I Trust You, Rand Fishkin

Trusting people on social media can be a tricky thing. In face-to-face conversations, it’s much easier to gauge a person’s trustworthiness than when they’re hiding behind a computer screen. Although I tend to trust too easily in life, it takes a special type of person to earn my trust on social media.

Rand Fishkin

If you were to poll everyone at the Internet marketing company I work for and ask them who they trust most on social media, they would be unanimous with their answer – Rand Fishkin. Rand is the founder of Moz, a Seattle-based company that sells inbound marketing and marketing analytics software subscriptions. And on top of that, he follows Steve Rayson’s proposed social media trust formula to a tee.

With that in mind, it’s time to evaluate his trustworthiness.

Social Media Trust Formula

A is for Authority – In the Internet marketing world, Moz is king when it comes to SEO. Being that we always want to stay on our toes when it comes to Google, Rand is the perfect person to follow on social media. Every Friday, he puts out a short, educational video on his website called “Whiteboard Friday” that touches on a new SEO topic. In it, he provides tips and best practices. His videos are funny, laid back and usually no more than 10-12 minutes long. In case you missed something he said in the video, but don’t have time to rewatch it, you can read the transcript right below the actual video. He also frequently blogs about current SEO issues on his website.

On his Facebook and Twitter, Rand is just as knowledgeable, often providing his fans and followers with the latest in SEO and Google. He currently has 10,779 likes on his Facebook business page and 226,000 followers on Twitter, so it seems that others have taken notice of his vast knowledge in the Internet marketing arena.

H is for Helpfulness – No matter how busy he seems to be, Rand always finds the time to be helpful. In addition to putting out a new “Whiteboard Friday” video each week to educate his followers, I’ve also seen him write back to people in the comments section of his site, respond to comments left on his Facebook posts and reply to his followers tweets. Up until January of last year, he was the CEO of Moz. How many CEOs have you seen that actually take the time to respond to user comments on their blog posts? I’d venture to say not many. While Rand could simply just say something along the lines of “Thank you for commenting,” he, instead, writes a detailed response that shows that he actually read the person’s comment. Additionally, Rand isn’t just partial to Moz.com. On his social media channels, you’ll see him promote information from all types of sites. As long as he finds a piece of information useful, he’ll share it, no matter where it originated.

I is for Intimacy – Rand doesn’t pretend to be perfect, which makes me respect him even more. Earlier this month, he wrote a blog post that really stood out to me called, “On Being Wrong and Not Knowing the Answer.” In it, Rand is not only intimate with his fans but also honest and sincere (genuine), which are two of the characteristics I believe a trustworthy person should possess.

“Not having answers is natural. Not having a certain type of experience or enough of that experience to make a smart-than-average guess is going to happen, even if you’re the most coveted, respected expert in your field. It’s what you DO when you don’t have that answer that separates the high-integrity experts from the rest of the pack.”

Just because Rand is an SEO guru, doesn’t mean he knows all or that he doesn’t need to seek advice from other trustworthy people. It’s nice to see someone be so intimate with his fans. If only other high-level executives could learn from Rand’s humility.

SP is for Self Promotion – Rand likes to share his experiences with others who could learn from them or might even be able to relate to them, but one thing he doesn’t like to do is make things all about him. In his most recent blog post, “The False Narratives We Tell Ourselves,” he explains that he’s not “sharing this for sympathy.” He’s sharing it because he thinks ” we all carry these false narratives with us.” In other words, if Rand feels that someone will be able to benefit from him sharing something about himself, he will. Otherwise, he’s very humble and low key.

From what I’ve come to know of Rand ever since my company encouraged that I follow him on Twitter, I’d say that his No. 1 priority is teaching people, be it through his blog, his Twitter or his Facebook. To Rand, gaining his followers’ trust validates what he’s doing.

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Instagram’s Terms and Conditions – An Inside Look

Instagram Logo

In December, Instagram, the Facebook-owned mobile photo and video-sharing social media platform, hit 300 million active monthly users. Forty-one percent of these users are between the ages of 16-24. Do you think people in this age group are taking the time to read through their favorite app’s terms and conditions? Probably not.

Generally speaking, Ts and Cs tend to be extremely long and difficult to understand due to their excessive legal jargon. But combing through them would give social media users a breakdown of what they’re getting themselves into. How does Instagram promise to keep its users safe? Are there any risks involved with having an Instagram account? Are the terms ethically sound? I’ve decided to take a closer look at Instagram’s Terms of Use to see if there are any potential ethical problems.

Instagram Terms and Conditions

The first thing that caught my eye was that users must be 13 or older. Can you imagine a 13-year-old trying to understand Instagram’s Ts & Cs? Because Instagram’s average user tends to be on the younger side, it’s even more important that its terms be written in plain English. In fact, since Instagram is often referred to as the “cooler” Facebook, it should have a “cool” terms and conditions section, filled with witty humor, images and an easy-to-navigate format, such as is the case with Facebook’s privacy basics page.

“You must not create or submit unwanted email, comments, likes or other forms of commercial or harassing communications (a/k/a “spam”) to any Instagram users.” While this rule is clearly spelled out in Instagram’s Ts & Cs, I see it broken every day by users who leave spam comments on celebrity photos. What is Instagram doing to reduce the number of times this happens? Are they terminating these users’ accounts like they say they will?

Kylie Jenner Instagram

I think the part that most sticks out to me is Instagram’s rule about not abusing, stalking or bullying other users. In its Ts & Cs, Instagram only spells out what users can’t do but not what it will do to help combat the bullying and abuse that occurs on its platform. The closest it comes to providing some sort of solution is on its Abuse & Spam page, where it recommends that users report such behavior using the app’s built-in reporting features. But how does this give users peace of mind that their issue will be resolved, especially when its Ts & Cs note that “”Instagram does not have any obligation to prescreen, monitor, edit, or remove any Content?” As I mentioned in my reading reaction this week, safety is a two-way street. Users signing up for Instagram want to be rest assured that, if they abide by all of the platform’s rules, they will be well taken care, should an issue arise.

In my opinion, the statement that could use the most improvement is the one that says that Instagram has the right to change its Terms of Use from time to time and notify you of the Updated Terms by posting them on the Service. Isn’t a lack of clearly communicating its Ts & Cs what got Instagram all of that negative press two years ago? I think Instagram could benefit from notifying users of term changes via a blog post or an email announcement.

After reviewing its online documents, what I liked more than Instagram’s Ts & Cs was its Community Guidelines document, which clearly and concisely spelled out what users can and can’t do as well as additional things they should keep in mind.

Hello, everyone, and hello, 2015!

Hello! My name is Lynette Zilio, and I’m in my fourth semester of the University of Florida’s social media master’s program. I’m so happy to be in class with some familiar (and some new) faces! For those of you who might not know me, I’d like to take this time to tell you a little bit about myself.

Although I currently live in Orlando, I was born and raised in Miami. In 2007, I moved to Gainesville to attend UF. (Go Gators!) There, I majored in journalism and minored in Spanish. Throughout my time at UF, I was able to intern for The Miami Herald and The Denver Post as well as contribute to The Independent Florida Alligator and INsite, an entertainment magazine. I was also fortunate enough to be able to spend a semester abroad in Madrid, Spain, which really helped me dive deeper into the Spanish culture.

After I graduated from UF in 2011, I accepted a position as a sales and marketing assistant for a wholesale designer handbag company. In this role, I served as the liaison between the company’s independent sales representatives and its more than 1,000 specialty store accounts. I also ensured all department store orders were correct, attended trade shows, updated the website with new products and product descriptions, and created and managed the company’s social media profiles.

A year-and-a-half later, I accepted a position as the junior SEO specialist for a Miami-based cloud-computing company and Google Partner. In this role, I learned about keyword research, on-page optimization and what makes Google tick. I was also in charge of creating and managing the company’s various social media profiles as well as writing weekly blog entries for the company’s site.

Last June, after almost five years of being in a long-distance relationship, I decided to make the move to Orlando to be in the same city as my boyfriend. Since then, I’ve been working as a link builder for an Internet-marketing company called Launch That. Although the company manages several different websites, my job is to increase the visibility of asbestos.com in Google by utilizing white-hat SEO tactics to obtain authoritative and relevant backlinks. I also write monthly blog posts for the site and help with some of the company’s social media efforts.

My boyfriend Chris and I at the Launch That Christmas Party!

My boyfriend Chris and I at the Launch That Christmas Party!

In my spare time, I enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants and dancing.

Being that I was self-taught before entering this master’s program, I don’t quite know all of the ‘fine print’ of social media. With the help of this course, I’d like to be able to learn more about how to properly handle social media issues in the workplace, what the terms and conditions of each platform really mean, how to best moderate user comments and how to determine the validity of content shared via social media. Once I learn more about social media ethics, I know that I will feel more confident in my role as an Internet marketer.