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How Social Media Can Compromise Your Personal Security

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

water restaurant blackberry iphone phone check in

We all love our social networks and building our personal brands.  The newest craze in social media is the ability to “check-in”.  I first started using the check-in feature on my mobile Yelp! app.  I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.  Back then, I only used Yelp! to find good restaurants.  Then, when I got there, I would check-in on my Yelp! app so the restaurant would be saved in case I wanted to go back another time or write a review.

Later on, I realized that Facebook started to do the same thing.  I started noticing status updates that said, “So and so is at here or there with blah blah blah.”  Even to this day, though, it doesn’t really seem like Facebook’s “Places” function ever took off.

Finally, I came across Foursquare when I started my first Personal Branding class at UNR.  I thought I knew a lot about social networks, but I was surprised to have never heard of this one.  Basically, all you really do on Foursquare is check-in.  While Foursquare is growing like crazy, it was never really a hit with me.  I was hesitant to share with the world where I was every minute of the day.

This is exactly why I’m writing this post today. I want to remind everyone that while it may seem ridiculous to believe that someone could rob your house or kidnap you because you’ve been checking-in on social networks, there is still that possibility. Here’s how you can protect yourself:

1. Check in when you’re leaving the place.

If you check in when you leave the place of interest, robbers won’t have enough time to get to your house before you do.

2. Avoid checking in during long events.

A lot of people like to check in at work.  This just lets thieves know that you aren’t home and won’t be for a while.

3. Don’t check in at night.

Checking in at night is a bad idea, especially for cute little college girls.  I know a lot of people who will check in as they’re bar hopping.  It won’t take long for a kidnapper to follow your trail.

4. If you’re away from home for an extended period, avoid checking in.

I know it’s tempting to check in at all your favorite restaurants while visiting places like San Francisco, but it’s really a bad idea.  If someone’s paying attention to your activity, they’ll notice your a long way from home.

5. Stay away from Foursquare.

Like I said before, I don’t like Foursquare.  Since Foursquare is all about checking in, you can’t get away from it unless you stay away from it completely.

6. Don’t check in at all.

If you really want to protect yourself when it comes to checking in on social networks, just don’t do it!

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Professional Diversification Online: Using About.me to Promote Yourself

August 3, 2011 1 comment

For those of you who don’t know what About.me is, let me tell you a little bit about it. About.me is exactly what it says it is: a webpage all about ME (or in your case, YOU). It’s known as a profile landing page, where people can go to find out more about you and your online presence. The page allows you to talk a little bit about yourself and provide links to the other social networks where people can find you. The nice thing about About.me is that it is supposed to rank high in Google searches. So when someone Googles your name, your About.me profile should be close to the top of the results. When people click on your About.me, they can then follow the links you’ve provided to find out where else they can connect with you. If you don’t already have an About.me or don’t really know what to do with the one you currently have, I encourage you to follow these steps to build a successful About.me profile page:

1. Grab Your Vanity URL.

Just like every other social network, you want to make sure you use your full name when signing up for an account. It makes it easier for you to share the URL with others.

about.me eric chaump vanity url

2. Set A Background Image.

The first thing you want to do to get your About.me started is to start editing your profile. At the top of the screen, you should see a bar that says Dashboard, Profile, and People. Click on Profile and then click Edit (right next to Profile). The first thing you get to change is the background image. About.me will give you a list of pre-loaded options you can choose from or you can upload your own. If you upload your own, make sure you try to follow the size requirements, otherwise you image will not look right. When uploading your own background image, make it something you’re interested, but try to make it somewhat professional.

3. Upload A Picture.

Click over to Biography. This is where you get to upload a picture. Make sure you use the same picture you’ve used on all your other social networks.

4. Fill In Your Biography.

By now, you should have a nice biography written about yourself for your LinkedIn profile. Feel free to use this here, or you can write a new one and include different things about yourself. If you want to be a little more personal here, that’s fine too.

about.me about me bio biography eric chaump diversify yourself

5. Change Your Fonts And Colors.

The next two areas you want to change are going to be your fonts and colors. You will get carried away trying to get the perfect font and color combination, but don’t spend too much time on it. It’s not all about the way your profile looks. It’s the content that’s important.

6. Connect Your Other Services.

Next, click over to Services. Here you will get to connect your other social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Flickr, YouTube and whatever else you might have.

About.me About me External Services wordpress linkedin twitter youtube facebook flickr eric chaump

7. Add Flat URL’s.

Flat URL’s are links to external websites that aren’t part of About.me’s services. For example, Yelp! and Diigo are two networks that I have added to my About.me, but aren’t part of their connected services.

about.me about me external links flat url diigo yelp eric chaump

6 Easy Ways to Save a Couple Bucks

March 24, 2011 15 comments

In these tough economic times, everyone is looking for ways to save a couple bucks.  Because the more money you save, the more wealthy you are right?.  By saving money, you’re adding to your own bottom line.  Saving money isn’t always a matter of “cutting” things out of our lives, but rather taking the extra time and effort to make saving possible.   In order to do that, you have to have a good idea of where there is money to be saved.   To help you out, I’ve identified six simple ways you can save a couple bucks:

1. Coupons

I know what you’re thinking.  “Coupons are ridiculous, you barely save any money by using them.”  You want to bet?  Have you seen that new show called Extreme Couponing?  Well if you haven’t, I’ll give you a little synopsis.  There are little tips and tricks that people use to get everyday items nearly free using coupons.  These extreme couponers walk out of grocery stores, with six or seven carts full of groceries, paying only dollars for the entire bill. Still don’t believe me? Now’s the time to play the video below…

2. Yelp

Yelp is my new favorite social media platform.  Yelp is a business review network where everyday people submit reviews for local businesses, such as restaurants.  Well, Yelp has a cool feature for iPhones or other app-enabled devices called Check-In Offers.  A check-in occurs when someone is visiting a business, say a restaurant, and “checks-in”, notifying people that they are there.  A Check-In Offer is a deal offered by businesses for using this Yelp feature, for example, $10 off your meal of $30 or more for checking in.

3. Discount Stores

Have you ever been to a store like Ross, Marshalls, or T.J.Maxx?  If you haven’t, I encourage you to go.  These stores offer items you find in big, expensive department stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom at a discounted price.  There’s nothing wrong with the items and you can usually find some really good name brands.  You can also take it one step further and head straight for the clearance rack (often times up to 80% off regular price).

4. Programmable Thermostat

Before my Fiancé started student teaching, she stayed home most of the day in our new house cleaning it up and painting while I was at work.  Now that she’s started student teaching, she too is gone for most of the day.  When she leaves to go to school, she turns the heat down about 10 degrees and back up when she gets home.  We noticed that since she started student teaching, our energy bill has gone down a little over 23%.  Now, we manually turn down the heat when we leave and back up when we get home, but most thermostats allow you to program a schedule so that it turns down automatically after you leave and back up just before you get home.  If you don’t already do this, take the time to learn your thermostat and program it to your schedule to save you some money.

5. Pack A Lunch

Before I bought a house and started living on my own, I would go out to lunch every day of the week.  I would try to give myself a $5 budget, but I usually went a little over that.  This means I was spending between $25-30 per week on lunch.  Multiply that by the four weeks in a month and I was spending $100-$120 per month on lunch.  Now my Fiancé packs me a lunch.  Yes, it costs an extra $15 dollars at the grocery store every week to buy a week’s worth of lunch, but that’s saving me $40-60 per month.

6. Do I Really Need That?

Next time you’re considering buying something, whether its a $2,000 TV or a $2 bag of potato chips at the store.  Ask yourself if you really need it.  Most of the time the answer is no.  You can save yourself a good amount of money simply by practicing frugality and self-control.

I hope this list can help you save some money and increase your wealth at the same time.  If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Video Credit

Webpage Credit:

TLC – Extreme Couponing

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