Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

How to increase your Facebook Privacy

After the story around Mark Zuckerberg’s sister,

I thought it might be a good idea to remind how important is your Facebook Privacy, of course IF it is important for you.

And Randy correctly said on Twitter: “Always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings. It’s about human decency!”. And she’s right.

Especially when it comes to share stuff, and in particular personal photos, you think that, having set your Facebook privacy to “Friends” is enough? Well, it’s wrong.



Every time you tag people, your picture becomes available to any other person, depending on how the privacy has been set by the people you tagged.

This is a very important step to increase your account security, making sure you share stuff only with people you matter the most.

To do that, follow these simple steps:

Upload your photo and then go to to the sub-menu and click on Custom:

fb share


Then you’ll get this menu:

fb share2

From here, you can decide who can view and comment on the picture you are about to upload. You can also choose not to share it with specific persons or to share it to a more vast audience. It’s up to you, whether you want to spread the word or not :)

Get Engaged !

This morning (very early I’d say) I was listening to one of my favorite social media book which is “Unmarketing” by Scott Stratten.

Well, not exactly reading per se, I was listening to it while driving. I think the books is a great way to listen to your books while doing something else, thus optimizing your time.

There are a lot of concepts that I like most about the book but I don’t want to do a book review but instead I want to grab some of these concepts and put them into action.

If you read some social media books, you’ll realize many things discussed are very similar: there are definitions, strategies, tips, most of the things are similar. At least the deliverables are very similar.

In my case, I’m more interested in Personal Branding. I think it’s one of the most important activity you can do to increase your reputation, impact and influence across all the major social media. And be aware, your reputation will easily go from the online space to the offline. The point is: how do I use the social media tools to make this happen?

I already mentioned this in my previous post: it’s not about to be or not to be, it’s about the HOW.

Having said that one of the most important, the key, to start increasing your Brand Reputation is to “get engaged”.

get engaged

Let me do a step back though.

You want to get engaged because? Because maybe you’re passionate about something. Or maybe you like help people learn what you know. Or maybe you want to learn from them and then re-define your actions, whether these are online of offline, based on what you learnt. But, in the end, it’s about getting engaged. It’s the first rule of being part of this “Social Media Revolution”, the same revolution that allowed us to move from the Web 1.0 to the Web 2.0.

So getting engaged is the first part. Then you need to define your HOW.

How do I want to do it? Do you I have a plan for that? Maybe not, not now, not at the beginning of your journey. I think, first of all, you need to understand YOU as a Brand. How do you position yourself as a Brand? How do others perceive you? What’s my reputation among my peers/followers/readers/friends/colleagues etc. ?

When you realize that, you start acting. One exercise I would suggest you would be to go back to your older tweets and blog posts and facebook posts and LinkedIn posts and see what you said. Remember: in the Social Media environment, YOU are the CONTENT You provide. So you realize is, say, 40% IT related stuff, 30% retweets, 20% Pictures (which pictures? What about them?) and 10% funny videos%.

When you do this exercise you might probably want to fine tuning the content you are providing in order to increase your Brand in the, say, IT Environment.

That is what I call “look-back”.

The second, and very important part of it (we already talked about it) is to start engaging with your audience.

Whether you are a sales accountant, a novelist, a professional snowboarder, a marketing manager, an event planner, you HAVE TO get engaged in order to build your Personal Brand.

In the following posts we will dig into it: let’s just call this a Level 100 starter kit :)

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”

MVP Award Program – July 2012

Holidays are approaching, slowly :), @ least for the lucky ones, and it’s a good exercise, during this period, to look back and see what we as a Program have achieved from a community standpoint. Lots of events in the whole Region I represent (Central, Eastern Europe & Italy, excluding Russia & CIS Countries which are managed by my dear colleague Yulia Belyanina), lots of Product Group Interactions, lots of articles, webcasts, forum posts, blogging, local projects with every single Microsoft Subsidiary: it was definitely tons of things! I’m really happy about the Program, of course, because it changes a bit every year but the nature of it is still intact.

Just an example: we recently announced the new MVP Award Program website, which has been totally rewritten with a Metro-style UI, and the possibilities to do a lot more than the old one.

Back to the Nomination process, and as you may know, we have 4 Nomination Cycles:

  • January, 1st
  • April, 1st
  • July, 1st
  • October 1st

This is about the III one, the July Award Cycle. The cycles involves lots of stakeholders and nothing is taken from granted (renewing MVPs knows that very clearly :)). The are people from the local Microsoft Subsidiaries, of course us Community Program Managers (aka MVP Leads), the Business Group Leads and the Product Teams.


I cannot stress enough the fact that the Most Valuable Professional is, in fact, an Award. It’s not a certification, it’s not a Partner-affiliation program, it’s an Award. And it is given to the ones who consistently shared their expertise, with their peers, in the online and offline communities. It’s something you gain in the field. And Microsoft, with this Award, wants to THANK these people for their extraordinary community activities, together with a strong competency on a specific area/Product.

With that said, Please WELCOME the new awarded Microsoft MVPs, sorted by Name:

Influencer Technical Expertise Country/Region
Jan Matejka System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management Czech Republic
Kamil Skalski System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management Poland
Laura La Manna Visual C# Italy
Lukasz Kaluzny Virtual Machine Poland
Marius Ene Directory Services Romania
Tomáš Slavíček XNA/DirectX Czech Republic

A BIG CONGRATS to you guys MVPs and of course to the ones that have been re-Awarded. The MVP Award lasts 12 months and every single candidature is treated carefully and thoroughly so I totally understand the excitement (and sometimes the pain :)) to wait for an email saying that you’ve been Awarded again.

There are also people (very few, to be honest) who has not been awarded: as I’m not happy about that, sometimes there are reasons: people changed their jobs, moved to another Country, or for whatever reasons they decided to stop being active in the communities or they’ve not been active enough to be re-awarded. I always tell them that they can keep me as their primary point of contact for contacting Microsoft moving forward: and you never know, one can be out of the Program for a while and then back after a few months so, as I always say, don’t lose faith :). We also launched an initiative to keep in touch with both, MVPs former MVPs through a LinkedIn Group (membership is limited to active and retired MVPs) which, IMHO, is a good way not to lose contact with the MVP community as a whole.

Also, If you don’t know exactly what the MVP Award Program is, take some time to subscribe to our blog as you’ll find some interesting stories to read…

If you’re on Twitter, feel free to follow @MVPAward , myself and the #mvpbuzz hashtag: you’ll be amazed to see a great MVP community sharing a lot of real-life stories (covering different Microsoft products and technologies) that may also comes at hand when you’re in trouble :)

That said, Enjoy your Award and Congratulations !

Twitter name change with capital letters

I joined Twitter on April-May 2007 (I don’t remember exactly), when people thought that Twitter was just a mere “what am I doing” tool. Then I kept my account but I decided to use Jaiku which had, on that time, geo-location already. Jaiku “lost” the micro-blogging battle (and Google was not that happy about that as it bought Jaiku..).

Then Twitter changed, and people realized how powerful this tool can be. But I don’t want to talk about that in details (maybe in another post) but I want to focus on an issue that is still present.

On that time I used the nick Alead (with A capital letter). After starting to re-use it, I decided to change the name (you can easily do so by going to “Settings –> Profile –> Username), in line with the trends, to alead.

I realized, year over year, that sometimes I couldn’t see my tweets’ re-tweets made by other users.

The reason? some client don’t support the new re-tweet feature. Or, I should say, they have that feature but for some reasons they see my username as 2 different ones. So basically, if you re-tweet in the old style using a phone client, everything is fine (and if you use TweetDeck or Metro Twit you can see them in the Mentions column). But If you re-tweet in the new way, chances are you won’t be able to see them (it doesn’t happen all the time, it seems to be random).

Hootsuite and Rowi, for example, do not allow you to see the re-tweets made in this way. And there are probably other twitter clients that don’t allow to do that.

So this is just to make you aware of this, and maybe push the developers to implement it better…

One last tip: if you are new to twitter, be sure to choose a very “simple and short” username: remember there are only 140 characters available and you need to let others add their own comments…:)

Display your name in search with your WordPress blog

I had some time this early morning and I wanted to do some (rookie) SEO on my blog.

Basically, when I search for my name, it always appears my old blog. Even if I search my name+blog it doesn’t work. Although the search gives me a lot of links regarding my “online life”, there was no way to appear in in searching for my full name. And this happens with Bing, Google and Yahoo search engines.

Then, I finally found think link that eventually will solve my issue.

All you need to do is to go to Users –> My Profile

My profile

And in the “Display name publicly as” you need to put your full name.

You can also use the “verify external services” feature: using your other accounts (LinkedIn, Facebook and others) to confirm that you’re really what you claim to be.

There’s another little open question to me. I saw that, depending on where you are, you got different search results. This is because some services use the location based feature so, no matter if you’re writing in English, chances are that you’ll not appear in your searches when you are in a foreign Country. Do you have any ideas on how this works ?

Link to: User Profile « Support —

Categories: Blogging, SEO, Tips

Pinging blog posts

I already blogged about this topic some time ago (a blog post I moved from my old blog to this new one) but things change pretty fast in this IT world.

Basically what I wanted to talk about is the pinging servers functionality. This “feature” lets you ping servers everywhere in the world for each and every one blog post you do.

It’s a very common activity bloggers do in order to “boost” their blogs and thus increase their reputation and ranking among search engines.

One of the most popular online one is (still) Ping-o-Matic but there are plenty others out there.

What is interesting is that, if you use Windows Live Writer, you can easily add the servers you want to ping just one time and the Writer will do the rest.

All you need to do is go to the Insert Tab, Plug-in options and select Ping Servers.

ping servers

Then, in that box, you can add all your ping servers you want !

Below you can find a non-comprehensive list of servers to ping I found in the web. Sorry if some servers are duplicated (or not working anymore) but hey WLW will not complain about that :)


Feel free to add your own ones and enjoy !

Categories: Amenities, Blogging, Tips