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Facebook Parenting: Some Realities, Some Viewpoints

In case you haven’t seen it yet, you’d better watch it first. This video does not belong to me, I’m merely posting the URL so you can access it from the owner’s channel. Please also know that explicit language was used in the video, so watch with care.

Whether you are a parent or a troubled teen, this video has most likely sent a strong message to you. But I will not discuss parenting issues here, since there are probably hundreds of response videos, forums and threads already talking about this video and debating whether it was right for the father to do what he did. I have a stand regarding the father’s actions, but that will not be the focus of this post. Instead, I will talk about how all of this could have been prevented in the first place.

I’ve always talked about the responsible use of social media and the dangers of its abuse. Looking at the situation that was presented in the video, all of this could have been averted had the teen simply ranted offline. Whatever her situation could have been, I believe that it was a misstep to post a lengthy and emotional post that targets her parents. Facebook is about social interaction, but what most people often forget is that there are certain aspects of their lives that need to remain private. I doesn’t matter who was right or wrong, all that matters is that people whose business lie elsewhere should not be made to see private issues like domestic problems.

My critique applies to both sides of the coin, the father, in turn, should not have retaliated in the way he did. I’m not talking about shooting the laptop – he can chop it to pieces and eat it for all I care. What he should not have done, in my opinion, is post the video of his disciplinary action on the internet for 21 million and counting to see. This is, as I said above, a private and domestic problem, and other people should rather be made to mind their own business. Every parent has an inherent right to do whatever he/she deems necessary to maintain his/her children’s discipline. But we must understand that sharing a disciplinary action on the internet may have side effects that can detriment a child’s growth.

Shoot the laptop of a spoiled and ungrateful child? Yes. But subject that child to the embarrassment of being disciplined in front of millions of YouTube viewers? No. I commend the father’s desire to break his daughter’s horns, but I condemn his posting of the video – which I believe is simply driven by revenge. If a teen posts something stupid on the internet, it is because they do not know better. But if an adult does the same thing, it is not as easy to understand.

I am not a parent. I merely grew up with my parents disciplining me and sometimes embarrassing me in front of my friends whenever I do something wrong. I do not know if my views regarding the father’s actions were truly the best perspective, but I respect his decision nonetheless and I hope he continues to care for and love his daughter in the way he does now. I only wish that this video serves as a lesson to all parents and teenagers – that family matters are not for the world to see, and that Facebook, YouTube or any other site is not the best place to settle these kinds of things.

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Change: you can, you should

It’s a whole new year and I figured that it is about time that I added to this sleeping blog. I’ve been a little occupied with schoolwork recently so forgive my extended hiatus.

There are many themes that emerge during the new year: hope, peace, luck…and the most common and reused: change. Many people associate new beginnings with change, perhaps because beginnings are usually associated with something different or new. Change is inevitable,  and through it we have reached the heights (or depths) that we have now.

Change can come in many forms and ranges from simple choice about what new brand of soap to use to decisions that will define one’s life. It is not always planned, in fact, sometimes it just comes without warning. Changes are not always easy to accept, and the decisions often associated with them are difficult to make. One thing is for sure though, change is ever occurring, and will come whether you welcome it or not.

If you think that the choice you have to make with every change is difficult, try to imagine the kind of decisions corporations have to consider in order to address change. A recent discussion I had with one of my Japanese students rekindled my concerns for the electronics giant Sony. For the fourth straight year, the Japanese company has posted losses. Analysts attribute these losses with the rough global economy, a strong Yen and the myriad of natural disasters that have occurred recently.

My student, however, had a different take on the matter. While the previous setbacks have hampered the company’s competitive edge, he believed that the real reason behind the company’s losses was the very philosophy of Sony in the making of its products. I am inclined to agree with this perspective, as the economic downturn has affected most if not all of Sony’s competitors as well, and yet some of them were not as devastated by it. The March 11, 2011 earthquake and the Thailand floods both came fairly recently; the company has been losing revenue long before these happened. The brand’s products, while still maintaining the high quality that is esteemed for, has failed to engage the new market environment that has emerged in the recent years. The big question is: why?

According to my student, Sony’s TV line has maintained its adherence as a premium brand, and it prides itself with producing top-of-the-line products that emphasize durability and quality. Although these qualities are what many consumers look for in their products, this philosophy may not be applicable in the current consumer electronics paradigm.

Technology, more specifically consumer electronics technology, has been on steroids in the past decade. Electronics companies shell out new versions or iterations of similar products every year; not because they are trying to exploit the consumer, but because the technology is changing so fast that it is necessary to phase out older products in order to remain competitive. Unlike real estate and automobiles, electronic gadgets or appliances are relatively inexpensive, and as such, the typical consumer can more easily purchase new ones more often.

While Sony does try to keep up with this paradigm, it has admittedly slowed down in its innovations as opposed to its many competitors. Features that were supposed to make their brand unique are often released too late in that other companies have developed similar or superior features on their products. In addition to this, the company does not fully exploit its broad selection of products and services by not having enough interdependence among them. Sony has a lot to learn from Apple’s integration of its entire product line.

The final flaw in Sony’s approach to getting a better market share is that most of its products are often mediocre when compared to its more affordable counterparts. There are few points that make most of its products stand out, and for this reason many of the consumers do not feel the worth of a premium price. While some of its AAA products feature aesthetics and functions that are outstanding, there are not too many people who can afford a $30,000 TV.

For the company to survive and recover from its losses, Sony must understand that there is a need to change its approach when it comes to the development of its products. Times have changed, the market has changed and the paradigm has shifted. Many lessons can be learned from its many, many competitors and the company needs to avoid making the same mistakes that its rivals make (3DS vs PS Vita release prices). Quality has always been part of their identity, but in the age of fast-moving products, Sony must also address the speed of the technology’s growth while it strives to maintain its image as an electronics manufacturer that has quality worthy of a premium.

Can you keep a secret?

In today’s internet world where socializing has become a habit and information spreads so fast that it’s considered old after a couple of hours, it is often considered a crime not to know and not to tell. With social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, there is a sense of urgency to view new content as soon as possible because you would probably miss it or be left out in a discussion. With the sea of information uploaded in real time, there’s a good chance that missing out for a few hours will get your friend’s relationship update to the very bottom of your news feed and only reach you again when its trending – much to you shock and amazement.

But what about information that you or your company doesn’t want to share? We’ve often heard of several stories on the internet about scandalous pictures, trade secrets and information somehow leaking out and wreaking havoc on someone’s reputation and career. As a matter of fact, we have the entire entertainment industry making large sums of cash on the “intricate” personal lives of celebrities. You would think that this couldn’t happen to you, being a regular John Doe or Juan working for company X, but it does happen.

 

Personal Secrets

Sure, it’s not as sensational and publicly known as the Tiger Woods or Kim Kardashian scandals, but negative publicity can hurt you too, simply because news about you matters to the people around you. In fact, news or gossip about someone your personally know affects you more than those who you just see on TV. Several studies, and even common sense have proven that the greater your affinity for a person, the more interested you are in any radical changes or news that contradicts your knowledge of the person. I often read in comment threads about showbiz news “who cares?” and these comments are not without warrant: why would you care about someone who doesn’t really know, much less care about you?

If you have this kind of mentality towards your secrets and reputation, think again, because your opinions and secrets matter to your family, your boss and your friends. What you say can hurt you, and will have consequences far more reaching than you can hope to contain.

 

Organization Secrets

Keeping your online secrets don’t just apply to your personal life, anything happening inside and outside your workplace is also your business to keep confidential.

I have had the pleasure of speaking to a patent attorney recently about the dynamics of his job. I always did like lawyers – they are often as boring as I am. During the course of our conversation I asked him if there is still such a thing as a “company secret” and if many companies still opt to keep them secrets instead of patenting them. He laughed, saying that he believes that such things still exist, but he’s thankful that there aren’t too many of them who just keep quiet anymore and instead file for patents; which also gives him a job.

Trade secrets are important for any organization that makes a profit out of selling products. If anyone could copy your formula or specifications then your product wouldn’t be so unique after all. Keeping a trade secret confidential is done in the same way you can imagine it: they store it up in safe place and only a handful of people really know it by heart. Some, however do not, or rather could not keep this information stored in a safe forever because if they don’t tell the world that its their idea, someone else may discover it and claim it as their own. This is why patents are important – they certify that your idea is yours alone, and other people copying or even “independently developing” it would subject them to punishments as stated in the law. Most patents however, have an expiration date, so after the set time is up, all the information you claimed to be yours becomes part of public property and may be copied and reproduced without your permission.

In the electronics industry applying for patents are of very little consequence, simply because that at the rate of the research and development of these products, the time that your product is relevant and useful is shorter than the time it takes for the patent to expire. Who cares about the specifications of the 2011 iPad when its year 2143?

For other industries however, applying for a patent would actually put a definite lifespan for the product. Coca-Cola, for example has been in operation for more than 100 years. Supposing Coke’s inventors patented the formula a century ago, people can now access and replicate one of the most beloved beverages of our era. It is in these cases that trade secrets are still applicable, and should be kept. Imagine the chaos that would ensue.

 

They say that even when you’re penniless, a good name is sometime you can always be proud of. True enough, personal wealth and reputation are things that the most prestigious people and organizations care about – and they do it by playing with the skills and characteristics that make them great, while keeping some…secret.

 

Help Wanted

We use the internet for many reasons. Many of us use it to interact with the hundreds of people on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. Some, like myself, use it for online gaming and video screenings and there are those who utilize the web simply to acquire information. But for all the things that you take from the internet, what have you given back?

I will not make this longer than it should be. Whether you are a frequent online contributor, or just simply passing through, here is another way for you to give back.

To those who cannot access the link above, probably due to not having a Facebook account, you may view it below. The photo was taken by and belongs to Facebook user Reddie Js. I, in any way, do not claim ownership of the picture below, nor do I take credit for leading you to it. The photographer has set this image to public so people can share it to others. In the spirit of the photographer’s desire to help an old woman find her missing husband, please view the photo and the description and if you may, share it to your online followers.

The image description of the image as written by the photographer is:

I saw this old woman sitting by herself yesterday at the corner of buendia and roxas blvd yesterday. Surprised to see a bond paper pinned in front and back of her dress with a picture of a missing old man, i asked her about it and she said it is her husband who has been missing for two weeks now. I was touched by her integrity and pained to see her looking for him in that manner so i decided to help her too. I asked permission to post her picture here in fb to be shared by others as help for finding Mr. Luis Matias.

Lolo Matias is 78 years old, he displays childish behaviour so do coax him if found and restrain him from leaving ur sight.
Call any of these numbers immediately 09497763122/ 09326095491 / 09474196145, he lives in #164 Dolores St. Pasay City Brgy 66 Zone 08

Thanks to Reddie Js for giving us a gift of an opportunity to help. The internet is a powerful tool, so spread the word and help these two get back together before the holidays.

Bzzzzzzzt…

Emanuel Rosen’s The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited shares to us an in-depth analysis of what makes a message in or out of the conversation circles. While most of us may consider our online conversations as mundane and nearly meaningless in the bigger scheme of things, marketers do not. The ability to create hype and publicity in order to market products and services were never as effective during the age of traditional media. In today’s online environment, however, a simple spark that triggers a viral conversation is often a marketer’s wet dream.

While the entire contents of the book are too many to discuss in this blog, I will share to you, my reader, those that struck me the most.

First, the requirement for a buzz, like all other marketing techniques is the element of shock and awe. Discussions only begin and continue if a steady amount of captivating information is fed to the consumers. It is important for the topics to be instantly attractive and expound-able for people to start talking about it.

Second, the buzz spreads due to the drive for people to imitate styles and trends that matter to the people around them. It is also fueled by the power of shared and conflicting sentiments about certain issues. Fan bases often push the buzz forward due to their strong affinity to their brands of choice and marketers take advantage of this by fostering greater competition among brands.

Finally, marketer reputation, online and otherwise, determine the effectiveness of their ability to engage customers. With the advent of social media, what happens between salespeople and customers has now become more of a relationship than a transaction. This is an important step up towards customer satisfaction, since it is no longer about expert opinion but online sentiment when it comes to a successful marketing campaign.

This blog isn’t really a book review, however for all those interested in marketing and social media, this book is definitely for you. Many of the insights shared by Rosen prove to us that communication is king in marketing, and with the changes in communication due to the advances of technology, social media is the crown.

It’s a Trap?!

I’ve read many posts regarding hyperspecialization recently, and I’d like to have my take in the matter. When Henry Ford pioneered the assembly line that arguably stepped up the speed of the industrial revolution, he created a system that fostered efficiency through the collective effort of specialists. One group of people was in charge of welding, another painting, another quality control. Each had specific training that was very particular to the task they had. This highly successful system lasted with the turn of the millennium, and defines nearly all aspects of production and even other industries today.

Specialization does speed up production simply due to the division of labor. Due to the system of assigning particular tasks, it becomes easier to complete a job. Outside the production line, specialization is manifested in nearly all collective efforts: doctors cut you up, the nurse puts on your bandages and medical technicians operate your respirator. This system has proven effective, though there are downsides to it.

For one thing: it limits capabilities and development to a single field or discipline. Yes, it does not necessarily mean bad, but in situations that we have today like the financial crisis and major unemployment, it can be difficult to acquire work when there is a severe lack of opportunity. In the case of the Philippines, many trained doctors actually end up getting retrained to become nurses in order for them the get a job. This is just one of many other instances where having specialized knowledge can be an issue.

For what its worth though, specialization, and its offspring hyperspecialization, can still create opportunities despite the thinning of qualifications. Experts are still respected and needed, and their presence is still very well received in corporations. Quite often, companies shell out large sums of money in order to avail of the services of consultants who have a wider knowledge about narrower levels of specialization. In this case, we can see that there is an increase in the competitiveness among specialists, and therefore can lead to better output.

With the apparent solution to the lack of opportunity being a push to more general training, it may not be a mistake to go in the opposite direction. Hyperspecialization can increase one’s chances of retention or even promotion even in companies that are having difficulties. In the principles of human resources, one well-experienced, highly talented individual is worth more than even fifty ordinary individuals. Of course the competition will be tougher, but those that do make the cut will definitely deserve it.

Identity in Social Media

Have you ever tried to search your name in Google? If you are active enough online, and your name is relatively uncommon, chances are that you’ll see all your social media accounts within the first ten results. All your popular online exploits will also be seen. One of the results I got even included a comment thread in a gaming forum that I participated in several years ago. It is quite flattering to see for the first time on how the internet has somehow kept track of your activities, despite being so long ago. Most of them probably reminded you of good memories, but let’s not forget that not all experiences are worth remembering.

While it is nice to see your contributions online, there is a chance that some time ago, when you had a bad day, you said something that can potentially damage your reputation. In my time working in Human Resources, background checks were customary before even contacting a potential candidate. Usually, routine searches in Facebook would be done in order to solicit contact details, interests and affiliations. You would be surprised just how much information people openly share to the online public. In some account searches, we were able to acquire even sensitive information such as birthdays, addresses and family information!

Personal information may be juicy, but a background check’s main focus is usually in the finer details. Comments, sentiments and organizational affiliations hint clues about a person’s possible organizational behavior. Even a little comment of dissent towards authority can hint future dissident behavior that most organizations would avoid. You might have read my post regarding being careful about what you share online, and in the case of hiring, the statements there are especially true.

So what can you do if you’ve posted something and can no longer take it back? Well, the best thing you can do is to bury the negative content in a sea of positive content in hopes that the search engine results would display the favorable content first. Sadly, it is very hard to retract almost anything that was given enough time to spread in the net. So it is more important to prevent the input of negative content in the first place.

Social media accounts and all other online inputs collectively define one’s online identity. While some may argue that there are people who behave differently online than they do offline, in most cases it is not. Aside from the effort to prevent sharing bad content, it is also important to screen carefully what information you share online. The internet is a very open environment, and while its nice to share, you do not and should not share anything that can potentially harm you in the future.

There are always things that must remain in a need to know basis, and in the case of human resources, every possible information about a person is within that basis. So unless you plan to sell yourself literally, its best to keep some things to yourself.