Category Archives: case study

How to Spot a Phony Facebook Page

A video promoting a Tiffany ring giveaway has gone viral. It’s fake, though. Here’s how I can tell.

Here’s how you, too, can spot a phony Facebook page

1. The name of the page is slightly off.

Scammers will set up phony pages using names very similar to the ones used by the official Facebook page. In this case, Macy’s became Macys.com. The scammers eliminated the apostrophe, and tacked on a “.com.” Macy’s brand is bigger than its website, so the likelihood that the official page would use the “.com” is pretty low. Watch for slight spelling, capitalization, or punctuation differences.

2. There is no blue check mark indicating the page is verified by Facebook.

In response to these scammers, a few years ago Facebook started to verify pages for entities, usually large companies or celebrities, who were most likely to have their pages copied or cloned. If you’re not sure if a page is real, start typing the name of the page into Facebook’s search bar, and look for the blue checkmark. Here’s what you might see:

3. The giveaway is too good to be true.

Macy’s giving away priceless Tiffany jewelry? An alleged news page giving away pickup trucks and expensive makeup? Not likely. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

4. The page was created recently.

As you can see in the right sidebar in the first image, the verified Macy’s Facebook page has a long history. The “Macys.com” page does not. And if you scroll to the bottom—trust me, it won’t take long—you’ll see that the page was created very recently (about 18 hours ago, in this case).

spot a phony Facebook page

Gold stars to Michelle and Jessy! ⭐️ ⭐️

Why would anyone set up a phony Facebook page?

Scammers set up these pages for various nefarious reasons. Sometimes they build up their popularity—often getting milliosn of likes—only to sell the page to the highest bidder, who can then change the name of the page and do with it as they please.

Or they might be using the page to scrape your identifying details to sell to a third party. By liking, sharing and commenting on the fake page, users have outed themselves as gullible, saving the scammers a step and making their lives easier. And yours a bit more difficult.

Scammers are banking on the fact that you’re too busy, overwhelmed and distracted to notice the differences between the fake Facebook page and the real deal. Take an extra second to check the details, and don’t give the scammers what they want.

How NOT to Celebrate Music In Our Schools Month

Play
 bless your heart

Bless your heart.

The Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association TRIED to help celebrate Music In Our Schools month (MIOSM).

It just didn’t quite work.

Here is the story of the MIOSM Sax Fail of 2015.

 

The post

miosm sax no mouthpiece

Whoever was tasked with sourcing that image for MIOSM was clearly never a band kid. Nor was the either stock photography site, the photographer, nor the model.

For the record, the sax is missing its mouthpiece and neck strap altogether, and her hands are holding the instrument incorrectly.

Ouch.

A few people noticed, apparently, and down came the post.

TCTA apology screenshot clean

 

The response

Imgurians were largely amused.

Facebook took it more seriously. (Most of them, anyway.)

trumpasax comment

As you can see, some of the replies by teachers are borderline vitriolic. And really, it was a mistake that got fixed (arguably—some commenters feel that a new, correct image should be posted in support of Music in Our Schools month).

So why all the venom toward the Texas Classroom Teachers’ Association?

Perhaps it all boils down to disrespect.

Teaching, as a profession, is not well respected in our current political climate. Music educators are respected even less. Programs are getting slashed.

The unenlightened feel that music isn’t a “real” or an “important” school subject, that kids enrolled in music are “just having fun,” which of course they should be doing on their OWN time, not on the taxpayers’ dime.

Music educators have to fight these biases and misinformation EVERY DAY. And to have an organization—whose sole purpose is to support educators—post an image that propagates music education illiteracy? It’s too much.

It’s not fair that music education has to advocate so ardently for their existence, in a way that math or English never will. An image like this practically advocates AGAINST music education.

I think THAT’S why this makes music educators so mad. It makes a mockery of their life’s work.

 

How to avoid—or handle—a situation like this

As a social media manager, I’ve been in the same shoes as the unfortunate TCTA admin who created and originally posted the image. It’s not fun.

If you see something off about a social media post, privately message the account and let the admin know. They’ll be so grateful that you did. Try to be gracious about it—there’s enough hate on the internet already.

If you’re the one posting the offending content, time is of the essence. Where possible, react quickly and apologize.  Make it right to the best of your ability.

To TCTA’s credit, they’re not deleting negative comments. Deleting comments just escalates things. You look like you’re not willing to acknowledge your mistake, and commenters feel they’re not being heard. That makes them want to step up their efforts and let more people know not just about the original offense, but your disappointing response to it.

 For more on handling a social media meltdown, read this and this.

Mistakes happen. We can turn them into teachable moments, like the music educator who posted the unfortunate saxophone image on a bulletin board, and invited his students to find “What’s Wrong With This Picture?”

We’ll laugh about this one day, TCTA. I promise.

Jacksonville State University celebrates Music in Our Schools Month.

Jacksonville State University celebrates Music in Our Schools Month.

 

Want to sound off about this? I’d love to hear what you have to say!

 

miosm sax fail

torches and pitchforks

Why We Can’t Let This Jim Rome Thing Slide

 

It was just one tweet. But it soon became the tweet heard ’round the band world.

jim rome screenshot

As the day progressed, the tweet—and the outrage it inspired from band geeks everywhere—picked up steam. #RomeIsBurning, Twitter proclaimed!

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purse survey results.010

The Case of the Pretty Pink Purse: Measuring the Fallout

This is the last installment of the three-part case study on marketing to a Facebook group. In this video, I look at the SurveyMonkey results provided by 175 members of the nearly 5,000-member Facebook group where this incident (herein called “Pursegate”) took place.

Need to catch up? You can find part 1 here, and part 2 here.

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campbell snake c print satchel

The Case of the Pretty Pink Purse: Advertising Within a Local Facebook Group

As penance a public service, I volunteer as an administrator for a locally-based Facebook group. Today I witnessed a social media meltdown which could have been avoided at several turns. In an effort to help others avoid these pitfalls, I’ll walk through what happened. It’s long, but there are a lot of lessons to be learned (see the bold print). Plus, there are lots of pictures!

The group currently has 4,837 members. That’s more than any of our other local Facebook groups, several of which were started as (angry) spinoffs from this group when members disagreed with admins. Some of the other groups are dedicated to marketing and commerce, both by individuals (flea-market-type groups) and local businesses. As an additional local digital marketing resource, there is also a Facebook interest list to round up all of the local businesses and organizations into one virtual place. Because this group is the largest and most active, however, local businesses have found it the place to be.

Though there are established group guidelines, there had still been some recent discussion over how tightly the reins of the group should be held. What should be the group’s policy on advertising? Should new posts be moderated by the admins, or should members be free to post whatever they like? Should multiple posts on the same topic be edited down? As one might imagine, with a group this size, it is difficult to develop consensus on anything.

Amongst the day’s usual posts about impending weather, local news, and an occasional lost pet, a few local business owners posted about their goods and services. Some businesses post more frequently than others. One local crafter often hawks her wares, including luxury purses, handmade wreaths and decor several times a day.

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mistake chalk

Everybody makes mistakes. Here’s how to handle it online (or anywhere else)

sorry flickr butupa

So NBC News’ graphics department got a bit sloppy. Viewers noticed. Stuff happens.

They acknowledged the mistake right away. They explained their error. They made amends by doing a lovely little homage to New Hampshire. How could New Hampshire not forgive them?

New Hampshire Apology from NBC Nightly News

I had occasion to apologize myself a couple of weeks ago. I was promoting #ChalkTheBlock with the Norwin Area Arts Council. I took a team of students out to “prechalk” the block to build buzz for the upcoming event.

There was buzz, all right. Just not the kind I’d been hoping for.

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