Thursday, September 29, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The Long View
September 26, 2011 - 9:14 A.M.
"Facebook charging $9.99 tomorrow" -- anatomy of a chain hoax
By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - September 26, 2011.
What's this I head about Facebook charging? Yes, we're told Facebook charges for access, as of tomorrow. Can that be right? Oh, it has to be: it's right there on my Facebook feed. Sheesh. Let's dissect this unbelievable craziness, in The Long View...
Hey, look what I found in my Facebook feed. Here we go again...
FACEBOOK JUST RELEASED THEIR PRICE GRID FOR MEMBERSHIP. $9.99 PER MONTH FOR GOLD MEMBER SERVICES, $6.99 PER MONTH FOR SILVER MEMBER SERVICES, $3.99 PER MONTH FOR BRONZE MEMBER SERVICES
Yes, it's time (once again) for the "Facebook will start charging" hoax. Oh brother.
And this time, there's bribery involved. Even if you might suspect the message is a hoax, there's a good "just in case" reason to give it the benefit of the doubt:
FREE IF YOU COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE BEFORE MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. WHEN YOU SIGN ON TOMORROW MORNING YOU WILL BE PROMPTED FOR PAYMENT INFO...
Still wonder if it's legit? No problem, we got your back:
IT IS OFFICIAL IT WAS EVEN ON THE NEWS. FACEBOOK WILL START CHARGING DUE TO THE NEW PROFILE CHANGES.
Oh well, if it was ON THE NEWS, that must make it real. After all, everything "on the news" is legit, right? What was that call to action again?
IF YOU COPY THIS ON YOUR WALL YOUR ICON WILL TURN BLUE AND FACEBOOK WILL BE FREE FOR YOU.
Right, yes, but I still kinda wonder if I might look foolish if I fall for it. Perhaps I should just risk being charged $9.99.
PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON IF NOT YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DELETED IF YOU DO
Yikes! OK, OK, copying and pasting as we speak...
Ahem. Still think people wouldn't be so daft to fall for this hoax? Check out this real-time Facebook search page. Scary.
And that déjà vu you're experiencing? Do you remember the rumor in January that Facebook was shutting down because Zuckerberg wanted his life back?
Did you fall for it?
Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. As well as The Long View, he's also the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: TLV@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
The Hazards of Being Too Social in the Age of Social Media
By Steve Tobak | September 21, 2011
It's one of the quickest, easiest, and dumbest ways to bring an otherwise successful career to an untimely end. And when it happens to you, it's a lesson you never forget. I'm talking about executives opening their big mouths when and where they shouldn't.
And now, with social media, it's even worse. Way worse.
As far back as I can remember, executives have been shooting themselves in the foot by blabbing to the media, documenting their stupidity in emails, even divulging confidential information and getting snagged for insider trading.
Now, Bloomberg reports that HP vice president Scott McClellan tipped off competitors about previously undisclosed details of the company's cloud computing strategy on his LinkedIn profile.
That's all we need, another way for managers and executives to get themselves into hot water.
The article goes on to explain how social media has become a rich source of competitive intelligence from insiders like McClellan: "Social media has become a much more efficient way of getting information that could only be gotten in the past by things like surveillance," said Rich Plansky, Senior Managing Director of corporate investigations firm Kroll.
A Forrester Research survey showed that 82 percent of 150 companies that monitor social media are primarily searching for competitive intelligence. So that's what all those companies are doing with their social media strategy. Who knew?
Seriously, if you ever doubted the virtues and value of having a corporate culture where external communications are expertly managed and company secrets are stealthily guarded, I've got one word for you: Apple. Wait, I've got two more words: Trader Joe's.
In any case, whether you're blabbing to the press, documenting your stupidity in an email, or spilling company secrets on LinkedIn, everything gets amplified in the age of social media. Here are seven examples of how being too public can land you in big trouble.
In addition to HP's LinkedIn snafu, you've got to wonder, who was the genius behind the company's decision to publicly announce its intent to sell off HP's $41 billion PC business over a year in advance, essentially making it a lame-duck in the market?
Just the other day, in Social Media For Dummies - er - Busy Execs, I said, "I know lots of CEOs tweet. Let's just say I wouldn't." Now here's a good reason why. Sooner or later, you're bound to let something slip that you shouldn't, and if it's either confidential information or considered "material" under Reg FD, you're sunk.
Last year, the Galleon insider trading scandal snagged top executives at IBM, AMD, Intel, and McKinsey for blabbing confidential inside information to a hedge fund. What's ironic is the executives that lost their jobs and board seats and, in some cases, went to jail, had nothing to gain and everything to lose. That's right, they weren't involved in the trades.
It was painful to watch Goldman Sachs executives defend themselves in front of a Senate subcommittee over Goldman's hedge against the coming mortgage collapse. The biggest problem was the way their own emails, like this one from CEO Lloyd Blankfein, documented how they bet against their own customers, "Of course we didn't dodge the mortgage mess. We lost money, then made more than we lost because of shorts."
In a classic case of no good deed goes unpunished, BP CEO Tony Hayward spent more time in front of TV cameras than Charlie Sheen, telling America that his company would do whatever it takes to clean up the gulf oil spill. Except, in the process, he managed to blurt out a couple of idiotic remarks like, "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean …" and, for his trouble, he got skewered by the media and became the most hated man in America.
Who can forget General Stanley McChrystal's public mocking of vice president Joe Biden and other Obama administration officials in a Rolling Stones article entitled The Runaway General? He lost his command, and rightly so.
Employment background checks are now likely to include a scan of your social media activity. And for God's sake, don't say you're looking for a job on LinkedIn when you're already employed. I mean, come on. Have a little common sense. And don't tweet your email address, either. It's a good way to get your email account hacked.
When you look at all these examples, you can't help but realize how common it is for otherwise successful executives to self-destruct for no other reason than that they failed to keep their big mouths shut when they should.
Having run corporate marketing and communications for a number of companies, I always advise executives to never even think about writing or saying anything in any forum that you wouldn't or shouldn't write or say publicly. If you're not sure, don't do it.
Moreover, every company's VP of corporate communications should advise all company officers and directors about this sort of thing and consider updating the company's communications strategy to account for the new reality of social media.
Friday, September 16, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
When your boss takes a long time, he's thorough.
When you don't do it, you're lazy.
When your boss doesn't do it, he's too busy.
When you make a mistake, you're an idiot.
When your boss makes a mistake, he's only human.
When doing something without being told, you're overstepping your authority.
When your boss does the same thing, that's initiative.
When you take a stand, you're being bull-headed.
When your boss does it, he's being firm.
When you overlooked a rule of etiquette, you're being rude.
When your boss skips a few rules, he's being original.
When you please your boss, you're apple polishing.
When your boss pleases his boss, he's being co-operative.
When you're out of the office, you're wandering around.
When your boss is out of the office, he's on business.
When you're on a day off sick, you're always sick.
When your boss is a day off sick, he must be very ill.
When you apply for leave, you must be going for an interview.
When your boss applies for leave, it's because he's overworked.
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Saturday, September 3, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
How to Know When Your Boss Is BS-ing You
By Steve Tobak | August 30, 2011
Have you ever walked away from a meeting with your boss and wondered, did he really mean that or was he BSing me? Are all those reports your boss wants you to do to justify your existence really necessary, or is he just covering his you-know-what or justifying his existence?
How about that slick company press release where the CEO says, "We're restructuring to better align our business with changing market conditions" - is that for real, or is it just spin for "We're laying off 20 percent of the company because our market's gone to s**t."
To put it succinctly, just how much of what your management says and asks you to do is disingenuous? Not to be jaded or cynical, but the answer is more than you think. We're not just talking about formal communication that toes the company line, but even stuff that really counts, like direct feedback on your job performance.
Why is the corporate world so full of it? For the most part, it comes down to alignment, or more accurately, misalignment.
You see, in a perfect company, everybody's goals and needs - management, employees, customers, shareholders - are aligned. Also, what you see is what you get, nobody has an agenda, and people don't play office politics or stab each other in the back to get ahead.
The real world is a whole different story.
Here's an example. When the American Dental Association recommends you brush twice a day, buy those expensive electric toothbrushes, and change the $15 heads every three months, you don't really think that's entirely for your health, do you? I mean, really.
And, if companies BS their customers - and you know they do - imagine how they treat their employees? It's sort of like the boss in Dilbert telling everyone, "From now on, you're all getting new job titles instead of raises" and everybody shouts, "Yea, new titles!"
Not that management is out to get you. Things are almost never that black and white in the real world. In fact, what benefits management and benefits the company sometimes benefits you too. And sometimes it doesn't. Here's how to know which is which.
How to Know When Your Boss is BSing You
Look out for "but" and "because" in a sentence. For example: "You're doing a great job but you're only getting a two percent raise because that's all I could get for you." Everything between the "but" and "because" is probably true; everything else is suspect. Maybe he's blowing smoke up your you-know-what because he doesn't want to deal with a pissed off employee. Maybe you are doing a great job but he's a wimp who doesn't fight for his employees. Just remember, before "but" and after "because" is usually BS.
Recognition without reward. If there's money or a promotion in it, then it's legit. If not, it's BS. Simple as that. I don't care how they spin it. Recognition or commendation without any reward is for one purpose: to make your management look and feel good. If that makes you feel good too, congratulations, you're just the kind of employee companies love … to step on.
Consider the source and triangulate. Look, not all bosses are created equally, so if you really want to know the truth, you've got to cultivate some relationships and triangulate. Befriend a manager, even if she isn't yours. Once you've got someone you trust on the inside, you send her on fact-finding missions to get the scoop. If you don't, well, hate to be blunt, but you deserve what you get.
Justifying a layoff or RIF. I've seen and heard every possible spin on restructuring and layoffs. In fact, I used to write that stuff in my previous life. And I'm here to tell you that any positive positioning of a layoff is pretty much all spin, just like the "restructuring" example at the top of the post.
Drowns you with requests for detailed status reports and plans. The only time it makes sense for a boss to drown you with endless report requests is if you're screwing up big-time and he's trying to get you to quit. Otherwise he's a micromanager, a control freak, or he's got something up his sleeve.
360 degree feedback. This one's tricky. You might be inclined to think it's all good and, in a perfect world, you'd be right. But in the real world, all sorts of personal issues and agendas have a funny way of ending up in 360s. How to know if comments are legitimate? If they're one-offs, ignore them. Pay attention to significant trends, but it's not unheard of for folks to band together to tank your review. It happens.
Your boss is not BSing you … when he asks you to justify your job, project, or proposal. That's usually real and, assuming you want to keep your job or increase your responsibility, staff, budget, etc., it's a good idea to follow up and deliver. The same goes for technical or functional feedback, i.e. when your boss says your presentations stink or you're getting more things wrong than right, listen up.
Last Word. Don't even think of commenting, "… his lips are moving."