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The Illusion Of Free

The Illusion of FREE

Facebook has over 2,000,000,000 active users reported in the first quarter of 2018. Two billion users. There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you do have a Facebook account. In the light of scandals that reach the light of day when it comes to Facebook’s practices, it’s hard to feel safe and secure when using that platform. Facebook claims it’s free to use for all. But is it, really. Let’s just say you don’t pay with money…  Read more

Sometimes You Really Need A Private Social Network

Imagine that you’re on your way out of your therapist’s office. The elevator opens and the person waiting by the door gives you a double-look. You’ve never seen them before. You don’t know them. But they know your name, who you work for, what school you want to, the details of your recent break-up, your struggles with an eating disorder, and of course the fact that you’re seeing a therapist to get your life back in order. Read more

Private Social Networks: Three Case Studies

There’s a wide variety of reasons why people might want to start their own social network; privacy is a dominant one. Whatever you’re interested in keeping safe, from your children to data about how you use the internet, smaller social networks can be a very appealing option. Here’s three popular private social networks, to show you just how viable they can be in today’s market, and some of the ways you can utilise plugins like PeepSo. Read more

Social Media by Numbers: What You Need to Know

At a glance, it might look like Facebook is your only option if you want to effectively incorporate social networking into your business’ online marketing strategy; but that’s simply not true. Here’s some facts and figures you should know about social media in 2015, and which might help show you just how relevant and profitable a niche, privately hosted social network could be. Read more

“Facebook Zero”: The Decline of Organic Reach

You have 8000 followers on Facebook, and need to post an important announcement about your business; maybe your office hours have changed, or you need beta testers for a new version of your product. How many people would you expect that post to reach, without paying for it to be boosted? According to a study done by Social@Ogilvy, you’re likely to reach 480 – a measly six percent. Larger pages (with followers in the hundreds of thousands) have their numbers slashed even more – to around 2 percent of their total followers. They anticipate that eventually, the average reach for most business pages will drop to zero. Read more

“Digital Kidnapping:” The Rise of a Disturbing Trend

Social media roleplays are an online game in the same family as fanfiction and cosplay; users will create settings and characters, create social media accounts for them, and then play out relationships and events as those characters. Sometimes they play as established characters from television and film; other times, they extend existing fantasy universes. Where new characters have been invented, tradition dictates that they’ll choose a celebrity who fits their vision of what the character looks like, and use public domain photos of that celebrity where images are required or desired. These games have become so popular that players have to apply to take part; game organisers will ask a set of questions, and select the person they think will play best. For the most part, it’s harmless, creative fun; but recently, it’s taken a darker turn as people have started playing using photographs of “real” people, stolen from their social media profiles. It’s not quite catfishing, as players will usually make it clear that they’re role playing (by putting “RP account” in their description), but it can be equally distressing to the people whose photos are being used to represent a character they have no control over. Read more

Social Networking, Privacy and Constructing Identity

Facebook is, for the most part, not a particularly good representation of what people’s lives are really like; their profiles represent how they *want* to be perceived. A happy marriage, a busy social life, an image constructed through careful filtering of content.

But what happens when the image we want to portray to our personal connections doesn’t match up to what we want to send out to our professional ones? That profile picture of you and your partner at a festival covered in mud might make for a great anecdote and paint your life the way you want your friends to see it, but it’s not going to look so great to your customers or a prospective employer. You may be out and proud to your friends and family with your religion, sexuality, veganism etc, but don’t want your co-workers to judge you (or even worse, fire you) based on those attributes. If you work in the justice system, you probably don’t want people you’ve sent to jail knowing your daughter’s name or what suburb you live in.

Image via cambodia4kidsorg on Flickr.

Image via cambodia4kidsorg on Flickr.

People navigate these issues in a variety of ways; some will create two profiles, one for work and one for family and friends. Switching between accounts can be time consuming, and not everyone will get the message about which profile they should add. Some will carefully filter content and adjust their privacy settings to make sure that only certain people are seeing certain content; but this can be restrictive in terms of letting old friends find you, or letting people share content (eg, photos that they’re also in). Others decide it’s just too difficult, and the risks outweigh the benefits of belonging to a large social network.

Smaller, privately owned social networks are a great way forward if you want to keep the different parts of your life separate. Want to share things with just family, and not worry about anyone else finding your profile? Set up your own little corner of the web. Need a space where you can connect with your clients, and have complete control over what they see, and how they interact with you? A private social network keeps your work and personal lives completely separate. And further, when it’s your own social network, you understand what “private” really means. You know exactly who is on the network, and how they can find you; plus, PeepSo’s own privacy policy is crystal clear.

BuddyPress To PeepSo Migration Tool

PeepSo to Buddy Press Migration Tool

PeepSo to Buddy Press Migration Tool

One of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received since releasing PeepSo is whether we have an easy way to migrate BuddyPress to PeepSo.

Why, yes. Yes, we do!

PeepSo Migrate is a migrator plugin that will move your data from BuddyPress to PeepSo. It’s super-easy to use.

Just install the plugin, click the button, and watch the magic happen.

Note that the Migrator only moves the data within the same WordPress installation. So you can’t use it to migrate BuddyPress from http://sampledomain1.com to http://sampledomain2.com. But you weren’t
planning to do that anyway, were you?

If you’ve wanted to give PeepSo a try but were afraid you’d lose your BuddyPress content, you’ve got nothing to worry about. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s a video that shows how the migrator works:

Steps:

  1. Make sure that BuddyPress is installed and working.
  2. Install PeepSo and any supporting plugins you want.
  3. Install the Migrator.
  4. Open the Migrator.
  5. Click the ‘Start Migration’ button.
  6. Confirm that you want to migrate data.
  7. Stroke the cat while the data flies into PeepSo.
  8. Done!

Which Data Is Migrated?

  • Users
  • Uploaded user avatars
  • User friends
  • Notifications
  • Messages
  • Posts
  • Comments

What Data Is Not Migrated?

Data for features that PeepSo does not currently support, such as groups, cannot be migrated. Once we add those features, we will add them to the migrator as well. For the Migrator to move data such as User Friends and Messages, the FriendSo and MsgSo plugins must be installed with PeepSo.

How Long Does The Migration Take?

That depends on how much content you have on BuddyPress. We tested it with a community of over 2,500 users and more than 15,000 activities. It took us about four minutes. A larger community with about 1000 users and 60,000 activities can be migrated in about 11 minutes. That should be just enough time to make your cat purr. If you don’t have a cat, it’s enough time to make a cup of coffee.

What If I Already Have Some Content In Peepso?

The Migrator will delete all your existing PeepSo content, so don’t use it if you have anything you’ll miss.

The BuddyPress Migrator is totally free and available from the backend of WordPress. Go to Plugins > Add new and search for ‘PeepSo’.

BuddyPress To PeepSo Migration Tool listing in WP plugins directory.

BuddyPress To PeepSo Migration Tool listing in WP plugins directory.

Give it a try today and create an amazing community with PeepSo!

See the listing of the plugin on the official directory of WordPress plugins, just click here.

 

What Everyone Can Learn From The Ashley Madison Hack

In July this year, a group of hackers claimed that Ashley Madison, a site designed to facilitate affairs between married individuals, retained users’ data even after they’d paid 19 dollars to have it completely scrubbed from the database. They released a small sample of the data they claimed to have stolen, and said they would release the rest of it if Avid Life Media, the owner of the site, didn’t take it (and its companion site, Established Men) down. Avid Life Media said it was a bluff, and Ashley Madison stayed up.

ashleymadison

Today, a 10GB torrent file was released on the dark web with the following statement:

“Avid Life Media has failed to take down Ashley Madison and Established Men. We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data.

Find someone you know in here? Keep in mind the site is a scam with thousands of fake female profiles. See ashley madison fake profile lawsuit; 90-95 per cent of actual users are male. Chances are your man signed up on the world’s biggest affair site, but never had one. He just tried to. If that distinction matters.

“Find yourself in here? It was ALM that failed you and lied to you. Prosecute them and claim damages. Then move on with your life. Learn your lesson and make amends. Embarrassing now, but you’ll get over it.”

A number of sources have claimed the validity of the data; Per Thorsheim, a security researcher, was able to confirm the validity of some of the details included in the dump (his own, from a profile he created while researching dodgy dating sites, and that of one of his sources). He was also able to verify that other information in the file matched up to users he’d viewed while investigating the site. Microsoft MVP for Developer Security Troy Hunt said that there are too many things in the file that couldn’t have been faked – or would have required an enormous amount of effort to fabricate.

While it would be easy to see the moral of this story as “don’t cheat on your spouse”, it also highlights just how careless people can be with handing over their personal data. 73% of people admit to not reading website terms and conditions before handing over their email address, if not their full name, date of birth and other valuable data. Of those who do read the terms, only 17% say they understand them.

When you’re signing up for an online product or service, you should ask yourself the following questions:

1. Why do they need the data I’m handing over?

2. What are they going to do with that data (including, but not limited to, how long will they be keeping it in their system)?

3. How would I feel if this data were released to the public (by the website, or one of its users)?

For the most part, handing over your credit card details to a website that’s planning to store them for future use (eg, ongoing automatic billing) isn’t a huge issue; if your card details get released, you cancel the card and hope you don’t end up out of pocket. If your name, date of birth, address and/or phone number are posted, you might run into some issues with stalkers or identity theft (the likelihood of that depends on your profession). If there’s something you don’t want your friends and family knowing about (your sexuality, gender identity, hobbies), think carefully about who’s on your friends list (because you never know who might take a screenshot), make sure you understand your intellectual property rights, and if you really don’t want anyone seeing your posts, messages or knowing you’ve bought a particular product or service…maybe it’s better to avoid it altogether.

Ashley Madison lied to its users, and asking for 19USD to completely scrub a user’s details (whether they did it or not) is very thinly veiled extortion. For the most part, asking yourself the above questions will help you keep your information safe online; particularly if you belong to a private social network, where you know the owners/moderators and can trust them to remove your data if you ask them to.

 

Turning Brands into Communities

In his book How Brands Become Iconsmarketing theorist Douglas B. Holt puts forward that you need three types of consumers to sustain your brand; followers, insiders and feeders. Followers are people who connect with the brand’s story, and incorporate it into their own sense of identity (think people who’ve grown up drinking Coke and feel a loyalty to the brand, people who choose to drink Heineken because their father did). Insiders are people who influence other people to buy (the cool kids at school, people who are “famous” on mainstream social media). Feeders use the brand to say something about themselves (people who choose Android to seem less “mainstream” than Apple users), and are the most fickle as they tend to abandon the brand as soon as it’s no longer socially relevant to them. 

logos-brandingIf we take Holt’s suggestion to be true (which, given his experience and credentials, we probably should), incorporating a private, self-hosted social network into your marketing strategy can be an important step toward long-term success.

Private social networks are ideal for followers. By creating your own social network, you’re encouraging and fostering the idea that your brand is something they’re a part of. For people who feel (or are inclined to feel) that a brand is part of their identity, something they’ve fully embraced, social networking is a great way to connect with others who feel the same way and want to share about their experiences.

Insiders are the Pied Pipers of marketing; people follow them because they want to be wherever they are, regardless of the destination. If an insider recommends your site or product, you might see a short-term spike in visitors and sales. If an insider joins your social network, their followers will likely join as well and once they start participating in the conversation, you have a much better chance of converting them to loyal, long-standing customers.

Feeders use brands to make statements; and if they’re part of your social network, that’s a much more powerful statement than just using your product. You’re creating a space in which they can fully explore the reasons they’re choosing to use your product or service, and the part of their identity it affirms.

On top of catering to all three groups, having your own social network is the ideal way to identify which of these categories your (prospective) buyers fall into, and which you’ll need more of to sustain your brand over time. You’ll get much clearer information and insights than you would from a page on one of the mainstream social networks; people won’t be swayed by how they want to be perceived by family and friends they’ve added on Facebook, and there’s no algorithms that will prevent people from interacting simply because your post didn’t show up in their newsfeed.

In short: having your own social network is one of the best things you can do to cultivate the audience you need for your brand’s long-term success.