Social engineering for good

Social engineering gets a very bad press most of the time. But the vast majority of time people are influencing the behaviour of others it’s not for evil.

If I see a problem child within an organisation and encourage them to leave because they are so far away from the company goals as to actually be detrimental to success that’s not a bad thing. Even the employee in question is gaining from being moved out of the way. He’s not helping himself.  

I worked for a publisher for a while. There was one guy working there who was okay at his job, except most of the time he wasn’t actually doing his job. He was running an Internet business from his desk, when he wasn’t watching porn (btw chaps, if you wear glasses be aware people sitting opposite you do get to see reflections in them from across the desk). 

Now I won’t tell you how I knew he was running the other business. Let’s just say I made it my business to know how that department worked and didn’t work and it cropped up. I could have warned him sure. I could have reported it and had the company go through the disciplinary processes, but while they were doing that (and to be clear it takes a month at least to fire anyone at this company unless they are actually caught by a major client having sex with a fire extinguisher, while stealing printer cartridges) he’s going to create as much trouble as possible. 

So a day came when his new start up was ‘noticed’ by investors*. Who wanted to fund expansion. They needed to invest by the end of the financial year (which was ten days away) and they needed a heck of a lot of information from him first but it was a done deal, the investment was coming. They were so amazed one little guy had created this awesome product. They came in from Linkedin* and were referred and their testimonies spoke for themselves*. They even had their own website.*

How awesome is that? Of course to fulfil their due diligence he had to work continuously and called in sick for five days (win-win, he smelled funny!) but hey he was excited!

By the time he came back we were all delighted to hear he’d decided to ‘pursue other avenues’ because he really believed in his product now, despite the fact that things were a little flakey with his new investors but it’d be sorted by year end. And someone else was trying to hire him anyway*, so he wasn’t worried. Our major competitor in fact who’d heard great things about him.*  

Ironically he DID go on to get funding for this product and enjoyed a little success. Being out of a job must have given him the push he needed. He was probably just in the wrong place and had lost his way. Nothing wrong with that. But companies are rubbish at identifying and dealing with such people and so sometimes having an extra eye on things can be good. 

 

 

* me, me, me, me and me. <moral: people on the web may not be what they first appear>

 

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How to have fun on facebook.

Facebook preferences are important

It's important to read your account settings following a change at Facebook

Facebook has this week changed everything. What again? I hear you cry. Yes indeed but for good reason:

You see, Facebook has bedded down with Bing. Why? Well managing ad servers is sucky and expensive and frankly their ad serving was decidedly iffy before. But moreover because Facebook was losing out to Google Plus because the latter did it all slicker.

Bing is a MS search engine which generally focuses of corporate based content (ie companies, paid for stuff etc), it’s a bit rubbish at blogs and people based content. Facebook is a people based content service which hosts adverts. If you can bring them together you can combine the personal web (which people actually want) and the commercial web (which we need but loathe).

So in order to compete they brought Bing’s search engine in to combine what people say and what they profess to do. However we are frankly, complete liars mostly. So it won’t work very well.

But it is fun to manipulate. Vis: I can put in keywords to make adverts show on my screen. Easy Peasy. But if I find a keyword string which pulls up adverts on my screen, plus shows a related interest of a friend, I can THEN click on the adverts, and Facebook thinks ‘woo hoo I got a match’ and shows the same ad on my friend’s screen who has the shared interest. You have to think laterally to have fun with this.  But it’s quite good fun to combine an innocuous term like ‘camping’ with something not so much ‘erectile dysfunction’ for example, if your ex-boyfriend was into canvas and you want him to be presented with Viagra ads every time he logs on.

Of course you don’t have to see them – you can just delete your status and they disappear from your ads. But strangely they remain on other people’s for quite some time unless they are very active Facebookers. And hopefully they will mention the ads in their status to reinforce the message (again you can encourage them to do this if they are particularly dense).

Naturally I do not recommend any shenanigans which will get you kicked off Facebook. Where would the fun be in that? And there are other parts of the beast, as yet, unpoked which are itching to be broken apart and played with. So go have fun!

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Signs you need to get out more: Part one

http://zoomdoggle.com/2009/03/towel-origami/

 

 

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I quit Facebook! Huzzah!

I have done it. I deactivated my account, not deleted it, never know I might want it back, but deactivated because I was sick and tired of all the inane rubbish both I, and other people were putting on it. So instead I’m here and on Google+ (contact me if you want to be added to my circle of acquaintances – send lots of money to go in my friends circle ; ) ).

Yesterday the day seemed half an hour longer. I swear to you social networking is like crack cocaine, a little takes a lot from your life.

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I’m christmas shopping

The world has gone to hell in a handbasket. In the five days I was away, the sale of our house fell through the cat discovered the joy of bringing home brown rats (eek!) and the ironing mountain grew to epic proportions

When the going gets tough, the tough, well we shop online because we are too bloody busy to leave the house. And today I bought five of these http://www.lakeland.co.uk/51549/Kitchen-Herb-Pot for christmas presents. They are in the sale. Pretty darn good value and good for people who can’t actually garden.

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An experiment for you all to try

Today, can you please do me a big favour and count up the amount of times you have to give out your personal information, just for one day. That means:

(1) Every time you call someone and give your name, address, an account number or a credit card number.

(2) Every time you engage with a database, so for example you order something online, you add information about yourself online (delivery info etc, extended addresses – i.e. deliver flowers to my mum)

I’ve managed to drive mine down from 78 yesterday to four today. Of course that doesn’t include the ongoing processing that delivered me four items of physical spam mail and the 29 items of email spam. But good progress.

First person to get to 100 info-splurges a day gets a sticker!

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Hurrah – I no longer need to look at houses

Because the vendors of the house we want to buy have accepted our offer and agreed to vacate ASAP.

I can have a home again. Hurrah

And had a cracking job interview today to boot. Really, really lovely people.

So fingers crossed.

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