hopefully, those five points will give you a head start when it comes to networking.  Over and above everything else – be yourself and be professional.  Once you’ve found a group and applied to become a member, give it time.  Networking is a long-term investment, not an express lane to get new business.

For further networking opportunities visit:

Burntwood inBusiness

BriteStart Lichfield

WiRE UK

Featured image by Mark Zaccaria Photography

Social Media: How Safe Is YOUR Teenager?

FB blog postI was recently asked to deliver a social media-based enrichment talk to a group of Sixth Form students at a local all-girls’ school. During my research and preparation, some of the things I discovered led to me questioning the values of social media, and whether there should be age limits imposed on children having a social media presence. If you have teenage children, I would urge you to read on and ask yourself – just how safe are your children online?

Is your teen constantly glued to their computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone? In a recent poll, 71% of respondents in the 13 – 17 year old age range admitted to being regular users of Facebook.   But what are the effects of long-term social media usage and how can you, as a parent, combat them?

Where & When?

Admittedly, with mobile devices readily available, controlling the amount of time your teen spends online can be an uphill battle to overcome. If they have a computer in their bedroom, chances are they’re spending more time than you think on social media. In my research I came across some parents who insist on imposing time limits on their teen when it comes to social internet usage, simple house rules such as no internet after 7pm and even in some cases, removing the chargers or insisting that mobile phones be kept downstairs overnight to avoid late night social media stints.

What’s the harm in a selfie?

Have you seen your child’s profile picture? I was horrified when I came across the profile images being used by some 13 year old girls on their Facebook profiles. The selfie craze has really taken hold and the evidence is rife when it comes to social media. Innocence is almost lost, as young teenagers pout, Lolita-like at the camera, some wearing outfits which may be hip on the high street but in a badly taken selfie, could potentially attract attention from the wrong type of social media user.

Selfies can also lead to a negative body image among teenage girls. A recent article in a national newspaper cited that some girls take as many as 100 selfies a day in the belief that they look prettier in selfies than they do in real life. Photos are then posted to social media sites and the wait for the Likes to appear begins. Did you know that there’s a “club” among teen social media users for posts and pictures that receive over 100 Likes? Yes, entry into the “100 Club” is quite an honour to a 14 year old.

Privacy Settings

When a new social media profile is created, the majority of the default security and privacy settings are set to “Public” – meaning anyone, anywhere, can see what a person is posting. Think back to those inappropriate selfies, add in any location details, age, school …… in fact, anything that your teen has added to their social profile and you’ve got a potential situation just waiting to happen. Changing privacy settings quite literally takes a minute to do. Please, please check your teen’s settings and make sure they’re set to “Friends Only”.

It’s a numbers game!

As with the “100 Club” and gaining Likes, many teens perceive the amount of friends they have as an indicator as to their popularity, accepting Friend Requests without necessarily knowing who the person is they are connecting with. When I was growing up, my parents’ fear was that I may “go off” with a stranger. In the social media age, a child doesn’t even have to leave the house to connect with a stranger. Be aware of stranger danger at all times – it happens online as well as on the streets.

Befriend them …..

How many of you are Friends on social media with your teenage children? If necessary, lay down some ground rules (on both sides!) so that you can keep a discreet watch over what they’re getting up to in their online world. Be mindful of their privacy and don’t go tagging them in baby pictures every other day – trust me, they won’t thank you for it! Explain the dangers of social media and that you just want to make sure they’re acting sensibly. Some parents told me that their teens don’t want to be Friends with them so the parents have insisted on having the log-on details to the child’s social media accounts – purely so that they can log in periodically and make sure all is OK.   You will need to build trust with your teen but you will get there in the end.

“It’s only banter”

Unfortunately, cyber bullying is rife among teens on social media. What may begin as “a bit of banter” can soon descend into nastiness – all very publically on a social media profile. Others may join in, taking sides, alliances form and the “banter” is soon forgotten, replaced by bad feeling and upset.   Yes, your child can block the perpetrators but be mindful that it has been known for bullies to create a second account under an assumed name, submit a Friend Request and yes, you guessed it – they’re back on the case of your teenager (remember, the more Friends you have, the more popular you are, right?)

Social media can be a marvellous tool – I have family and friends all over the place and Facebook plays an integral part in keeping us all up to date with each other on a regular basis. However, as with all things, social media can be used for the wrong purposes – usually through inexperience and naivety. If any of the above strikes a chord with you where you teenager is concerned, talk to them, explain your concerns and offer assistance.

Thanks for reading!  Please feel free to add any comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fed Up With Candy Crush Requests? Block ‘Em!

Hardly a day goes by without reading a status update on Facebook bemoaning the various game requests that can bombard users to the point of distraction. Did you know that you can block game requests? It takes a matter of minutes to do, and will stop the pesky requests from darkening your profile in the future.

 

Here’s how:-

  1. From a PC/laptop, log in to your Facebook profile and from the drop-down arrow on the top blue bar, go to Settings

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  1. Once in the Settings menu, on the left hand side of screen you should see “Blocking” – select this.

 

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This will give you the option to block users, block app invites, block event invitation and block apps.

  1. Scroll down to Block Apps. In the box, type the name of the app you wish to block – and that’s all there is to it!

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See – I told you it was simple!  Happy Facebook time!

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