4978709667_edfdce7b2a_zSocial media was burning up last week over the Iraq war exaggerations of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.

Williams is being pilloried and lampooned in equal measure because he lied or exaggerated, depending on how judgmental you are, about his involvement in an Iraq war firefight.

In the days before social media and 24 hour news cycles, Williams’ story would likely have occupied our minds for a few days in the papers, maybe been the butt of a few late night talk show monologue jokes, and likely been quickly forgotten.

Today in the glare of the unforgiving social media spotlight, his long and distinguished career is being defined by this one moment, reduced to hashtags on Twitter and Facebook memes.

Williams’ foibles have been splashed across the Internet for all to scrutinize and will now live forever in Google and Wikipedia.

Surely, Williams made a mistake or two, but It seems a shame to me that all the good things he’s done in his long career will fade to black and the great Internet filter will leave us with the distilled version — his very public shaming — and nothing more.

I don’t watch television news. Brian Williams probably wouldn’t have entered my consciousness, or dare I say that of many of the same folks damning him or having a bit of Internet fun at his expense, but today all we know him as is that guy who lied about his time in Iraq.

And that’s a pretty sad testament to the state of the Internet in 2015.

Today it’s Brian Williams who is the latest victim of social media roulette, but it could be any of us having our mistakes spread across the world.

Before you take too much glee in his misfortune, remember that there but for the grace of social media go you.

Photo Credit: Anfuehrer on Flickr. Used under CC 2.0 license.


5761539779_ae7959face_oBy now you’ve probably heard that Facebook released a limited version of its enterprise social product today. I talked to a bunch of people about the implications of this release and what Facebook is up against as it tries to take on the enterprise. http://tcrn.ch/1yl6JWa




Guest post by Ivan Serrano

It’s three in the afternoon. You’re feeling a bit drowsy and bored, so you log on to Facebook  and peer into the lives of your friends. Maybe you follow a link to Instagram and look at pictures  posted from someone’s recent holiday, or maybe you sign on to your Linkedin account to see if  anyone is advertising your dream job.

This is how many people consume their social media, but that may be changing. One of the game changers is Google Plus, formerly Google’s second-hand version of Facebook. Google  is now using Plus to incorporate social signals into their search results, meaning that you can simultaneously improve your content’s visibility and its search engine optimization. Plus is also rapidly gaining users. It has recently seen a growth rate of about 39% per year and  many of its users are industry influencers. Plus is dynamic and is already being integrated with Google’s vast email and cloud computing infrastructure which makes it easy and convenient to use.

Interested in ramping up your presence on Plus? Check out the infographic below which  provides recent user statistics and information on how Plus works. There are also tips on how  to gain influential followers, what types of content to publish and how to increase the visibility of  that content.


Benefits of Google Plus Infographic

 Ivan Serrano is an infographic specialist from the Golden State. He enjoys writing about social media and technology. You can follow him on Twitter at @ivanserrano55.


Beautiful, colorful, delicious looking tomato salad.The other day on Twitter, I came across a story about restaurants banning photo taking. My first thought was, that this was short-sighted, especially in a business like food service where word of mouth can make or break you.

The writer suggested that taking a moment to snap a photo and share it which literally takes seconds with today’s tools would leave the food cold and chef grumpy. I’m not sure why that would be the case so long as they put the phone away and start eating and don’t sit there and text and share other things for 10 minutes afterward.

As for the Chef being grumpy, why ever for? If people are sharing pictures of his food and telling their friends where they are eating, this isn’t a reason for consternation –quite the opposite. The chef as a small business owner should be thrilled people are talking about his restaurant in a positive way on the social internet.

If I owned a restaurant, I would put up sign that said my business welcomes pictures and feel free to share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter or wherever you like. I would leave instructions on how to access my accounts and I would encourage patrons to friend and follow us.

Now, I understand people don’t like a table full of people staring at their phones the entire meal, and I’ve seen this, but quickly sharing your picture? I don’t see a big deal and from a business perspective, this is pure gold.

Whatever your small or medium size business may be, a restaurant, a real estate brokerage, a law firm or a mobile app design shop; you want people talking about you on social networks and if they are doing it spontaneously just seeing your products, all the better.

Social media mentions are like free advertising. How have we always chosen the companies we do business with? We have asked friends. In the days before the social internet, we might have picked up the phone or asked at parties or wherever we happened to get together.

When our friends mention these businesses on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and other places, it is the equivalent of giving a tacit recommendation to their friends. I’m eating at this restaurant and I love it so much, I’m taking a picture of my delicious meal and I’m sharing it with you. Don’t you wish you were here too?

I can understand some of the social media and smartphone backlash, but as a business owner you really don’t want to get into the business of policing your customers and dictating what they can’t and can’t do with their devices unless it’s creating a serious distraction for some reason like talking loudly on the phone and disturbing other customers.

Short of that though, you should absolutely embrace social media because you couldn’t ask for better publicity without paying a penny. Your customers become your brand ambassadors and that should be the goal of every SMB.

Photo Credit: “Breville Fave Food Shot” by Breville USA. Used under CC 2.0 Attrbution license.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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