Last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine featured an article titled, “The Web Means the End of Forgetting,” and the lead focused on the story of a young woman whose teaching career ended before it ever began because of an ill-advised posting on MySpace.
The Times’ article is another example of the hand wringing going on in the media and in popular culture regarding privacy concerns online and in social media in particular. Perhaps fueling this discussion most recently is the firestorm caused by Facebook’s changes to its privacy policies -- changes that have not sat well with its users.
Which is why last week’s introduction of a test for the new feature, “Facebook Questions,” is so interesting in its timing and possibility.
In introducing Facebook Questions on the company’s blog, Director of Product Blake Ross writes, “Millions of people ask their friends questions on Facebook every day. What new music should I listen to? Where's the best sushi place in town? How do I learn to play the piano?
Today we're introducing Facebook Questions, a beta product that lets you pose questions like these to the Facebook community. With this new application, you can get a broader set of answers and learn valuable information from people knowledgeable on a range of topics.”
Hmm. So if I pose a question, my name and picture and any other information I have not adequately protected become visible to half a billion Facebook users? Will this lead to many, many more offers from Nigerian millionaires who need my checking account number so they can wire me money?
Facebook Questions is only available to a select number of users right now, and we’ll be watching carefully to see how it is received. While we expect individual users will be cautious about posing questions to the entire Facebook community -- questions that might be answered more easily, privately and reliably via a search engine such as Google -- there might be extended customer service, public relations and marketing opportunities here for businesses. By asking for feedback on a product or service, businesses could spur traffic to their Facebook pages, increase their number of “likes, ” and widen the circle of people who regularly receive company updates.
Undoubtedly, the social media giant’s newest application will be thoroughly vetted in the press, on blogs and, of course, on Facebook.
What do you think? Will you use it?
In March -- when we found out that my husband’s job as a law clerk would land us in Honolulu, Hawaii for the summer of 2010 -- I was unsure of where this opportunity would lead with my current job in public relations. So, I was pleasantly surprised when my co-workers didn't flinch once at my request to work remotely. I thought, “What could be better? Telecommuting with the blessing of all my teammates and remaining in the loop with my company, all while living in paradise for three months.”
Now, it sounds all peachy-keen, but this was no easy task at first.
After arriving in Hawaii in late May, my first challenge was the massive time zone difference. People, we are talkin’ a difference of six hours; this was not easy! When I was waking up, my co-workers in Boston were finishing lunch. Second challenge: communication. Before I left, I was convinced that this wouldn’t be a problem. But without the daily face-to-face interaction with my colleagues, I felt a little out of the loop.
After a few weeks, I overcame this challenge with a few simple tips. I also used this great article as a reference to help me adjust to working remotely.
- Open up all channels of communication: e-mail, Skype, phone or whatever else you need. Thoroughly communicate your schedule via these channels on an ongoing basis.
- Read ALL e-mails thoroughly, respond promptly when needed and file correctly so you have easy access to all information. When you are working remotely and you miss an important note via e-mail, you may cause a delay with your team. Read, read, read!
- If you have a question or don’t understand a task, first read through past e-mails and information to figure it out. You may have missed something when you were scanning messages. If you are still having problems, do a quick video or IM chat via Skype or AOL IM, and/or call your teammates. This saves everyone time, and time is money, my friends.
- Write everything and anything in your handy PR notebook. Writing items down and checking them off not only helps you stay on task, but it feels great when you finish everything for the day. However, remember to always double check yourself and your notebook. Did you miss something? This is easy to do when you are working alone.
I would also like to point out that working remotely from Hawaii, not in the typical 9 to 5 manner, has some great perks...Check out more photos from Hawaii here on our Flickr feed to see some beautiful views.