Wednesday, September 1, 2010

4 Tips for Controlling Privacy on Facebook

4 Tips for Controlling Privacy on FB
Hi everyone,
We thought a little reminder might be in order - Facebook is a fantastic networking platform, and it does a great job of sharing all kinds of information. But you could also be unintentionally sharing things you don't want some people to see. Check out this concise little article with 4 helpful tips for controlling your privacy on Facebook. It's definitely worth a read!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Some People Like Going Places - Without Checking In.

Shy Users Wary of Location Check-Ins
Last week we posted an article about Facebook and Google's competing ''Places'' applications, and mentioned similar applications begun by their forerunners (Twitter and Yelp, for example). As "location" tools explode across the internet, other applications such as Foursquare are enjoying continued and growing interest, as well. We noted that these location applications opened up new possibilities for businesses to advertise themselves and attract more customers and positive reviews. This week, we offer a view from the other side: people who don't wish to be ''located,'' preferring a certain amount of anonymity in their day-to-day physical locations.
In a recently-published New York Times article, the author observed that most of the people using Places applications are young "technically adept urbanites," and that just 4% of Americans have even tried such services. This is probably due to the fact that people born after 1981 grew up in a generation accustomed to sharing information about themselves online.
The biggest concern for Places abstainers so far seems to be privacy. This may seem ironic, considering all of the personal pictures and information many people are comfortable posting to various social networking sites. Yet somehow, making their current physical location public seems to cross the line for many. For others, knowing where their friends are and what they are doing 'every minute' seems like overkill, and they don't want to know.
There are a number of positive incentives for using location applications: some businesses offer coupons and special promotions, and public spaces such as history and science museums are catching on to the idea, sending users historical or scientific information about the place they are visiting. Some people appreciate the settings that allow them to choose exactly who can see their locations, and like to see where their friends are; they use Places as just another networking tool to help them meet up (online or in person) with others.
At the end of the day, it seems that location technology is growing in popularity, but is not yet entirely main-stream: maybe Facebook's new Places application will change that.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Facebook Places: Its Rivals, and Its Possibilities

Since the unveiling of the newest Facebook application 'Places,' there has been a lot of speculation about its potential for helping users share reviews, meet new people, and find the best attractions in the area. So far, despite a few initial snags, Facebook insists that the roll-out of the application is off to a good start.
    Facebook Places is still primarily an iPhone app, although it can be accessed through the Facebook Touch Mobile site (you must have a browser that supports geolocation and HTML 5, however). It works much the same way its forerunner, Foursquare does: you can 'check in' to places, write about where you are, and tag people who are with you.  The check-in updates that you opt to receive from other friends using the app are sorted by how far away the location is from you (closest to farthest). So far, although there is talk of expanding the app to overseas locations, it is still only available in the U.S., even though about 70% of users are overseas. It is also expected to be available for Androids and Blackberries in the future, though no specific date has been set.
    Facebook and Google are expected to clash over the new application (Zuckerberg says they will 'compete a bit') since both are striving to be the largest provider of locations for everything from fine dining to dry cleaners.
 Facebook Places is in fact a follow-up on Google Places, which is dedicated to helping people find out about individual organizations and businesses through customer reviews, and offers addresses and street views. Unfortunately, Google also has advertisements alongside the information it provides, whereas Facebook users often rely on each other to discover relevant products, and the vast majority of content generated by Facebook users (all 500 million of them) is invisible to Google search engines. Both Google Places and Facebook Places allow businesses to register for their own page and market to users, but it remains to be seen who will gain the upper hand.

Other companies offer comparable game-like location applications: Foursquare, for example, allows everyone to broadcast their location, write reviews, and tag friends who are with them. Yelp, while not so much a “see where I am'' service, serves the function of providing a place for its users to "Find, review and talk about what's great - and not so great, in your area."
    Surprisingly, since Facebook Places was released, other applications, like Foursquare, are attracting more users. Even slightly smaller applications like My Town and earlier examples of the Places tool such as Twitter Places, are jumping on the train, as the appeal of tracking and reviewing locations continues to grow.
All of these applications will have a growing impact on businesses, both big and small. Facebook in particular will provide businesses with a valuable opportunity: each place can claim their own page and use it to market to people using the Places application. As people check in, they are already advertising the business to all of their other friends, and online data can be collected, to see how many people are reading about them, and how often. As businesses learn more about the Places applications, they will be able to utilize the publicity more effectively, and control their content more closely, which in turn could greatly improve their profitability.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Dangers Of Not Managing Social Media: Negative News Gets Out FAST.

This blog is a follow-up on Michelle Silverman's experience as a customer at the North Hills Toyota Dealership; you can read the full text of Michelle's Facebook note and ensuing conversations at the bottom of this post.
 
Michelle Silverman

I think we can all agree that it is essential to consistently promote your business using social media. What most people don’t understand is that it’s critical to stay on top of what people are saying about your business through social conversations in sites such as Facebook. North Hills Toyota Dealership is a perfect example of what can happen when social media is not adequately or properly managed. Positive feedback is great, but it only takes one mistake to learn how much faster negative word can spread. Michelle Silverman, a young woman whose Toyota was mistakenly repossessed by the North Hills dealership, recounted the full story of their appalling behavior towards her in a series of posts on her Facebook profile, making her situation public to all 2156 of her friends. The ensuing discussion has included an outpouring of sympathy, anger, and advice to take her story to local news and TV stations. North Hills Toyota Dealership is gaining rapid and massive amounts of negative publicity, and will be hard put to reverse the damage done to their name any time soon. Let this be a lesson: keep up with what people are saying about your company online, and make it a priority to respond immediately to bad reviews by offering solutions, and fostering good customer relations and communication. Social media is a powerful tool, and we should never underestimate its ability to affect our businesses and reputations.
It is truly amazing how fast word spreads. MARKIT Group provides a comprehensive reputation monitoring and management program to protect and respond to examples just like this. Contact us for more information at 800.755.6441 ext 101, or by emailing info@markit-group.com

Original article: 
Full story just exposed about a North Hills Toyota Dealership - word spreading fast on Facebook

FB Note: North Hills Toyota Dealership
by Michelle Silverman on Tuesday, August 17, 2010 at 8:25pm
Michelle's car, posted to her FB wall
Question...Am I being punk'd? You got me. Ashton Kutcher, where are you? If my friends Lynda and Paul were not present at the North Hills Toyota Dealership to hear what happened to me no one would ever believe this. The manager was clueless about the whole accidental repossession situation with my car. Next, when Steve, the financial department manager, came out, he "supposedly" did not know anything about the situation. But, he informed us that Nancy Bane, the woman handling my financial deal, was no longer an employee with them as of 3:30 this afternoon. When I asked Steve when he thought I would be getting my car back, he replied, "I don't have a clue because it has nothing to do with our dealership." Then, I asked about the rental car I was supposed to pick up at 4:00, Steve replied, "Your silver Coralla that you're buying with only 30,000 miles is right out front." Lynda and Paul jumped in at this point and said that we want to see the owner. Steve said he was in a meeting. The owner's name is Carlos Echezarria. Then after a half hour past, instead of the owner coming down to talk to us, Steve came back and said my car would be delivered to my house within 48 hours. I asked what they are going to do to make this situation right, he said, "NOTHING, IT'S NOT OUR FAULT." At this point, I don't know what happened to my car. The North Hills Toyota Dealership is not concerned with my personal possessions that are still in the car. Unfortunately, my work essentials are still in the car such as my keypad and brief case. I just can't wait to see what happens next...
Comment · LikeUnlike · Share
FB Comments
Mary-Kay Andrejcik Fiore: Call Andrew and see if someone can get involved from the news media. This is crazy!!!
15 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Jeff Rose: Talk to you attorney!
15 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Kelly Dunbar: I agree with Mary-Kay..That is crazy. Who knows how many people they have done this to before.
15 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Alyssa Lesa Berrier: Definetly get media involved,you will get the answers you need and deserve.
15 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Norma Nieto: Michelle, I am so sorry to hear of what you are going through and hope you get a resolution soon! Call me if you need a car - you know I work from home and don't need my car during the day, I would be happy to loan it to you.
15 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Brandon Wentzel: Next time, dance like Michael Jackson, and kick him in the junk!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsqGWckavY0&feature=youtube_gdata_player
14 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Sherry Lynn: Jesus Michelle Im with Alyssa...call Marty Griffith channel 4 action news!!! This is insane! Hope everything works out. Keep us posted.
14 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Paulette Barry: Keep on fightin', Look at my last comment and continue. They must be accountable.
13 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Michelle Silverman: Thank you, everyone, for all of your great advise and support! It really is the most insane situation I have ever encountered in my life. Words can't even begin to describ how alamed and upset I was today when I went to the dealership, just unreal!
13 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · LikeUnlike ·
Bandeur Tng Bandeur: Wow i wonder how can they do something like that, i want to know what thire CEO 0r GM think about this ... get Attorny and sue them then the media will fallow.
12 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Krista Roman ADVICE FROM A TOYOTA SITE:

...Few things are more frustrating than having a problem with your vehicle. In fact, there’s a good chance you bought a Toyota because you thought that it wouldn’t have any problems. Unfortunately, even a Toyota has the occasional issue. But what about when your Toyota car, truck, or SUV has a problem that isn’t resolved to your satisfaction? Maybe you’ve been to the dealership for the same problem multiple times, maybe you know that the vehicle has a known issue that Toyota isn’t acknowledging, or maybe you’ve just been treated poorly. In any case, here is how you can get what you want.

First tip — don’t call Toyota’s national customer service hotline unless you’ve already tried working the problem out with your dealer (see below). If you call Toyota’s national hotline right away, you’ll get the attention of the dealership and Toyota, but you’ve ruined any leverage you have over the dealer. Toyota dealers are graded on their customer service as much as they are on sales, and by informing Toyota of your dissatisfaction you’ve let the “cat out of the bag”. Now the dealer has less to gain by helping you — the dealer is more willing to help you if they know you’re not going to tattle on them to Toyota.

Second tip — your best hope for a solution is to work with your local dealer. Believe it or not, the dealership is invested in solving your problem because they know it’s the best way to make you a lifetime customer. Dealers spend thousands of dollars in advertising trying to create trust with their customers, but statistics show that the best way to create trust is to solve problems. Good dealerships know that solving customer problems is money well spent. Even if the dealership is the problem, your local dealer is still the best place to get a solution.

However, this doesn’t mean that a dealership will solve every customer service problem free of charge, or even solve them at all. In order for a dealership to justify spending money to solve a customer service problem they have to believe that they’re creating or preserving a customer relationship. In other words, if you want to get your problem solved, you’re going to have to convince the dealership that you’re going to be a good future customer and give them good publicity.

The best way to convince a dealership you’re going to be a good customer in the future is to show them you’re a good customer now. When working with anyone at the dealership, be nice. Let’s admit it — sometimes it feels good to yell at someone. But if you want to get the best customer service you’ll need the people at the dealership to like you. “Kill em’ with kindness” and you will prove you are a customer worth saving. Also, bragging about how many cars you’re going to buy, or that your company allows you to make purchase decisions, etc., doesn’t work. Everyone makes those claims. Instead, talk about how much you like the service manager, your salesperson, etc. These statements will do more to convince the dealer you’re a good customer than any bragging you can do.

Third tip — speaking with the general manager of the dealership is the best thing you can do to help yourself. While there are many managers in a dealership, the GM has the power to solve nearly any problem. The GM can pick up the phone and speak with one of Toyota’s regional executives, authorize an expensive repair, or even decide to warranty a vehicle. Toyota empowers every dealership general manager to act on their behalf — perfect for solving customer service problems. They also tend to have the most experience and maturity in the dealership, making them very easy to work with too.

If you’ve tried everything and the GM at your local dealership can’t help you, you have a couple of choices. You can call another local dealer and try over again with them, or you can contact Toyota Motor Company. If you problem is with your vehicle, you should try a couple of local dealers before you call. On the other hand, if the problem is with a dealership, then it’s time to call Toyota.

If calling, I suggest you try a two-pronged approach and call both your local Toyota regional office and the national help line. You can find the phone numbers below. While the local regional office will often refer you to the national helpline, with a little persistence you can speak with a regional executive about your problem.

To recap, when you have a problem with your Toyota that isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, start by working with your local dealership. The dealer wants to earn your faith and trust, and they will often go above and beyond to do so. When you speak with anyone at the dealership, be nice. You want them on your side. Ask to speak to the GM too — the GM has the power to solve your problem and they also have the full backing of Toyota. Finally, if the GM at your local Toyota dealer can’t solve your problem, work with Toyota’s national hotline and try to talk to someone at the regional office. If you’re persistent and you’re nice, you’ll get the best customer service possible.
See More
11 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Marika Stettner: Don't call Marty Levine, just don't. Call Kimberly Easton, she'll get the story right. And trust me, you don't want to deal with Carlos, he won't do anything for you. Andrew used to tell me horror stories about him, just go over his head if you can.
10 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Michelle Silverman: I forgot that Andrew use to work for that dealership...I am sure whatever he told you about them was true! Thanks for the tip! Xoxo
10 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Nannette Staropoli: Have you ever dealt the guys at Baierl? I've had the best experience - let me know if you need help, I'll connect with someone to take great care of you.
5 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Omar Ashraf: Oo wow.. I would file a theft report since the payments were made. The file an insurance claim.
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Omar Ashraf: Oo wow.. I would file a theft report since the payments were made. Then file an insurance claim. Repo'ing a car with payments made is the same as theft. My friend did the same and the dealership was quick to settle the matter.
2 hours ago · LikeUnlike ·
Lynda Schneider: Best part of all...when she went to pick up the "rental" car they actually TOLD her that she was now purchasing this car and not her original car! Can you believe that? If I had not heard it for myself, I would not have believed it. "Mic...helle, here is your new Corolla...we cannot seem to find your car, so we are changing the loan to be for this car" 
For real...heard the words come from the horses mouth or horses ass as the case seems to be! See More
about an hour ago · LikeUnlike · 2 people2 people like this. ·
Michelle Silverman: Mind blowing! Why would I buy a car that I never saw or picked! Furthermore, how shady that Nancy told me the dealership was giving this car as a loaner! Scary to think what might have happened if you guys had not been present and I would have just signed some paper thinking that I was taking a "rental" car. So very alarming and shady!
23 minutes ago · LikeUnlike ·

 

An Update:
As of this past Saturday, August 20, Michelle has received her car back. She posted this comment on her Facebook profile that day:
"Thanks to Matt Popovich, the Gernal Manager of North Hills Toyota, I am a very happy and satisfied customer as well as a friend for life...way to go Matt!"
Additionally, her note warning friends not to go to the dealership, as well as her comments and those of her friends posted the week before concerning the matter, were conspicuously missing from her profile. Congrats to North Hills Toyota for working to get Michelle's car back and retaining a now high-profile customer. Maybe next time the dealership will be quicker to satisfy their clients and pay more attention to what is being said on social media sites about their service and reliability.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Firefox Add-ons: Part II of Our Top Picks.




PART II

In our last post we brought you part one of our top eleven picks for Firefox add-ons: little  applications that can be easily downloaded into your Firefox browser to help you get more out of your browsing and networking experience. Now that you have had a chance to review the first six add-ons we posted last week, read on for the rest of our choices...


7. StumbleUpon:
One of my personal favorites, this smart little add-on learns with you as you search the web. It has over 500 categories of interest to choose from, and suggests sites for you to view as you go. Click the Stumble button to see a new recommendation, post your favorites, and connect with your friends to see what they’re are sharing. The more you use StumbleUpon, the more relevant the recommendations become.

8. AdblockPlus:
The simple purpose of this add-on is to block annoying advertisements, banners, and even malware from getting onto your computer or browser window. It will assist you in customizing filters to block what you don’t want coming through. It is a basic but effective application.

9. Social Media for Firefox:
This handy add-on monitors your favorite social sites and brings you a summary of everything from which articles are most popular, to which ones have a thumbs up or thumbs down on Stumble. You can see what’s been voted best on Reddit, monitor the number of tweets on Twitter, and even access your Bit.ly account while you’re at it. This addon will also notify you when content hasn’t been added to some of the sites you follow, so you can be the first to share it.

10. Glydo: If you want to have information brought to you instead of searching for it, give Glydo a go. As you surf, it automatically detects what you are most interested in, and then makes suggestions about what videos, shopping advice, news, tweets, and websites will be most useful to you.

11. GetGlue:
While you are busy surfing sites like Amazon or IMDB, GetGlue helps you find what books to read, movies to watch, or music to buy next. Like StumbleUpon, the more you use GetGlue and tell it what you like, the better and more accurate its recommendations will be. See what your friends are watching, reading and listening to, and save your own favorites from whatever sites you visit.

 -- What add-ons would you like to see added to this list? Drop us a comment!