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Dilemma: to Be Social or not to Be Social

Sometimes I get questions about Privacy when it comes to Social Media.

Privacy VS Celebrity” is something I already talked about in a public speech and I guess it’s an important topic to discuss. I’d like to share my opinion on that.

If you did something in your life, whether it was an online or an offline activity, you are indexed. Whether you climbed a mountain or got framed on a picture taken from someone else, or you’ve been a winner during a hiking competition when you were a kid, etcetera. Well, you are indexed.

So it’s not primarily about IT, it’s about your life. Maybe you are “lucky enough” that you have never ever been mentioned by anyone, anything in any place in your whole life. But this is very rare.

The truth is that each and everyone of us are online already. Try “Google yourself on Bing” (or viceversa :)) and you’ll see the results. (who didn’t?? :)).

So now the question is: as my name is online, why not to be fully online? Why not positively change the perception the others have on me? Why not starting to create your Personal Brand through your actions, your content, and your experience on a specific topic?

Privacy is a luxury nowadays. There’s a popular quote from Andy Warhol, dated 1968, that says “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. This can be easily adapted to the social media environment in which we live. Everyone is on Facebook, everyone is in search for acceptance, most of the People will get their own celebrity status, even for a few minutes.

Privacy is a luxury but we can use some tips in order to limit it.

On Facebook, for example, there are people that never post pictures of their family members (children, spouses, their homes, etc.). They engage, talk, share, but never on their personal lives.

– You need to pay attention to your privacy settings on Facebook: if you want to limit your profile and wall visibility, you may want to set it to be seen only be your friends (or friends of friends).

– If you share pictures through your Smartphone, be sure they don’t contain GPS metadata (location) on them. I’m sure now in every Smartphone you can enable/disable this feature, at least Windows Phone does it.

– Also, remember that, if you set your profile to be seen only by Friends only recently, remember that, especially if you signed up years ago, to do a bulk selection of all the past posts to increase your privacy.

Post visibility

 

I fully endorse what Erik Qualman, author of “Socialnomics”, said about it:

“We don’t have a choice on whether we do Social Media, the question is how well we do it”

WPC 2012: my personal summary (and slides)

I recently had the chance to participate to the latest WPC 2012 (local Windows Professional Conference) in Milano, Italy.

It was a terrific event: 27 Microsoft MVPs as speakers, an Ask The Expert Booth with +12 MVPs (+ a lot of friends and other Influencers) covering different technologies, together with the Microsoft Technical Support. Hundreds of technical sessions, giving full coverage of almost all the Microsoft Products and Technologies.

It was a great success in terms of Reach, Awareness and Support. Reach: almost 400 attendees, from ITPros to Developers to Consumers. More than 300 tweets around the Conference (#wpcit12).

In terms of awareness, the Microsoft MVP Award was highly valued during the conference: some minutes spent during the Keynote talking about it, the #Branding was everywhere, and MVPs often were wearing t-shirts with the MVP Logo on it. Recognition was another big part of it.

Just FYI, during the ATE the MVPs had around 250 technical discussions with the attendees. Divided per technology each day, attendees had the chance to interact not only with the speakers @ the Booth, but also with the other MVPs who voluntarily agreed to be part of the Conference supporting the attendees.

DSC_0238 DSC_0585

So now you know the MVP Award was a big part of it. But what about the rest of it?

Well, I also delivered a session on #SocialMedia called “Social Media in the IT World” and I have to say it was really interesting for the attendees. It was Different, not the kind of presentation you normally expect during a technical event. It was Relevant, according to the numbers of feedback and questions I gathered after my session. And for me it was fun too!

Understanding that many people still don’t understand the Power of the Social Media, the World of Mouth, the “Unmarketing” concept, Crowdsourcing, Personal #Branding and many others was kind of unexpected. So that is probably why my session was really valuable for the attendees.

I share my slides here, in a pure community spirit (as the MVPs taught me :)), hoping that someone else will benefit from that:

I did not have the chance to show how I use my Windows Phone to “unleash” the Power of the Communities, but I’m sure I’ll have time to do that in my next talk.

And, by the way, we also had the chance to have some fun (in a pure community spirit :)):

DSC_0495 DSC_0574

I need to thank a lot of people for a very successful event:

First and foremost, Barbara Palumbo, the “Puppet Master”, for his energy, proactive approach, driving the #wpcit12 team to Excellence. Claudio Salano, “The Boss” for having me @ the Conference. Nino Crudele, “Grinch” and #BizTalk Expert, for his tremendous valuable tips & tricks. And all others, all the MVPs, the Influencers, all the People I had the pleasure to meet for the first time, etc.

THANK YOU everyone for this wonderful experience !

Gmail cooler than Hotmail ?

During one candidate review and another (:)), I thought about writing a post about e-mail messaging offering. And this is something I’m thinking about for several days.

I wanted to compare the 2 services from a higher perspective (but you can find a detailed one in the link provided below). I selected Hotmail and Gmail as they are the most used e-mail services abroad (so please bear with me Yahoo and AIM users :)).

So the question on my mind was: why users tend to adopt a Gmail account?

There are a number of features we need to keep in mind.

Free space: Gmail now offers around 8 GB available space while Hotmail offered 5 GB, than 25 GB and now it’s almost unlimited (it detects if you need more space, and then it is automatically increased).

Filtering: they are both doing a great job on filtering messages

Spam: both are good in terms of junk emails. Someone would prefer one service or another but the Junk filters are both pretty good

Forwarding: with Hotmail you can send messages from different accounts (“on behalf of”) like Gmail, AOL Mail and Yahoo! Mail. Same as Gmail.

Advertisement: they both have it (on the web)

Security: they both use https encryption

Privacy: well, Google automatically scans e-mails to add context-sensitive advertisements to them. It seems your e-mails not read by a human but a bot will scan them to send ad-hoc advertisements. Also, senders’ emails are scanned too so (and this is one thing that really concerns me), if you have sensitive data to send to your customers, are you sure these e-mails are not really read by someone? What if you work for a Company which is a Google’s Competitor on a particular are? Hotmail uses Country-based advertisement so Microsoft does not need to scan your email messages. And a question: does Gmail “owns” the content you have in your Gmail account? That’s a question for you guys !

Search: Gmail does probably a better job in searching through your folders and emails as it uses the Google search engine (of course if you don’t access your emails through a client).

Web interface: Generally speaking, the Gmail web interface is thin and fast. Hotmail contains more advertisements.

Mobility: both services are accessible via a mobile phone easily. Of course if you have a Windows Phone 7, Hotmail works best. Same as you have an Android phone and a Gmail account (you have a dedicated application for that).

Other services: of course both of them try to drive their own additional services. Calendars, Contacts, SkyDrive, Windows Live Messenger, Office Web Apps, Google Buzz, Google Docs….you name it !)

Attachments: both are good now in terms of sending heavy files

There are probably other features I’m missing here but that’s ok to have an overview.

So, in the end, who wins? I think nobody wins and both are winners. So how come Gmail is perceived as cooler than Hotmail? Hence the reason why you tend to adopt one service for another. Does it depend to your needs? I don’t think so. Does it depend on space or spam filtering or mobility access? Not at all, I’d say.

The reason, IMHO, is brand awareness. Again, Google does a better job in branding its own services. Some of them are better than Microsoft’s ones, some of them are not. It’s the way in which it positions itself in the market. As someone said on Twitter: “#Microsoft writes software to sell software, #Apple writes software to sell hardware, #Google writes software to sell users”. This is no secret and an absolutely true statement: it corroborates what I’m saying here.

+ the power of the Long Tail. If you link branding (remember, Google is an Internet Company) with the Power of Mouth, than your chances of success are enormously higher. People talking about this particular feature or service to other people, online and offline, is the secret of success.

So, in the end, is Gmail cooler than Hotmail ? It seems so. And if you think about it, it’s in your head already. You don’t have to scroll down all the functionalities to see which service is best. It seems it’s already a fact (but it’s not, if you drill down into details). And this has been “caused”, believe it or not, by the Long Tail,  the Power of Mouth, together with a good Branding Awareness.

So, to go Off Topic for a while and apply this to other stuff: you can brand anything. I believe a lot of people in the IT Industry think marketing or digital marketing or whatever you wanna call it is just fluffy/it’s not important. But they’re wrong. If you do it wisely and effectively, it’s the most powerful thing you can do.

Even for yourself (go have a look to this book and read it if you’re interested in this…)

Link to: How Does the New Hotmail Stack Up to Gmail?

.NET: Architecting Applications for the Enterprise

I saw it @ TechEd EMEA, I heard it was sold during the last PDC, and I didn’t mention it ??

This is not only a “mea culpa” (well, partially :)), this is to congratulate MVPs Andrea Saltarello and Dino Esposito for the release of their recent book “Microsoft® .NET: Architecting Applications for the Enterprise” !

MVP Book

It’s even more than a WOW, as Andrea said, if you think it was the best selling book during PDC !

Link to: Siiii…Puòòòòò…Faaaa-reeeeeeee!!!!

Ascoltare i libri si può !

Da un pò di tempo posseggo il Sansa MP3/WMA player della Sandisk. Per me uno dei migliori (in bianco e nero, va a pile AAA e ha circa 7 ore di autonomia); molto meglio di altri, magari a colori, che leggono anche le immagini (visualizzare le immagini su questi dispositivi non è il massimo) ma che durano pochissimo. Ci ascolto musica, naturalmente, radio Onde Storte, ma ultimamente anche libri!

Proprio così: la Audible ti permette di scaricare libri, attivare il tuo device e scaricarli tramite porta USB. Un servizio di sottoscrizione di minimo 9,90 USD all’anno ed un ottimo servizio di supporto mi hanno convinto a diventare un divoratore di libri! Li scarico soprattuttto in inglese così mi tengo aggiornata la lingua e imparo.
Minimizzo lo sforzo e massimizzo il risultato (insomma, per i più pigri ! ;))

Categories: Books, Mobility, Music