Sharing is a wonderful thing, and is what fuels social media marketing. But an incident that happened last night reminded me of a basic, and very reasonable, worry. The nutshell of what happened is that a local business shared a photo of their unique architecture. It was quite striking.
One of the things I like to do for local businesses is to share items from their newsfeed in order to offer support. And that was exactly what I did.
About a half hour later I had a message come through from the photographer. She was delighted I liked the photo, but wanted to make it clear that it was copyrighted.
We had a very nice exchange, and she relaxed once she knew why I was sharing it.
A couple of realizations came from this.
One is that neither businesses, nor individuals, have quite come to terms with the fact that business has come to Facebook. It is almost as natural as breathing to share photos with a friend, and then those friends share it again. But in everyone's mind, that is just amongst friends.
With businesses the game changes. Sharing is still the name of the game - activity being a necessity on a business page, but it is no longer just amongst friends.
The only suggestion I have for this is based on material being shared to a business owner/staff's personal page. If that happens I would recommend asking permission before it is shared.
However, items are usually added to business page (unless the privacy settings are set to keep items from being added to the Timeline). Once that happens there is little to be done. And with the reduced size of the image there is little chance of a high quality download. So, if the photograph is copyrighted there is little chance of someone actually being able to "steal" a good copy.
The other realization was that I personally needed to look into safeguards. This is particularly true as I put the final touches on the virtual gallery, Creative Pulse. There is going to be Facebook publicity for the site, and I wanted to make sure I had protected the artists' material to the best of my ability.
The first things I learned is that most of the Facebook/photo tips no longer seem valid. After I had read several articles I went back to Facebook to test their accuracy.
The common belief is that you can go to "Photos" and change the "public" settings on photos. You can't.
The other belief is that only "Friends" can download your photos. I tested this with a couple of business sites that I had not "liked," and a couple of random people who were not "friends."
The "download" showed up on all of their photos and albums.
So far the simplest means of protecting your photographs and images is to reduce their size before loading them to Facebook.
Though, for professional photographs, there are means of adding your name or watermark.
As for Creative Pulse I have turned off the "copy" ability on the website, and will make sure that publicity images are reduced.
Recently I overheard a conversation while I was at a dinner, and during the course of the meal the conversation managed to cover both the uses and liabilities of social media. The over-dependence on social media in this particular case had caused hard feelings amongst friends. This "why"was being discussed in length by my table partners. The lament was that some had been invited to a party, and some hadn’t.
It turned out that their friend had only used Facebook’s “Events” to notify everyone. He had not calculated that some were not daily Facebook users, and if they were, that they didn’t check the notifications.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was a woman who admitted she usually didn’t know where her daughter was. And in order to keep track of the girl her mother would call the girl’s aunt. The reason the woman’s sister was in the “know” was because she kept an eye on Facebook and Twitter, since she had children of her own.
The woman’s excuse was, “I don't pay much attention to Facebook.”
It all comes down to social media being a communication tool.
And with all tools there are times when it needs to be used in concert with other tools. When having a party, or a meeting, it needs to be kept in mind that not everyone is going to be checking their social media. Invitations and announcements also need to be put out in either paper form, or email; along with social media reminders.
Yet, on the other hand, social media is a powerful tool. There shouldn’t be a disdain for it just because it’s “just” social media. This holds particularly true for parents. Parents need to stay aware of popular trends in social media, and know how their children are communicating. It has been noted that with a teenager a “tweet” is rarely ever left unread.
This time around I am going to focus on public opinion and communication. Letter writing has always played a huge role in the spread of public opinion, with an example of this being during the heydays of immigration. In A True Picture of Emmigration, by Rebecca Burlend, the author told how her husband listened for news of letters coming from America. Then he would go and hear what was said of conditions in the U.S.. Nor can the power of the coffee and chocolates houses be forgotten - as those gathering places were where politics and popular opinion were vehemently discussed.
Jumping ahead to today, and particularly to the oft-bemoaned fact that everyone has their nose in their smart phones and tablets. And while I will admit that I too bemoan this on occasion it also cannot be ignored. Or, it might be better to say, "It is risky to ignore."
The forums for public opinion have changed, and become lightening fast....
......Pictures of a restraurant dinner on Facebook are usually sent with a comment.....
......Bored people, waiting in line, having nothing better than to Tweet their status......
Basically opinions of businesses and services fly with the speed of thought.
And businesses can only ignore this at their risk.
If you don't "hear" what is being said then you cannot highlight the praise, or show solid customer service, if there was a problem. Nor can a business afford to focus on just one "window" into the thoughts of their customers, because their clients may use a Tweet one day, or a FB post the next. Or they may be on a tablet, and writing a longer review on Google Plus.
Cathy Mosley brings her 26 years of storytelling and writing experience to the realm of Social Media. To help small businesses.