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Facebook toying with ‘away messages’

"Brb playing Team Fortress."

If you grew up in the 1990s and 2000s, chances are you had an AOL Instant Messenger screen name, which you inevitably grew out of. Me? trendyskaman87, an account I (delightfully) found was still active when I started looking into claims Facebook would be offering an away message service to some users similar to the one provided by once-king of the modem, America Online.

Facebook is calling the new feature "sidebar statuses," available now to some users in Australia and Taiwan, according to this piece from The Verge posted Wednesday. The feature allows you to share a brief statement, which appears beneath your name on your friends' chat list. Here's an image of what this looks like, from the Verge piece:

A picture of how the sidebar status for Facebook works
It's not exactly posting Dashboard Confessional lyrics, but it's the closest thing.

I don't know about you, but I don't use Facebook messaging in the same way I did AOL. Whether that's a function of age is debatable, though the think pieces that have come out in the wake of The Verge's announcement (especially this Washington Post essay) are totally playing up the nostalgia of having a vestige of AOL instant messenger available for Facebook. With so many devices and ways of sharing bad jokes, awful emo lyrics and memes with your friends, is it really important that we have a Facebook messenger feature that mimics the single way we used to do all these things?

Postscript: Here's a look at my current AIM friend list. I wish I still had access to some of those awful late night conversations from junior year of high school. Actually, strike that. It's probably better some things died with the past.

An image of the current iteration of AOL instant messenger
* insert nostalgic message notification tone here *


When unfollowing people on Twitter

Do you ever build up such a head of steam that you find yourself later wondering if you unfollowed some people you had not intended to jettison?

State files 33 trophy deer poaching charges against Okanogan man

HUNTING — His boasting on Facebook apparently has helped Washington Fish and Wildlife police make a case on a 24-year-old Okanogan man and charge him with 33 counts of illegal hunting activities involving trophy mule deer. 

The case was made nine months after the agency posted on Facebook a request — and a $2,500 reward — for the public's help in solving a spree killing case.

The case against Garret V.J. Elsberg, a member of the Colville Tribe, is detailed by Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman.

Twitter Trending, Facebook Fading

If you want to know social media, ask a teen. Better yet, ask a bunch of them. A group of Spokane teenagers who took part in a social media engagement project at Hoopfest – the Digital Street Team – agree that Facebook is fading and Twitter is trending. The team of 24 high school students was deputized to collect stories, photos and video at Hoopfest, and that material was posted to the event’s Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest accounts. Some of those teens, along with one of their social media mentors at Hoopfest, recently assessed the fast-moving social media landscape/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR. More here. (Tyler Tjomsland SR photo: Jenna Carroll, 28, right, reacts as Chelsie Hadden, 22, shows her her phone while Liz Hooker, left, checks her phone for updates during a meet-up for social networkers last week at Boots Bakery in Spokane)

Question: How many of you have made the jump to Twitter or other social media beyond Facebook?

Mag Cover Features Bombing Suspect

How to ignite a firestorm online and across social media: Put Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnev on the August cover of Rolling Stone Magazine. The hashtag #BoycottRollingStone has been trending on Twitter all morning. @BostonBachelor wrote: Hey @RollingStone you could have honored any victim of the Bombing with your cover. But you chose a Terrorist #BoycottRollingStone  … If the cover photo looks familiar to you, it's because it was posted on social media by Tsarnev himself and shared previously by several media outlets. Rolling Stone, which publishes Tsarnev's first name as Jahar, calls the story on its Facebook page "a deeply reported account" of the life of the Boston bomber"/Scott Kleinberg, Chicago Tribune. More here.

Question: Does Rolling Stone deserve the social media firestorm it created by putting the Boston Marathon bombing suspect on the cover?

Study of social media: Spokane’s happy

Check it out.

After you open this, the story is over on the right.


Thanks to Tamara Schupman for telling me about this.

Here's more.


SBA offers free one-hour webinar on how to start using social media in business

So when the US Small Business Administration starts offering free webinars on how to use social media in your business, you gotta wonder. Is anybody out there not using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter or Pinterest?

We'll assume most of you who haven't are just a bit busy. Or you're inclined to wait for the next big thing.

OK, but still. The offer is free. Why not give it a try?

The opportunity starts next Wednesday, April 24, when the US SBA and W20 Group will launch a five-topic  webnar to give owners a chance to assess how to use social media.

It's listed as an Introduction to Social Media: Helping You Get Started. It starts at 10 a.m. Pacific time on the 24th.

You have to register at this link.: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6526746452209580800.  

In future webinars, the topics will include blogging, content for Facebook, using Twitter, and using location-based marketing.

County OKs Social Media Policy

Kootenai County commissioners have approved a new policy re: county employees and the social media. A copy of the policy obtained by Huckleberries Online says: "Kootenai County respects the right of employees to write blogs and use social networking sites and does not want to discourage employees from self-publishing and self expression." It then goes on to list 16 guidelines, including a couple that I believe will have a chilling effect for social media interaction, including this one: 

No. 2: "Employees are free to express themselves as private citizens on social media sites to the degree that their speech does not impair working reltionships of the County and its Elected Officials, for which loyalty and confidentiality or important, impede the performance of duties, impair discipline and harmony among coworkers, or negatively affect the public perception of the County."

Who determines what "negatively affect the public perception of the County"?

Question: Are these rules a common sense protection for the county re: social media use by employees — or an attempt to intimidate employees re: use of social media?

Kevin Parker, the business owner, to discuss social media Thursday

There's Kevin Parker the state legislator. There's Keven Parker the business owner.
That second guy is the featured speaker at Thursday's Numerica and Whitworth Small Business Support Center (SBSC) discussion, running 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

It's at the Numerica Credit Union at 405 E. Farwell Road.
Parker is owner of a number of Spokane area Dutch Bros. coffee shops. He's going to discuss business growth and the use of social media to propel a small business.
Thursday's event is sponsored by Numerica Credit Union, Petit Chat Village Bakery and www.cureforcat.com. and Whitworth University.


Baumgartner tied with Cantwell? Well, yes; but no

One of the dozens of e-mails in today's Inbox had this tantalizing subject line: "Cantwell/Baumgartner tied in Social Media Buzz"

A nice person from a public relations firm said she had some data on that race that might interest us: "According to a new media index from Temple University and LexisNexis, Maria Cantewell and Michael Baumgartner are in one of the tightest races in the country. The candidates are tied in social media buzz, as well as print and broadcast media mentions of the candidates."

Wha-what?? as Scooby Doo might say.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

7 fake Hurricane Sandy photos you might be sharing on social media

It's hard to not look at Facebook and Twitter without seeing some pretty amazing images of Hurricane Sandy. In the instant pace of posting pictures, many are foregoing a fact-check. Mashable breaks down fake Hurricane Sandy photos flying around social media that actually weren't taken during the storm. One was even a wallpaper used from the film The Day After Tomorrow!


From Mashable: The moving photo purporting to show soldiers standing guard at the Arlington National Cemetery monument during Hurricane Sandy quickly spread on the social web. But the Old Guard pointed out that the photo was actually a shot taken in September.

On Facebook, the group shared a real image taken during the early hours of the storm.

Pic of cop car gas theft leads to arrest

JENKINS, Ky. (AP) — There it was on Facebook for all to see — Michael Baker with a gas can, a siphon hose stuck into a police cruiser in eastern Kentucky and a middle finger raised.

Among those who saw it were Jenkins police, who arrested 20-year-old Baker on Monday and charged him with theft by unlawful taking.

Baker told WYMT-TV ( http://bit.ly/HUTwfV ) in Hazard there wasn't much fuel in the car to siphon and the stunt on Friday was intended as a joke. Baker's girlfriend took the photo and posted it.

Police didn't laugh. Chief Allen Bormes says that if Baker would steal from police, he'd steal from "just about anybody."

Authorities say they plan to buy lockable gas caps.

Jamie Offers Social Media Classes

Social media maven Jamie Lynn Morgan of NW Marketing 411 provided information to KVNI listeners on how to efficently and effectively use the internet for small business marketing. BTW, Jamie will be offering social media classes again this winter/spring beginning with Facebook 101, a one-night course for $49, on Feb. 8 at the NIC Workforce Training Center in Post Falls. A week later, she begins a multi-week class, "Social Media for Business Marketing." She'll teach a one-night Twitter 101 in the spring. You can learn more about the social media classes here.

DFO: I learned much from a social media class taught by Jamie in the fall. And encouraged her at the time to split the classes into Facebook & Twitter components, which she has.

Non Sequitur

Question: Do you recognize yourself in Wiley Miller's cartoon above?

Jamie To Offer Social Media Classes

I'm as confused as most of you re: recent changes to Facebook. In fact, after a year of trying to incorporate Facebook and Twitter into what I do here, I feel as though I'm still operating at half power in the other social media area. During a discussion on Facebook today, local social media whiz Jamie Lynn Morgan mentioned that she's offering 2 classes in social media at the workforce training center this fall. I'm planning to sign up for the 3-hour class on social media basics on Thursday, Oct. 13: "Connect with family and friends with online social networking. Discover how to use Facebook and other social media tools to stay in touch, share messages, and post photos and videos. Get hands-on experience and expert guidance in setting up your own social profile and finding family and friends online." It's $49. She also offers a 5-week $119 "social media for business marketing." You can learn more about these two programs here.


Kevin: Viral McGee Story No Surprise

"But it’s no surprise that the McGee story spread rapidly Sunday, over the Internet and via social media," writes Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman in his blog. "It’s a different world from 1992, when then-Lt. Gov. Butch Otter was arrested on a drunken-driving charge. Convicted a year later, Otter has never lost an election since — for lieutenant governor, for 1st District Congress and, most recently, for governor. Otter’s arrest was big news, rich with its own elements of weirdness, but it didn’t receive the instantaneous rocket propulsion provided by the Internet." More here (2nd item). (AP file photo: John McGee police mug shot)

Question: Are we as news consumers better served by the immediacy of news and the social media today? Or would you prefer that the clock was rolled back to times before every misstep by politicians was magnified?

Teens Suffer ‘Facebook Depression’

Doctors say what may seem fun and innocent may actually be leading teens into what's being termed "Facebook Depression." If you're a teenager you're most likely on a social networking site like "Facebook." For most it's a fun, easy way to keep in touch and find out what's going on with friends. But new research shows a growing number of youngsters who obsess over the on-line sites may be headed down a troubled path/Keely Chalmers, NWCN. More here.

Question: Do you get depressed because you don't think your life measure up to the Facebook photos and accounts of happy people who appear to be having the time of their lives?

ICB: Time To Embrace Social Media

Idaho Conservative Blogger ended his comment re: the Idaho Family Forum with this comment: "If we want the younger generation to join us we must embrace the way they communicate and we must stop with these same old, sleepy fundraisers done the same we have always done them and expect to succeed.  What’s wrong with reaching out via social media and spicing up our fundraisers and gatherings?  Nothing.  There is a lot wrong with ignoring the inevitable, times have changed.  The generation behind us communicates in ways we never thought of when we were younger.  Embrace it, embrace the younger generation and do what is necessary to speak to them on their turf. They will listen if we try. ICB is proof.  I get email all the time from high school and college students." More here.

Question: Which major political party does a better job communicating through the social media?

Is Trump 1st Google Trends Hopeful?

Item: Is Donald Trump the first Google trends candidate?/Catalina Camia, OnTrends

More Info: Donald Trump is many things: a real estate mogul, a celebrity with a hit reality TV show and, possibly, a Republican presidential candidate. In a media world driven by clicks and search engines, is Trump also the first presidential hopeful egged on by Google trends? The answer: Maybe.

Question: What role will the social media play in the 2012 presidential election?

Did Social Media Help Labrador?

In his Twitter last night, Dustin Hurst/Idaho Reporter made the statement “Weatherby says if not for social media, Vaughn Ward would be facing Walt Minnick Nov. 2.” I’ve noticed that Republican candidates, who were late getting to the party two years ago, were way more involved with the social media this time. Even Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent Tom Luna have Twitter accounts. In the primary, primary campaign spokesman Dennis Mansfield was tweeting from my office as I interviewed Raul Labrador. The R’s have come a long ways since I explained the social media landscape in Idaho to U.S. Sen. Jim Risch.

Question: What role has the social media played in the 2010 election campaign, either statewide or locally?

GSI sponsoring a primer on social media

Greater Spokane Incorporated is sponsoring Social Media 101: Engaging Social Media for Beginners and Skeptics.

It runs from 8 to 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 21 at the GSI office, 801 W. Riverside. Presenters will be Andrei Mylroie and Emily Easley of Desautel Hege Communications. It’s $15 for GSI members, $30 otherwise.

Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare …. if those mean nothing to you and you’re looking to broaden your company’s message to potential customers, social media might be an option.

Dogwalk: Social Media Lacks Real News

The evening broadcasts have been deteriorating for some time now. I often wonder how people get their news if they aren’t armed to the teeth with computers and all the variations thereof. I don’t have any of those fancy gadgets, just my computer and I do have to rely on it for a lot of what I need to write a post. That’s because the papers, all two of them, are lacking/Dogwalk Musings. More here.

Question: How much of your news do you collect from the social media?

Pirillo event moved to the Bing

One more adjustment in the Chris Pirillo visit to Spokane was announced this week by the event host, LaunchPad Inland Northwest.

Pirillo will be visiting town to talk about social media and marketing on June 29, next Tuesday.

But the venue has changed. It’s now scheduled at the Bing Crosby Theater, 901 W. Sprague, in downtown Spokane.

The time is still the same: 5:30 to 8 p.m. Pirillo has written “Poor Richard’s E-mail Publishing” and “Online! The Book,” along with several e-books. He lives in Seatte.

You should make reservations for the event to insure seating. Tickets are $15 in advance and $25 at the door. For information or to register to to www.launchpadinw.com.

Chris Pirillo LaunchPad event rescheduled

The original June 15 evening with Chris Pirillo, sponsored by LaunchPad Inland Northwest, has been rescheduled to June 29.  Pirillo, a Seattle area tech guy and blogger, had conflicts and had to reschedule, said LaunchPad director Bill Kalivas.

The location remains the same, the Red Lion Skyline Ballroom, 201 W. North River Drive, in downtown Spokane.  Hours are 5:30 to 8 p.m.  He’ll talk about social media and marketing.

For more information, go to the LaunchPad event link.

Which Party, Pol Uses Cyberspace Best?

Shortly before the primary elections, Dustin Hurst/Idaho Reporter wrote an article re: the use of social media by the various candidates, entitled “Social media shows its negative side in Republican primary.” In my opinion, Raul Labrador used the social media better than Vaughn Ward as he tweeted and Facebooked his way to an upset victory in the 1st Congressional District race. Two years ago, I remember explaining cyber world to Jim Risch and his wife after an online interview during the U.S. Senate race w/Demo Larry LaRocco. At the time, Risch and Idaho Repubs didn’t know much about blogs and other online media. But they were bugged by the anonymous attacks of bloggers and online commenters.

Question: Which party — or candidate — does best in using online media?

Idaho Congress Hopefuls Use Social Media

With the commander-in-chief utilizing Twitter, the effects of his presence can be felt down the line of the federal government, and even here in Idaho, where most of the major candidates for Congress utilize the services of Facebook or Twitter or blogs.  Congressman Walt Minnick, a Democrat representing Idaho’s 1st District, has two Twitter accounts, one for his official congressional office and one for this campaign team.  The two men vying to challenge him, state Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, and Vaughn Ward, a Marine reservist, both have Twitter accounts through which they post links to press releases and news articles favorable to their respective campaigns. Of all the congressional candidates in Idaho, Ward has the largest presence on Twitter, with 685.  Labrador trails Ward by 180 followers.  Minnick, on his campaign Twitter account, has 153 followers.   All three contenders have campaign pages on Facebook.  None of the men utilize blogging services, but Ward’s wife, Kirsten, authors a blog on his campaign site updating followers on the happenings of the campaign trail/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Do you expect the social media to have an impact in Idaho elections this year?