Protecting Your Online Reputation

our reputations are the most important possession that we have, we should write every post as though our mothers were watching over our shoulders. Remember, never put in writing anything that you wouldn’t say to someone face to face!

Feel free to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this pagePin on Pinterest

Guest blog by Jennifer Smith

We seldom think about our reputation when we post online. Nevertheless, with each forum or chat room, we are leaving footprints for everyone to see, and anyone can reach conclusions about us. They may or may not be true, but perception is reality in the minds of readers who cannot ask us questions.

It doesn’t take many posts on a politics board for people to determine our political beliefs. It is easy to determine that we are liberal or conservative after a few posts. It is also easy to determine how well we can deal with issues. We settle them in an agreeable manner, or we may begin calling names when others disagree with us. If a prospective employer sees a post in which we have called someone a liar in capital letters, he will think twice about hiring you.

With fewer than ten posts, a prospective employer can tell how we might react to disagreements in work situations. We cannot always hide behind our anonymity because someone may eventually discover our identities. How embarrassed would that make us feel when our friends know what we have posted? Are we going to post, “I don’t like working for that incompetent bum.”?

Online reputations are as important as our workplace reputations. We want people to think that we are honest, sincere, competent and intelligent. We also want them to know that we can admit being wrong and accept defeat gracefully. These are the traits that are possessed by people who have good interpersonal skills.

If we are operating an Internet business, our reputations reach a higher level. Any business that offers a service or product must be certain that the quality of the product or service is equal to or better than the price charged. When dealing with online customers, we should treat them as though meeting their needs is the most important thing we can do. If we are concerned about our online reputation, consult people in the industry like Michael Fertik, CEO of Reputation.com, who has extensive experience in protecting the reputations of Internet users. Not only does he provide suggestions for protecting our reputations, but he can also restore reputations that have been compromised on the Internet.

Since our reputations are the most important possession that we have, we should write every post as though our mothers were watching over our shoulders. Remember, never put in writing anything that you wouldn’t say to someone face to face!

Feel free to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this pagePin on Pinterest

15 Website Good Practice Principles

15 website development good practice principles.

Feel free to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this pagePin on Pinterest

Where would we be without serendipity? I was looking for some examples of agile development techniques and stumbled across this excellent post from Tom Loosemore (the man behind Gov.uk from Government Digital Services). I thought I’d repeat the post here, but the original is on Tom Loosemore’s blog, published 7th February, 2007. As relevant today as it was then; proof maybe that sound advice built on practical experience doesn’t diminish over time.

  1. Build web products that meet audience needs: anticipate needs not yet fully articulated by audiences, then meet them with products that set new standards. (sourced from Google)
  2. The very best websites do one thing really, really well: do less, but execute perfectly. (Sourced from Google, with a tip of the hat to Jason Fried)
  3. Do not attempt to do everything yourselves: link to other high-quality sites instead. Your users will thank you. Use other people’s content and tools to enhance your site, and vice versa.
  4. Fall forward, fast: make many small bets, iterate wildly, back successes, kill failures, fast.
  5. Treat the entire web as a creative canvas: don’t restrict your creativity to your own site.
  6. The web is a conversation. Join in: Adopt a relaxed, conversational tone. Admit your mistakes.
  7. Any website is only as good as its worst page: Ensure best practice editorial processes are adopted and adhered to.
  8. Make sure all your content can be linked to, forever.
  9. Remember your granny won’t ever use “Second Life”: She may come online soon, with very different needs from early-adopters.
  10. Maximise routes to content: Develop as many aggregations of content about people, places, topics, channels, networks & time as possible. Optimise your site to rank high in Google.
  11. Consistent design and navigation needn’t mean one-size-fits-all:Users should always know they’re on one of your websites, even if they all look very different. Most importantly of all, they know they won’t ever get lost.
  12. Accessibility is not an optional extra: Sites designed that way from the ground up work better for all users
  13. Let people paste your content on the walls of their virtual homes:Encourage users to take nuggets of content away with them, with links back to your site
  14. Link to discussions on the web, don’t host them: Only host web-based discussions where there is a clear rationale
  15. Personalisation should be unobtrusive, elegant and transparent:After all, it’s your users’ data. Best respect it.

 

 

Feel free to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this pagePin on Pinterest

Social Media Guidelines for Civil Servants

The Civil Service have published a set of guidelines for on-line participation by civil servants (blogging etc.). As Whitehall Webby Jeremy Gould notes, this is a much slimmed-down version of a weightier tome that has been in production behind the scenes, and which may appear as a set of more detailed operational guidelines for using social media/Web 2.0 tools.

The initiative is to be applauded, and I particularly like the succinctness of the guidelines, which is most un-civil service-like, but in keeping with the overall concept of agility and flexibility that one associates with the brave new world of Web 2.0.

The Power Of Information Task Force are seeking feedback on the guidelines. Have your say!

Feel free to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this pagePin on Pinterest

A guide to social media for organisations

The underground guide to social media in large organisations

A number of other bloggers have already picked up on this, including David Wilcox, but worth another mention here. Colin McKay, who works for the Canadian government has produced a handy little guide offering some tips on how to get social media accepted by large (e.g. Government) organisations.

Colin writes on the SoSaidThe.Organisation site:

“I think the advice in this 23 page guide to secretly implementing social media in organizations could be equally useful for any government employee looking to try out new technologies – I’m pretty certain on that point, since I’m a government employee in real life. You can find the guide at this link, and please feel free to share it with your friends, colleagues and bosses”.

Here’s an excerpt, from the introduction:

How do you do it? How do you bring a spirit of innovation and experimentation to the communications shop of a large organization?

I’ve worked in a large organization – the government – for the last ten years. You can find bright, creative and resourceful people around every corner, in every department.

During the course of their careers, many of these people have thought of a move that could improve their work or their environment.

From experience, we all know that small changes in process or presentation are easily won. After all, it’s just another line on an approval sheet, or a tweak on the website.

Large organizations can also be convinced to launch a large-scale overhaul of their systems – whether it’s a supply chain, assembly process or online order system.

But it’s a real pain to get them to rethink their relationship with humans outside the security fence. After all, our customer service reps seem to be doing a good job, right? That sales force really does have a handle on the needs of the community, doesn’t it?

In speaking to hundreds of workers and managers for large organizations (government and private sector), I’ve been asked the same questions, over and over:

  • How do you convince your boss to even experiment with social media?
  • Doesn’t it mean a lot of extra work?
  • Isn’t this sort of stuff blocked by our organizational policies?

This Secret Underground Guide to Social Media for Organizations is meant to help you answer some of those questions.

I liked the simple structure and practical tips that Colin provides in the guide. A ‘must read’ for anyone who feels constrained by organisational bureaucracy and office politics.

Feel free to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this pagePin on Pinterest

100 Banned Words – again!

For anyone who may have missed my earlier blog – published 12 December 2007 – about the
Local Government Association’s publication of 100 words that public bodies should not use if they want to communicate effectively with citizens – well, it seems this has sparked some heated debate (and vitriol) from readers of the IDeA site that carried the original article.

The LGA’s list of the tope 100 ‘non-words’ included tortuous vocabulary such ‘capacity building’, ‘improvement levers’, ‘place shaping’, and democratic mandate’, as well as the more benign ‘welcome’, ‘customer’ and ‘guidelines’.

A sample of some of the more heated exchange on this article includes:

Perhaps if the LGA concentrated more on such words rather than knocking up patronising lists like this, then people would take them seriously”, wrote another poster. “As it stands, the vast majority of the public and council officers take one look at the LGA and laugh.

Has there ever been a more patronising missive from the LGA?!?

Excuse me whilst I doff my cap m’lud! I’d call it claptrap but that’s probably a word “we wouldn’t understand“.
The Plain English campaign (sadly aided and abetted by the LGA in this instance), I am afraid, is fast becoming a murderer of the English language

The variety, complexity and richness of the language is, in their eyes it seems, something to denigrate in favour of a utlilitarian approach. How very, very sad. May I suggest the LGA concentrates on educating councillors, quite a few of whom are functionally illiterate themselves?

Pathetic, as a person who regulary communicates with the general populace I Ihave found them to be very intelligent and on one or two occassions more informed than I. I suggest the LGA should find better ways in which to spend their time/resources and stop finding jobs for the boys.

If you haven’t added your views to the original article I’m afraid it’s too late – the IDeA have closed the item for any further comments, but I’ll be happy to collect any other thoughts/views/comments and forward to the appropriate people at IDeA and LGA.

If anyone feels particularly motivated to do something practical to improve communication and understanding between public bodies who like to hide behind jargon, look no further than the Local Government Glossary wiki – an initiative that Dave Briggs and I started last year to encourage some on-line collaboration between local authorities in providing plain English descriptions for some of the more obscure terms used in the public sector. You need to register on Wikispaces if you want edit rights to the glossary.

Feel free to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this pagePin on Pinterest

100 Banned Words

Feel free to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this pagePin on Pinterest

Oops, missed this event in my ‘Days That Change The World’ diary, but apparently it was National Plain English Day yesterday, 11 December 2007. To mark the
occasion, the Local Government Association (LGA) published a list of
100 words that public bodies should not use if they want to communicate
effectively with local people.

Local government leaders say that unless councils talk to residents
in a language that they can understand, then the work they do becomes
inaccessible and reduces the chances of people getting involved in
their local issues. The list can be found here, but is replicated below. For anyone remotely familiar with ‘Govspeak’, this is a timely intervention by the Plain English lobby. It’s just a pity that something so obvious has to be published at all! (NB. Not quite sure why ‘welcome’ is on the list??)

The LGA’s top 100 ‘banned words’

  1. ambassador
  2. agencies
  3. beacon
  4. best practice
  5. bottom-up
  6. CAAs
  7. can do culture
  8. capacity
  9. capacity building
  10. cascading
  11. cautiously welcome
  12. champion
  13. citizen empowerment
  14. community engagement
  15. conditionality
  16. consensual
  17. contestability
  18. core message
  19. core value
  20. coterminosity
  21. coterminous
  22. cross-cutting
  23. customer
  24. democratic mandate/legitimacy
  25. distorts spending priorities
  26. early win
  27. empowerment
  28. engagement
  29. engaging users
  30. enhance
  31. evidence base
  32. external challenge
  33. facilitate
  34. fast-track
  35. flexibilities and freedoms
  36. framework
  37. fulcrum
  38. good practice
  39. governance
  40. guidelines
  41. holistic
  42. holistic governance
  43. improvement levers
  44. incentivising
  45. income/funding streams
  46. initiative
  47. joined up
  48. joint working
  49. LAAs
  50. level playing field
  51. localities
  52. meaningful consultation/dialogue
  53. MAAs
  54. menu of options
  55. multi-agency
  56. multidisciplinary
  57. outcomes
  58. output
  59. participatory
  60. partnerships
  61. pathfinder
  62. peer challenge
  63. performance network
  64. place shaping
  65. predictors of beaconicity
  66. preventative services
  67. priority
  68. process driven
  69. quick hit
  70. quick win
  71. resource allocation
  72. revenue streams
  73. risk based
  74. scaled-back
  75. scoping
  76. seedbed
  77. service users
  78. shared priority
  79. signpost
  80. single point of contact
  81. slippage
  82. social contracts
  83. stakeholder
  84. step change
  85. strategic/overarching
  86. streamlined
  87. subsidiary
  88. sustainable
  89. sustainable communities
  90. symposium
  91. synergies
  92. tested for soundness
  93. third sector
  94. top-down
  95. transformational
  96. transparency
  97. value-added
  98. vision
  99. visionary
  100. welcome
Feel free to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this pagePin on Pinterest

Responsibilities and Guidelines for Communities of Practice.

Feel free to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this pagePin on Pinterest

I was looking for some inspiration in putting together some guidelines, rules and policies for online communities of practice. Nancy White over at Full Circle Associates is always a good starting place for this sort of thing.  Here is another example. Feel free to use or elaborate on:

Responsibilities of Use

For many, participating in an on-line community maybe a new experience. In this particular community we hope you’ll be able to be honest, open and informal with each other, share experiences, ask and give advice, create new knowledge together through collaborative dialogue and provide examples of best practice. It wouldn’t be much of a community if you didn’t challenge each other’s ideas, assumptions and working practice either.

In order for us to collectively build such a place, where many of you may not previously have known each other, may never meet and be new to an on-line community, there are certain responsibilities you need to accept in order that a trusting and friendly atmosphere can be created and sustained. By logging into the system, members are agreeing to these responsibilities of use.

They are as follows:

This is a private community, treat everything within it as confidential
Without the non-verbal cues, please always assume good intent

  • Do not lie or give false information
  • Respect the opinions of other members
  • Do not use bad language
  • Do not "borrow" other people’s work without prior permission – where discussions are concerned, they are the property of all the participants
  • No advertising is permitted
  • Do not share people’s contact details with anyone outside the community unless prior permission is sought
  • Protect your password – the success of this community is based on its confidentiality
Feel free to share...Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInBuffer this pagePin on Pinterest