Monthly Archives: November 2009

Aggregation versus content theft

I know many bloggers face this, and it seems some of my content became the victim once again.  Much is due to the inherent nature of RSS and the multitude of automation tools available to grab these feeds and make posts from them.  I do this myself for SpikedStudio Productions, the new podcast network, but the feeds are either mine to begin with or authorized content.

Once before I had content taken from EverythingTwitter and republished.  The author of that blog responded promptly and sent a wonderful apology letter explaining that they were unaware of how the plugin was working and posting the content without attribution to the source.

However, it has struck once again.  I noticed it a few weeks ago on a new site that was registered June 15 2009 under the name with the registrant/administrative and technical contact being in England.  The site itself was registered in Jun of 2009, and content started appearing soon after.

With the current tools available for aggregation, it is tempting to take non-attributed and linked content for easy republication.  This moves beyond aggregation and into copyright issues.

Bloggers work hard for unique and valuable content, and often rush to be the first to have an article posted on a subject.  With this comes the responsibility of finding the right sources to give you ideas and generate topics, not a full copy/paste or import.

Some sites have taken a firm stance on how to deal with someone on their service that might have copyright material, like Blogger by Google.  While those of us that find content on self hosted servers do not have much leverage except to ask first.

So I turned to some sites that offer suggestions and advice on how bloggers can protect their content.  Plagiarism Today had 5 steps each blogger should take to protect content.  I suggest we all get to reading.  DailyBlogTips also had 12 Do’s and Don’t to follow which were good to add to the list.

Finally the place where I go to begin to even grasp how to blog effectively, ProBlogger and his excellent articles.  Including this one on protecting your content.

Do Teachers Have More Responsibility on Facebook?

We hold school teachers to higher standards across not only their performance, but in their social appearance both in and out of school.  Throughout history, teachers were looked upon as role models.  In today’s society, the retiring rate of older teachers is upon us and younger ones are entering the workforce.  With this comes advancements in technology, including social networking.

So how do we relate their personal, out of school (offline) time against their school time?  What are the standards for their usage and participation in social networks both in and out of school?

Ashley Payne, a teacher in Burrow County, Georgia has become our level set in recent days.  You can search and find many resources on the story, but in summary from them all:

  • She worked for the district for two years
  • She had a Facebook page
  • She had pictures of beer and/or wine shown
  • There was some expletive also shown

It was also stated, in quotes from her, that this was taken in Europe on a trip other staff was also participating in.  She was not seen physically drinking in any of the pictures either.

“I visited the Guinness Brewery, I went to Italy and had wine. I went to the Temple Bar District of Dublin and drank some alcohol there like any normal adult would,” said Payne.


Payne and her friends took pictures at various places across Europe. A few pictures showed her with a glass of beer or wine.

“They’re not even of me drinking the drinks and I don’t look like I’m intoxicated in any way or doing anything provocative or inappropriate,” Payne said. “I visited the Guinness Brewery, I went to Italy and had wine. I went to the Temple Bar District of Dublin and drank some alcohol there like any normal adult would,” said Payne.


Payne and her friends took pictures at various places across Europe. A few pictures showed her with a glass of beer or wine.


“They’re not even of me drinking the drinks and I don’t look like I’m intoxicated in any way or doing anything provocative or inappropriate,” Payne said.

So where does the line blur between the personal life of an educator and the professional appearance?  Should all teachers be required to never post on social networks?  Should all teachers have stricter privacy settings on who can see their data?  Should school districts have well defined polices on participation in social networking?

Another blog posting  from AJC goes into more detail on the expletive utilized, stating that the teacher mentioned her attending a bingo function that happened to have the “B word” in the title of one of the games, which she found funny and posted.

Without going into her suing the district and why (see article above), apparently the school had a policy which did address the exact reason she was questioned about the content.

Barrow has a policy that states employees can be investigated and disciplined for postings on Web sites that contain provocative photographs, sexually explicit messages, use of alcohol, drugs or anything students are prohibited from doing. And the policy allows for termination for such transgressions

If a teacher is of legal age, does the district have the right to compare an activity of a teacher outside of school against what a student can legally do (alcohol consumption) at any time?  I would say that is not a term of employment as long as the teacher does not indulge before arriving or during employment, which includes school activities.

Teachers have an expectation of privacy except when sharing data across the social networks.  Deciding on whom to share data with and what shows in your public profile was something she clearly did not anticipate.  Also, allowing people to tagyou in photos (see our other posts on Facebook privacy) could expose your information beyond the reach of your immediate trusted circle.

Protecting your online identity is more than making sure no one speaks negatively of you.  It is also about controlling what information is shown or shared and how it could adversely affect you in employment, schooling and even relationships later.

How Twitter got lists wrong – issue #3

Finding an authority for the lists I want to follow seems to be a huge effort.  Of course, you always go back to those you already follow, as you consider them authorities in some way already.  So you browse the lists they have created, but the remainder out there are ignored.  I talked briefly about this on Episode 23 of TheSocialGeeks and wanted to go more in depth.

Say I am looking for a list on the top social media people/companies to follow.  Where would you turn?  How would you begin your search?  I would start with a trusted social media person themselves to see what lists they created.  Then I would start following that list.  Done.  However, the person that created the list is not on the list since they cannot add themselves.  A break in the whole idea.  Here is one more example.  I follow the PR person that has been tweeting at company A for a long time with great content.  To allow themselves to show in a list for their company, they create a new account that will make a list to include everyone that tweets from the company, including themselves.  But how does everyone find that list from some unknown, or not yet followed, Twitter id?  Listorious?  No, a great sit but not the source the average user would find.

Need another example?  Wayne Sutton said it best.  He created a list for all the speakers at the SocialMediaBusinessForum using the SMBF Twitter account, that he also tweets under.  So we can follow the speakers but not the SMBF id itself on the list now.  Got it?

So the only true way to create a complete list, and have it found, it for the trusted authorities in the Twitterverse all create the lists that would never include themselves.  I created a list for the Atlanta Social Media Club. This means I got their main SMC account and all the officers in a single list and as an officer of the St Louis Club, I might be considered an authority.

UPDATE: I think I found a way!!  After creation of the list itself, you go back to your own profile page in Twitter.  From there the icon to say what lists that account will show in is active.  You can then click down and add yourself to any list!

Making Google Dashboard better

Last week I discussed the launch of Google Dashboard and some of the expectations I had and what it turned out to be.  As I sat back and listened to some other podcasts and read articles that covered it also, I noticed there was something simple Google could have done to take the experience further.

Google could have allowed you to quickly and easily build an iGoogle dashboard out of the components that were listed.  The user could have selected which components to add and then used the existing drag-and-drop capability to organize the features.

So what makes this important?  It drives you to utilize Google more as a daily dashboard keeping you inside their product set.  Every company that makes any type of dashboard application wants you to stay within their interface boundaries.

Developers are constantly writing these in different ways, but we always find ourselves going back to Google for services, search and more.  Why not capitalize on our drive to use the products by giving us one-click dashboards based on how we already use your service?