Posts Tagged ‘e-mail’

Privacy: It grows fainter and quainter

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

In a recent workshop on social media for small business, one owner remarked that she didn’t want to start using Facebook for her business because she doesn’t want information about her personal life to be available to strangers online.

After an explanation that it’s now possible to keep business and personal lives separate on Facebook, I flippantly suggested that the era of privacy is over anyway.

Many people under the age of, say, 25, seem comfortable sharing every moment – for better or worse –  with their extended network (often numbering in the thousands) of “friends.” And as that generation ages, our notion of privacy will become ever fainter and quainter. It will become a nostalgic memory, like retirement and puppet shows.

For example, I’ve just learned from that the U.S. Department of Justice insists that e-mail messages should not enjoy the same protection as written correspondence or information about phone calls. The difference? Warrants are required when law enforcement officials want corporations to turn over your phone records or letters – but not necessarily e-mail. And DOJ wants to keep it that way.

Why? To make it easier to conduct fast criminal investigations of events that have either transpired our are about to transpire. I can see their point. I can also see why the main law covering such issues needs to be revisited; it was last updated in 1986, about 10 years before most people received their first e-mail.

But I hope the Justice Department softens its stance before privacy really is a thing of the past.

That crazy Mr. Ferguson in Dubai

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Least convincing spam-scam of the week

Subject: Your NAMES was used, Call Me:1-814-796-7443.

Attention please,
Your full names/data’s was used to execute a huge Contract in Dubai
without your consent and you have refused to give a correspondence reply
to My messages, why?
Presently I am on Official assignment in US due to My Bank push towards
acquiring a Bank here in US and an be reached via: “SARGENT’S COURT
REPORTUAL INC. 174 E College Ave Bellefonte PA, in USA: 1-814-796-7443″.
This email message poised because One Mr. Ferguson did came to My Office
to explain that he used your name and data’s to execute a huge Contract in
Dubai without your consent that he used it due to the exigent situation he
Found himself as at the time the Contract was awarded to him and he
fervently pleaded for your understanding especially now that the Project
has been genuinely/legally actualized and the total Project Sum has been
paid to him completely.
Mr. Ferguson then asked that the Sum of Five Hundred Thousand United State
Dollars that he kept in One of his Secret coded deposit Vault Funds in My
Bank be cleared and paid to you as a Compensation for using your name and
data’s to execute his Contract in Dubai without your consent.
There is the needed the for My the “$500,000 Secret coded Vault deposit in
My Bank” be made decoded by Legal clearance and Transferred to you Legally
in accordance with the British Monetary Law. First get back to me via my
secured email Address, to enable me directly reach you Officially or call
you and have a direct voice talk conversation with you now that I am in
As attested therein in these advertorial sites I would be leaving the Bank
soon, so act fast:

[4 links deleted by blogger on assumption that they're phishing links]

Your’s Truly.
Mark Tucker.
Chief Executive Officer.
Prudential Bank Plc London.
Laurence Pountney Hill, London EC4R OHH. {Restricted}.

First get back to me via my secured email Address, to enable me directly
reach you Officially or call you and have a direct voice talk conversation
with you now that I am in USA.

Facebook’s future: It’s in your shorts

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Just yesterday, a friend (that’s a lower-case, analog friend) told me how much he hates Facebook. He can’t believe how much time people spend there, he wishes he had never registered for it, and he resents the amount of attention it tries to demand from him.

With that said, he asked if I thought it would eventually fade away.

Social media is here to stay, I responded. While Facebook and Twitter may not always be the dominant portals, the notion of social networking that they represent will continue to evolve and embed itself into our communication – just as web browsing and e-mail have done.

Then this article, on Facebook’s acquisition of Friendfeed, crossed my desktop and my opinion evolved.

The most insidious aspect of Facebook is how it brings in new members. First, as I explained to my flesh-and-blood friend, every time someone sets up a new Facebook page, they get the opportunity to scour their own address book for potential Friends (digital, capital-F friends). And because Friends are the currency of Facebook — the more you have, the “wealthier” you are — most people accept this initial chance to let the social networking site into their personal data.

So Facebook searches your computer address book for people who are already registered with the site. I don’t know if it just looks for e-mail addresses or follows a more complex algorithm, but within seconds, it will identify every Facebook member you know and offer — with a single click — to ask them to Friend you. (It’s notable that Facebook has already created a legitimate verb in the word “friend”.)

Then Facebook makes a more extraordinary offer: It identifies everyone in your personal address book who isn’t registered at the site and offers — again, with one click — to let them know how much you’d like them to join Facebook with the purpose of becoming your online Friend.

Insidious and ingenious. For the new user, this is simply a shortcut to Facebook-style wealth — lots of Friends. For Facebook, this is the shortest route to ubiquity — which it could be argued has already been achieved.

So now, Facebook has acquired Friendfeed, which “enables you to discover and discuss the interesting stuff your friends find on the web.” This isn’t unique; is better known and does essentially the same thing.

But here’s the key: Friendfeed lets you “Read and share however you want — from your email, your phone or even from Facebook. Publish your FriendFeed to your website or blog, or to services you already use, like Twitter.”

This isn’t unique to Friendfeed either. I’ve seen lists of social media sites that have 350 to 400+ sites listed, with new ones being entered daily. Try Googling “list of social media sites”. Most of them make it easy to publish on your blog, Facebook, Twitter and other leading sites.

What’s the point? Facebook is paying $50 million to buy a social media site that, as its primary function, collects more people — not just from the Web, but also from their phones.

This won’t surprise anyone who thinks strategically about social networking. But for anyone who wonders whether Facebook is going to fade away: It’s less likely every day.

American Pie send-up on media

Friday, June 5th, 2009

apie2Anyone living through the media meltdown will enjoy this clever 9-minute rewrite of the old Don McLean anthem.

More than ever, the medium is the message

Thursday, June 4th, 2009


At the time, he was talking about the fast advent of TV. But if you want to see the truth of his statement in action, you’re already in the right place: online.

  • A message in Twitter is 140 characters long.
  • A message on is, well, 12 seconds long.
  • You get about 400 characters to express your thoughts on Facebook.
  • LinkedIn is businesslike; you can’t get as lost as you can on Facebook, and the variety of activities in more limited.
  • Squidoo lets you type in original content, but it’s really about packaging other content — yours or somebody else’s — under a single thematic umbrella.
  • A blog is unlimited, but is accepted as “good” only if it gets updated frequently.

There are at least dozens more kinds of electronic media where you can place your messages. I know people who market themselves online using all of the above media and more.  But if you want to get people to pay attention to what you’re writing, you can’t just cut and paste your blog post onto Facebook and Twitter and Squidoo, etc.

In some cases, there are limitations such Twitter’s infamous 140-character limit. In all, there is the simple and unarguable feedback from the market. If you do it right, people will pay attention. If you do it wrong, they won’t.

Doing it right means integrating strengths, weaknesses and peculiarities of the medium into whatever it is that you’re writing, videotaping, podcasting, etc. If you want to give a lecture, don’t bother putting it on YouTube unless you have strong visuals to go with it. And don’t simply post the transcript of your lecture as a blog if you want anyone to say anything nice about it.

Today, as newspapers face their toughest economic environment ever, they’re trying to figure out how to get people to pay for content online. When I ask people about this, the usual response is that they aren’t sure they’d find an electronic newspaper to be worth reading, let alone paying for.

But they’re imposing their view of newspapers as a print medium on the coming reality of newspapers online.

To be sure, some publishers will make a mess of it. They’ll try to do exactly what they’re doing now — but without the paper costs. And they’ll fail.

Others will figure it out. The paper of the future may provide headlines to your cellphone in the morning, with updates all day. On a Smartphone, the headlines may link to the full story. You may have the choice whether you want to get one section (world news, for instance) in-depth, and another (perhaps sports) on only a cursory basis. The website might offer configuration and search tools, letting you scan for all articles containing a specific keyword, or filter out stories from the opposite side of town. It could give you Tweets as news breaks, video clips of big events, or full context about ongoing, longterm stories. It may led you contribute news in the form of short video and photos. You might be able to read it on a Kindle, on screen or hear it through your ipod. And somewhere in there, they’ll figure out how to not only collect a critical mass of paid subscribers, they’ll also figure out how to serve advertisers.

In other words, newspapers will survive. But they won’t look like they do today, and they won’t DO what they do today either, because they’ll come to us not just through the same old medium, but through a Dagwood sandwich of media.

So McLuhan’s old saw really is more important than ever. When he wrote it, he was dealing with print, TV and radio. Today, because the medium is the message, it means the message changes many times a day depending on where you happen to be when you choose to accept it.

Marketing, or just anti-social networking?

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

When I heard  about the college kids who are making money by advertising products with temporary tattoos on their foreheads, I knew it wouldn’t be long before something like Wrapmail came along. As reported in Inc. magazine, forehead-adWrapmail is a service that puts an ad in every outbound e-mail sent from your place of business. Inc’s example was pretty benign: a guy who sells copiers is using the service to promote his own products on e-mails sent out by his employees. I can’t really see very much wrong with that.

But it’s not really welcome, either. And how long will it be before the matchmakers step in — paying individuals and small companies to advertise national brands in their outbound e-mails? My guess: within the next 10 minutes, if it hasnt already started.

We all know: The Internet tends toward cesspool. Every time there is an uplifting addition to the amazing things this medium can achieve, there is someone who finds a way to just as quickly coat it with a certain amount of stink. I’ve learned to live with that, even embrace and enjoy it.

Which is why I’m writing about Wrapmail (which, incidentally uses equally intrusive pop-up chat technology as soon as you open their website). I’m impressed someone thought of it. I’m also depressed someone thought of it.

And if they want to get the word out, they might consider tattooing it on someone’s forehead. Because on principle I’ll delete the e-mail I will undoubtedly receive from Wrapmail after writing this post.