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Social Net Speech Is Protected? Not So Fast!

Steven Greenhouse, a writer with the New York Times, reports that many of the blanket restrictions on employee social network activity are illegal. There has not been any new legislation cited, but the National Labor Relations Board is simply applying old laws to new technology.

National Labor Relations Board

…workers have a right to discuss work conditions freely and without fear of retribution, whether the discussion takes place at the office or on Facebook.

So what does that mean?

In Greenhouse’s article, several cases of termination have been over-turned and forced employers to re-instate their former employees. Those cases correlated the nature of the termination to be against a worker’s right to discuss work conditions freely and without fear of retribution.

On the other hand, termination of employees who could not prove to the board that their infraction had been in fact, discussion of work conditions, were affirmed. Personal venting, being offensive or crude is not protected by the National Labor Relations Board.

Many view social media as the new water cooler,

said Mark G. Pearce, the board’s chairman, noting that federal law has long protected the right of employees to discuss work-related matters.

All we’re doing is applying traditional rules to a new technology.

It’s still a very slippery slope for both sides. Employers want to keep a good reputation, and employees want their rights of speech protected. Until further legislation moves forward, the safe bet is to be careful of what you say to whom you say it.

That’s called tact.

Click here to read the full article.

Readability; It’s Not Just for Writers

I grew up a colloquial writer. It was one of my favorite things to do; to write how people speak, to write how people think. Often times I believe that the words we are using have become ineffective, useless in this world of “txt u l8r” and those blog-writing jargon cannons, foaming at the keyboard.

After reading Sabina Idler‘s article: 8 Guidelines for Better Readability on the Web my faith in the lost art of “wordsmithing” was restored and my conviction never stronger. Okay, okay. It may not be that dramatic. But still, if you’re not paying attention to this list, then you’re not being effective with your content.

Here’s the lowdown:

  1. Choose Fonts Wisely
  2. Font Size & Line Spacing Are Important
  3. Use High Contrasts
  4. Keep Lines Short
  5. Keep Paragraphs Short
  6. Get Straight To The Point
  7. Don’t Use Jargon
  8. Use Highlights, Lists, and Images

Click here to read the full article.

No Matter How Big You Get, You’re Still Accountable

Scott Monty is no slouch. He’s the global head of social media at Ford Motor Company, and checking out his personal blog is the easiest way to get some insight into how the world of social media works.

Monty wrote an article about the the out-lash Instagram received after changing the wording in their privacy policy and terms of use.

The short version is simple:

Instagram gave its users the idea that it would be using their photographs for advertising without compensating them in any way. And the response from its users was a unanimous “Awww, heck no!” The anti-tin-foil-hat truth is, the language used in the changes was not much (if any) different than the other major social media sites. They can’t sell your photos outright. However, Instagram and its affiliates responded to maintain accountability for their actions.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom stated,

It was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear. To provide context, we envision a future where both users and brands alike may promote their photos & accounts to increase engagement and to build a more meaningful following. Let’s say a business wanted to promote their account to gain more followers and Instagram was able to feature them in some way. In order to help make a more relevant and useful promotion, it would be helpful to see which of the people you follow also follow this business. In this way, some of the data you produce — like the actions you take (eg, following the account) and your profile photo — might show up if you are following this business.

After careful consideration of the opinions and feelings of its user base, Instagram’s Systrom updated their blog days later,

Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work.

Like ’em, hate ’em, or indifferent, the company has at least let its users know that they are listening to feedback, and are continuing to find a middle ground that suits both parties’ interests. These actions confirm; no matter how big you get, you’re still accountable.

6 Big Myths About SEO

Michael Mothner, founder and CEO of Wpromote.com, writes an article to bring you up to speed on the what’s what of Google SEO. Chances are, what you think about how this behemoth scores data is outta date!

“In the world of online marketing, misinformation abounds–and it gets compounded exponentially by an incredibly dynamic and rapidly evolving world.”

  • Myth 1: Metatag Descriptions Help Your Rankings
  • Myth 2: The More Inbound Links, the Better
  • Myth 3: PageRank Still Matters
  • Myth 4: Google Prefers Keyword-Rich Domains
  • Myth 5: Websites Must Be ‘Submitted’ to Search Engines
  • Myth 6: Good SEO Is Basically About Trickery
Read the full article here.

Wpromote’s Mike Mothner Talks SEO on “Your Business” on MSNBC (Search Engine Optimization)

Why Running Ranking Reports Is a Fool’s Errand

Jill Whalen, from Highrankings.com, posts an article advocating a Galileo-type paradigm shift for most web professionals. Rankings do not matter. Search results are personalized by location, cookies, and previous browsing and search history. So, that means no matter what search ranking your SEO professional is reporting to you, there’s no way for anyone other than the person searching at the keyboard to see how the results unfold. Don’t buy into the “rankings!”

Why?

Because they don’t actually exist.

“The fact of the matter is that for many years there’s been no such thing as ‘a ranking.’ Oh, sure, there’s the ranking that a keyword had when someone clicked to a page of your site, but just because that page showed up #1 or #2 or #10 for one person doesn’t mean that anyone else saw your page in the same position in the search results. Someone else may have not seen your page show up at all.”

Read the full article on Highrankings.com