Category Archives: TECHNOLOGY

A Bold New Facebook Scam! That’s Nerve!

A few days ago, I was working on my computer and only had Facebook open in the background when I suddenly heard the sound of my instant chat window pop up (you know that sound). When I opened the window, I was pleased to see someone whom I hadn’t spoken to for a long time. I personally knew this person from my networking and had spoken a number of times to this person by phone, but we had never met in person. When I asked how he had been, he replied to me, “Not good”, and proceeded to tell me that he had just been held up at gunpoint, mugged, and had all of his cash, wallet, and cell phone stolen. “That’s terrible”, I replied. He said he needed money to settle his hotel bill and promised to pay me back tomorrow, saying his flight back to the US was leaving soon and he had to settle the bill. Immediately, my “B.S. detector” went off. While I did know this person, I am certainly not the first person he would have asked for money. I asked a few more questions and determined that someone had hijacked my friend’s Facebook account and was posing as him. I knew this person well enough to know it wasn’t him. I tried to call my friend to see if he was ok but unfortunately I couldn’t reach him. This guy was good though. When I asked him for a phone number to call him, he gave me a number, saying it was for the hotel in Kentish Town. I Googled the name and location and got a hit that this was indeed a scam. While I watched, the person actually changed my friend’s email address in his Facebook profile. The guy posing as my friend tried to get me to wire $800 bucks to a Western Union account.  I was astonished that this person was actually so bold. Stalling for time, I actually called the FBI while the person was online and reported the person.

Watch out on Facebook if anything like this happens to you. Happy surfing and keep safe.

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Revisiting Social Networking and Twitter for Professionals

It is always nice to get a quote in the Wall Street Journal. Unfortunately, it seems other advisors aren’t having such a positive experience with Twitter and other social networking websites, so I thought I would expand on the notion that these sites are not “measuring up” and talk about some of my own personal experiences and what has and hasn’t worked.

In terms of my own personal use of social networking sites, I first started with LinkedIn, then Facebook, then eventually went Twitter. With all of these sites, I think there are some common stages of acceptance. First comes “denial” (that will never work), next “curiosity” (my friends and colleagues keep talking about this thing, perhaps I should check it out), next “acceptance” (may be interchanged with addiction for some), and lastly “adoption” (figuring out where it fits). With each of these services there was initially denial, “that will never work”. With Twitter in particular, I already had over 5000 connections on LinkedIn and I couldn’t figure out why I would ever need to use anything else. Having explored each of these services in some detail, I can tell you that that they all do different things and having an opinion on one should not have you forming conclusions on the others. The key to success in social networking is, knowing what you want to get out of it before you start. Unfortunately, if you haven’t taken the time to learn what the services do or what they are about, it might take some time to figure out how to get the most from it.

Let’s address the issue of  “measuring up”. What does seem clear is that you should check you expectation of your social networking profile being an instant client magnet. If your expectation is to put up a profile and have droves of qualified clients start emailing and calling you, you can forget it. For sure, your expectations won’t measure up. So what good is it?

Twitter is by far, one of the best ways to keep up on news in your niche, find out who the influencers are, and be in the know about what’s being discussed when it comes to things you are interested in. As was mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article, within a very short period of time (less than a week as I recall) of joining Twitter, I followed Jean Case and The Case Foundation. Because I was blogging and talking about philanthropy and social entrepreneurship related topics, Jean Case followed me back and started listening to what I was talking about. Soon we also connected on Facebook as well. It turned out, while our relationship was limited to online, we shared a few common Facebook connections whom I knew offline too. While Jean and I have Re-Tweeted a few posts from each other, our relationship has remained one of “social networking acquaintances”. Since she and I connected, I discovered the great work their organization does. We are both on each others “radar” if you will. Who knows what will come in the future. Had it not been for Twitter, we would not have know about each other. There have been dozens of people I have met in the social networking world, many whom I have actually met in person and have developed business relationships with.

Social networking helps me cast a wide net and meet people who are interested in the same things I am. If you use social networking properly, these relationships can turn into business opportunities as they have for me. Having a philanthropic and social entrepreneurial wealth management practice isn’t something that you just hang a shingle and advertise. Social networking is a key tool for building your reputation, meeting key contacts, and emerging with a niche. It has become an essential and effective tool for me and makes meeting new people easy, effective, and fun.

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Filed under SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP, TECHNOLOGY

Proper Nonprofit Twitter Etiquette

Are you representing your nonprofit organization on Twitter? Are you trying to use Twitter to get the name of your organization out there and possibly get new donors? If so, you had better listen up, and fast. There are a couple of things you should know before you start to make enemies on Twitter. You might call these the rules of the road. While it’s good advice for anyone looking to make new contacts, it’s particularly important for nonprofits.

  1. Follow people who follow you- This is one of the dumbest mistakes I see people making with Twitter charity profiles. My username on Twitter is “PhilanthropyCFP”. If you are a nonprofit, why wouldn’t you follow back someone with the word “Philanthropy” in their name? That’s just dumb. If your objective is to recruit people to follow your cause, the first rule is to follow them back. There are no exceptions to this rule in my opinion. If you don’t follow someone who has expressed an interest in your charity profile, not only will they likely be upset because you weren’t interested enough to follow them back, but they will find another charity who is “interested in them”. This is dumb. Don’t make that mistake. I can’t tell you how many nonprofits I have unfollowed because they didn’t follow me back. While I’m not making myself out to be anyone “important” here, the bottom line is that it is a lost opportunity. We’re in the same industry, yet for some reason, their organization wasn’t interested in what I had to say. I say “NEXT”…
  2. ReTweet interesting articles that people post. If you are generous, people will return the favor and your followers will grow.
  3. Post interesting content (Not just yours). Did you read an interesting article that your followers might find interesting? Great post it. Useful Twitterers will increase their followers.
  4. Show your personality (as long as it isn’t negative). In my case, it’s my company and I can be negative if I want. If people don’t like what I have to say, they can look elsewhere. I’m positive most of the time, but as my friends know, I do take a stand when needed (like here).
  5. My favorite: “Tweet others like you would like to be tweeted”

Twitter can be a great way to meet people for any number of reasons. Just understand these basic rules and you should be just fine. If anyone has other suggestions, please feel free to add them here.

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Expirements in Business Social Networking: What I learned on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter

This is Part 1 of, well…who knows how many. Just have to check back if you like it.

It’s funny where inspiration comes from sometimes. This time, it came from a stupid question. “Anyone in the Professional Speakers Group on LinkedIn Using Twitter?”, I asked. I was looking to make a few new friends since I had just started using Twitter at the time I posted it. When I joined Twitter three plus weeks ago, I had zero friends and zero followers. I was looking for friends and help (aren’t we all?). So I posted the that “anyone using” question in a few LinkedIn Groups I belong to, however the Professional Speakers group overwhelmingly started raving about about Twitter and my question soon became one of the featured questions in the group since so many people had responded to it. I laughed at one response, “Fine, you folks seem to be passionate about it. I’ll give it a try.”. I thought to myself, “There is no try. Do or do not” as Yoda would say. You can take one look at the Twitter profiles of folks “trying it out”, but not really making the investment of time to find out how to be successful with it. I couldn’t tell them apart when I started. Now it’s easy. I invested the time, now hopefully I can share what I’ve learned. Taking pity on the fellow, and just because my nature is to help folks, I decided to write a detailed response back to him and the group. That response became the inspiration behind this series “My Experiments in Business Social Networking”, a tutorial, or memoir or sorts, of what’s worked and what hasn’t. I thought using myself as a case study might be helpful to some people. I’m not an expert, just trying to find my way to business and happiness through sharing and meeting “good like minded folks who give a damn about people other than themselves”.

My Business Objective:
As a wealth manager who specializes in “Business Owners, Families, and Donors”, my objective with my networking was to connect with “successful folks who give a damn” as I say. I wanted to meet people who were successful and also interested in philanthropy. I have a very unique offering that’s very collaborative and hands on since it involves multiple levels of collaboration with a client’s accountant, attorney, and other members of their professional team. The bottom line is, I only want to work with the right kinds of clients, and they are hard to find. How do you find successful folks who give a damn? How do you find Social Entrepreneurs? I began experimenting, believing there was “some club of those folks out there somewhere”. Seems like everyone I talked to said my business ideas were so badly needed in that market space but the problem was identifying those people who could identify with what I had to say and what I was passionate about. I wanted to meet successful like minded people. Now that I think about it, I actually met my wife online so perhaps there is something to this networking for like minded people thing. We met in 2000, before it was “cool” to meet people. Perhaps going social for business is the right thing to do I thought..

LinkedIn
A few years ago, my friend recommended my first social networking site, LinkedIn. For the first 6 months, I didn’t do much with it. After friends started sending me lots of invites, I decided to check it out further (like the poor soul who finally gave into Twitter I mentioned). I put up a real profile. I got the hang of LinkedIn after a while. I realized being successful on LinkedIn is about building a network based on quality and quantity. Having not been an “open networker” (LION= LinkedIn Open Networker), I was only focused on building quality connections. After asking a LION what that whole “LION” thing was about, they told me that having LIONS in your network greatly increases the size of your 3rd degree”. The closer someone is in your network I have found, the more like minded you tend to be, regardless who you are connected through, and generally the easier to get introduced. There are certainly exceptions, however this is my experience. In reality though, in three years, I have only asked for an introduction a handful of times. I meet quality people spending time in the LinkedIn Groups in the areas I am interested in. When you are both members of groups, you don’t need an introduction, you can just invite them to connect directly. I only INVITE quality people, while I will accept an invitation from anyone. I have sent out thousands of invitations and have only been declined twice to my knowledge. Here’s a little secret; people want to meet like minded people. Just say, “I saw your profile and it seems like we have a lot in common with our blah, blah interest. Please accept my invitation to connect”. If they are really interesting, set up a time to speak by phone to find out more about them. Don’t try and pitch them on you.

My Issues With LinkedIn (LinkedIn, why won’t you listen?)
Recently, I’ve become frustrated with LinkedIn’s inability to help me understand who is among my list of 1st degree connections. As someone who has over 4500 1st degree connections, I want my relationships to be of value to me. If it is difficult to communicate with my connections, which I have found it to be very difficult, the network becomes less valuable. This is where Twitter has become EXTREMELY helpful. More on that later. Before Twitter, I had a huge network of connections on LinkedIn, but was hesitant to email everyone. I hate spam so I didn’t want to send business related messages to people who absolutely had no interest in what I do other than the value of our connection on LinkedIn (which might not seem that valuable to you). These people ARE important, because even though a recruiter LION likely has little chance of utilizing my services, they might be connected to someone who does. Sending wealth management related messages to recruiters isn’t relevant to them directly and what a waste of time and effort it has been to try and contact them. All efforts to try an make better use of my exported list of contacts has been time consuming and a painful process. LinkedIn needs to resolve this issue or their best users like me will wind up spending money on services that provide this ability. Twitter seems to be starting to fill that void.

At the end of the day (I hate that expression), I have only two objectives. The first is meeting professional contacts for business, and the other is meeting potential clients. Some is working really well, some not. Tune in soon…

Check my blog for the rest of this story. Part two deals with how LinkedIn and Twitter have worked together. :) For a sneak peak at how Twitter has helped, check out “5 Ways I’m Using Twitter to Meet the Right People” as well as “Wondering if you Should Use Twitter?”

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Filed under NON-PROFIT & CHARITY, RANDOM STUFF, TECHNOLOGY

List of Philanthropy People Using Twitter (Via Chronicle of Philanthropy)

The Chronicle of Philanthropy had a great idea to compile a list of philanthropy related users on Twitter. I encourage you to check out the list since they are providing folks a great way to introduce themselves to one another. For those of us who have ADD, I’ve taken the time to summarize the list of users and promise to keep the list updated. You can also post an update in the comments here and I’ll add it to the list.

Here’s another idea. Since I also use LinkedIn, I’d invite anyone who who is interested in charity, social entrepreneurship, non-profit, fundraising, corporate social responsibility, foundations, or anything else related to “folks who give a damn”, to list their LinkedIn profile here in the comments section. I’ll put a separate list of those folks together.

ANNOUNCING…The new CHARITWEEPS group on LinkedIn. Click here to join. For any of you folks who are interested in this list and are also on LinkedIn. After you join, check out the Discussion Board to list your Twitter profile, a quick blurb about yourself, and what you can offer to other folks. Please continue to add to the list here so that all of the Twitter profiles are listed in one place. Ain’t technology great? :)

WANT THIS LIST EMAILED TO YOU PERIODICALLY? SIGN UP FOR OUR EMAIL NEWSLETTER HERE

Names listed from Chronicle of Philanthropy as of 10am 2/24/09
@AmberCadabra
@atlantic
@AuctionCause
@beckstrand
@BethHarte
@bsttrach
@ChicagoRedCross
@christineegger
@conniereece
@createthegood
@dcvito
@easibey
@FullCourtPress
@gillwilson
@ginatrapani
@GiveForward
@HandsOnNetwork
@HildyGottlieb
@horizonsfdn
@idex
@impactsp2walden
@itsthomas
@jaygoulart
@jeanevogel
@JodyParsons
@kanter
@MackCollier
@magdrl
@marcapitman
@MartyKearns
@mercycorps
@nptechblogs
@p2173
@philanthoropy411
@philanthropic
@philanthropy
@philanthropyCFP (That’s Me!)
@philcubeta
@pistachio
@rarenaud
@rbrob
@RenataRafferty
@RosetttaThurman
@SeattleDonorBiz
@servantleaders
@sharonschneider
@silkcharm
@tactphil
@thefabgiver
@thelampnyc
@tracygary1
@UnitedWayEL
@UnitedWayTC
@wisdomkeepers
@WiserEarth
@worthwhilefilms

I Follow: (Still working on this)
@AlbertoNardelli
@amiecn
@andystoll
@appfrica
@AshokaTweets
@butterflytree
@carbonOutreach
@CaseFoundation
@danomi
@DoGooder
@dreamreaper
@drewmcmanus
@emelendez
@forimpact
@gambino
@GarinKilpatrick
@gatesfoundation
@gaylegifford
@grahamallcott
@grantgeekdiva
@greenwerks
@gregmcray
@gtroxell
@healemru
@imdane
@Inspiremetoday
@itrish
@itsaulgood
@JayDrayer
@jenergy
@jongos
@kailee009
@katbaloo
@kellykay30
@lazone
@lend4health
@manni_pattar
@mannytmoto
@marlonparker
@mattnathan
@mattymoran
@mdavis
@medido
@Michael_Hoffman
@modernsinglemom
@MOMboTV
@Nalden
@peterburkecbf
@Philanthropy411
@RichardAlderson
@richardbranson
@RichardSmedley
@rozic
@sadekhm
@safetrekker
@SCaldwell
@shinabarger
@socialactions
@socialcitizen
@twintweeter
@YouthActionNet

SPECIAL MENTIONS (Still working on this)
@inspiremetoday
@philanthropic
@philanthropy
@kenscommentary
@StaceyMonk
@cpoizat
@dubel
@kenn_parks
@NurtureGirl
@PhilCubeta
@tactphil
@jefftrexler
@gordonjayfrost
USER SUBMITTED:
@DexterityCon
@ConsciousChange
@3Generations
@witnessorg
@kiwanja
@_jopsa
@katrinskaya
@whiteafrican
@jnovogratz
@lksriv

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Filed under FOUNDATIONS, NON-PROFIT & CHARITY, RANDOM STUFF, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP, TECHNOLOGY

5 Ways I’m Using Twitter to Meet the Right People

Ok, so I joined twitter about 3 weeks ago and while and I’m still finding my way around, I think I’ve picked up a few things that might help people. While it’s fun to use and completely different than any of the other social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook, ultimately I’m there to meet new contacts for my business. I wouldn’t think this would come as a surprise to anyone, but there do seem to be quite a number of people there for social reasons. Since I’m there for business purposes, here’s what I’ve done to get over 800 followers in 3 weeks. As with anything, Twitter is what you make of it so you have to invest some time to get results.

  1. If you are there for business, post things that will be interesting to the people you want to connect with. Sometimes I’m a bit of a ham, but I let that come through in some of my posts even when they are unrelated to business. That’s me, I’m a ham sometimes and I just can’t stand not sharing the fact that both of my identical twins projectile spit-up on me almost the same time. Frankly that’s what makes it fun. All work and no play makes Rich a dull boy. I’m a real person and I let my Twitter follower people know it.
  2. If someone you are following posts something interesting, RT it (Retweet it). That means that “Hey, I just liked what you posted, so I’m sharing that with my own followers. When you do that, it let’s people know you are not just interested in having a one way conversation saying “hey everyone, look how great I am”.
  3. Follow people with similar interests. Don’t worry, if you follow someone they won’t think you’re stalking them. That’s what this is all about.
  4. If you follow someone with similar interests, look to see who they follow and follow those people too. This is how you expand your network. The more people with similar interests you follow, the more likely you are to be found by people you want to meet.
  5. Use Google to help you find people you want to meet. Instead of doing a standard search in Google, use the “Advanced Search” feature, then select “Search within a website”. Choose Twitter.com and type the search terms you are interested in. Example:

In my case, I want to meet successful social entrepreneurs, Philanthropists, CEO’s/ Business Owners, and Non-Profits. I go into Google, hit “Advanced Search”, then type “BIO Social Entrepreneur”.

Most of the Google results that come up are Twitter profiles with Social Entrepreneur in their bios. Click through the Google results one by one and see who interests you. Follow the people who interest you. If you are talking about the same kinds of things, odds are they will follow you back.

Ultimately, I believe that there are people within my areas of interest who will be looking for someone to help them with their wealth management needs. You can’t come right out and say that and people just don’t like to talk about money (especially now). Developing contacts is about developing trust. Using Twitter allows you to develop relationships and stay in touch with the people who you are interested in meeting and who are interested in hearing from you. Whether that winds up driving people to explore my services is another story.

Chime in with suggestions or send me a DM @PhilathropyCFP (Direct Message for you non-Twitter folk).

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So, Do You Twitter? Are You Wondering if you Should?

Twitter

Twitter

I have a limited number of hours in the day and some people tell me I spend way too much time on-line anyway. I’m quite active on LinkedIn over 4,000 connections, I have a Facebook profile, and I also spend some time on a few other social networking sites. I usually consider myself a pretty early adopter when it comes to embracing cool new things that help improve your life, although I must admit I don’t own an iPod. I know, I know, but my wife has one so I do use hers occasionally. I must admit though, when people started asking me if I was on Twitter, I half rolled my eyes thinking that I just didn’t have time for another social networking diversion to waste time. One here, one there, people kept tweeting me, “Rich, are you on Twitter?”. Two people I speak to regularly (@philanthropic and @inspiremetoday) kept saying; “Rich, you gotta get on there”.  With both of these people, we regularly brainstorm business ideas together so when both of them kept pushing me to get on, I finally gave in and promised to check Twitter out after one of them said it was perfect for ADD folks because communication is limited to 160 characters. Wow, great for ADD folks, they had me…Two days ago, I set up my profile.

So, Twitter huh? Custom profile picture, check, custom background, check, bio….160 CHARACTERS???? How the heck can you do that? BTW, if you can’t explain what you do to someone in a conversation in 160 characters, you’ve lost them, FYI…Short Bio, check. Zero friends, zero followers. Once you set up your profile (shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes), there’s only one question that remains; “What Are You Doing”?

“What are you doing?”, is the question that’s behind Twitter. That seemed like a good question. Why spend the time to even answer it I thought? Who cares? Ask yourself the question, who SHOULD care about what you are doing? Friends? Family? How about your business colleagues? Seems the more I considered the question, the more I realized that the closer you get to people, whether it be friends, business associates, or prospective clients you don’t even know about, the better. Having spent a good deal of time in the advertising business, we know that eyeballs mean money for advertisers. It’s not just about quantity though, it’s also about reaching the right audience, right? Twitter lets you send out your personalized message (limited to 160 characters) to whoever is a follower of your network. But I have no followers remember? Here was my strategy. First, found the friends who have been bugging me to get on. I followed them, they followed me. This means that they now receive my updates whenever I answer “What are you doing”. Yesterday during the Super Bowl, I was making chili, joking that I started it way too late and how it wouldn’t be ready until the post game show. Today, I’m discussing my business issues (the same issues BTW, as the friends who invited me). Who cares though right? With only two followers, not many people care, except for the fact that between those two friends, they have almost 6,000 people following them. Whenever they post things to me, their network sees it. Guess what…The people in THEIR network are interested in the same kinds of things as I am. I spent some time looking at the folks following my friends and started following them. Just because I follow someone’s  “What are you doing?” updates , doesn’t mean that they have to follow mine. Following this so far? Usually people reciprocate but not always. For example, I subscribed to @andersoncooper from CNN because I like to follow what he has to say. I receive his links and quick updates, but don’t expect that he would become a follower of mine (however Anderson, feel free to invite me). Still following me? Why does all of this matter? Good question.

We are all bombarded with spam email, too much to do, and not enough time to do it. I’m finding that Twitter allows me to instantly touch and stay in front of people who want to know “What is RICHARD doing”?  In fact, many of the people I have discovered are people I have been meaning to stay in touch with but just didn’t have the time to do it. I’ve also been trying to find a way to provide relevant info to my 4000 LinkedIn contacts without filling their email inboxes with clutter. I could write an entire article on how difficult it has become to manage my list of contacts and keep people informed with the right kind and the right amount of info, but that’s another story. For now, let’s just say that Twitter SEEMS to be filling an essential void that has been missing with my connections. I’m still trying to feel my way to find the right balance of blogging, tweeting (the official Twitter word), and other more traditional things. Time management will continue to be a balancing act however, I can tell you that in two days on Twitter, I connected with more non-profit, social entrepreneurs, philanthropy, business people, and other people right down the center of my business niche than I have in the last 3 months on LinkedIn, and the last two years using traditional meet and greet tactics. I think Twitter is here to stay for me. I’ll let you know how it’s going. Do you follow me?

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When Will Realtors Start Using Google Earth?

I’m a big fan of Google Earth software. The program allows anyone to add information into the program to show any kind of data and display it within a geographic representation. In the case of Realtors, I think that it would be wonderful to have all of the homes on the Multiple Listing System (MLS)imported into Google Earth. Currently, when I look at homes on the MLS, it only tells me the town and school district that the property is located. As a buyer not familliar with a local area,  this information isn’t meaningful to me. If the property address were loaded into Google Earth, I would be able to see an aerial view of the neighborhood, proximity to highways, parks, or any other geographic feature that would be of interest as a buyer. In addition, a Realtor has the ability to link the placemark in Google Earth to their website, providing more information for a prospective buyer if they wanted it. I know it’s just a matter of time before this concept catches on, however in my opinion, the Realtors or developers who are the “early birds” on this opportunity could have a real technological and marketing lead on the competition.

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Account Aggrigation- Quicken, Yodlee, or other?

Technology canbe a wonderful thing. There are more and more ways of aggregating your consumer online billing accounts together, but which one?

I tried Yodlee through Yahoo Finance a while back. I found the program to be quite quirky and not robust enough for my needs. I recall that many of the businesses that I was a customer of were not on their list.

For my personal use, I use Quicken. I think it has more functions and is more widely utilized by financial institutions. As a customer, I like the ability to download their “QFX” file and have it open directly into the Quicken software. In addition, Quicken integrates directly with Turbo Tax making end of year tax preparation easier. While Quicken in my view is far ahead of Yodlee’s capabilities, it takes a significant amount of time to master the capabilities of the program. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I understand all of the financial concepts in Quicken, but I feel like I need a “Certificate in Quicken Planning” in order to use the thing.

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