Identity Exposure: A Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

sad mime

Image courtesy of MorgueFile.com

I have met many bloggers who assumed they could use pseudonyms to avoid being tracked online. But that expectation proved unrealistic as we all leave digital footprints and can be easily tracked. Realistically, somebody’s software is always watching us and taking note of our activities for marketing purposes.

Continue reading

7 Common Sense Social Networking Tips

solutions

public domain images

There are positives to social networking but there are negatives too. Always exercise common sense when it comes to which social media sites you are active on and what you post. Not connecting cautiously and posting appropriately can ruin your reputation, so if you want to be a successful blogger think before you act.  Continue reading

Keeping your blogging cool

ice cube

Comments are very powerful and can be benefit your blog. Regardless of your niche or your intent when publishing a post sometimes discussions can give rise to unexpected controversy and it’s important to keep a safe environment for discussion on your blog. Knowing how to deal effectively with spammers,  annoying subscribers, negative comments and trolls comes with the territory of becoming a better blogger. Continue reading

“Me on the Web” for reputation management

eyeGoogle has launched Me on the Web.  It’s  a reputation management tool allowing anyone with a Google account to monitor personal information about them appears online, and  makes it easier to remove personal information from the search engine.

Your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you — whether a mention in a blog post, a photo tag or a reply to a public status update. When someone searches for your name on a search engine like Google, the results that appear are a combination of information you’ve posted and information published by others. This tool, Me on the Web, appears as a section of the Google Dashboard right beneath the Account details.  — Me, Myself and I: Helping to Manage your identity on the web

Part of Google’s Me on the Web feature is a set of directions on simple reputation-management procedures. Users are encouraged to do searches for their own name to see what comes up, create a Google profile, set up Google Alerts, and work to remove defamatory or inappropriate content from the web. via Google’s New “Me on the Web” Feature | Search Engine Journal.

See > Keeping personal information out of Google

The Cloud Computing in Plain English Video
Using a simple story of a growing florist business, this video explains the basics of cloud computing: how it works and why it makes sense for businesses
and individuals.

  • The difference between on-site computing and cloud computing
  • The financial benefits of cloud computing
  • What makes cloud computing secure and efficient
  • How cloud computing impacts consumers

View the video introduction 3 minutes..

For managing your  online reputation, consider these tools:

  1.  Google Alerts  keep you aware of what’s being said about you, where and by whom.
  2. BoardTracker – a free service helps you locate and track comments made on issues posted to forums and discussion boards.
  3. CoComment –  a free service for managing, powering and tracking conversations online. There is a Firefox extension for cocomment too, and you can get a free cocomment: your conversations widget from widgetbox for your blogspot or self hosted wordpress blog as well.
  4. Commentful – This is yet another free service that tracks comments/follow-ups on blog posts, Digg submissions, Flickr galleries, and many other types of content. When ever there is an update,  a new follow-up, you will be notified instantly. To use it, either login to blogflux or register.
  5. Twitter Search – allows you to search terms and subscribe to the RSS feed for the search results. There are also additional free services such as Twilert, and Tweet Beep that will deliver search results and updates by e-mail that help you track comments and online conversations.
  6. Yahoo Pipes 
  7. Social Media Fire Hose Technorati 

Related posts found in this blog:
Cloud Computing:Changing the way business is done
Handle Online Attacks Effectively
How to remove data from Google’s cache
How to Become a Better Blogger 2: Online Privacy
How to Become a Better Blogger 5: Your Online Presence
Blogging: Online presence and authenticity

California outlaws online impersonation

gavelOnline reputations on sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Google and the like are becoming just as important as offline reputations in terms of getting into university or employment. The internet has been a wild west, where reputations can be damaged with clicks of a mouse.  Well, this Saturday  online impersonation that seeks to harm becomes a crime in California. Continue reading

A comment policy for your blog

2 trollsCreating a new blog can be an exciting and joy-filled process. Waiting for your first comments to appear can be charged with eager anticipation and emotionality.  It can also be a downer if you receive one or more troll comments.  Some bloggers fear that if they restrict commenters, they’ll lose readership. I  prefer to shun trolls and preserve a safe and comfortable environment for all my commenters.

On one hand, you are not legally responsible  for the content in comments posted on your blog —  all comments belong to their authors.   On the other, everything posted on your blog affects your branding and your reputation.

Freedom of speech is the freedom to speak freely in public spaces and places without censorship or limitation, or both. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as “hate speech“.

When it comes to comments posted on your blog, it’s your contractual obligation to remain within the Terms of Service you agreed to as set out  by  your blog host. Beyond that the choice of whether or not to set rules of engagement for discussion is yours alone to make.

Any mature adult can and will approve and post comments containing dissenting points of view,  provided they are expressed appropriately. But bloggers are not compelled to approve and post comments containing  off-topic ad hominem attacks.

Communicating with civility is not being phony, it’s simply an acknowledgment that all people have value, no matter how misguided or unfamiliar their ideas or actions may be. Being polite is not the road to conformity, it’s the path to understanding. — Brad Shorr

Engaging with internet troll can negatively affect your brand and reputation

You only need to read a troll comment appearing under a well written article once to understand why posting troll comments is a no-no. Trolls are attention seekers.  They have no power unless you give your power to them.

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. — Troll (Internet)

What motivates internet trolls?

Trolls have no true interest in the subjects they post on.  Trolls  don’t want you to post carefully constructed, reasonable arguments in a debate.  Trolls    crafts  comments  to  emotionally upset you and make you lose your rationality.   Trolls want you to completely lose your cool and your ability to sound like an intelligent  person who knows what you’re talking about.   Trolls derive  pleasure from baiting people into highly charged emotional states and making them look stupid.

What trolls desire is our online time and attention, so when we refuse to  communicate with them, they move elsewhere and seek out another target.  Hence,  the maxim: Don’t feed the trolls.

If your blog is  targeted by a troll do not be emotionally triggered by the comment.  Your blog is not YOU.  The troll cannot touch your inner self, unless you give them permission to,  so don’t open that inner door and give your power away. Take responsibility, develop a comment policy and either post the comment and refute the contents or delete it and blog on.

Commenting policies contain rules of engagement for discussion

A Comments Policy is a statement defining your policy regarding comments on your blog. It is also a “responsibility statement”. It informs the reader of what you will allow on your blog, what you will not allow, and what they are allowed to do. It establishes publicly the responsibilities of each party involved. — Lorelle VanFossen in a guide to creating a blog comments policy

Commenting policies create a safe environment for civil discussion

Without doubt a good comment policy that’s consistently enforced can make the difference between whether visitors will return or not. And,  as creating a blog centered community is your focus as a blogger, developing and posting  rules of engagement for discussion will create boundaries and a secure environment for civilized communication. Below are some points to consider when you undertake the process.

Some commenting policy considerations

1.   Moderation

  • Will comments be moderated?
  • Will all comments be moderated?
  • Or will first time commenters be moderated?

2.   Links

  • Will you approve and post comments containing links?
  • Will there be a limit on the number of links in comments that you approve and post?
  • Will you approve and post comments from commenters who use ‘keywords’ (words or phrases they want to rank in search engines for) as anchor text and insert it as their username?
  • Will you approve and post comments that include a signature link (a link to their blog) at the end of the comments?

3.  Advertising and Spam

  • Will you approve and post comments which seem to be primarily made as advertising and promotion of  the commenter’s site?
  • Will you approve and post comments which seem to be primarily made as advertising for a  commercial product or service?
  • Will you approve and posts comments from commenters who have their user names linked to commercial sites?

4.  Comment Length and Editing

  • Is there  a maximum comment length (character or word limit)?
  • Will you edit comments and if so under what circumstances?

5.   Special rules

  • Will you approve and post comments containing personal attacks, defamatory and/or inflammatory statements?
  • Will you approve and post comments containing obscene language?

6.  All Rights Reserved

  • Will you include an All Rights Reserved clause?
  • If  so will it apply to the blog owner’s right to edit, delete, move, or mark comments and trackbacks as spam?
  • Will you also reserve the right to block access to any individual or group from commenting or from the entire blog?

Discussion

Do you have a commenting policy posted on your blog?

Do you have any suggestions for additional considerations for those who are formulating a comment policy for their blog?

Have you received troll comments, and if so, how did you deal with them?

Related posts found in this blog:
Controversy and Blog Comments
Handle Online Attacks Effectively
Blog Titles and Branding Tools

Libel: Blogging Rights and Wrongs
WordPress.com Comments and Discussion Settings
Anonymous commenting on a WordPress.com blog
Why blog comment moderation is a good thing
Crazymaking Blogger Comment Settings
Blogging: Comment Baiting
Encouraging blog readers to comment
Crafting Quality Blog Comments

References:
100 Essential Legal and Privacy Guides for Bloggers
No Tolerance for Trolls
Recognizing and dealing with trolls
How to deal with trolls
How to Deal With Trolls on Your Professional Blog