Lunchtime Links: Mapping Your Social Signal

A new app helps organizations visualize relevant social media traffic. Also: How to prevent your website from becoming an unwitting vehicle for cybercrime.

Social media plays a big role at your annual event. But keeping track of just how much traffic your content generates can be tough to do. How a new online tool aims to help your organization map its social signal. That, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Heat map: Thanks to social media, these days anyone with a smartphone or tablet can be a content producer. Associations and other nonprofits bank on as much when they encourage members to tweet during live events and to comment on posts and other content online. But just how much social activity is your audience generating? What if you could press a button, look at a map, and visualize the strength of your social signal? That’s precisely what a new app from online startup CO Everywhere aims to enable its users to do. The app (which was formerly known as BlockAvenue before a name change) reportedly lets users aggregate the social media traffic—including Facebook posts, tweets, Instagram photos, and more—in a specific geographic area. Writing for online technology blog Xconomy, Curt Woodward explains: “The result can be an interesting new way to look at places you might frequent, kind of like eavesdropping on a bunch of nearby conversations—you wouldn’t normally see most of this stuff if you weren’t connected with these various people on the different social networks.” Imagine you were hosting a conference and wanted to see what types of social media your attendees were using—and where exactly they were using it? It’s a relatively new technology, but CO Everywhere just might be the app for that.

Crime stopper: We’ve all received more than a few suspicious-looking emails—messages that our IT leaders are probably glad we decided not to open. For years, opportunistic computer hackers have built Trojan horse messages designed to attack the machines, and networks, of unwitting computer users. But, as James Lyne, head of security research for data protection company Sophos, writes for Forbes, the battleground for cybercrime is shifting from emails to websites—and your association’s homepage is not immune. “On average 30,000 new websites are identified every day distributing malicious code to any users passing by,” writes Lyne, citing a report by his employer. Though the assumption is that most of these attacks are launched from gambling and other less-than-savory online destinations, Lyne says the majority of these sites “are legitimate small businesses.” How do you ensure your association’s website doesn’t unwittingly pass malicious code on to its visitors? Lyne offers several suggestions, including following the latest coding principles, making sure your web server software is patched and up-to-date, and encrypting sensitive data. Check out his full list—and stay safe out there.

Stand out: Did you know that the average email user receives 416 commercial messages per month? As Caryn Stein, director of content strategy for Network for Good, writes on her organization’s NonProfit Marketing Blog, “that’s a mountain of messages to sift through, and doesn’t include personal or work emails.” What can your association do to make its email messages stand out, especially as it heads into the end-of-year fundraising season?  “Now is the time to polish your email strategy and optimize your messages,” writes Stein. “The testing and optimization you do in September and October will pay off in spades when it’s time to put those emails to work in December.”

What are you reading today? Let us know in the comments.

(CO Everywhere screenshot)

Corey Murray

By Corey Murray

Corey Murray is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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