Top 18 Tips That Can Maximize Your Content Marketing

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By Hector Cisneros

Anyone engaged in content marketing today needs to cross their T's and dot their I's if they want to be successful. This means much more than just proofing their content for spelling and grammar. It means making sure that all the odds and ends need to be taken care of on a regular basis. You can think of the odds and ends of content marketing as the principles you follow to make sure you're providing not only the best content but content that is found, followed and forwarded to others looking for the same. In this episode of Working the Web to Win, we will explore a 16 point checklist that needs to be addressed and managed so that your content is at its best and has the greatest reach for the time that you invest. So read on, learn and use the Top 16 Tips that every content marketer needs to complete in order to achieve the full potential of their content marketing.

Before we get started, I want to say a few things about this” Tips List”. First off, any list is a living document. The content marketing industry is evolving, as is the internet and the technologies we use to engage our audience. I also want to say that this list reflects our marketing philosophy to some extent. Several of the items in our list reflect our commitment to maximizing the distribution of articles and other types of content. This often means that we favor the largest subscriber base in order to create maximum exposure whenever possible. As such, this tactic reflects our principles just as if they were our daily operating manual. Having said that, let’s jump into discussing our list.

1. You must start with a Strong Premise - Make Your Articles worth reading. - When we
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create an article, we strive to provide fresh, timely and relevant information. We want our headlines captivating and realistic. Our information needs to be pertinent, engaging and thought provoking to hold the audience’s attention. We add multimedia elements to make the final content stickier and appealing to a larger audience. If they don’t find your content useful, they won’t read it, comment on it or share it. You’re more likely to reach a goal of a larger audience if you start from the premise that your article has to be worth reading.

2. Use Google properties whenever possible - Currently, Google is the dominant player in search on the internet. As such, much of our efforts are designed to make Google happy. We achieve this by providing Google with what they have publicly stated as their policy of trying to make their customers happy. Google has stated that ranking is based on providing the user the best experience and listing for their specific search. This includes providing the user with the highest quality, authoritative, secure, useful, timely and relevant listing for the keywords they entered. We believe that Google likes, understands and believes their properties are secure and used by a large majority of people online. Google has even stated that they know what we want!

3. Make sure all of your internet properties are interconnected via backlinks and
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profiles
- We believe that backlinks are very important to Google, other search engines, and even Facebook. It also makes sense that it provides an additional way for a follower, user or subscriber base to use and find information in a way that they like and choose. Having backlinks to all your social nets and other internet properties just makes sense.

4. Make sure your web properties are search friendly with minimal use of flash and Java and don’t forget the Meta tags - Your website, blogs and social fan pages need to minimize the use of Flash and Java script. Flash videos can’t be read by search spiders and Java script is often used to trick the search engines. We believe that using straight HTML 5 and YouTube videos whenever possible is the best way to go.

5. Content marketing is a daily endeavor, don’t miss any days, time slots etc. - We have a daily to-do list and specific to-do list for all the marketing we provide and engage in. Many of the items we engage in (like social media posting) are posted via aggregation software or some other social media management tool These tools allow us to automate the scheduling of the posts. However, the actual schedule to fill the agitation software funnel is still done on a schedule based on our calendar entries. We proof and edit all things based on a schedule. We determine in advance when items need to be published or posted and then those items are put on the schedule. We even meet with our clients on a weekly basis. The completion of our daily work is what leads to the achievement of successful content marketing.

6. Integrated multimedia marketing is greater than the sum of its parts - Whenever possible we try to add video, images, and audio to our content. Many studies show that multimedia rich content is read and shared much more often than text publications alone. Also, video publication can score high in organic search and often have few competing listings. If you want to make sure the blog or social post gets read, shared and commented on, add some multimedia elements to it. Video is the best, followed by images and audio. Make sure your post is a multimedia post whenever possible.

7. Social media is the driving force of the internet and that force is controlled by
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consumer sentiment -
If you can get your audience to sing your praises you will increase your credibility and make more sales. A great way to do this is to post customer testimonials. A better way is to elicit customer testimonials that you can then capture and re-share on your other social nets. You need a daily process that engages followers to publicly post your praise. Whether this is through contests, loyalty rewards or great special offers, make sure you have some way of eliciting customer testimonials.

8. Social media is all about what the consumer wants – Provide it and they will reward you - Strive to make your social media followers happy by providing them with the type of content they really like. If you're posting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+, use their built-in analytics to see the types of content posts that are producing the most reads, shares, and comments. Once this is determined, create more posts like the ones they like. This does not mean all postings need to fit this mold, but I would suggest using at least a 3 to one model and experiment to see what works best.


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9. Friends don’t let friend's blog alone – Get and use a blogging buddy on a daily if not weekly basis. Whether you're creating content for online magazines or blogs, your productivity and quality will go up significantly by not going it alone. Of course, this assumes your blogging buddy is competent and as dedicated as you are to getting the content out on a timely basis. A writing partner will lower your stress level, help you through writer's block and in general up your game to a new level. Everything we write is viewed by a minimum of two writing partners. Our customers receive a minimum of three edits before any item gets published. This is done on a daily basis.

10. To grow a following, you have to follow them, invite them to follow back and then thank them for it - If you want to create a huge distribution channel, you have to build a large audience. Loyal social audiences don’t grow on trees and you can’t buy loyalty either. However, if you follow others first, inviting them to follow you back and then thank them for doing so, you now have a chance of making them your loyal followers. The best way to build a loyal audience is to provide them with useful, timely and relevant content they want. Start by following others every day.  Then invite them to follow you back every day and thank them for doing so. If you did this for just 30 people a day and you had a 75% rejection rate, you would still have grown your audience by 2735 people by the end of the year.

11. Hit your competition where they ain’t - Do your research and figure out where your direct competition's strengths lie. Are they blogging the most, posting to social media a lot or posting videos the most? If they are strong on Facebook and Twitter, but barely use Google+ LinkedIn and YouTube, concentrate your efforts on the latter. If they are blogging like crazy on Blogger, but not on LinkedIn Pulse, publish your articles on Pulse.

12. Video’s, blogposts and social posts can also show up in organic search.-
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Producing weekly (if not daily) videos and social posts for your blogs can garner a page one organic position all by themselves. This won’t happen unless you're creating this type of content on a regular basis. It also can’t happen if you’re not posting on a regular basis. If you create evergreen content, your post can be recycled often. This method can garner a page one position at different times of the year and garner a new audience at those times as well.

13. Keyword all your post, blogs, article, videos, and podcast - If you want your content to be found, it has to be keyword rich. I don’t mean that you need to artificially add keywords to your content. I mean that subject of your article needs to contain key words if at all possible. Along these lines, the headline, body, and summary need to contain the same key phrases as well. This must be done in a non-artificial way. It must use proper prose and make sense to the reader as well as the search engine spiders.

14. Test and measure everything – AB testing is a must - Most small businesses never engage in AB testing because they find it either too expensive or time-consuming. We believe it is a must.  Having said that, there are ways to look at your data after the fact and still garner some of the AB testing information you could have gotten by doing the testing after the fact. We often go back and look at our social posts to see which curations are working best. We look at post length, keywords, article title and article curation, after the fact. You would be surprised at what you can glean from this type of “after the fact” analysis. For example; we discovered that our longer articles are read, commented on and shared the most. Until we did the “after the fact” analysis, we had always thought that our shorter article would get the most play. Even today when we look at our work, long articles seems to still do the best. This prompted us to write longer articles in general, and in turn, we believe has helped our overall success.

15. Be willing to do whatever it takes – never give up, just learn from your mistakes - A lot of things can go wrong in any business endeavor. The Wikipedia lists the definition of Murphy’s law as “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”.  People get sick, equipment breaks, files get erased by accident, they can get lost, and mistakes can be overlooked. You name it, all kinds of chaos can enter our lives. I have often heard it said that life happens to us as we make plans. Knowing this means also making sure you have a plan B in place. Every time we encounter a crisis, we build a new plan B to contend with it next time. Our team has a strong can-do attitude. Every player is willing to step up to the plate and tackle any task that needs to get done. All daily tasks are listed on our calendar. However, at the same time, we are willing to add, move or delegate tasks as needed to get all jobs done on deadline.

16. An imperfect post will beat a perfect post that never takes place - Often people get
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stuck - frozen by the need for perfection. Working from an understanding that nothing is perfect is a better perspective to have. Operating from the point of view that all things are a work in progress is much more productive than perpetual gridlock. This point of view allows you to get started with the understanding that whatever you’re working on will get better. Add a deadline and things will get started. Factor in a writing partner and you have a strong foundation for productive content publishing. Nothing is perfect. Make it the best you can, get some help, meet the deadline and then do it again. Over time you will get much better at the whole process.

17 Recycle your posts – re-purpose your blogs, articles, podcasts, and videos - One of the most important tenets is to reuse, recycle and repurpose your work. This is much easier to do than most people think. We write a weekly blog that is published on blogger each week. That same blog becomes the centerpiece of our weekly Blog Talk Radio show. The radio show will be simulcast on Google Hangouts and It will also be posted and recycled on our social nets. Finally, we will repurpose the article by refreshing and recreating it (with a new title) as a future post and we will be rewriting it for use on other online magazines and blogging platforms. With this method, our efforts produce a minimum of seven content pieces and produce the fodder for future content pieces as well.
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18. Pair down long articles that contain too much content. - This item is related to the recycling of our posts. I often write long articles and one thing that having a blogging buddy has taught me is to divide and conquer. What I mean by this is that I have learned to take long articles (3000 words)  and split them into two or maybe three articles when necessary. This has often provided me with a twofer or sometimes even a three-for. By pairing down a long article, you can create the meat for several new articles that are sized and formatted for as shorter blog posts or news magazine articles.

In this article, I have discussed 18 content marketing tips that help entrepreneurs produce results online.  I have also listed the internet marketing elements needed and have included links to dozens of articles that provide other perspectives to help you on your journey. Using these tips will improve your content quality and help you grow your audience.

That’s my opinion, I look forward to reading yours.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091. We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family, and co-workers. Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+. You can find other articles on our blog by typing in “marketing” or your desired search term in the search box at the top of this blog. I recommend adding these content marketing articles to your reading list:


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10. How to Win Friends and Influence People in the 21st Century - Take Two

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Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web to Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”

The Cybercrime Clock is Ticking

By Ryan Gilway and Glenn Gray

Image by commons.wikipedia.org
Cybercrime has jumped off the big screen of Hollywood and onto the small screen of business computer users from coast to coast.  Unlike the Hollywood blockbusters, in most cases the hero doesn’t arrive in the nick of time to save the day.  Given the international nature of cybercrime, even the FBI is all but helpless to put a stop to this growing scourge, no matter how big the headlines produced by data breaches get.
In recent years, high-profile cyberattacks on companies such as Target, Home Depot, Sony and Sears have alerted the public to the growing threat of cybercrime. Criminals are endlessly creative when it comes to monetizing breaches. They exploit easily guessed or re-used passwords, lost or stolen laptops and human error. More and more, they trick people into giving them access to their machines, followed by a demand for money. Hackers sometimes breach a computer and send fraudulent emails directing others—in the name of the breached victim—to pay them a ransom.  More often, they sell the purloined financial information to the highest bidder.  Who loses? Not the banks but rather companies with minimal internal controls and weak security protocols. Many business owners are still operating under a false sense of cyber security.
Businesses have to ask themselves “what cyber exposures exist for me?” In our technologically dependent world, cyber risks arise from the most common business operations like processing credit card transactions and collecting basic customer information. Every retail and e-tail operation in the U.S. needs to process payments electronically. The vast majority of firms maintain client records on their computers that contain some form of private information. Private information such as a customer’s first initial and last name along with social security number, driver’s license number, password, account number, credit card numbers or other financial information is routinely stored on computers, servers and sometimes the cloud. When you come to realize the exploitation of private information makes up 45% of all cyber security claims, it is no longer a question of “If” but “When” a business will be hacked. 
Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org
What many business owners believe is that they are too small of a fish to entice cybercriminals to hack their systems.  Or they take the attitude that, “If Sony can’t stop cyber criminals, what am I supposed to do about it?”  What indeed?  While major retailers and multinational corporations get all the press, make no mistake about it, small businesses are targeted every day by hackers.  And why not, when you consider that these are soft targets that are relatively easy to breach.  Most small businesses do not report these attacks as to do so would be extremely bad publicity, so they are never made public.  This can lull other businesses into thinking it can't happen to them.  It does.  

Sticking your head in the sand is not going to make this problem go away.  If you run a business that collects customer information of any kind, you should be aware that when a breach occurs, you are going to be held liable.  Federal and state laws require companies who have had customer records stolen to shoulder the burden of notifying, investigating, recovering and compensating those affected by the theft.  

When a breach occurs, expenses add up fast, including breach-event expenses like notification required by law enforcement and credit reporting agencies. Should identity theft result, you will need to provide identity restoration services to victims and hire a privacy attorney to guide you through the complex legal landscape of laws and lawsuits. You will need to hire a data forensics team to identify where the breach occurred so that it can be remedied. You might need to cope with network extortion or reimburse clients for payments made under duress. You may even face network business interruptions that lead to a loss of income and extra expense. You might need to restore, recreate or recollect data that has been corrupted, altered or destroyed.

To get an idea of the potential costs associated with a breach follow this link for a free data breach cost calculator. http://www.hubinternational.com/business-insurance/cyber-risk-solutions/tools/data-breach-cost-calculator/

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Following a breach, you will also face regulatory challenges. Although there are only a few federal laws on the books for data privacy— Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPAA) - you will be dealing with 47 state laws as well as with their attorney generals and the Federal Trade Commission. Since most firms have workers’ compensation data and employees enrolled with health insurers, you are also likely to deal with federal and state healthcare laws such as HIPPA, Cash Management Improvement Act (CMIA) and their regulators: the U.S. Office of Civil Rights and Health and Human Services
You also need to bear in mind that small to mid-sized businesses do not have the resources for a full data breach response. As a result, they generally need an insurance company to assign vendors, privacy attorneys, data forensics experts, credit monitoring and PR firms and to manage the claims process.  Below are several steps you need to take to make sure that you minimize the disruption to your business resulting from loss of data.

  1. Make sure that every sensitive piece of private information is encrypted.  Use a backup data system to ensure that if your system is compromised that you do not lose vital data. The backup strategy should guard against data loss and theft so should include cloud based backup as well as redundant physical backup on site.  Dropbox is not a backup , nor is a RAID file system. Test the backups to make sure the right data is being backed up.
  2. Utilize preventative measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection systems, anti-virus software, strong password policies and procedures for document handling, storage and destruction of private information.
  3. Train employees to recognize social engineering tactics: spear phishing emails (email fraud), fake anti-virus software, malware, ransomware and ensure identity verification over the phone when dealing with finances.    Phone calls from Microsoft and banks must always be regarded as hostile and terminated.  Always call the bank back and speak to a known person before giving ANY information.
  4. One of the most effective ways to determine if an organization has adequate controls is to complete an application for cyber insurance coverage. Using the application as a guide, your HUB International risk broker can help determine if you have adequate internal controls and protection of individual information.

Effectively prioritizing cyber risks can become a challenge in establishing mitigation programs. Understanding the fast paced cyber environment can be crucial in avoiding potential problems. The HUB International team provides information and delivers education programs to clients that include:
-          Cyber liability
-          Employee training
-          Blogs, bulletins, newsletters
-          eBooks
Image courtesy flickr.com
Ransomware, in which data is encrypted by an encryption virus, is very real and a huge threat.  Glenn Gray from Compufix, a Jacksonville based IT Company, has seen 6 instances of ransomware in Jacksonville since January.  A ransom is demanded to decrypt the data, which varies from a mere $500 to many tens of thousands of dollars.  In most cases the data is lost unless the ransom is paid, except in cases where decent backups have been made.  The worst case he encountered was a doctor's practice where HIPPA compliance rules had been breached during the attack.  The resulting collateral damage could have included a very large penalty, as well as patient lawsuits that would have put the practice out of business.  In that case a $20,000 ransom was paid and the police were not involved or informed.  There is always the risk that even paying the ransom will not end the treat.  Even if the data is decrypted, the whole network must be regarded as suspect and completely replaced down to the router and the hard drives, and reinstalled from secure backups.  The additional cost of that can be extremely high.
If you own or manage a small business that routinely handles and stores personal or financial data, you need to be proactive in understanding and defending your digital resources before it's too late.  Like it or not, the cybercrime clock is ticking.

Ryan Gilway, AAI
Account Director
Greene Hazel Insurance Group | HUB International Southeast
Direct: (904) 446-3152


Glenn Gray
Compufix Jacksonville
9048381208
Glenn.gray@compufixjax.com

The foregoing content is informational in nature.  It is based on information that is generally available, and neither the author nor Hub International makes any representation or warranty as to its accuracy.  Any recommendation, analysis or advice provided therein is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any particular situation and should not be relied upon as such.  Any decision regarding the amount, type or terms of coverage shall be the ultimate responsibility of the reader.

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This article discussed how Cybrcrime has become an everyday occurrence in America today. It provides many examples of these crimes and ideas on how to protect your business from these cybercrimes and hackers. It also discusses cyber liability insurance, a new way to help mitigate circumstances if your hacked.

If you feel your business could use some help with its marketing, contact us at 904-410-2091. We will provide a free marketing analysis to help you get better results. If you found this article useful, please share it with friends, family and co-workers. You can find other articles on our blog by typing in “marketing” or your desired search term in the search box at the top of this blog. Also, don’t forget to plus us, on Google+.


For a comprehensive list of articles on this subject, we recommend reading The State of Internet Privacy & Security in America Today. It has a list of 25 related articles spanning a wide variety of perspective to enhance the readers understanding of this subject.

Big Brother Built-In - Who's Watching You Now?

Quote from "1984" - Courtesy of  www.flickr.com
By Carl Weiss

If you think George Orwell’s novel “1984” was farfetched, think again.  Everything from Doublespeak to the Thought Police is alive and well in our every more wired world.  Big Brother is being employed by everybody from the government to big business and cybercriminals worldwide.  Many intersections, some homes and every shopping mall in the world currently sport video cameras.  More than 1 million camera-toting drones currently fly the friendly skies.  What’s even more alarming is that our homes and businesses are rapidly becoming listening posts bristling with bugging devices galore that we have invited to share our space.  In today’s blog, we will take a look at where this technology is headed, as well how it has undermined the concept of “The land of the free.”


According to a report by the Telegraph, Britain currently has 1 CCTV camera for every 11 people.  That amounts to more than 5 million cameras, including 750,000 in sensitive locations such as schools, hospitals and transportation hubs.  While that may alarm some British citizens, Scotland Yard couldn’t be happier, since 95% of murder cases prosecuted in England used CCTV footage as evidence.  While this news has been announced by the Parliament as a boon to crime fighting, there are those Brits that feel that the ends do not necessarily justify the means.

Courtesy of  www.flickr.com
“Nick Pickles, director of the privacy campaign Big Brother Watch, said: ‘This report is another stark reminder of how out of control our surveillance culture has become.   With potentially more than five million CCTV cameras across country, including more than 300,000 cameras in schools, we are being monitored in a way that few people would recognize as a part of a healthy democratic society.  This report should be a wakeup call that in modern Britain there are people in positions of responsibility who seem to think ‘1984’ was an instruction manual.’”

Indeed, 1984 was a dark tale that foretold of British society’s every move being lorded over by Big Brother.  It portrayed a place where every move, every word and every thought was monitored, collected and acted upon by the government.  It was a place where dissent was not tolerated and those who harbored ill will toward any government policy were quietly eliminated from society as though they had never been born. 

Courtesy of  en.wikipedia.org
Before all of my US readers point out that what happens across the pond doesn’t necessarily translate to American shores, let me quote a 2011 report by NBC News that stated, In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the market for video surveillance cameras boomed in the United States.  Shocked by the worst attack on U.S. soil in 60 years, everyone from small-business owners to executives of giant multinationals rushed to get advanced security measures in place. A decade later, there haven’t been any more major terrorist attacks in the United States, but there are an estimated 30 million more security cameras.”

Bear in mind that the report is 5 years old.  During those 5 years, we have seen the proliferation of millions more CCTV cameras. Of course, what most Americans don’t realize is that nearly everyone in the country now owns a webcam-equipped smartphone, laptop or tablet.  We take these listening posts into our homes, our offices, our cars and even our bedrooms.  If you don’t think these cameras can be turned against you, then you need to ask why billionaire Mark Zuckerberg covers his webcam with tape.  That’s right, the MacBook belonging to Facebook’s CEO was observed, sporting a piece of tape over both the camera and microphone by staffers at Gizmodo.

“Social media had a ball last week poking fun at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg when a photo he released to celebrate Instagram reaching 500 million users showed his laptop in the background with masking tape covering the webcam. Zuckerberg probably has more reason to be paranoid than most people that someone would target him. After all, some of his other social media profiles on Twitter and Pinterest were compromised.  The billionaire has clearly taken a few steps to ensure he’s never compromised again. Stealing information and capturing a racy picture of the Facebook CEO would be a gold mine for extortionists, but this could happen to anyone.”

A similar article on Slate.com also intimated that FBI Director James Comey reportedly does the same.  So the question begging to be asked is why are a tech billionaire and the head of the most powerful police organization in the country quaking in their boots over the possibility that a hacker might take control of their webcams?  You would too, if you knew what they know.

For instance, in the past couple of years, a number of celebrities have had intimate photos and/or videos posted online, or used to shake them down for sextortion.  These have included former Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, who was targeted by a former classmate named Jared Abrahams, who used a copy of the Blackshades malware to take control of her webcam.  Jared then used his access to take a series of photos of Ms. Cassidy undressing in her bedroom to try to shake her down for cash.  When Abrahams was eventually brought to justice, he was charged with trying to extort money from more than 100 women.  Brought to justice might not be the right term, since he was only sentenced to 18 months after being convicted of these crimes.

Don’t think that these cybercrimes are relegated to lone wolf attacks either.  In 2009 Canadian researchers discovered that Chinese cybercriminals had infiltrated thousands of webcams in more than 100 countries.  Before you rush out to the hardware store to buy a roll of duct tape, let me remind you that webcams are only the tip of the online surveillance network.

Courtesy of  www.flickr.com
Big Brother is Watching

The past decade has seen an alarming loss of privacy online as government agencies like the NSA and multinational corporations have gathered all kinds of information about US citizens on an industrial basis.  Did you know that every keystroke you type into most browsers and search engines is recorded, catalogued, bought and sold?  If having your privacy invaded every time you surf the web wasn’t bad enough, at least we could count on the sanctity of our own homes, right?  Think again, because the introduction of the Internet of Things has meant your space isn’t necessarily yours alone.

Every web-enabled appliance from Smart TVs to home security systems and Smart thermostats can be a two-way communication system over which homeowners may not have complete control.  Municipalities are also into this home invasion of privacy by insisting that residents allow utility companies to install Smart Electric Meters that do more than simply report power usage.  They can also report how often you use various appliances in your home.  (If this kind of surveillance seems useless, you should be aware that many utility companies sell this information.) 

Hey Little Sister, What Have You Done?

While most people think of Big Brother as some kind of sinister father figure, the most
Courtesy of pixabay.com
insidious means of surveillance comes with a distinctly feminine side.  Any of you who uses Apple’s Siri, or Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana are all too familiar with female voices that respond to your every question.   Who’s to say that these devices can’t be turned into incessant eavesdroppers that listen into every word?  Even more insidious is the fact that these little sisters are popping up in all kinds of appliances, from speakers to clock radios. Google also sports a “virtual assistant” that allows users to say “OK Google,” before aurally requesting information from the world’s most popular search engine.  While OK Google doesn’t respond with a voice, the fact that a search engine is listening in on you should come as no surprise since Google has been tracking your every keyboard stroke for years.  If I were you I would think twice before sharing your thoughts with any artificially intelligent system.  They could come back to haunt you later.

The Thought Police

If it wasn’t bad enough that we can be tracked 24/7 in any GPS equipped device, including cars, cellphones and even many IoT devices, now there is an effort afoot by the government to read our minds.  In an article on cnet.com entitled, “George Orwell Here We Come,” We obtained government documents that talked about reading air travelers' minds and identifying suspicious thoughts. The NASA briefing materials referred to "non-invasive neuro-electric sensors" to be used in aviation security. In another bizarre press release, NASA claimed it has not approved any research in the area of "mind reading" and that "because of the sensitivity of such research," the agency will seek independent review of future projects. Yikes.”
Courtesy of  en.wikipedia.org

That there are government research projects involving “mind reading” there is no doubt. Popular Mechanics reported on a research project being run at the University of Washington that demonstrated it was possible to send a message from one human brain to another. 

“Using an EEG cap, which records brain activity, they positioned two researchers in separate areas of the campus.  In one room a colleague, Rajesh Rao, played a videogame using his mind.  Each time Rao saw an enemy he wanted to shoot in the game he would think about pressing a button.  Across campus Stocco sat with his back to the same video game while wearing a noise-cancelling headphones so he wouldn’t know when to respond. On his head was a transcranial magnetic stimulation coil (a device that can emit a focused electrical current), which was positioned directly over the part of the brain that controlled the movement of his finger.  When Rao thought about moving his finger, the signal was transmitted across campus to Stocco who, without any knowledge of it, would twitch his finger and trigger the game to shoot an enemy.  ‘The first time I didn’t even realize my hand had moved.  I was just waiting for something to happen,” said Stocco’”

Brave New Wired World
What’s even more of a certainty is that where governments go, private industry is sure to follow.  In 2015, Fortune.com reported on the creation of “Spy Tech That Reads Your Mind.”

Courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org
The report detailed a form of corporate software that can purportedly “spot insider threats before they happen by reading workers email.”  The software developed by a psychologist and consultant to the intelligence community was designed to rifle through millions of emails and text messages a day, looking for words and phrases that indicate that a worker is under stress.

“Many companies already have the ability to run keyword searches of employees’ emails, looking for worrisome words and phrases like embezzle and I loathe this job. But the Stroz Friedberg software, called Scout, aspires to go a giant step further, detecting indirectly, through unconscious syntactic and grammatical clues, workers’ anger, financial or personal stress, and other tip-offs that an employee might be about to lose it.  To measure employees’ disgruntlement, for instance, it uses an algorithm based on linguistic tells found to connote feelings of victimization, anger, and blame. For instance, unusually frequent use of the word me—several standard deviations above the norm—is associated with feelings of victimization, Shaw says. Why me? How can you do that to me? Anger might be signaled by unusually high use of negatives like no, not, never, and n’t, or of “negative evaluators” like You’re terrible and You’re awful at that. There might be heavy use of “adverbial intensifiers” like very, so, and such a or word rendered in all caps for emphasis: He’s a ZERO.

While private companies have long defended themselves against external attacks on their digital infrastructure, the latest trends are to guard themselves from within since more than a quarter of all attacks are perpetrated by insiders.  The Fortune report goes onto say that, Since 2011, government agencies that handle classified information have been required to have formal insider-threat programs in place. And in May that rule was extended to private contractors who handle such data—some 6,000 to 8,000 companies, according to Randall Trzeciak, who heads CERT’s Insider Threat Center. With increasing awareness of the problem, Trzeciak notes, the tools marketed to combat insider risk have proliferated. At the annual RSA conference on security two years ago, he says, only about 20 vendors displayed such wares. At this year’s, in February, he counted more than 125.”
Courtesy of  en.wikipedia.org

If thought policing wasn’t enough, there are other companies that are busy creating implantable chips and RFIDs to be used for everything from identification to opening locked doors.  How long will it be before every man, woman and child are convinced to have these tiny devices implanted?  Think the concept farfetched?  Here is a quote from a blog from fastcompany.com entitled, “Under My Skin: The New Frontier of Digital Implants.”

"The technology is there—we can definitely talk to payment terminals with it—but we don’t have the agreements in place with banks [and companies like] MasterCard to make that happen," he says. Paying for goods with an implantable chip might sound unusual for consumers and risky for banks, but Graafstra thinks the practice will one day become commonplace. He points to a survey released by Visa last year that found that 25% of Australians are "at least slightly interested" in paying for purchases through a chip implanted in their bodies. "It’s on the minds of people," he says. "It just needs to be brought to fruition."

Whether these and other technologies being developed by government and industry to get inside the heads of the public are going to result in the kind of totalitarian society envisioned by George Orwell is anybody’s guess.  What isn’t in question is one disquieting fact: Big Brother IS Watching!

In this article I have discussed how the surveillance society predicted in George Orwell’s Book, 1984 have come to fruition in 2016. More importantly new technologies being researched and implemented will make it possible for Big Brother to keep tabs on all aspects of our lives.

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Carl Weiss is president of WorkingtheWebtoWin.com a digital marketing agency in Jacksonville, Florida that routinely works with bloggers and other online marketers to grow their business.

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