Blog is Moving

Moving forward is what it’s about and that’s what’s happening here!  This blog will be moving from this site to the www.UnderstandingYourImage.com web site.  Don’t worry if your a subscriber. I will be moving all the subscribers over so you don’t have to do a thing.  I’ll do all the work for you.  New post coming this week – on the new site, with a new look!

 

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Six Degrees of Separation is No More

The degree of separation is rapidly shrinking

Six degrees for separation was the topic of the 90’s.  Everyone was calculating how many people they needed to know before they knew somebody that worked with actor Kevin Bacon.   Yet, do you realize the degree of separation has narrowed?  Studies now show that it’s not 6 degrees, but 4.74 degrees.

Things we are doing or saying are now spread faster, more openly, uncensored around the world.  Look at how many people have access to social networks by cell phone and the ability to quickly upload information and share data.  In times of disasters social networks have become a valuable resource for families, friends, and News organization. Scandals are now reported faster and with more criticisms and accusations to occur before all the facts are gathered.  Jay Cutler’s injury during the NFL Division Playoff game last year, had professional athletes tweeting comments fueling comments that were speculations not truths.  Many of these athletes after learning the truth recanted their tweets and made public apologies.

What we can learn from this is that we now live in a time that everything we do or say can be captured and quickly transmitted.  Microsoft’s present commercial depicts a family having fun with a video game, the father participates in the fun and the next thing you know the silliness is on YouTube.  Seems harmless, but what is the father job?  Lawyer, Negation, Community Leader, Politician, Athlete, Doctor, Chamber of Commerce President or somebody who’s going through a nasty divorce.  What perception will this give to the public?

The degrees of separation are closer and news travels faster. The people you want to see your video and messages are only clicks away, but also so are the people you want to protect your image from. Be smart with your social media posts and the degrees of separation will seem like miles, not inches.

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Is Your Facebook Image Secure?

Become security proactive with Facebook insures your image will not be compromised.

facebook securityWhen you’re the 3 largest country in the world you would expect to have some problems, after all utopia is a concept and not a reality. We don’t think of Facebook as a country, but, if we did the recourse and skills would rival any in existence. Like every country, we have good people willing to help and then we have the underbelly of society that seeks to cause havoc and swindler honest people.  We take percussion from these people by adding security systems, locking doors, password equipment and even go as far as micro chipping our pets. Yet, each day Facebook pages get hacked.

Distributed under the disguise that you posted these images and messages, hackers are desecrating your image. It may seem harmless, but if an image offends customers, families, and associated they may just unfriend you. No harm you say – if you want the last memory they will have of you or your business is offensive then you’re fine, but most rational people would not want to be remembered that way.

 Preventing this is not that difficult.

Historically most hackers come in through back doors and many of these “back doors” are free games or applets.  These traps look like great tools or a fun game, but actually are time bombs just waiting to take out an unexpected person who uses them. One way is to research the tool or game before download into your Facebook community.  If there are problems somebody is blogging about it.

Be smart with your security; check your settings.  In Facebook, verify that you are using a secure network.  Enable Security Browsing by going into your Account Settings, under Security and switching it to Enable. Make it difficult for hacker to break into your site, why keeping the window open, evenly unwanted intruders will enter.

Lastly, be creative with your passwords.  If you can memorize 26 letters of the alphabet in order, know your address and phone number for every house you lived in and can remember lyrics to a song, I think you would be smart enough to remember an eight to ten digit password.

For those who’ve not checked their Facebook page in months, you could have been hacked, spreading pornography and racial smears to others.  Best thing you can do if you are not using Facebook is go and deactivate your account, think of it as that credit card you will never use, best to destroy it so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

It’s your image; you need to be proactive and prevent it from be compromised.

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Explain Your Business Failures

Tell me your war story and I will tell you mine

One of the premises of social media is to create a conversation with your followers.  Some people are really great at striking up a conversation, while others lack social grace and simply ask the wrong questions. Organizations and individuals that are trying to help, motivate, or promote a cause will ask public questions about failures, things you had problems with, what was your most challenging customer?  Their premise is, we can learn from your mistakes.

As the saying goes, misery loves company, so getting people to talk about their business war stories is not difficult.  However, you are not sitting in your living room enjoying a libation and socializing with one individual; you’re telling your story to a community or nowadays the world.

Sensationalism is what drives many people to read a posting and face it, we all want people to read what we write and respond to it. These posts typical have some type of exaggeration, either positive or negative just to make the story more interesting. Strangers reading these posts can now respond in favor or against you.

If you try to write a detailed blog posting explaining everything in detail you will find people will just skim the post, paraphrase your information and then respond.  Some of the responses will have follow-ups correcting about misconceived perceptions drawn by people who did not fully spend the time reading the entire post. The whole process becomes one big mess and you wish you never responded to the post. So the next time you see a question asking for how you failed, skip it.  No need to tarnish your own image, leave that up to somebody who’s not skilled at protecting their image.

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Holdiday Pictures

Camera, Holidays, and Image

It’s that time of year when cameras are clicking and silliness is bountiful. We are only human, we want to participate in the fun.  The cool Halloween costume which may be too reveling, politically incorrect or a picture taken perfectly to catch our eye partially open, mouth in mid sentence, and your body language looks like you’ve been hit by a car.

Unless you’re being stalked by paparazzi, hiding behind a garbage can, waiting to catch that perfect compromising picture, it’s up to you to make sure your picture is properly taken.  I don’t know of any photographer who is looking to take a bad picture, so it is up to the person being photographed to monitor their image.

If pictures are being taken, expect to be in at least one if not more.  Quickly observe your surroundings and look for anything that may be inappropriate.  If you’re standing next to a naked statue or suggestive painting, relocate to a better area.  Put the drink out of pictures view; straighten up your appearance prior to the photo.  Ask the photographer, “How do I look?” After all they want a nice picture, otherwise why would they be taking it?

Where the picture winds up or on what social medial website is always questionable, so it is up to you to pay attention to who’s taking the picture.  If their using a camera you can assume the picture will be uploaded later, if it is a camera phone, then picture can be loaded as soon as they are taken.  Don’t forget to ask to see the picture, if it really bad, ask to delete it and take another.  It’s that simple.

Hopefully, if it is not a flattering picture it will travel the way of this diagram.  If not, It’s your fault for not managing your image.


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How to Responce Correctly in Facebook

How to respond to a Facebook post that would not get you into trouble

Too often, we read a Facebook post and automatically treat the post as if it is a direct communication with us.  Like the person is reaching out to have a personal conversation. When we get sucked into this type of post we forget that we are talking to an audience or group of people and simply respond with an unfiltered answer.  Did any thought go into that response posted? Yes, but it’s the response given if we are in personal one-on-one conversation.  Your answer might be different if you were standing in a group of people.  Imagine the next time you respond to a Facebook post, that you are standing among a group of people.

Little Jimmy is 4 and is the human parrot, everything you say get repeated, especially if he thinks it’s funny. Aunt Betty, who grew up in an era where woman stayed at home and cleaned, cooked and took care of the kids.  Father Ted, whose religious  beliefs are his life and crusades to save the world.  Your mother who thinks you can do no wrong, but will correct you every chance she can, no matter where or whom you’re with.  Tiffany, the cutie, next door, who thinks you’re adorable, but you’re too shy to ask out.   Your boss, who respects you and thinks you’ll be his replacement when he retires later next year. And lastly, the person you most admire the person you inspire to be like.

Did you notice that the group didn’t have your spouse, significant other, or present relationship in the group?  These people already have a perceived conception of you and your beliefs, so your response will be accepted, dismissed or just ignored.

Your audience is assembled, you have a visual and biographic picture of the group of people you’re standing around you; imagine answering the persons Facebook question among these people.

When you have an audience present, your manner, comedy, language, vulgarity, and descriptions are filtered and you answer in a manner that is appropriate for the crowd.  Words, concepts and images are expressed in a manner that is not offensive and highly conversational.

Learn to answer you Facebook responses, as if standing in a mixed crowed of people, and you’ll have few image problems when it comes to responding to a Facebook posting.

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Is Disarray your middle name this week?

Learn to control the feeling of disarray and you’ll sleep better at night.

Don't let disarray be your middle name.Ever have the illusion that everything is moving 100 mph an hour and the more you try to do the less you accomplish? You try your best, but you feel in disarray?

When this occurs, I found that focusing on one task, normally a project that can be completed. Such as cleaning off my desk, straightening up the kitchen, tasks that I can visual see, gives me a sense of accomplishment. Some projects may be organizing a stack of papers, but I look for any task that gives me 100% control.  As I complete each project the feeling of disarray diminishes, self-confidence builds, things get accomplished and I’m now performing at light speed, no goal in unachievable, no project is too big, I’m now known as the “Organizer”,  the Completer of Tasks.

Take control over disarray and work on things you have 100% control over.  Allow the feeling of confidence to build and the feeling of disarray to diminish.  You’ll find it easier to sleep at night when your not worrying about things you didn’t accomplish.

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Protecting Your Internet or Social Image

Their using my image to slam the industry I work in.

Protecting your image is more then Goggling your company information, but actively looking in other areas.  I recently was searching groups in Facebook and came across Mothers Against People Making Balloon Animals While Driving (MAMAPMBAWD).  As a balloon entertainer this group name caught my interest, so I thought I would check them out.

The group which was found in February 28, 2007,  described itself as “A group to warn people of making balloon animals while driving. Just last year balloon animals were responsible for more than 100,000 fatalities on American roads. This is also a support group for people who knew someone lost to a balloon accident.”   The group listed its email as ihateballoons@balloonskillspeople.com, (email address is a fake, no domain with that address) located in USA, location 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW AKA the address for the White House. The category was listed, Just for Fun – Totally Random, which as I quickly determined was somebody trying to be comedic and made up a fake group.

However, the MAMAPMBAWD chose to use a balloon sculpture image that I use on my business card, web site and in a magazine submission.  Balloon entertainers around the world recognize the image and know it is associated with Magical Balloon-dude Dale aka Dale Obrochta.

If I wasn’t searching for new groups to join in Facebook, I would have never seen this negative balloon group that had my picture associated with them as their logo.  Having a good network of Facebook follower is asked

“I just found a group using one of my balloon pictures as their group logo – anybody know how to STOP THEM from USING IT? (Line to offending page) OR HOW TO REPORT IT TO FB.

In less than 1 minute, I had a response, in two minutes I had a second response.  These insightful people lead me to a location on the Facebook page to contact the Administrator, which no longer existed.  I then was shown that a link to Facebook Abuse page which I filed a formal complaint.  I’m just waiting for Facebook to remove the group.

Since the group is basically non-functional, I wasn’t worried about negative ramifications, but still, it’s been there since 2007, no need to have a negative image associated with me. I might as well take the 5-minutes to remove a blemish from my name.

What have I learned from this?  It’s important to keep checking out groups, forums, blogs, and social media outlets periodically to ensure that my image projects the image that I want to portray. Take the time and do a little research on Facebook, Twitter,  Yelp, Foursquare, Google, and Yahoo and see what dirt you can dig up on yourself.  Then rectify it!

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Smartphone Auto Correction – I Didn’t type that!

Intelligent people need not put on their thinking caps to understand your message, even if there is a mistake.

Social media message understood with mistakes, but brain figures out message.Has your Smartphone made you look like an idiot lately?  You want to be part of the social media hype so you pickup your smartphone and quickly log on to your Twitter or Facebook account and type a witty comment just to see that auto correct has replaced a keyword here and there or you transposed a letter or two. You re-post and blame the keyboard, fat fingers, and the cellphones auto correction feature.  You could have sworn you read the message before posting, but you brain just reads right past the mistakes.

Can you read the following…

if yuo can raed tihs, you hvae a sgtrane mnid, too.
Can you raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.

i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh?

What about this…

7H15 M3554G3 53RV35 7O PR0V3 H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5! 1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5! 1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG 17 WA5 H4RD BU7 N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3 Y0UR M1ND 1S R34D1NG 17 4U70M471C4LLY W17H0U7 3V3N 7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17, B3 PROUD! 0NLY C34R741N P30PL3 C4N R3AD 7H15.

If you can read both of these messages then I hope you are following me on Facebook or Twitter, because I can read both and if you can, we’ll have a meeting of the minds.  This way, if I make a mistake typing on my Smartphone, you’ll be smart enough to know exactly what I’m thinking, even if I didn’t communicate it 100% accurately.

What crazy messages have you typed lately?

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Expanding Your Social Media Marketing

Social Media Training Chamber Commerce BusinessThis past week I gave a presentation to Gurnee Chamber of Commerce on How Your Enhance Your Business Through Your Image and I’m sure there are still people clamoring to learn more about social media marketing and its full potential.

I would recommend you read Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (And Other Social Networks) by Dave Kerpen. Kerpen explains why you should be using social media. If you take the time to listen to what people are actually saying about you, your competitor or keywords on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn,  you can build a strong business and client relationship, while picking up a new clients.

I had a great time educating the Gurnee Chamber and would like to thank the Chamber for the opportunity to speak to its members and looking forward to working with the Chamber again.

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