Digital Spring Cleaning: 5 ways to tidy-up your social media life

ImageThere is a belief that a cluttered home reflects a cluttered state of mind, and disorganization in one’s life. Removing the junk from your surroundings and organizing your things can have a profound effect on your state of being. Some see this belief as part of the “Law of Attraction”, others base it on principles of Feng Shui. Either way, I believe these principles hold true for both the real and digital world. Spring cleaning is an annual practice through which we can not only de-clutter and reorganize our homes, but also clear the junk out of our social media life in order to bring more positive energy into our existence.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that 67% of online adults in the United States use social networking sites. Moreover, 25% of the total time that Americans spend surfing the internet is focused in social networking and blogs, according to Neilsen. For adults aged 18 – 65+ who are actively go online, 67% are on Facebook, 20% have Twitter accounts, and 16% use LinkedIn. Living life online as an adult includes managing social networks, collecting friends and contacts, uploading photos, videos, and resumes, and actively updating status. As in the real world, a person’s social media life is prone disorganization and messiness if not periodically, and properly, maintained. I recommend an annual Spring Cleaning ritual to ensure that your social media life remains tidy and efficient, in order to reduce stress and bring more Zen into your life. As with spring cleaning for the home, I believe there are five principles that apply when cleaning the clutter from your social media life.

Rosie the Robot Maid from the Jetsons

Rosie the Robot Maid from the Jetsons

  1. Update your look: Stop posting that picture of you taken 15 years ago on LinkedIn or Facebook. Either the recruiter won’t recognize you when you go for that job interview, or the girl that you’ve been flirting with on Facebook will run from you thinking that you’re a stranger, if you attempt to meet her in person (this actually happened to a friend of mine, LOL). Invest money in getting new headshots to post to your online profiles. Also, take time to review and update your resume on your professional profiles to make sure that it reflects all of your recent accomplishments. You should actively update your professional profiles with changes in education or job status, because its easy to forget. Recruiters may be overlooking you for some great job opportunities because your job information is out of date.
  2. Get rid of things that you’ve out grown, and no longer fit: Culling my friends and contact lists is an essential house keeping activity that I perform at least once a year. Overtime you randomly add people that you barely know or with whom you no longer communicate to your social media profiles. Many of these people should no longer have access to your personal status, contact lists and/or photos. Just like that old pair of jeans from high school or college, in life, we often out grow friendships. Delete these people from your contact lists. Stop hoarding and collecting friends (who aren’t really your friends) in your social media life. You don’t really really have 1000+ friends (or even 500+). Its nothing personal, you’re just reducing the clutter.
  3. Sort and organize your Professional vs. nonprofessional items: Sort activities and people in your digital life according to their professional status in your life. Remember to maintain a professional boundary with co-workers and colleagues. Some people belong on your Google+, Twitter or Facebook friends list, others you may want to limit to LinkedIn. Not everyone who is an active participant in your life should have access to every thought, opinion or swimsuit photo that you have.
  4. Get extra storage for your all of your stuff: Invest in a Dropbox, Google Storage, Flickr or SnapFish account. Its worth it the money and set-up time. It offers a great way to backup files and data, in case your personal computer is stolen or the hard drive fails. It also provides a more secure and private method, compared to Facebook and Google+ for storing photos and videos.
  5. Make sure your that your belongings are protected: In the digital world, protecting your belongings means insuring that your privacy setting are turned on and up-to-date. Avoid over-sharing. Limit your status, family photos and personal thoughts to only those with whom you trust enough to share these details. Remove old pictures and/or change their visibility to people on your “Contacts List” who don’t need to see them.

My Motto is “Well-behaved women rarely make history”…

More Magazine - May 2011 Cover; Carla Franklin

More Magazine - May 2011 Cover; Carla Franklin

I was recently honored by More Magazine by being included on their 2011 “Fierce List”, along with 50 other dynamic and influential women.  The beautiful Ashley Judd graces the cover.

More Magazine - Fierce List; Carla Franklin

More Magazine - 2011 Fierce List

More’s Fierce List includes women “with nerve”...Women who are the best examples going of fortitude and attitude, endurance and resilience, true grit and true wit…Women who are tireless transformers, bold blowers of the whistle, glass-ceiling smashers and party crashers…Women who are uppity…Women who are down to earth…Women who are tough and compassionate, graceful and invincible…Women who are survivors and revivers; resisters, insisters, sisters.  Needless to say, I was honored to be included on a list that includes (but is not limited to): Hillary Clinton, Tina Thompson (WNBA), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Aung San Suu Kyi (pro-democracy heroine of Myanmar), Michelle Obama, Lori Proctor, Arianna Huffington, Oprah Winfrey, and Tina Fey.

More Magazine - Fierce List: Hillary Clinton; Carla Franklin

More Magazine - 2011 Fierce List; Carla Franklin

More Magazine - 2011 Fierce List: Giant Killers

The editors of More Magazine included a description of my plight to hold a cyber-stalker accountable for stalking and harassing me (see page 108).  They also included my motto, “Well behaved women rarely make history” (see page 110).  I actually borrowed the quote from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, however it an important motto to live by.  We should all dare to be Fierce…dare to be the “uncommon”…dare to try something new…dare to step out of our comfort zone…dare to go against the grain, even when you must stand alone in your journey.

More Magazine - 2011 Fierce List: Carla Franklin

More Magazine - 2011 Fierce List: Carla Franklin

I am truly honored to be included on this list of fierce, dynamic and daring women!  Check out the May 2011 issue of More magazine on newsstands. More Magazine - Fierce List: Carla Franklin

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

International Women’s Day (March 8, 2011) is an annual global celebration of the the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.International Womens Day 2011; Carla Franklin;

Suffragettes campaigned for women’s right to vote. The word ‘Suffragette’ is derived from the word “suffrage” meaning the right to vote. International Women’s Day honours the work of the Suffragettes, celebrates women’s success, and reminds of inequities still to be redressed.2011 year marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. The day was commemorated for the first time on 19 March 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, following its establishment during the Socialist International meeting the prior year. More than one million women and men attended rallies on that first commemoration.

In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women’s Day. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

The United Nation’s theme for International Women’s Day 2011:
Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.International Womens Day 2011; Carla Franklin;

What is Free Speech…what is it not?

What is Free Speech? What is it not?  Those are critical questions for which so many have differing opinions.  The First Amendment provides Americans with the right to freedom of speech (in addition to freedom of press, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and freedom of petition).  As a framework created by our founding fathers to provide general protection for all citizens from government abuses and ensure individuals the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the Constitution is one of our country’s most important legislative documents.  The first 10 amendments form The Bill of Rights (which was later amended to guarantee basic rights to women, non-whites, and the poor).  Freedom of speech, as granted by the first amendment, gives the general right to everyone – from scholars, to idiots, to racists, to regular people – to speak out on almost any topic.  However, this right does not allow people to engage in criminal behavior nor does it guarantee anonymity.  Far too many misguided individuals simplify an amendment that constitutional scholars have spent the past 230+ years debating and refining (this last point is critical in understanding that the constitution is a living document and why it has been “amended” over the past 230 year).  Lest we forget that the 13th and 19th amendments had to be explicitly added in order to abolish slavery and to provide women the right to vote, respectively.

Free speech in America, as outlined in the First Amendment, is not limitless and comes with boundaries and responsibilities. It does not guarantee anonymity nor does it protect criminal behavior.  For example, the first amendment does not protect the following behaviors:

  • Yelling “fire” in a crowed theater.
  • Drilling a hole in a hotel room wall, video taping an innocent woman undressing, and then posting it to the internet.
  • Creating a blog falsely accusing your husband/wife of pedophilia because you are angry that they left you for a another mate.
  • Creating a blog falsely accusing your ex-boyfriend of giving you a disease because he broke up with you before the holidays.
  • Posting false claims against a business that you feel wronged you because you dislike their customer service.
  • Illegally distributing copyrighted software, video, images and music.
  • Posting false claims against a competitor business to gain competitive advantage in a given market.
  • Saying negative things about former employees, in an effort to damage their ability to work in the future.
  • Defaming someone and spreading false and malicious information about him/her because he/she was not interested in dating you, being your friend, or because you are jealous.
  • Anonymously sending harassing emails because you are angry or want to get someone’s attention.
  • Anonymously taking on someone’s identity to slander him/her or commit crimes or post false and malicious things on the internet.
  • Video taping someone (a roommate, for example) in a compromising or intimate situation, without his/her knowledge, and streaming/posting the video to the internet or live chat.

All of the actions listed above have been done (and continue to be done) anonymously, on the web by misguided individuals, cowards, and criminals.  Harassment, defamation, hate speech, identity theft, child pornography are rampant on the internet and are posted by anonymous persons who believe they cannot be traced.  When those engaging this this behavior are tracked down, they often hide behind the “right of free speech”.

We must remember that all American citizens have basic, unalienable rights granted by the Declaration of Independence.  It grants us the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; this right is not secondary to free speech. None of the Constitutional amendments protect criminal behavior, and all are limited by civil and criminal laws, for which we should all be thankful.

True anonymous speech is a wonderful and important privilege that we have in the country.  Whistle blowing protects consumers against corporate greed and malfeasance.  It allows citizens to report crimes in their communities without fear of negative repercussion.  It protects citizens against government backlash.  Anonymous voting allows citizens to freely express their political beliefs.  Anonymous free speech is a positive and productive factor in our society and is not the same as criminal behavior.  Whistle-blowing and voting are not the same as anonymous criminal behavior (like harassment, child porn, defamation, ect).  Only cowards and criminals compare the two.

As I enter this new year, I do so grateful for all of my blessings in life and proud to be a citizen of the United States.  Given the complexity of the world wide web, I can only hope that my fight against online harassment and defamation helps others who are dealing with similar issues.  What is free speech to me?  Free speech is a wonderful right that I have as an American…that does not protect harassers, pedophiles, and other criminals.

Internet round table hosted by NY State Senator Eric Adams

Senator Adam (NYS Senate)On October 5, 2010, I had the honor of attending an internet round table hosted by NYS Senator Eric Adams.  Attendees included Google, Yahoo, and the Motion Picture Association.  During the discussion, we spoke about proactive (i.e. education, parental monitoring and online tools) and reactive (i.e. legislation) solutions to combat issues involving harassment, bullying and copyright infringement on the internet.

Statement from Senator Adams: “Our State is challenged by the need to analyze and keep pace with emerging issues and changing technology concerning the internet. Oftentimes, proposed legislation and enacted law lag years behind real-world developments. It is essential that government leaders, especially legislators, be cognizant of and collaborate harmoniously and efficiently with the private sector to safeguard our citizenry and our commerce….” (click here to read more)

Carla Franklin’s petition of Google: Cyber-harassment, internet and legislation

I,  Carla Franklin, have been the subject of recent media regarding my petition for information of Google, Inc, regarding an ongoing matter of harassment.  This unfortunate and unwanted media buzz occurred when the August 17, 2010 petition, known as an Order to Show Cause (not a lawsuit for money) was leaked to or shown to the press without my knowledge or consent.

Several news articles have been written about my case; most  were inaccurate, relied upon limited information in the court filing and took details out of context.

The truth about me is that I am management consultant, who has been gainfully employed as a full-time consultant since receiving my undergraduate degree.

I have been dealing with ongoing obsessive and harassing behavior since 2006.  Despite ignoring phone calls, e-mails, changing my number, trying to be nice, and hoping that the obsessive behavior would stop, the behavior continued over a four-year period. Last year, things escalated online.  An anonymous YouTube account was created to make a YouTube channel or “shrine” dedicated to me, using video clips of me talking to a friend.  The personal information that was included and the obsessive, “shrine-like” nature of this You-Tube channel scared me.  Several weeks after the YouTube “shrine” was removed, another anonymous YouTube account was created and used to comment on video clips of me created by Columbia Business School.  The comment left on the clips was “whore.”

I am asking Google, Inc. for information about the person who is harassing me online because I believe it is equally as dangerous as the harassment that has occurred in person, and if I pursue legal remedies I don’t want anonymous online activities to be excluded from this person’s damaging pattern of behavior.

In summary:

  • I am not seeking money from Google/YouTube. I am following the normal, required process to seek information. Because internet harassment laws are currently non-existent, I had to pursue a civil route to gather information on my harasser.  If these activities had happened through the mail, over the phone, or in person, I could have gone directly to law enforcement to remedy the issue.  Tougher internet legislation (like the Stalker Act of 2010) needs to be passed.
  • Google/YouTube and other internet product providers have invested limited time and resources into measures that allow individuals to protect themselves from  harassment and stalking.

My case is about a pattern of online and offline abuse and the right of an individual like myself to link these two elements in a legal case.  There are laws to protect us from harassment in person.  The internet should not become a place for anonymous harassers to hide.  For more detail on the mater, please see the link below.  It references the only interview that I’ve done on this matter. —>

Current criminal laws protecting citizens against cyber-harassment are scant or non-existent.  Those who find themselves at the mercy of “anonymous” trolls and online bullies generally have to use civil measures of “Defamation” or “Copyright Infringement” to get information from Google, Yahoo, and other online content providers in order to pursue criminal remediation against harassers.  Legislation must be passed to protect others from the same behavior that I, Erin Andrews, and most recently Tyler Clementi had to endure.  More unnecessary tragedy and suffering will occur until the laws catch-up with the crimes of the internet.