Translators and social media: less is sometimes more…

instagram-foodWe are living in the “Me, Me, Me, Look at Me” era (the media talks about the “Me Generation” as well) on social media (and/or because of social media). Posting selfies (those self-portraits taken with a cell phone in front of the bathroom mirror, in front of a plate of spaghetti, at the hairdresser or wherever) on Twitter, Facebook or even worse, via Instagram, (and then posting them all over the Web) is a screaming example of this. We all have at least one contact who does this many times each day, and let’s face it, it is very annoying. Equally annoying are status updates, posts or tweets about stuff the world really does not care about. “I just had breakfast, yay (even better with an Instagram selfie in front of said breakfast).” Good for you. Also annoying: workout stats posted to Facebook. Irritating and useless: Foursquare check-ins posted to Twitter or Facebook when you’re at your gynecologist or at the grocery store, and so forth and so on (the list could go on for ages).

However, as far as I’m concerned, people can share what they want with their personal contacts. After all, a real-life friend is a real-life friend and maybe they do care that you just had breakfast or that you just checked in to the grocery store. As is the case most of the time, I am not talking about private accounts. Do what you want there.

But when it comes to business accounts, I’m seriously growing tired of opening my Facebook and seeing these types of posts from people who are…well, business contacts. Seriously, we have never met, I’m a potential client or a colleague, and if we have met, it was briefly at a conference once or twice – do I really need to know you just checked-in at the gym? Do I really want to see a “Yay, look at how well-plucked my eyebrows are!” A bathroom picture of you? Is this something you would show me/tell me about if we were to meet in a professional setting (at a conference for example) and had just a few minutes to network?

This is one thing: oversharing. Oversharing selfie items that might not even be well-received on a completely private account, only among your real-life friends and family. So imagine the effect in a professional setting.

The second thing: it’s getting exhausting to keep opening my Facebook news feed only to find it clogged with constant self-congratulatory, self-back-patting, “look how awesome I am” status updates and posts. These are translation-related, work-related. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of self-promotion here and there when we really reach a milestone, it’s natural to want to share one’s prides and joys. But every day, and about small, insignificant events or achievements these can hardly be considered milestones? Posting even the slightest client feedback, each time we get some? Doing this on Facebook adding that “Feeling XXX” silly, beaming smiley? I can’t help but wonder whether this is actually counterproductive and ultimately harmful to one’s credibility.

Not to mention sharing blog comment spam posts that are just bursting with pride at the feedback received, when in fact this is actually not feedback. It’s just some obscure online spam company trying to flatter bloggers’ egos by posting spam comments like “OMG your article is so amazing, thank you for this valuable information” in order to get backlinks and traffic. How much can one hurt their credibility and online image by reposting this all over their LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter profiles with a “Look at the feedback my last article just received” along with a “glowing with pride” smiley?

The point is, my eyes have somehow trained themselves to “zap” and filter all these. Well, at least the ones I still follow, because I started unfollowing many who post daily selfie stuff. When I follow or add a colleague as contact on a social network – if they are not an actual friend – I do so because I’m interested in what they have to say, in the expertise they have and I follow them expecting to find something interesting and useful: information, valuable insights and opinions, interesting resources, fun resources too, why not (like the Translators Anonymous blog, or those kinds of resources) – and if I establish a friendly professional relationship along the way, why not? This is after all also what social networks are about.

However, I am not following you so you can throw it in my face 36 times a day how awesome you are because a client told you “Thanks for the great job you did on this translation”, 36 self-congratulatory posts, always about you, what you do, what you did and how AMAZING you are.
I am also not interested in the fact that you are at the grocery store nor do I want to see a picture of your lunch, or a selfie you took in the bathroom mirror, or the fact that you ran six kilometers this morning and that it was sunny and that you felt great but tired afterwards. If your private contacts and family do, that’s great. But I’m not a private contact, I’m not a buddy, I’m not your best elementary school friend, or your sister, so do I really need to be included in an oversharing spree?

The danger is clear: it harms your professional credibility. First of all, you may come across as being arrogant, narcissic and self-centered – and nobody likes that kind of person. Secondly, you come across as being unprofessional, and lastly, you also project the image of being someone who really doesn’t have anything better to do with their time than hit the refresh button on Twitter and Facebook all day long and post about how wonderful you are, thus causing your followers to wonder, “Does he/she actually have any translation jobs?” Plus, you are clogging their news feed with useless and annoying information – in other words, they get irritated, and will associate your name with this source of irritation. As far as this goes, best-case scenario: they unfollow you. Worst-case: you will never land any client recommendations, jobs or any other form of collaboration from these people because you will have lost all credibility with them, regardless of how good and professional you actually and truly are. Oversharing and oversharing selfies put you at risk of being perceived as being unprofessional. It doesn’t matter how good you are. It’s an online image problem. When we are perceived as being “arrogant,” for example, we get the label “arrogant” and it takes a long time and a lot of hard work to change this label people give us. It’s how society and psychology work, and it applies just as much to online image/online marketing matters.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to prevent this from happening.

First: use your common sense. Be yourself – be yourself! But be sure to draw a line to define what is private and/or inappropriate in a business context.

Second: create two Twitter accounts, a public one for business purposes under your real name (or company name) and another locked account with a pseudonym, to connect with actual friends and family, for example. Locked. because the tweets won’t be visible to the entire world, but only to the followers you approve, and under a pseudonym so that this private account doesn’t get associated with your brand/company in a Google search. It’s your private space, period, and you can share all the lunch photos or bathroom selfies you want there, if you really must. Anything to avoid having to post these to your business account.

Third: a Facebook profile is a very nice networking tool. There are hundreds of translator groups and lists there with lively discussions and plenty of useful resources and input. I have met great colleagues though this network. But this is also the network where people tend to overshare the most. Why not use the “Friends Lists” tool, to separate your business contacts from your private ones? That way you can keep posting bathroom mirror selfies but instead, you can make them visible only to a given list. And you always have the option of creating a second Facebook profile: one “public” for translator interaction and networking, and one private profile for real friends, buddies and family. I’m no big fan of business Pages for freelance translator for a variety of reasons, but if you choose that option, the “more or less” also applies – because there are many Pages out there just oversharing and bragging all day long.
“Google + circles allow you to keep a user-friendly and clean line of separation between your contacts.
As for LinkedIn, it’s a high-quality business network, so private stuff such as hairdresser or spaghetti plate pictures, workout stats or check-ins at the gym have no business being there. Self-congratulatory and self-flattering updates are not welcome at all according to LinkedIn etiquette. Your LinkedIn profile is the only place you can really “brag” with abandon, so to speak. This is the only place in the social network world where it really is all about you. But everywhere else – updates, groups, etc. it’s a big no-no.

“Less is more”, the saying goes. I love that saying; it’s so true in my opinion. Refraining from oversharing and from posting “self-congratulatory” and “me, myself and I” content all day long, and when we do actually really have something to be proud of or have reached an actual milestone and post about it, well, this makes the message that much more visible and impactful. And then, not only will your followers actually see it, but they will truly feel happy for you and will take the time to share your pride and joy with this achievement with you.

One thing we should all keep in mind, at all times. “Social networks” contains the word “SOCIAL”. It’s not about “Me, Myself and I”. It’s about other people. That’s the whole point. And like everything in life, it’s important to find the balance between too much and not enough. When in doubt, I think that remaining behind the line on the “not enough” side sounds like a healthy compromise.  No?

(via Doodle Time)

Digital records could expose intimate details and personality traits of millions

facebook_like_button_bigResearch shows that intimate personal attributes can be predicted with high levels of accuracy from ‘traces’ left by seemingly innocuous digital behaviour, in this case Facebook Likes. Study raises important questions about personalised marketing and online privacy.

New research, published in the journal PNAS, shows that surprisingly accurate estimates of Facebook users’ race, age, IQ, sexuality, personality, substance use and political views can be inferred from automated analysis of only their Facebook Likes – information currently publicly available by default.

In the study, researchers describe Facebook Likes as a “generic class” of digital record – similar to web search queries and browsing histories – and suggest that such techniques could be used to extract sensitive information for almost anyone regularly online.

Researchers at Cambridge’s Psychometrics Centre, in collaboration with Microsoft Research Cambridge, analysed a dataset of over 58,000 US Facebook users, who volunteered their Likes, demographic profiles and psychometric testing results through the myPersonality application. Users opted in to provide data and gave consent to have profile information recorded for analysis.

Facebook Likes were fed into algorithms and corroborated with information from profiles and personality tests. Researchers created statistical models able to predict personal details using Facebook Likes alone.

Models proved 88% accurate for determining male sexuality, 95% accurate distinguishing African-American from Caucasian American and 85% accurate differentiating Republican from Democrat. Christians and Muslims were correctly classified in 82% of cases, and good prediction accuracy was achieved for relationship status and substance abuse – between 65 and 73%.

But few users clicked Likes explicitly revealing these attributes. For example, less that 5% of gay users clicked obvious Likes such as Gay Marriage. Accurate predictions relied on ‘inference’ – aggregating huge amounts of less informative but more popular Likes such as music and TV shows to produce incisive personal profiles.

Even seemingly opaque personal details such as whether users’ parents separated before the user reached the age of 21 were accurate to 60%, enough to make the information “worthwhile for advertisers”, suggest the researchers.

While they highlight the potential for personalised marketing to improve online services using predictive models, the researchers also warn of the threats posed to users’ privacy.

They argue that many online consumers might feel such levels of digital exposure exceed acceptable limits – as corporations, governments, and even individuals could use predictive software to accurately infer highly sensitive information from Facebook Likes and other digital ‘traces’.

The researchers also tested for personality traits including intelligence, emotional stability, openness and extraversion.

While such latent traits are far more difficult to gauge, the accuracy of the analysis was striking. Study of the openness trait – the spectrum of those who dislike change to those who welcome it – revealed that observation of Likes alone is roughly as informative as using an individual’s actual personality test score.

Some Likes had a strong but seemingly incongruous or random link with a personal attribute, such as Curly Fries with high IQ, or That Spider is More Scared Than U Are with non-smokers.

When taken as a whole, researchers believe that the varying estimations of personal attributes and personality traits gleaned from Facebook Like analysis alone can form surprisingly accurate personal portraits of potentially millions of users worldwide.

They say the results suggest a possible revolution in psychological assessment which – based on this research – could be carried out at an unprecedented scale without costly assessment centres and questionnaires.

“We believe that our results, while based on Facebook Likes, apply to a wider range of online behaviours.” said Michal Kosinski, Operations Director at the Psychometric Centre, who conducted the research with his Cambridge colleague David Stillwell and Thore Graepel from Microsoft Research.

“Similar predictions could be made from all manner of digital data, with this kind of secondary ‘inference’ made with remarkable accuracy – statistically predicting sensitive information people might not want revealed. Given the variety of digital traces people leave behind, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for individuals to control.


“I am a great fan and active user of new amazing technologies, including Facebook. I appreciate automated book recommendations, or Facebook selecting the most relevant stories for my newsfeed,” said Kosinski. “However, I can imagine situations in which the same data and technology is used to predict political views or sexual orientation, posing threats to freedom or even life.”

“Just the possibility of this happening could deter people from using digital technologies and diminish trust between individuals and institutions – hampering technological and economic progress. Users need to be provided with transparency and control over their information.”

Thore Graepel from Microsoft Research said he hoped the research would contribute to the on-going discussions about user privacy:

“Consumers rightly expect strong privacy protection to be built into the products and services they use and this research may well serve as a reminder for consumers to take a careful approach to sharing information online, utilising privacy controls and never sharing content with unfamiliar parties.”

David Stillwell from Cambridge University added: “I have used Facebook since 2005, and I will continue to do so. But I might be more careful to use the privacy settings that Facebook provides.”


7 myths in using Facebook for business (and in general)

amis-facebookRandom thoughts… 7 myths or mistakes you may be doing, without knowing it, on Facebook.

Myth 1: no, it is not possible to know who has seen your Facebook profile, so pleeeaaaaaase stop installing apps that claim the contrary and that post status updates to your profile calling your friends to install it. Really, please, stop.

Myth 2: no, sharing your tweets on your Facebook Profile/Page is not such a great idea. It is counterproductive and extremely annoying for anyone following you on Facebook. And for those following you on both: even worse. Facebook has a very different netiquette from Twitter. You don’t tweet on Facebook. You tweet on Twitter Same goes for “RTing” people on Facebook, by the way: huh?

Myth 3:  no, the copyright and privacy disclaimer that you have to post as a status to prevent FB from using your data is not for real. It’s a hoax, and it’s been ciruclating for months. Please, please, stop sharing it. (“In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communique, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.”)

Myth 4: no, your professional contacts don’t care about your workout stats, so pleeeaaaase stop sharing the runtastic report of your latest run (or any other sport tracking app, for that matter) with said business contacts (your personal contacts are a complete other matter –  you do what you want, personal stuff is personal stuff. But there is personal stuff your business contacts really don’t need to see/read. No? )

Myth 5: no, the status update asking your Friends to hover over your name and change their settings so that friends of friends of friends don’t see what you like or post is a fake too. This is a hoax that has been circulating since May 2011. (“To all my FB friends, may I request you to please do something for me: I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. However, with the recent changes in FB, the public can now see activities in any wall. This happens when our friend hits “like” or “comment”, automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we cannot change this setting by ourselves because Facebook has configured it this way. So I need your help. Only you can do this for me. PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (do not click), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on “COMMENTS & LIKE” by clicking on it. By doing this, my activity amongst my friends and my family will no longer become public. Many thanks! Paste this on your wall so your contacts would follow suit too, that is, if you care about your privacy.”) – and similar ones, there are some variants of it.

Myth 6: no, Facebook will not become a paying service anytime soon, so please stop sharing hoaxes pretending otherwise…

And if you don’t believe me, see Facebook’s FAQ – Common Myths about Facebook.

Myth 7: no, your phone number is not accessible to anyone on Facebook. Unless you entered it yourself and made it public. So, the status update claiming “ALL THE PHONE NUMBERS IN YOUR PHONE… INCLUDING YOURS are now on FACEBOOK! go to the top right of the screen, click on ACCOUNT, click on EDIT FRIENDS, left side of screen and click CONTACTS. you will see all phone numbers from your phone are published that you have stored in your mobile phone. TO REMOVE, go to RIGHT column, click on “this page.” please repost this on your status, so your friends can remove their numbers and thus prevent abuse if they do not want them published.” is just a big hoax… and an old one, from 2010 or so.

There are many more! Which ones come to your mind?

The new LinkedIn profile is here: what’s new?

Yay, it’s finally here – annouced months ago and rolling out since October, we are all finally getting the new LinkedIn profile.  So what’s new, how much has changed?

Well, actually not THAT much. I mean yes, but no. The layout and feel are different, and a few fields have moved. Let’s see what’s changed:

Your activity (posts, links, new connections, etc.)  is now right below the top box containing your picture – it used to be in the right sidebar. This change is interesting because your posts get a much better exposure – particularly links you post with an eye-catching image. Definitely a plus for your content marketing strategy. You cannot change the position of this box.

LinkedIn1A new “Background” box
Your sections such as “Summary”,”Languages”, “Specialities”, “Experiences”, “Education”, “Certifications”, “Skills” etc, are now all together in one big “Background” box – but in Edit mode, you can still change the order you want each section to be displayed – if you want your languages to appear before your Summary for example, click the arrow shown in the screenshot here in red. Then simply drag and drop the section where you want it to be displayed.

The middle icon (left from the arrow) is a new gadget that came with the profile redesign. It is a simple tool that enables you to add a link to a section – it can be a link to a video, a publication, an image, a blog, etc. This is a small additional way of creating backlinks to your contents (good for your SEO) and showing your expertise/experience.

Editing is now easier
Each section now displays the icons shown in the screenshot above when in Edit mode, which makes editing them even simpler than it was before. Click the blue pencil icon left available for each section and just navigate the information you wish to edit.
In Edit mode, you also now have a right sidebar “Recommended for you” where LinkedIn suggests fields/information to add to your profile – these are personalized, based on how complete your profile already is. For example, LinkedIn suggests me to add the following based on my profile information and completion level:

“People you May Know”
This box is now displayed on your own profile when you edit or view it – it used to be only available on the homepage.

“Profile Strength”
Still in the right sidebar, there is a new “Profile Strength” box. You actally already know that feature – it used to be a blue bar at the top of your profile showing how complete it was, in %. Now you even get a status for profile completion… Yay!


“Your Network”
Now, this is probably the most interesting new feature in the revamped profile – it gives you a visual and colored overview of your LinkedIn network based on Company, Location, Industry or School.  Having that kind of overview at hand is very useful. For example, if I look at my network by country, I see that most of my contacts come from France (left screenshot).
Each other circle around the main one is another location, arranged in size based on how many contacts ou have in these locations. It’s exactly the same for companies – the main circle shows the name of the company where the highest number of your contacts work, same for School and Industry – the latter can be particularly interesting for agencies and freelancers using LinkedIn for end-clients prospection in a few selected industries.

General thoughts

More colorful
Ok, this is a silly one – or is it? I often found the old profile design boring – black and white text. Now there is more color in your profile thanks to 2 minor changes:
– the logos of the companies listed in your “Experience” section are displayed – if these companies have a LinkedIn company page and uploaded their logo on it.
– thumbnails of profile pictures of people who recommended you are also displayed below each “Experience” entry.

What I personally like about this new profile – it’s clean, neat, simpler to edit and navigate. Section titles are bigger and bold, which makes them easier to spot when navigating a profile.

What about you? What do you think of the new profile ?

Social Media Marketing for translators: a must or a should? – replay now available

SocialMediaThe video replay of my last webinar “Social Media marketing 2012 for translators – a must or a should?” conducted with is now available!
If you attended the live webinar, you have free unlimited access. If you did not attend, you can purchase access to the video.
Click here to view the on-demand replay page. Note that you need to have a account (member or non-member) to access the video.

Some feedback from attendees:

“Excellent webinar, highly recommendable” – Carolyn Gelsomino

“The webinar was really interesting and helpful.”Jana Novomeska

View a list of all past and future webinars and training sessions from the GxP team (with links to replays when available) here.

Social SEO basics for freelance translators: replay now available

The video replay of my webinar “Social SEO basics for translators” is now available online!
If you attended the live webinar, you have free unlimited access. If you did not attend, you can purchase access to the video.
Click here to view the on-demand replay page. Note that you need to have a account (member or non-member) to access the contents.

Some feedback from attendees:

“It was very interesting. Anne explained to us how important it is to know more about keywords, traffic, activity, and backlinks. SEO is a very powerful instrument of marketing – if you know how to use it… Fascinating and full of hands-on advice.” – Dr. Tilmann Kleinau

“Excellent webinar, highly recommendable” – Carolyn Gelsomino

“The webinar was really interesting and helpful.”Jana Novomeska

View a list of all past and future webinars and training sessions from the GxP team (with links to replays when available) here.

“Optimize your LinkedIn profile” webinar replay available

The video replay of my webinar “Build yourself an optimized LinkedIn profile” is now available online!
If you attended the live webinar, you have free unlimited access. If you did not attend, you can purchase access for 15 €.
Click here to view the on-demand replay page. Note that you need to have a account (member or non-member) to access the contents.

View a list of all past and future webinars and training sessions from the GxP team (with links to replays when available) here.