Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Click-jacking and Like-jacking on Facebook

"Apparently my Facebook account was hacked. I did not send out those wall posts that promote ___________. Those posts were sent out in my name, but I was unaware of it. I've changed my password. Sorry about this."

You see such posts quite often. Another person was deceived by a "Like This" or "Share This" con job on Facebook.

Facebook is full of scams, malware, rogue apps, and other dangers. Beware of any wall post that says "Like and Share this", when it's accompanied by an image that's promoting a Free iPad or a Sweepstakes or a Child Burn Victim or a Timeline Remover -- and similar things.

Whenever I see this in my News Feed, I'll post the comment "This is a SCAM. Do NOT click on the link." I don't care if I anger anybody. By spreading these scams, knowingly or unknowingly, they're endangering people, and I'm warning others about it.

Some people are gullible, easy marks for con artists, very poor in critical thinking skills. You probably know people who open every email and every email attachment. They've been warned repeatedly about viruses and scams, but they can't control themselves. They're impulsive. They cling to a delusion that someday, they'll win the lottery or get rich helping a Nigerian princess if they send them thousands of dollars right now.

Dreams, wishful thinking, fantasies, positive affirmation-fueled delusions can be very dangerous. This is how con artists trick people. It's called Social Engineering. They are predators taking advantage of people's hopes, greed, and desire for Get Rich Quick schemes.

Click-jacking and Like-jacking are two common tools of the con artist on Facebook.

They trick a Facebook friend of yours to click on a link. The link does not go to where they think it will. The link goes to a survey, or a registration page, or an Identity Theft phishing page, for example, that pretends to be a Facebook age verification panel. "Are you 18 years old or older?" it asks. If you click "Yes", you go to more trouble in disguise.

The end result is you get a computer virus, your banking information on your computer is accessed, or your Facebook account is hijacked, and "you" start sending messages and wall posts promoting the scam to other friends on Facebook.

Like-jacking is similar. When you click Like on an image, like a poster promoting some charity or sweepstakes or free product, you unknowingly grant permission to a rogue app to hijack your Facebook account, and it starts spamming people in your name. The Like button is hijacked and diverted to a malicious purpose. In other words, Like is NOT Like, but a link to something that enables you to be hacked.

Keep these tips in mind -- and you'll have a safer, more satisfying experience on Facebook.

Read "Facebook Clickjackers" on the excellent Sophos Naked Security blog.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ignorify App Navigates the Real World For You

The real world is such a nuisance. Ignorify is an app that perceives reality -- so you won't have to.

We've all experienced the frustration of being interrupted in our Facebooking and Pinteresting by some meat space "event". Whether it's a car about to hit us or a meal we have to eat or a human presence blocking our path.

Now you can let your mobile device do your awareness for you, so you can be free to text, tweet, +1, like, share, comment, and riff your life away.

Ignorify. The app that navigates the physical world so you can more fully engage with the virtual realm.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Usability Review of Microsoft Social Network

Earlier today I was conducting a BUR (basic usability review) of but due to heavy traffic and a plethora of bugs and glitches, the site seems to be closed for fixes and head scratching.

Here are my initial observations:

(1) Can't find Upload Photos.

No photo gallery or albums for your profile? Haven't they been paying attention to Facebook, Pinterest or G+?

(2) Can't find Search for Users.

First thing you want to do on a social network is find people you follow on other sites and see what they're doing on the new one.

(3) Names of users have no identification like who they are, where they work, slogan.

If users had "Rock Musician", "Digital Artist", "CEO, Expandable Mandibles", "Occupy Atlantis", or some title that gave you a reason to check them out, it would facilitate user discovery.

I see no way to build a following, aside from email contact pestering.

(4) Find More button takes you to:

"Follow some interests to catch posts that might pique your curiosity" (music, food, travel, movies, art > Show More: tech, architecture, science, innovation, social, cars, sports, animals, games photoorange, kids, bcwa, seattle djs, start ups, cycling)

Everything is pre-checked, so I have to unclick them, then check what I want.

"Follow some of the most popular people on to get the latest."

Server overload: not working right now.

(5) UI is broken so I often can't scroll down to the action buttons to click. This is a horrible usability glitch.

(6) Search Interests > Web Design > InterestTopContributors error.

(7) Explore > Tech > only 3 people displayed.

(8) Drop down tool tip message: "Thanks for all the love and feedback on! We’re going to get to work fixing some issues you found, and open back up shortly!"

(9) Video Parties > Popular Parties > Socl Review

Viewing a usability review (screen shot tutorial) added by Chris Voss.

Not much to it, since seems really rough and raw, like Diaspora.

"Be careful what you search for, because your searches will be shared" -- oh dear!

Not a G+ Hangout, but "you can invite your friends to watch videos with you". Big deal.

Near top of right sidebar "People watching right now" with my avatar displayed with a few other people.

(10) To find people to follow, go to a popular geek like Robert Scoble and comb through who they are following.

(11) To indicate you like a person's message, click on the smiley face icon at far left under the message. It's the MS like button.

(12) Under a message, you'll see:

[smiley icon on its side = Like] | Comment | Riff | Tag | Share

(13) You can Edit a Message, but apparently, you can't Edit a comment like you can on G+. Facebook has the same problem.

UPDATE: I tried to Edit a message, but it doesn't seem to work. I did an Add Link again to that message, but no link is displayed.

(14) Jim Lewallen over at is very swiftly replying to my critiques. I appreciate that. I'm trying to help them fix the site. But there seems to have been zero usability testing done prior to this re-launch. Why would they release a site so full of glitches and error messages?

(15) In the Message text entry box, you cannot add a link apparently. Instead,there is an Add Link entry box. I typed in a remark in the Message area, then added a URL to the Add Link box, clicked Done, and it all disappeared. I was taken back to the Home page.

(16) No tool tip upon hover on actions. What does Riff mean? To find out, I clicked on Riff under one of my own posts. It seems to mean "engage in conversation", but there is already a Comment and Share button. Unfortunately, I can't escape this action, as there is no Cancel button.

Here is a copy and paste of my options:

You are riffing on the post "More photos from..." by Steven Streight

Add a message



Add Link


Click on items to add to post.

Enter a query in the search box above to see results.

(17) In the Message box "Write Message", there is your name in a field by itself (but appears you can type in another name -- to message someone?), then below that a message field "Add a message". The default is to message...yourself?

Right below "Add a message" pre-fill text in message box, there is a "Write Message" link that doesn't do anything because you're already doing that.

(18) No place to display links to all your other social networks, blogs, and websites.

I was told to add the URLs to my Bio, but it's not called a Bio, it's called "Create a brief introduction that will tell other users more about you". But the maximum length is 512 characters. So I just added my

After clicking Save, user dialogue text = "Your message has been saved." My message? It should have said "Your changes were saved."

(19) After a few hours, I returned to to see how they were doing. I'm worried. It's not going well at all over there. I saw above the Invite Friends button "You have 10 invitations left". I clicked around, trying to find a Video Party worth joining (watching a YouTube video is all it amounts to), failed to find anything, then saw "You have 3 invitations left".

I am discussing these issues with PM Jim Lewallen, hoping they can fix this site and make it work beautifully.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Steven Streight at Local Authors Fair VIDEO

Steven Streight presentation at Local Authors Fair, Peoria Public Library, May 12, 2012 on his Bicycle Fever book.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Online Debates vs Business Participation in Social Media

There are certain words and phrases that bring out the fighting instinct in people. As we read social media postings, we are bound to come across statements that rub us the wrong way.

If you have any sincere beliefs at all, it's only natural to be displeased, even upset, when someone makes fun of it, or vigorously states an opposing view.

What kinds of remarks get your blood boiling?

Praise for a politician you despise? Ridicule of your religious beliefs? Mockery of your secular philosophy? Non-factual claims? Common misunderstandings?

News about yet another waste of tax payer money? Talk of cutting social programs while increasing funds for war or corporate subsidies?

Repetition of political cliches and party lines, verbatim, like a parrot or robot?

Reports on yet another horrible crime against women, children, animals, or the environment? Rants against a celebrity or rock band you like?

Everyone has an anger trigger, an insult threshold, an emotional switch that can make black smoke pour out their ears and lightning shoot from their eyes.

But lots of people hate conflict. Or they don't enjoy arguing. Or they're too educated to believe that debates can change anyone's opinion.

Then there are people who love to argue and like to instigate controversy with inflammatory remarks.

Some people identify so deeply with a person or idea, they consider any criticism of that person or thing to be a personal attack against themselves. Others feel obligated to defend a belief and will jump on every opportunity to do so.

It can take a lot of self-restraint to not react to a provocation that hits your emotional hot spot. Just seeing the smug statement, and a flurry of comments in support of it, can tempt you to rain on their parade and insert a contrary opinion or link.

If you're an online activist, you may feel it's your duty to engage in these blogocombat debates. You sharpen your ideological rhetoric and discussion skills by diving into controversial topic threads.

If you're representing a business, you will probably refrain from such activity. You focus on sharing your industry insights and tips that can help people solve problems related to your field.

By sticking to your expertise, and innocent jovial banter with social media friends, you avoid the risk of alienating potential customers and clients.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bicycle Fever and Where to Buy It

(Photo above: William Ordaz, Performance Consultant with the International Society for Performance Improvement and President of Central Illinois Landmarks Foundation)

May is National Bike Month.

In 1990, I wrote a book for Charles Ruppman of Ruppman Marketing, called Bicycle Fever. It's about the evolution of bicycle technology and Peoria bicycle races from the 1890s to the 1990s.

My book Bicycle Fever is being sold at the gift shops of both Flanagan House and Pettengill-Morron House and at the Peoria Historical Society offices.

There are also copies at the Little Ades Bicycle Shop in Pekin, at Russell’s Cycling and fitness center in Washington, and at Spirit of the Past Antiques in Pekin.

Stacy Peterson (see photo above) of Peoria Public Library helps me promote my Bicycle Fever book. She arranged an interview with Gary Panetta of the Peoria Journal Star.

Gary Panetta (see photo above) interviewed me about the book recently. My photo and a photo of my Bicycle Fever book appeared in an article in the local paper yesterday.

Check out his Peoria Journal Star article on Peoria Public Library Local Authors Day at main downtown branch, coming up this Saturday, May 19 from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Facebook Scams: Investigate Before You Click on Like or Share

There are many scams and rogue apps on Facebook. Malware, viruses, phishing exploits, identity thieves, clickjackers, and spammers seek gullible people to trick.

There are even fake scam warnings about exploits that don't exist.

People, listen up. Don't fall for these con artists. Take a moment to Google the keywords of a post. 

For example, there is a bogus warning about hackers posting insulting messages as though they were written by you.

Google the keywords: "hackers insults Facebook" and see what you get. 

How about the Pink Facebook scam? Google "turn Facebook pink scam".

Remember the baby burn victim scam? Google the keywords "baby burn victim hoax Facebook".

Sometimes you have to add "hoax" or "scam" or "spam" to the keywords, depending on the specific case. That's because there may be some legitimate postings that include the keywords of the hoax or scam posting.

Do a few moments worth of research BEFORE you impulsively click Like or Share or copy and re-post a message. Pulling on your heart-strings often is the prelude to pulling on your purse-strings. Appealing to your noble sentiments is a common ploy of con artists and identity thieves.

Monday, May 7, 2012

18 Ways to Fail in Social Media Marketing

Many businesses dabble in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other social networks, then give up and proclaim "It didn't work for us."

Since I've seen fantastic SEO, sales, and customer relations results tied to social media campaigns, I suspect these businesses didn't do social media marketing correctly.

Here are some common errors:

(1) Incomplete profiles, no photos of CEO or staff, poor descriptions of the company.

(2) Relying on relentless inspirational quotes, instead of speaking in their own, authentic voice.

(3) No compelling differentiation from their competitors, which causes them to seem generic, like any random business in their field.

(4) Not understanding the core values of social media: sharing and caring.

(5) Only posting one message per day.

(6) Never interacting in a warm, human, non-commercial manner with online community members.

(7) Using we-oriented corporate fluff, instead of customer-centric communications.

(8) Forgetting to provide store address, phone number, business hours, directions, etc. in their About / Info page.

(9) Not encouraging company staff to speak on behalf of the company on social media, with specific guidelines and goals.

(10) Ignoring questions, complaints, and suggestions from customers.

(11) Never posting discount coupons, contests, or other interactive content.

(12) Never joking around, but seeming stiff, aloof, and impersonal.

(13) Not posting anything provocative, astonishing, hilarious, or innovative, but playing it safe and boring.

(14) Never clicking Like, Share, or Comment on anyone else's posts.

(15) Never posting any photos or videos.

(16) Grinding out sales hype, but never sharing expertise, how to tips, advice, product selection guidance, or industry news.

(17) Not really liking social media, but doing it reluctantly because it seems mandatory to give the impression of recognizing its importance.

(18) Giving up on social media before attracting a large following by using it to provide value to the community and generate positive buzz for your business.

There are many other ways to do social media ineffectively, but these are some of the main ones. If you keep these pitfalls in mind, and avoid them, you'll run circles around your competitors.

Social media is a powerful tool for building good online reputation, customer loyalty, and sales for your company.

If you need more help, contact me today.

steven [dot] streight [at] gmail [dot] com

Friday, May 4, 2012

Supermoon May 4, 2012 Peoria, IL USA

The moon looks really huge tonight. I took this photo just a few minutes ago. Go outside and check it out. No cloud coverage right at the moment. It's called a supermoon.

CLICK on image for LARGER view.

NASA: "The perigee full moon on May 5, 2012 will be as much as 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than other full moons of 2012."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Web Presence and Social Media are Dead Without Strategy

Without a Real Strategy, Your "Web Presence" and Social Media Activity are DEAD

Before you jump to the conclusion that I'm saying you don't need a website or a social media campaign, read on. I'm saying you need them -- but not in a static, passive, halfhearted manner.

If you think you a website is mandatory for your organization, but all you need is a simple "web presence", you're entirely wrong. If you think that people need to "find us on the web", this also is incorrect. Or better: it's not nearly enough.

Once people find you, then what? Nothing, that's what. Unless you have clear intentions and easy tools that engage people to do what you need them to do.

Some organizations think they should be "on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube", but again, this is only partially true. From this day forward, please banish the following phrases: "Check us out on Facebook", "we've got a website", and "we're doing social media".

Why am I so harsh about this?

Because most websites are frozen lumps of impersonal corporate fluff.

And most organizations use Facebook to post boring, sporadic, infrequent updates on "company news", "special deals", and "newly acquired business".

This is not a strategy. It's a mediocre mission statement.

A website should work as hard as you do. It needs to be dynamically interactive and feature multiple functionalities.

It needs to sell products, generate income, solicit donations, sign people up for newsletters, enlist volunteers, clarify a misconception, champion a cause, get signatures on a petition, or whatever your mission critical goals are.

A social media marketing campaign includes photos, videos, how to tips, links to valuable information, sharing expertise, interacting with others, blog article promotions, product selection advice, relevant news in other media, and much more.

Anybody can set you up with a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GooglePlus, LinkedIn, and YouTube account.

Anybody can build you a simple website that people can stare at once and never return.

What you need is a hard-nosed business specialist who knows how to make that website and social media platform accomplish your organization's objectives.

"Sales are great now, all we need is a web presence."

"We have plenty of investors and sponsors, we just want to periodically update people about what we're doing and how they can get involved."

Oh really?

Have you noticed the businesses that have gone bankrupt recently? Where is that store you used to love? Where are college grads lining up for employment?

No. Times are tough and getting tougher. Only the strong will survive. Your business is threatened. Your organization is facing impending doom.

Get your act together. Snap out of the muddled viewpoint. Pay attention to how savvy competitors are racing ahead of you.

If you need help devising a web and social media strategy with smart implementation to generate fast and steadily increasing results....

CONTACT me today.

steven [dot] streight [at] gmail [dot] com