Are you a social media addict?

I have a confession to make: I think I am.

And I wonder if you may be one too.  Worried? Not sure where to turn? Do you want to know the signs?

If so, please check out the guest post I did on the Spin Sucks blog.  Anonymity is guaranteed; no one will know you read it…

And by the way, I hate to admit it, but  even though it’s a holiday in Ontario, I’m still online writing about it.

Special thanks to @ginidietrich and @danielhindin for asking me.

Let me know if you have any more symptoms to add – and if we should start a virtual 12-Tweet meetup.

Getting started in social media – new McMaster business course

As most of you know, I taught a social media for PR course at McMaster University last fall. You can read about it here, here, here and here.

And now, I’m happy to report that I’m teaching an accelerated business course on SM – also at McMaster. The after work sessions run March 4, 5, 11, 12, 6-9 p.m. and March 6, 9 AM – noon.

This is a hands-on class geared to business people and entrepreneurs who are looking for practical advice on how to get started with various social media tools.

Participants will learn how to set up a blog, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, post videos, record a podcast. I’ll also be meeting with people one-on-one to discuss their communications and business goals and help them figure out which tools might work best for the audience they’re trying to engage.

Here’s where you go to sign up.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Facebook listens

After the brouhaha that erupted over the change in Facebook’s terms of reference (TOS), founder Mark Zuckerberg has reverted to the old terms for the time being while the organization works to develop its new TOS.

And this time, they created a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities group, with five clear principles (including an apology for any misunderstanding). They are encouraging users to provide their ideas and feedback as they set out to develop a new version.

As a communications advisor, I’d say they did all the right things quickly and effectively to help restore people’s confidence and their credibility.

They:
– Listened
– Accepted responsibility
– Reached out to their users
– Communicated their principles and commitment
– Apologized

And I applaud them for that.

Everything that’s mine is Facebook’s

Facebook has altered its terms of service and the wording indicates that it will now own all of the content people post – in perpetuity. The change has generated a lot of disgruntled comments on Twitter and in the blogosphere here and here. And it’s easy to understand why.

I’m not a big Facebook user but I think that signing away all rights to your ‘friends’, photos, ideas, thoughts and intellectual property is probably not a smart idea. That said, I won’t be cancelling my account anytime soon and I’m sure many people will feel the same.

After all, Facebook is a wonderful platform to connect with people, chat with them, share moments of your life.

Mark Zuckerberg defends his position on the Facebook blog. Trust us, he says. We’re good people. And I have no reason to believe otherwise, except for the fact that as a CEO he needs to protect his company’s rights.

But, as individuals, we have our rights to think about, too.

I wonder about the ramifications for businesses and organizations with FB groups which have their own sets of copyright and intellectual property rules (not to mention lawyers) to contend with. That should make for a good long legal debate.

I can’t begin to speculate on the answer.

But it seems to me there’s a difference between sharing and a giveaway. And, however, mundane, I don’t want my life’s minutiae assigned to someone else (that sounds a bit like an Albert Brooks comedy plot).

To me, this IP grab is like visiting a store and having the retailer ask you to hand over all your personal belongings when you leave.

It will be interesting to watch how Facebook deals with the fallout, what the outcome will be and how it will affect all of us in the long run.

Facing up to Facebook

Quick confession: I’m not on Facebook (yet) because I think I would probably become addicted and spend way too much time on the site. I’m fascinated by it though.

Enticed.

From what I’ve seen and read about the service, it’s an amazing way to find and connect with people, to keep in touch.

And I think I understand the site’s appeal. Facebook links past with present: it brings nostalgia to life.