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Category Archives: Digital Spring Cleaning

5 Tips to Clean and Speed Up Your Filthy PC

Originally posted by Bob Al-Greene/Apr 02, 2013 for: http://mashable.com/2013/04/02/clean-pc/

Our computers rarely run as fast as we want or expect them to. Whether you’re a Mac or Windows user, it’s maddening to sit in front of a taunting hourglass or spinning circle of death, especially when you have work to do. In the spirit of spring cleaning, we invite you to clean the dust bunnies out of your PC (literally and digitally). Here are five easy ways to get started.

1. Organize Everything

Your computing experience could seem slow if you spend eons clicking through endless subfolders or waiting for search to retrieve files. The first step toward a smooth-running PC is to remove human error.

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That means setting up an intuitive filing system for your documents to make sure they’re always where you want them, when you want them. Clearing and reorganizing your dekstop is an incredibly cathartic experience and will leave you with more peace of mind. Have fun with it — maybe use a grid wallpaper to organize icons precisely before switching back to your usual background. Image courtesy of Flickr, kleuske

2. Cut Out the Unnecessary

Run disk cleanup. It will free up space on your hard drive and improve the performance of your computer. Picture your PC as a hiker with a heavy backpack — you can help him move faster by unloading all the unnecessary junk you’ve accumulated — temporary files, duplicate files, downloads — as well as the crapware and trialware that came installed on your machine.

Check out PC Decrapifier to get started culling the herd of useless files bogging your PC down.

3. Fight Back
This is a simple proposition but an easy one to overlook: Invest in programs that target spyware, adware, malware and any viruses your computer might catch. This is about finding the right antivirus software for you.

If you do a lot of web surfing, for example, you might need some serious muscle to back you up. Or do you prefer a simple, unobtrusive program to keep your system running?

The Internet is flush with lists of decent, free antivirus programs. Whatever you choose, don’t forget you have it — scan as often as possible. Yes, it can take hours to do a full system scan. So set it up to work overnight, while you’re asleep, maybe. Getting into a cycle like this will keep your PC running healthy.

4. To Defrag or Not to Defrag?

As you use your PC, files get scattered across the system in bits and pieces: fragments. Defragmentation brings them all back together. And while this may not have a noticeable effect on your system speed, it’s good to make sure your files are all in one, correct place.

Unless you’re using a solid-state drive, you should probably defrag about once a month just to be on the safe side.

5. Start Over

There may come a time when your best hope is just to save all your data and wipe your hard drive, then reinstall Windows. This is the scorched earth option. But don’t forget to back up all your data beforehand, so you don’t lose anything important.

You may want to choose this time to upgrade to a newer operating system, like Windows 8. You should also double-check that you’re running the most recent version of your software. If you aren’t updating Windows constantly, you can set your PC to do it automatically.

Do you have some PC cleaning tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section.

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Seven Steps to Clean-Up Your Online Reputation

Gini Dietrich on April 25, 2013 for SocialMediaToday.com – http://socialmediatoday.com/ginidietrich/1414256/seven-steps-clean-your-online-reputation

Do you remember the story of Florida pizza shop owner, Scott Van Duzer, who hugged President Obama during a campaign stop in 2012?

The President stopped by Van Duzer’s restaurant to recognize him for his efforts in helping provide blood to patients in his county. What Van Duzer didn’t expect was the big bear hug he gave the President to make national news…and bring out the trolls on his company’s Yelp page.

People from across the country began leaving negative reviews on the page, even if they’d never actually eaten in the restaurant. One reviewer wrote, “Most of y’all Democrats can’t afford to eat at this restaurant anyway. They don’t accept food stamps.”

Hundreds of anti-Obama reviewers flooded the page to criticize Van Duzer, his restaurant, and his political beliefs.  Big Apple Pizza Yelp ReviewsScreen-Shot-2013-04-24-at-8_00_36-AM

In working with Yelp, Van Duzer was able to have some of the comments removed because they violated the site’s content guidelines, yet many remained. But then something magical happened: Van Duzer’s loyal customers came to the rescue! They began leaving five star reviews, having actually eaten in the restaurant, and the negative and untrue reviews were pushed further and further down.
Clean-Up Your Online Reputation:  If you have some unsavory things hurting you online – and you don’t have a community to come to your rescue – you can clean-up your online reputation with some elbow grease and a good strategy in place. The process goes a little something like this.

1.  Conduct an online audit. Likely you already know what’s there, but it doesn’t hurt to do a Google search, see what is being said, and where it lands in search results (second listing, first page). Do this both logged into your Google account and logged out (or you can open an incognito tab in your browser without having to actually log out by going to file > new incognito window). Logged in will let you see the results your friends, colleagues, peers, and clients will see. The incognito search will show you what the rest of the world sees. It’s important to have both. Search Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Search the social networks. Search the review sites. Search the Better Business Bureau and Ripoff Report. Search employee sites such as Glassdoor. Use terms such as “I hate COMPANY NAME” or “COMPANY NAME sucks.”

 2.  Create a strategy. Based on what you learn from the audit and what internal and external implementation resources are in place, put together the company’s online strategy … and make sure it’s tied to your goals. The very first thing you should do (if you haven’t already) is set up Talkwalker alerts to let you know when someone says something about you online – positive, neutral, or negative.

 3.  Create a clean-up list. With the audit complete and your online strategy in place, now comes the clean-up. In some cases, there will be multiple accounts for your organization. There might be profiles you don’t need on social networks that are either defunct or they don’t help your strategy. There might be negative reviews or blog posts on the first page of search results you’d like to address and not have come up before your own sites and the positive reviews. Maybe there are “I hate Company X” groups on Facebook or untrue reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor. Perhaps former employees have said really terrible things about you on Glassdoor or they’ve set up social networks for the company and you don’t have the login information. Whatever it happens to be, the list begins with these types of things. Write down everything you need cleaned up so the person or team responsible understands what it is you want done.

 4.  Assign someone (or a team) to do the work. They will need usernames and passwords, branding guidelines, sign-off on copy/images, and the power to make changes without a laborious approval process. It’s not critical this person be in marketing or PR, as long as it’s someone who understands what you’re trying to accomplish and can get the work done and update you in a timely manner.

5.  Begin the clean-up. Some of this is a big pain in the rear because you’ll need to work with the customer service departments at the social networks to either reset login data, delete a profile, or take down an untrue review. This could take weeks. We have a client who had an employee who was very social media savvy. He set up the company on all of the social networks and then quit his job, taking the login information with him. Working with LinkedIn, in particular, took about five weeks to reset the password and give us additional administrator access. In some cases, such as on the review sites, you have to prove the review is untrue, sometimes with legal action.

6.  Build your online presence through social media. There is one social network every organization should be on: Google+. Not only does Google rank you higher if you use their social network to promote your content, it helps to push down the negative content if it has been shared on Google+. You don’t have to be “social” on the site, but please use it to promote your content.

7.  Content is king…or at least prince. There are going to be many of you who have negative reviews that are, unfortunately, true. There are many organizations who claim they will clean up your online reputation for $40 per month, deleting all of the negative reviews from search results. This is illegal. Not illegal from the “I’ll be arrested and spend time in jail” point-of-view, but from a “It’s impossible to delete things on a site where you are not an administrator” perspective. Good, valuable content that is shared is the only way to push some the negative results.

8.  Implement the strategy. Once you’ve cleaned up the organization’s online presence and figured out how you’re going to use content to build a strong reputation, it’s time to put your strategy into action. This is the scary part. You’re about to become transparent. The curtain has been pulled back now and the only way to participate in the conversation is by being transparent, which means you’re opening yourself up to criticism and feedback.

Once you’ve decided to be transparent, honest, authentic, and human in your online conversations, the content, brand ambassadors, influencer marketing, customer reviews, and a solid product or service will help you cross the marathon finish line.

Warren Buffet famously said, “If you lose money for the firm, I will be understanding. If you lose reputation, I will be ruthless.”

An organization’s reputation, today, is only as good as its search results. If your operations are solid, you have a responsive customer service team, and you run things ethically, the rest will sort itself out.

 

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