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Praise the Givers; Shun the Receivers

December 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Bully: Use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants. Source

Comments from bullies on bullying:

  • “I was just kidding!”
  • “I did nothing wrong.”
  • “They’re being too sensitive”

Bullying and cyberbullying have become prominent in the last five years. Far too often, we hear another story on the news about the unfortunate result of bullying in some form.

What constitutes bullying? According to the National Centre Against Bullying:

  1. Physical bullying
  2. Verbal bullying (includes name calling, insults, teasing, intimidation, homophobic or racist remarks, or verbal abuse.)
  3. Covert bullying
  4. Cyberbullying

Despite the amount of awareness bullying garners, people seem to not fully understand what bullying is. Sure, the term bully is defined above. A single definition is not uniform across the world.

Each individual defines bullying differently. Everyone has a tolerance level for the amount of ‘teasing’ or ‘jokes’ one can handle in one moment, one day, or over time.

No one in the Miami Dolphins locker room Jonathan Martin was feeling bullied during his near two-year term with the team.

Jade Stringer was a well-liked, attractive middle-schooler. Stringer was not immune to bullying; she was bullied for being pretty. Stringer is no longer with us.

Bullying may start with something as simple as a ‘light-hearted comment’ or ‘witty tweet.’

A Minneapolis agency recently did a social experiment around giving and receiving. Through twitter, (from the agency):

  • Include #give in your tweet and we’ll donate $10 on your behalf to help fight cyber bullying — through Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center.
  • Include #receive and we’ll cut you a check for $10, no strings attached (well, aside from a little grief on Twitter).

Results from the campaign: of the first 150 responders, 139 chose to #give. 11 chose to #receive with some asking permission to donate to a cause of their choosing.

An individual chose to group the #receive-rs together and call them Grinches. (NOTE: original tweet from @sjmino has since been deleted)

Another individual knew how they’d be looked at for receiving before stating their intentions:

This individual figured they were evening out whatever karma may come against them for wanting to receive.


We have no idea why this individual or others chose to receive (outside of the individuals donating the money elsewhere). To some, an extra $10 could be the reason someone can buy Christmas presents for their family, put a meal on the table, or buy gas to commute to/from work.

This social experiment as it’s being called had good intentions. A cyberbullying organization benefitted to the tone of $1,390 along with plenty of awareness.

What also resulted from this was what appears to be a company of superior strength using influence to get people to act how they want.

Was the lump of coal necessary, Space150? What about the grief? Is that really needed?

No. No it was not.

Next time anyone does a social experiment, especially when benefitting an anti-cyberbullying organization, avoid the bullying behavior.


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Prevent Your Twitter And Social Media Accounts From Hacking

Today, another major hacking occurred to a trusted news source, the Associated Press. This particular hacking was not light in its messaging. A tweet stating “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured” was sent at 12:13pm CST resulting in thousands of RT’s, the stock market briefly crashing 143 points, and a world fearful of another potential terrorist attack.

Quickly, White House and AP staff confirmed the tweet was baseless and a result of a hack.

This is not the first time a major brand has been hacked. Burger King’s twitter account was hacked in February, and numerous Major League Baseball accounts were compromised in 2012.

How does this happen? Often times, hacking results due to weak passwords. This is not the sexy, technical answer expected. Other reasons include giving permission to third party applications to find out various pieces of information about your account: who isn’t following you back, top connections, your Twitter crush, etc.

In the Associated Press case, this could have been a focused initiative by an unknown group who first attempted to steal AP journalist passwords. Mike Baker, AP reporter tweeted “The AP Hack came less than an hour after some of us received an impressively disguised phishing email.”

There is another side to this story: Twitter appears extremely vulnerable to hacking. Earlier in 2013, Twitter reported 250,000 account passwords had been compromised by hackers and issued no further comment. In June 2012, popular professional networking site LinkedIn endured a security breach impacting 6.4 million users and their passwords.

Quick tips for users to prevent hacking

  • Change your passwords every 90 days
  • Avoid using the same password for all of your accounts
  • Avoid using a family members name that someone close to you could easily guess
  • Use numbers, upper and lower case letters, and symbols (when allowed)

All social networking sites must be serious about preventing what feels like constant hacking. Two-factor authentication is one solution. This would enable the social channel to send a text verification code to your phone or email after you log in to ensure you are the owner of the account. Adding an extra layer of security may prevent numerous hacking attempts, until the hackers find another way.

Have you been hacked or compromised before? Share your story in the comment area below.


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Find Out If Your Twitter Followers Are Fake

Ever since Mitt Romney and his communications team was exposed for purchasing Twitter followers, the legitimacy of every accounts following has been increasingly criticized. In a recent article on Yahoo, well known individuals including President Barack Obama, Mark Cuban and the founders of Twitter were exposed as having a significant percentage of their following deemed as fake or inactive with fake follower percentages reaching as high as 32%.

An issue with fake followers is how affordable and easy it can be to acquire thousands of fake followers. Many individuals still believe that a large following is the key to success on Twitter or social media. That is simply not true. If someone’s following is largely fake or inactive, their following and their potential impact becomes diminished. I strongly recommend not purchasing followers. Compare it to purchasing links for SEO value; it is a tactic no one recommends and could hurt your reputation in the long run.


Yahoo used Status People’s Fake Follower Check to analyze the accounts. Just log-in to your Twitter account and authorize the application to sync with your account to receive data on yours or other accounts.

I ran my Twitter account and was pleased with the outcome: 1% fake, 10% inactive, 89% good.

I spoke about fake Twitter followers and other topics today on 96.3 KTWIN (play at the 4:10 mark)

Where do you rank?


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Categories: Uncategorized

The Role of Social Media and Technology in the Boston Marathon Tragedy

April 16, 2013 2 comments

April 15, 2013 is a day which will not be forgotten for generations to come. A terrorist attack occurring at mile 26, near the end of the Boston Marathon has changed countless lives and altered history. 

Social media played a significant role in the tragedy. That was not the surprising part. Many people found out about the evolving tragedy on a social media channel (including myself). Quickly, images of the first and second explosion surfaced followed by images of the seriously injured. Video of both explosions were spreading fast through Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Vine videos even made an appearance. 

The act of sharing photos and videos was not a surprise. The location of the blasts coupled with the mass amount of people watching the final steps of the marathon looking for loved ones with their phones and cameras out created a perfect storm for documenting the tragedy. The average person became a journalist by chance with their device acting as their publishing tool. While there are risks that come from sharing content from non-authoritative people, most of what was shared was accurate. There was a New York publication that egregiously missed the post. 

What was and has been a surprise to me: how social media was used to communicate the situation from law enforcement accounts. The Boston Police used their Twitter account request video of the finish line, update the situation at the JFK library which was briefly linked to the bombings, and give instructions to people near the area. The fact that Boston Police chose social media as a viable option in a moment of crisis is a big deal. I will argue social media took a step forward in becoming even more mainstream and trustworthy. 

The FBI is currently asking for any and all photos and videos from the crime scene to aid in their investigation. This is similar to the JFK assassination where the FBI asked for all video from the murder scene. However there are more than a few cameras compared to what was present during the JFK assassination. Will there be a Zapruder equivalent with this tragedy? 

Additionally, Google released a people finder exclusive to the Boston Marathon where you were given two options: check on a loved one, or submit information on someone. This helped near 5,500 people be accounted for in a very chaotic time. 

The events on April 15 were unfortunate on unimaginable levels. With the assistance of social media and technology, relevant information was able to spread quickly possibly saving lives, and potentially finding the terrorist who committed this unthinkable act. 

I was on 96.3 KTWIN in Minneapolis this morning discussing this topic. Listen to my thoughts about social media’s role in the Boston Marathon tragedy

Thoughts are with those impacted. 


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A Return to Writing

Yes, it has been a while since my last blog post. Yes, it has been far too long. My apologies.

To be fair, I have posted blogs on the BlueSpire Marketing site (my employer) since my last post. Blogging has not been completely foreign from my world.

The BlueSpire blog serves a purpose. This blog serves another purpose. It is time to get back to writing here.

Please join me, yet again, on this lovely platform. I promise an interesting ride for all to enjoy!


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Categories: Uncategorized

Kenneth Cole, Meet Celeb Boutique!

Early February 2011, popular fashionista Kenneth Cole tried to be witty by comparing the uprising in Cairo, Egypt to the release of his 2011 spring collection. Kenneth Cole tweet fail
Lessons were to be learned, right?

Fast forward to July 20, 2012. A day that will be remembered for the horrific events in Aurora, Colorado where at least twelve have died in attendance of The Dark Knight Rises after a gunman went on a frenzy. Celeb Boutique appears to have done something similar to Kenneth Cole’s tweet fail. See below (image from Joel Feder).

Clearly, nothing was learned here.

Minutes ago, @celebboutique came out with a response and apology (below).

This response took almost two hours. And the tweet was blamed for not checking why Aurora was trending? Unacceptable.

This is a perfect example of why people who run social accounts for brands, whether it is internal or through an agency, training is necessary. People need to listen first before posting. LISTEN! Had that been done, there would not be the uproar against Celeb Boutique.

Have we finally learned our lesson, social media folk?

My thoughts are with the people impacted by the tragedy that unfolded earlier this morning.


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30: Not Just An Age, But a Milestone

Today marks the 30th anniversary of when I was birthed. 30 years in the books and hopefully decades more to follow.

The remarkable thing: I made it to 30.

Very few people know anything about what I will be sharing below.

Something that started when I was 17 recently came back in full force over the last few months as my 30th birthday was fast approaching.

When I was a mature 17 year old, I was reflecting on how life was currently going and where I was headed. I was incredibly active and had a desire to never sleep, thinking that something major would happen and it would be missed. I was always moving, anxious, and never able to relax. That lifestyle wore on me. It would wear on most anyone. While at home one evening, I remember telling myself “if I keep this pace up, there is no way I will make it to 30.”

Since, I have had the thought of dying before I reached age 30 in the back of my mind. For 13 years, this thought has followed me around.

That thought became a perceived fate, a foregone conclusion for many years. I do think it impacted some decision I have made in my twenties, believing if I only had so much time left, I may as well experience all I can.

I was careless at times, thinking my fate was soon approaching. But I never went off the deep end doing absolutely anything and everything, breaking all possible rules, engaging in illicit drug use (yuck), among other non-optimal lifestyle choices. I was willing to consider the chance I was wrong and would make it not only to my 30th birthday, but beyond.

At times, thoughts of an early death would subside. Frequently, a new life event would have me back on the early death bandwagon quickly. Add that thought to some serious anxiety issues since turning 29 and that makes for a fun life.

Imagine having that thought in the back and sometimes front of your mind as you go through life. I cannot count how many times I have gone to bed thinking “is this it? Was today my last day alive? Did I accomplish everything I needed and wanted to?” No wonder I have sleep issues.

As my 30th birthday has approached, those thoughts of dying before reaching 30 have crept into my mind one last time.

30 is not just an age. 30 is a milestone that for years, was assumed to be something considered impossible.

It’s 11:21pm in Minneapolis, and I will be staying up past midnight solely to prove myself wrong.

12:01am: I have never been so happy to be wrong. I made it to June 1. Thanks for the conversation, Mr. Nash.

7:02am: Officially, I am 30. And 30 is going to be amazing.

With malice toward none; with charity for all.


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