Category Archives: social media

From friend lists to ads clicked, find out exactly what data Facebook has on you

Wonder what data Facebook has on you? Follow these steps to download and view everything they know about you. I expect you’re going to be surprised. Here’s how:
1. Log in to
2. Click on the settings icon in the top right of the page, then click on Settings in the pop down menu.
This will display the General Account Settings.
3. Click on the link “Download a copy of your Facebook data” located below the list of settings and step through the process.
Be prepared for this to take a long time. You probably have more data there than you realize. Seriously.  (If you have the ability, connect your computer to your router via a network cable rather than wifi and it will go as much as 10x faster.)
4. Once you have downloaded the zip file containing your data, right click on the .zip file and extract the data.
5. Now take a look at the \html\ directory and double-click the files to view them in a browser.
You can see:

  • The ads you have clicked in the ads.htm
  • Your contacts that Facebook has harvested are listed in file.contact_info.htm
  • In the friends.htm  (You can even see all the people you have unfriended.)
  • Every photo you uploaded

Many people are shocked by what they discover.
I still haven’t figured out how to delete all those contacts they have of mine. But when I do, I’ll let you know.


Putting Social Media to the test: Face-to-face vs. Online

Which delivery method do you think has the greatest impact: Face-to-face, telephone, or online? Certainly face-to-face allows you to deliver the most personal message, but the web allows for a much broader reach. Phone calls are somewhere in between. So here is the challenge…

I am a firm believer in charity. I feel it is important to give back to the community. Over the years I have been helping with the YMCA Partners With Youth (PWY) campaign.  This fund provides scholarships to families in need so their kids can participate in activities like swimming lessons, summer camp, or after school care. We get to help kids of single parents, parents who have lost their jobs, or many other financially stressful conditions. I know of one kid in particular who was quite a truant, always getting into trouble and usually dragging his friends into it too. One year, thanks to the PWY program, he was able to attend a leadership summer camp. Not only did it get him off the streets, but it brought out his natural leadership abilities. He ended up becoming a camp counselor and a positive influence on many more kids. It’s all about paying it forward.

In years past, during the month of February, I have spent my Wednesday evenings in a conference room at the Seattle Times building across the street from the Northshore YMCA  with dozens of other volunteers making calls to friends, family, past donors and even complete strangers, asking if they would like to donate. We work as teams of about 10 people each, in a friendly competition to see which team can raise the most pledge money. The room is filled with energy as everyone makes campaign calls from their cell phones. Honestly, this is tough work. Very few people feel comfortable making cold calls to strangers and asking for money. I will admit, as outgoing as I am, this is especially difficult for me. I can stand in front of an audience of 1000 people to give a presentation, but it’s all I can do to make these phone calls knowing most people will reject you and some will be downright rude. I found myself at times hoping no one would answer the phone.

So this year I’m trying a different approach. It’s time to put social media to the test to see if I can reach more people in a more comfortable way and make a bigger impact for the kids via my online presence than I would making phone calls. I think this will work well because there is no pressure. People can take their time to think about it, they can give as much or as little as they want. If you would like to help, please visit the donations page for details.  If you don’t want to donate, but you would still like to help, please share my message with your online connections so others will hear it and possibly donate.

It’s the power of small contributions by many people. I donated $100 myself. For some people, $10 is all they can afford to give. Others donate $500 or more. But even if it’s only $1, that’s fantastic. It moves us a step closer to the goal. Many employers will match your gift, effectively doubling your donation. Many people opt for the monthly draft contribution method so they can painlessly turn a small donation, like $5/month for 10 months, into a big donation of $50. (If that is something you want to do, just send me an email at and I can have the YMCA staff will set that up with you. The donor website can’t handle that type of payment.)

So please take a moment to check out my donation page at the YMCA website, read more about how this campaign has helped change kids’ lives, and make a pledge and/or share the link on your favorite social media website.


Adapt or fail: Some Great Donated (free) Online Education for Professional Development

Education has never been more accessible to the world as it is now, thanks to the Internet.  In just the past 6 months I have encountered numerous FREE resources, even instructor-led classes from sources like Stanford University.  Part of this is definitely a response of society to help people adapt and retool their job skills in an effort to get them back to productive work.  I think part of it is also a result of changing attitudes.  Parents are becoming more actively involved in their children’s education to help them thrive in the world.  Whatever the case, I am one with an insatiable appetite for learning new things and I am lovin’ it.  I also enjoy sharing knowledge.  With that in mind, I want to share some of the resources I have found.

1.  Coursera:  Major universities collaborating to offer instructor-led credit classes online for free
At  you can find courses on topics ranging from Cryptography to Quantum Mechanics.  This is a collaborative effort with 16 different Universities including such pedagogic giants as Stanford, Duke, Princeton, University of Toronto, Georgia Tech, and The University of Edinburgh.  These classes are not for the faint of heart.  This is not community college material.  You will definitely be challenged.  Great stuff to compliment your knowledge within your core area of expertise.

2.  Venture Lab:  More college-level content for free
Visit for more college classes from Stanford University.  You can also find previous lessons for these classes on youtube, just search for venture lab.

3.  Khan Academy: Unique and excellent education programs for all levels whether you want to learn 1+1=2 or details on venture capitalism
At you can find one of the best online learning resources for your children, paid or free.  It uses novel interactive learning techniques to really learn the material well.  This was created as a non-profit by one man disappointed in the education his child was getting.  For millions of registered members, it is a great learning aid. Many public school teachers are adopting it as complimentary materials to their curriculum.  Beware to use the correct spelling to get to this website.  There is a copycat website with a spelling close to this one.

4.  IBM developerWorks
Check out
to see IBM’s free education covering various topics for IT professionals including XML, Java, Linux, open source, cloud computing, and business analytics,  It’s not just about IBM software.

5. for web development language tutorials
See for great tutorials to learn web development tools including HTML5, HTML, XML, CSS, PHP, Javascript, SQL and much more.  Surprising (and thankful) this source is free.  It has been around for a long time.  As a footnote, they have been tracking and publishing browser usage that hits their website.  Check it out.  The results might surprise you!

6. State of Washington WorkSource
If you are on unemployment and live in the state of Washington, visit
The state of Washington has a contract with Microsoft to provide free online tutorials for all of Microsoft’s software to anyone in the state of Washington that is collecting unemployment.  A narrow audience, perhaps, but a great value if you qualify and are looking for work using Microsoft software.  This program gives access to productivity tools in Office as well as a few hundred hours of training materials for IT professionals and it includes their entire e-learning library covering several versions of software.  Of course the one caveat noted on the website is “Microsoft e-learning does not work well on Macintosh computers.  If you wish to enroll in Microsoft e-learning, see if you can get access to a PC.”  That excludes iPads and most other tablets as well.

This is just a sample of what is available.  There are many other free learning resources out there of varying degrees of value.  If you know of others that you like, please post them in the comments for all to benefit.

Remember: knowledge and information at rest have no value.  Their value only comes when put in motion through sharing or use.  If you hoard knowledge or information, it will not make you more powerful or protect your job.  In fact, just the opposite.  People will seek out a way to get by without you.  But if you share knowledge, they will value your input and recognize your contributions.  So spread the word!

A critical lesson in customer service, connections and social media

First, if you need help with a printer and you live in the Seattle area, I highly recommend the services of Infinity Communications.  Ask for Mark.

But this story isn’t about printers, that’s just where it all starts.  I have an old HP Laserjet 4000 printer.  The manufactured date is April 15, 1998.  A classic.  It’s 44 pounds of metal and only 1 pound of plastic.  Definitely Old School.  I in inherited it along with an extra toner cartridge refill several years ago when our office was getting rid of it to replace it with a fancy new multi-function printer.

It has served me well, but recently the sheet feeder started jamming.  The printer only worked if I fed paper one page at a time into the manual tray.  I decided to get rid of this old laser printer along with my color inkjet printer and a flatbed scanner and replace them with a modern all-in-one printer from Costco.  This new machine is great.  It scans, prints color photos, makes copies, send faxes via the Internet, and even allows me to print from anywhere via facebook.  Not to mention all the desk space it freed up.

On Monday, less than three months since I bought it, it ran out of black ink.  That same day, as if they already knew I would need it, I got an email from Costco advertising their printer cartridge refill service for about $10.  (Perhaps the printer has a feature to alert Costco when the toner is low.  It is certainly capable of it and if Target can predict you are pregnant by your buying habits, then Costco could certainly be monitoring printer alerts.)

I got it refilled, but I also thought back on that old laser printer sitting by the door, waiting to be disposed of properly.  It was such a workhorse.  It should be good for a few more years of printing at least, if only the automatic sheet feeder worked.

But like I said, this story isn’t about printers.  It’s about people.  It’s about customer service, connections and social media.

I decided to call around and see what it would cost to get it repaired.  I consulted the great oracle, Google, who guided me to a long list of companies in my area that service printers.  The first one I called answered promptly.  The woman at the other end was helpful and knowledgeable.  When I mentioned what printer I had, she replied “ah yes, that is considered the old workhorse of printers!  There are many still in service today.”  She went on to explain the cost for repair is $25 for the visit (they come to you) plus $75/hour.  It should take under 1 hour.  And I may want to get the maintenance kit which is $300 parts and labor.  That would be about $400 total.  “Hmmm.  Let me call you back on that”,  I said.

After a few more calls with people reporting similar pricing, I called the listing for a company named Infinity Communications, located just 2 miles from my place.  A guy answered the phone and I explained to him my situation.  “Oh yeah, that’s a great printer.  That’s what I use for all my personal heavy-duty printing.  I service several law offices that use that one and they all have over 100,000 pages.  You can get over 10,000 prints from one toner cartridge.  So here’s the deal:  You can bring it in to me and I’ll charge you $95/hr plus parts.  If it has over 100,000 prints since its last service, you might need the maintenance kit too.  But that’s pretty pricey.  You know, it’s probably something as simple as pulling the two rubber rollers out and washing them with a damp wash cloth.  If you pull out the paper tray and look inside there…”  Over the next 5 minutes he talked me through how to remove the rollers.  Incredibly simple.  I cleaned them up and ran a test print while he was on the phone.  Voila’!  I have a working printer again!  “So look on that test print page”, he says.  “How many prints since last maintenance?”  I read it to him “1410”.  He asks “And what is the total page count?”  I reply “One four one zero.”  He asks “You mean one hundred forty thousand?”  “No, one thousand four hundred and ten.”  “Wow” he says.  “That’s like a brand new printer! You’ll be using that for a long, long time.”  Yep.  he’s right.  I will also be coming to him for all my printer service needs in the future and I will tell all my friends about him.

So to all my readers, his name is Mark Ungacta and his company is Infinity Communications here in Woodinville, WA.
We chatted on the phone for a bit more and I promised him a beer for his help.  By coincidence he happens to know someone who owns a brewery nearby…

The difference between what those others did and what Mark did meant the difference between getting no business and getting a beer, a loyal customer, and potentially many more customers than just the one calling.

The lessons:
1.  Customer service is all about doing more than you have to.  In the end, more likely than not, the dividends will more than make up for it.
2.  Social media provides individuals with a much stronger influence than in the past.  Be keenly aware of that as you make choices. In this instance I’m hoping this blog post drives new business Mark’s way.
3.  Take the time to listen to the people you meet.  You never know where those connections will lead you.

Do you have a similar success story?  Please share it.

Footnote: if you have this printer, you can get the maintenance kit and detailed instructions at

W3C Social Business Jam Report Just Released

(If you’re following my Grand Canyon story, the next post is coming soon.  This week is Lotusphere.)

The W3C sponsored an online forum to study opinions on social business. The results of the Jam have been compiled and they published their results yesterday.
The jam focused on 6 aspects of social technology:

– Identity Management for Social
– Mobile and Social
– Information Management
– Business Process Meets Social
– Seamless Integration of Social
– Metrics for Social Business

The jam was hosted by W3C member IBM using IBM’s Collaboration Jam platform.  (Not to be confused with IBM’s Social Business Jam, an entirely different report made by IBM )

Not familiar with who the W3C is?  In their words, The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.”   This is the organization that tries to define industry standards that make integrating computer systems possible.  Without them, the world wide web (www.) would not exist.

As Lotusphere 2012 is all about Social Business, the timing of this report is appropriate.  The report provides some great insight into the future of social business from the viewpoint of the jam participants.  A few points:

– Only 18% of the participants Social Business is just marketing hype.  I don’t hold much faith in the longevity of their businesses.  But that also means 82% of those surveyed see Social Business as a real part of business today.  That is important if you are in the business of Social Business.  That means opportunity.

– Only 7% of the participants have only one identity on the web. Does that mean we all suffer from dissociative identity disorder?  I hope not.  Does it mean we don’t trust the world enough to let our whole self be seen by everyone?  Perhaps at least to some degree.  For example, many people don’t use the same identity on LinkedIn as they use on Facebook because they don’t want their employer or prospective employer to know about their personal life.  But it may also say something about how people play many roles in their lives and that one identity cannot represent us appropriately.  You see this in twitter profiles all the time: “CIO, whitewater kayaker, father”.  This becomes relevant because it’s the commonalities you share outside of business that make the strongest bonds for doing business.  It’s the fraternity effect, as I call it.  For Social Business to be most effective, it will need to be able to handle our split personalities.

– The report reveals how we treat our constant-connections of mobile phones so differently from all other devices.  Not just that technology must accommodate this in many ways including partial data wipes that remove corporate data while leaving personal data untouched.  The implications go into the usability features of the devices themselves too.  Think “It’s not business, it’s personal.” for a mobile phone, but “it’s not personal, it’s just business” for the desktop.

– The respondents also see value in social technologies in how they can handle exceptions to processes more effectively than structured forms.  This will shine most in a crisis.  If you are familiar with Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity, you can see how this could fit in.  Imagine a natural disaster hits the headquarters of a company.  While their computer systems will survive if they properly setup a co-located data center, layers of leadership may not be available.  Social technologies are inherently flat organizationally, allowing people at all levels to communicate directly with the people they need to in the most effective manner.

– An interesting point that will play out in the near future is the response to the survey question “I want social tools integrated with my other applications”.  This is exactly what IBM is doing with IBM Connections and the Social Edition of Lotus Notes coming soon.  65% agree.  I expect those that disagreed probably just couldn’t envision such an integrated world.  They probably don’t realize that they already have that in places like facebook (if they use it.)

If you want an idea of where social software is going, this report is a worthwhile read.

Social Media 101: Social Media Disasters (be careful with that keyboard, it’s loaded)

Taking a brief break from my break from discussing Social Media to post about this good slide deck from IBM about Social Media and how NOT to use it.  The presentation sites more than a dozen examples of how companies have blundered on the web, but my favorite is definitely Ryanair’s press release stating “Ryanair can confirm that a Ryanair staff member did engage in a blog discussion.  It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy in corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won’t be happening again.  Lunatic bloggers can have the blogosphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel.”

It describes some etiquette in using social media as a business, but these rules also apply to us as individuals.  I mention this in response to observing individuals engage in a social media personal assault.

With any form of broadcast communications (media), you should be sensitive to your audience.  But with social media, it is even more important because of the broad reach one person can have and the permanence it has.  With social media an individual can broadcast their message as widely as a fortune 500 company with a huge marketing budget, and once posted, it cannot be fully removed.  It’s a loaded gun.  There is no putting the bullet back once the trigger has been pulled.  So when it comes to using it, be judicious.  A great rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would have these 4 people read it:  your mother, your child, your future employer, and the person it is talking about.  If it can pass this test, it is probably good to publish.

When in doubt, leave it out.
Not to be confused with controversy, which can be healthy as it stimulates discussion and protects us from following on blind faith.  Don’t be afraid to point it out when “the Emperor has no clothes.”

Check out other related slide decks from IBM at

Going unplugged: Beyond the iPhone and beyond your imagination

Next Post: The Story Begins
(This is the first post regarding this Grand Canyon expedition)

iPhone 4s is about to become irrelevant.

Imagine a world without email or text messages.  No spam or viruses or pop-up ads.  No steady stream of status updates from Facebook or Twitter.  No television with presidential debates and reality TV.  No “who-shot-who” on the six o’clock news.  Imagine a world without rush hour traffic or smog alerts.  No sirens screaming in the night and no alarm clocks screaming in the morning.  Imagine if you can, a world without cell phones or cable TV or Internet. A world where the only connections you have are made face-to-face with the people and environment around you.

Your evenings consist of hanging out on a secluded beach and maybe going for a hike to see amazingly beautiful natural formations of rock delicately sculpted by flowing water.  Then you return to your beach where several of your friends stayed behind to prepare a gourmet dinner in an outdoor kitchen.  After dinner, you sit around the campfire listening to someone play the guitar while others talk about the great things that happened that day.  Then they talk with excitement about the amazing things they plan to see tomorrow.  The air is mild and dry.   As the sun sets you see Billions of stars in the sky.  With nothing more than the light of the campfire and of the moon, you discover you really can see at night and in fact, bright lights would only blind you.  Everything looks soft, subdued, restful.

Now imagine in this world, that you spent every night sleeping on that exclusive, secluded beach in a remote location with amazing views in every direction and bright, clear skies day after day, night after night..  You go to bed with only a dome of stars overhead for shelter.  Yet that sky makes you feel much more safe, free, and secure than you had ever been before; when you slept indoors in a bed that was pushed up against a wall in a room with the door shut and the blinds closed.  That cage is gone.  Nothing more than the light of the stars in the night sky to capture your attention, focus your thoughts, and put everything into perspective before drifting off to sleep.  Perhaps you wake up in the middle of the night and, without moving a muscle save the lifting of your eyelids, watch shooting stars trace lines in the black sky.

In the morning you are awakened by the gentle glow of the pre-dawn sky and are acutely aware of the absence of all noise save the constant flush of the river beside your camp and the musical melodies of songbirds greeting the rising sun.  You pack up your bedding and load it into one of the  rafts; eat breakfast with your friends as you discuss what exciting rapids are coming up today.  The only stress in your world is the thrill as you blast through waves big enough to flip your 18′ raft end-over-end if you don’t run it just right.  A few moments of Adrenalin sandwiched between long stretches of lazy, calm flat water carrying you downstream; parading you before colorful canyon walls over a mile high to either side.  Those walls shield you, protect you like a citadel from the noise and chaos of the world beyond.  Even a satellite phone would only get a few moments of connection while the satellite is high overhead between the canyon walls.  As evening approaches, you find another beach, set up camp, and do it all over again.  21 days, 220 miles.

Welcome to the Grand Canyon.

My blog has been unusually quiet lately as I am busy planning and preparing to lead 16 of my friends on just such a trip for the second time .  We launch from Lees Ferry October 25th.  When we do, I will leave this wilderness behind and step into a far more civil and peaceful world.  In fact, the moment I pull out of my driveway and start the drive to Flagstaff, the chaos will begin to fade and let the harmony shine through like the setting sun yields the night sky to the stars.  Though it will last a fortnight, the trip will feel as fleeting as the night and returning as inevitable as the Sun will rise the next day.

iPhone 5 is about to become irrelevant for me anyway.

So what are YOU doing for the month of November?

Next Post: The Story Begins
(This is the first post regarding this Grand Canyon expedition)

IBM and ESPN 3: Using social media to tell the world what they mean by “Let’s build a smarter planet.”

You’ve heard me ask “What does IBM sell?”  Sure, *I* know what they sell.  But my point is: what do they do to make sure the average consumer knows?
Well, on this idle Saturday afternoon, while watching my Gators on ESPN 3 crush UAB, *BAM*, there it was – A smarter planet ad on ESPN 3 with a twist: it ended with a URL:
What’s the big deal?  First, IBM is talking to consumers.  That’s right, beer-drinking, college football-watching average America.  Second, this is ESPN 3.  In other words, the webcast version of ESPN.  So anyone watching that ad is already sitting at their computer.  I don’t know about smarter planet, but certainly smarter advertising.  So I went to check it out.  On my other monitor, of course.

What did I find there?  The first video was their 30-minute story: “IBM Centennial Film: They Were There – People who changed the way the world works”.  On the new youtube, you can have longer videos than the old 10-minute limit.  Of course, that doesn’t change the fact the the average attention span is somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes and the average time spent on a web page is 1 minute.  That was one of the driving reasons for the 10 minute limit in the first place.  The cool thing about youtube is that everyone can see the results.  It shows how many viewings each video gets.  So we will get to see just how successful the videos are.

The good news:  This video includes IBM founder Tom Watson’s answer to my question.  Retired IBMer Fred Brooks tells the story of how Thomas Watson Sr. used to go into the lab and ask some young engineer: “What do we sell?”
And the young man would say “punch cards sir.”
“NO, NO!” Watson replied.  “We sell a service that satisfies.”

Now the bad news:  This answer comes at 28:52 minutes into a 30:41 minute video.

But this video isn’t about what IBM sells anyway.  It’s about their past.  A good production, but wouldn’t it be more effective to lead with a short ad that builds on the *BAM* that the original ad made on ESPN 3?  Something that teases with a bit more details on what IBM has to offer today and how they will take MY company into the future and give ME an advantage over my competition?  To make ME a leader in a smarter planet?  End it with the viewer wanting to know more.  Make it a two minute video to fill those dead zone commercial breaks that don’t show anything for web viewers.  Just say:

Visit the next time you see this:


My compliments to IBM digital marketing.  (Maria, is this your doing?)  Now take it to the next level.

The video ends with the words of another IBMer: “You’ve got to stay alert and you’ve got to be nimble on your feet.  You’ve got to recognize that what was true yesterday will not be true tomorrow in terms of technology.”

Taking Social Media to the next level: “Message on a bottle”

When it comes to helping meet people, Twitter doesn’t compare to this: a vodka bottle with a programmable LED text banner that you can enter your own message.  It gives new meaning to the phrase “social drinker”.

Check out Medea Vodka’s website.

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