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June 30, 2014

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Independence Day arrives this week, along with an opportunity to recognize and celebrate our freedom. Let us also celebrate these digital freedoms …

Freedom to be foolish: Blogging can be fun. Social media can be fun. So can email newsletters and videos and how we interact on all these screens. I write poetry, I joke around on Twitter, I run secret contests, I make the most of my time with other people online.

Freedom to deliver for customers: I have a lot of online customers. Last week, I spent hours in meetings fighting for them to have more value for their money and better service. I ask them lots of questions in surveys and blog posts and work hard to meet their needs. That’s not just a freedom — that’s a privilege.

Freedom to protect data from prying eyes: We are being watched. By governments. By corporations. By hackers. No system is 100 percent safe, but I urge you to learn about proxies, firewalls and tracking cookies to increase your data privacy.

Video: How to use proxies

Video: The basics of firewalls

Freedom to be unique: Stop copying the competition. Assert who you are, as a person, as a brand, as a business. We have enough cookie-cutter operations. Always strive to be more you.

Freedom to experiment: The digital marketing space is one big experiment. Failure is an excellent teacher, but can be summoned only through trying new approaches. We have an endless variety of ideas on content, timing, repetition, variation, platform, voice, length, promotion, interaction, metrics and more. Let’s use them, let’s measure them, let’s improve them.

Freedom to unfollow: No longer shall we be enslaved to the musings and rantings of shrieking worms. Mute, block, ignore or unfollow at will.

Freedom to untether: Going without devices somehow became trendy of late, as if not using a smartphone nonstop were somehow noble. But chaining ourselves to technology and the always-open world of social is as unwise as it is unhealthy. We can set aside time to roam freely without devices. We can let colleagues and customers know when we’ll be offline. We can work and play in peace.

Freedom to stand against tyranny: Our freedoms today aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. Fight for net neutrality. Speak out against unethical business practices, such as Facebook’s secret psychological experiments. Never forget that other bloggers face harassment and arrest and exile.

While we celebrate our freedom, let’s work to use it and push it to the limit every day.

Happy Independence Day!

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