Home Technology FACEBOOK – TWITTER: the pros and cons

FACEBOOK – TWITTER: the pros and cons

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Hootsuite creator Ryan Holmes
Dickson Igwe for CaribDirect

Contributing writer Dickson Igwe

A series of stories on why a well thought out and managed social media dynamic is crucial to the Virgin Islands economy. This narrative begins with a week long yachting regatta in paradise.

The Antigua Observer said it best. ‘’ On Sunday morning the sea kicked up to two meters, and the wind speed for the first start was 20 plus knots, when a vicious squall darkened the horizon in the Sir Francis Drake Channel.  With wet sails, slippery decks and the big easterly breeze blowing squalls in off the Atlantic,’’ the race began.

Yes, the seas and weather were tumultuous and volatile during a yachting festival in paradise. There was bright sunshine mingled with ominous overhead clouds that put at many times a heavy and wet grey blanket over the competition.

It rained incessantly many days.  However, and paradoxically, the conditions were just what were needed to put sailors and mariners on the cutting edge of their science; thus making the yachting competition a classic skirmish of medieval type proportion. 

Now Yours Truly had the opportunity to serve as a crew member on board a tough and tenacious beast of a boat at the British Virgin Islands SPRING YACHT REGATTA of March 2013.  ‘’PAS DU FAKE,’’ is a resilient, classic, and charming yacht, that was skippered by Captain Paul Strome, a Veteran Canadian Educator and powerful character, who has become the ebullient buddy of this Wannabe Mariner.

Strome took a crew of seasoned sailors and international yachtsmen through the myriad tasks and skills that got the vessel back to port on the last day of the yachting and sporting event, and in one piece. This was after a week sailing the majestic and frequently stormy waters that washed Nanny Cay Marina and Resort, and the pristine island known as Tortola.

Paul Strome Photo courtesy artsuwaterlooca

Paul Strome. Photo courtesy arts.uwaterloo.ca

This Novice to sailing and yachting was well treated and shown great empathy, by the experienced crew. On one of the days when the seas were especially volatile, he threw up his delicious breakfast of bacon and eggs cooked in the yacht’s very intelligently designed kitchen.

On the final day, albeit a rainy one, at a prize giving ceremony held at Nanny Cay, attended by the country’s Leader, the owner of the resort, and scores of guests, both international and local, the Spokesperson from the BVI Tourist Board was especially grateful to a lovely and intelligent daughter of these Virgin Islands. This young woman, local socialite, and daughter of establishment, Miss Abby O’Neal, is an employee of the Tourist Board. Abby is tasked with managing the Department’s SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORK, among other things.

This Wannabe Captain Cook was tremendously impressed. Being a social media user himself, he has been very much aware of the Tourist Board’s social media presence: something thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of Facebook users, local and international are aware of. And without doubt, of all the organization’s that appear on his FACEBOOK page, the BVI Tourist Board’s Facebook page is at the top of the totem pole in terms of quality and effectiveness.

Now, this SOCIAL MEDIA user has received a lot of feedback from family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances about Facebook. This is feedback that has made him increasingly aware that two of the core fears about social media are the fear of public exposure and the lack of privacy.

These are real fears. After-all no one wants their dirty laundry aired in public. With social media, at the click of a mouse, personal information gets shared with potentially thousands of users. That is the fact of social digital networks: exponential links when compared with email.

Hootsuite creator Ryan Holmes

Hootsuite creator Ryan Holmes. Photo courtesy venturebeat.com

And despite all of the various devices a site such as Facebook purports to offer to protect the user’s privacy, many Facebookers are simply not motivated, or even savvy enough, to fully make use of the various applications provided to help protect their online privacy. Social media is here to stay however. And social media is today what email was in the 1990s: an increasingly ubiquitous Modus Vivendi. Not possessing a social media account may soon not be an option.

Social media is a very convenient networking tool, giving the user effortless opportunities to link with family, friends, acquaintances, fans, and customers. It is getting to be the new reality, that without getting connected through social media, the computer user may be losing out on accessing a greater level of online connectivity. Digital connectivity these days may be the difference between stepping onto the cutting edge in society, politics, and business, and getting left behind.

Frank J Kenny’s 2013 Social Media Report advises on steps to take the risks out of social media. Kenney also assesses risks in using social media.  According to Kenny, there is the risk that the user’s Facebook, Twitter or other social media account could get hacked.

Getting hacked, in this User’s opinion, would be much more traumatic than the hacking of a personal email account. Then there is the fact that users do not have control over who is seeing their information.  Furthermore, there is the danger that private information may get into the wrong hands. These are all real and present dangers.

Kenney reminds the average user that yes, there are a lot of bad guys out there, but they are not after the average user. The type of user that gets the interest of professional hackers, fraudsters, and criminals, are the high profile types, such as the very wealthy, celebrity, bank director, or senior public official.

Abby O'Neil. BVI Tourism

Abby O’Neil. Photo courtesy www.kitejambvi.com

The writer exhorts users to change their passwords often, and never use children’s names or other easy to figure out details as passwords. He also states that the user should never use the same password everywhere.

This is something a lot of users do for simple convenience. Kenny’s final piece of advice in the op-ed piece is that the user keeps their computer current with antivirus and anti-malware programmes.

In another vein, the benefits of social media to business and organization, was highlighted in an article by Ray Holmes the CEO of Hootesuite. This was an op-ed piece in Forbes magazine of November 11, 2012.

Holmes stated that last year, 73% of Fortune 500 companies were active on Twitter while more than 80% of executives believed social media engagement led to increased sales.’’ That is an astounding figure.

Holmes wrote that beginning in 2013 social media could begin to give organizations better insight into customer behavior, improve office productivity, enhance internal networks, and increase return on investment.

Holmes cited a report from management consultants McKinsey that stated that 1.3 trillion dollars in untapped values from social technologies lay in improved communications and collaboration within and across enterprises.  Social media, he asserted, was poised to become a productivity tool much the way that email did in the late 1990s.

Holmes further wrote in his story that Human Resource Departments were using social media to connect with job seekers and streamline the application process. Sales teams used social media to generate leads and track clients, as they moved through the sales funnel. Social media was further used by operations and distribution teams to forecast supply chains, and by research and development to brainstorm ideas.

In 2013, according to Holmes, Social media was moving from a soft networking tool to a serious business tool.

To be continued



We provide news and information for anyone interested in the Caribbean whether you’re UK based, European based or located in the Caribbean. New fresh ideas are always welcome with opportunities for bright writers.


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