Jargon Busting No. 18 – Verified accounts

Twitter and now Facebook verify some accounts. Famous people are often impersonated online with sometimes humorous but more likely offensive accounts. To make sure fans are getting posts, pictures, opinions and information from the source (or at least the staff of the source) accounts can be verified in an arrangement with the famous person and Facebook or Twitter.

A verified account on both Twitter and Facebook has a blue circle with a white tick inside.

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Both Facebook and Twitter do not accept requests to verify accounts, rather you are invited to have your account verified. A quick Internet search shows a couple of rumours about what is required to have your account verified. There are reports that simply being famous is not enough, others suggest that the amount spent on advertising can lead to a verified account. Whatever the process is, it is good (but sometimes embarrassing) to know that an account that has been verified is the official Facebook or Twitter of your favourite actor, politician, business or sports star.

The Facebook basket

Today I attended an information session for a great community initiative. I won’t name it as I don’t want to single them out, as there are many more guilty of the same offence.  When asked questions about how interested people could connect, the staff replied ‘on Facebook’. The reliance of this program on social media is a great weakness and incredibly short sighted. 

 

I was shocked at the lazy answer and the assumptions made. The reality is:

1. Not everyone is online

2. Not everyone is on Facebook

3. Not everyone checks their Facebook regularly

4. It is easy to miss important information on Facebook

It is just plain lazy to expect people to find your information and connect with it because you put it on Facebook. 

By now dear reader you will know that I am a huge fan of social media but it is not the answer to everything.  Assuming that everyone has regular access to the internet and have the skills, time and interest in being on Facebook is just plain lazy and wrong.

When it comes to communication and marketing social media is merely one of many tools at your disposal, it is not a magic bullet.  Social media is a great tool to reach people who already use social media. Yes many of us use social media but when we want to communicate and promote we put all our eggs in the social media basket at our peril. 

Good news travelling fast

There are people who think social media is pointless.  But I love it because it is where a lot of my friends live.  It brings many of them together in one place, which is great given they live all over the world. Something happened to me today that is a small example of how social media can be a source of care and support.

A month ago I was diagnosed with DVTs in my femoral vein. It was all very sudden and scary, 3 hours after visiting my GP I was admitted to hospital. Once I knew what was happening I got on Facebook and let my friends and family know what had happened. It was wonderful to receive dozens of messages of support and love from around the world. I received phone calls, texts, emails and messages online, it was just what I needed as I sat alone in a dull hospital room waiting for test results. 

Today I got clearance from my specialist to travel to the USA. This is a big deal as I had to postpone the trip I had planned thanks to my DVTs. 

4 hours ago I posted this on my Facebook page: “Boo yeah!! Got clearance from the specialist! America here I come!” (admittedly not a great piece of writing but the sentiments are heartfelt). So far this status update has been liked by 32 of my Facebook friends.

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That’s 32 people who have let me know they are happy for me. It may not seem much to click on an icon to let someone know you ‘like’ their status but it can be very powerful. It is small way my friends are sending a virtual ‘hooray’ and whether it is 2 or 32, it is a nice feeling when someone likes your status. 

People can post gossip, campaigns, event information, news good and bad online and it can be wonderful (and appreciated) when people you know send you a virtual thumbs up or a virtual hug by liking your status. 

Never underestimate the power of a virtual ‘thumbs up’, it can be appreciated more than you realise. 

Performance Pressure

badge saying Don't PanicWhen setting myself the challenge to write a blog post every day, one thing I did not consider was the pressure I would feel to be interesting or entertaining.

When left to my own devices I think I’m very interesting and entertaining but when I have you dear reader to consider, I get a little tense.

I should have realised that I would feel this, as there are days when I don’t post anything online because I don’t think it will be interesting or funny enough. I read the tweets of the famous and the not so famous, envy posts from friends at fascinating conferences, laugh at witticisms and puns and watch others engage in political debate.  Then I read about the purchase of some new running gear or how someone is sad because their skinny soy decaf latte was not hot enough and I panic.

I don’t want to whinge online, I don’t want to post of picture of my lunch, I want other people to think I’m witty and delightful.

I envy those who post photos of the minutia of their lives, they have total confidence that someone out there will think they are interesting and want to hear how their day is going. For me if I’m going to commit something to writing it feels like it should be something worth saying or at least something worth reading.

Is there any value in posting the tiny details of your life online? Will we flick through our Facebook profiles like an old diary, being horrified at what we wrote, the clothes we wore and our trendy hair styles? Or will they just disappear off into the ether to float around the internet forever?

I’m still trying to work it out – what do you think?

 

Photo credit: flickr.com – Jim Linwood ‘Don’t Panic Badge’