OMG! Ashley Marc James is a Virus!!!

Oh yes… It happens all the time. You’re on your IM, MySpace, FaceBook, etc., when one of your friends sends you a message in a panic. The warning is of impending doom for your hard drive if you don’t act now.

If someone by the name of Ashley Marc James wants to add you to their list dont accept it. Its a virus. Tell everyone on your list because if somebody on your list adds them you will get it too. It is a hard drive killer and a very horrible virus. Please pass this on to everyone on your list. We need to find out who is using this account. Right click on the group name of your friends’ list and click: Send

That’s today’s message. Actually, that’s last December’s message, only it’s on FaceBook this time. It’s going pretty quickly, too. I checked my email to find two messages from friends on FB and by time I logged in to read them, a third had come through.

How does this happen?
This type of thing is only really a threat when people panic and forward it on. It begins as a message one person posts and a bunch of people believe. Each time it is forwarded, 10 or more people believe it and it spirals out of control. The people sending the warning blindly on to all of their unsuspecting friends become the virus, themselves. Maybe the Matrix was onto something.

What can you do?
Nothing. Well, nothing is a start. By not forwarding the warning, you’ve already decreased its impact on the internet. Go a step further. Reply and let them know it’s a hoax. Feel free to point to this article. I certainly wouldn’t mind all that buzz coming my way.

By the way, I wrote this to educate, not offend. If you’ve sent the warning to someone and feel offended, please don’t. Just consider it a reminder to not take everything on the web at face value.

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Using to Manage Your Social Media Presence

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.Image via WikipediaWhile skimming through my friends’ tweets on Twitter last week, I noticed a mention of something called The first thing I noticed upon visiting the site is the need for a beta code to sign up. I hate having to wait after requesting a code, but I also know that it means they’re doing something right, and I have less fear of it being overloaded while I’m using it. I submitted my request for a beta code and forgot all about it, as I do often. Today, I got my beta code in the mail and jumped right in.

What is touts itself as “the dashboard for your digital life”. That’s great, but what does that really mean? Any service I sign up for online should do one of three things for me: promote my brand/name/site, make me money, or save me time. This one falls into the “save me time” category, but it also fits into a fourth category. It gives me more control over who sees what.

For example, Rob and Anthony are surfing buddies of mine and I want to share with them my activity on However, I only want to show them and not, say, my family or my boss. With I can label Rob and Anthony with the tag ‘surfers’ and then label my activity from with the same tag. When Rob or Anthony visit my domain they will be able to see all my surfing escapades, but no one else will. I get to share my surfing side with my buddies but keep my professional persona intact for work purposes.

The only downside is that I have to give out the domain, but I’ll talk about portability below.

Let’s talk about the control
Frankly, I don’t care as much about the OpenID end of things. It’s nice that it remembers all my passwords, but I’m more interested in the control of information. I have a tech blog, but I like to talk about marketing, too, and I have 2 companies and a radio station and friends and family. Many of these contacts fall into multiple groups. I live my life somewhat transparently, so I don’t feel much of a need to “hide” information from my contacts, although I like that I can share my phone number only with people I tag, say, “phone-allowed”. The control promises for me is the ability to give contacts tags that I can then tie to permission to see certain things. I may only want to show my MySpace updates to people I tag “friend”, and my twitter to people I tag “twitter”, but I may want to tag a few friends as “friend” and also as “twitter” and “phone-allowed”, so they can see my tweets, my MySpace updates, and call me if they like.

Will I use it and how?
I have spent a lot of time and effort branding the domain, so to imagine pointing everyone elsewhere to keep up on my online life seems a bit counter-productive to my branding efforts. However, I’m already thinking of ways I can integrate it with in a way that maintains my brand. But it’s not all just about other people getting the full effect of my web presence all in one place. It also helps me keep it all together.

I really like The support (so far) has been great, the site just seems to work, and it’s very smooth.

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