Tuesday, February 25, 2014

For Facebook administrators: Who posted *THAT* content?

Here's one for the Facebook administrators, and a cross-post of an article I wrote for my company's blog:

Earlier this month, Facebook announced a new feature intended to help Facebook Page administrators by displaying the name of each Page post and Page comment author. This notation helps those companies working in teams to manage their Page directly via Facebook. By knowing which Facebook user posted an item, teams can better identify which administrators are contributing which content. More importantly, this solves a nagging puzzle that has often plagued Facebook administrators in teams, in that some content could be posted behind the relative anonymity of Facebook page administration. The discussion would often start at an alarmed all-hands meeting where the predominant question was: Who posted *THAT* content?
Facebook has started rolling out this new feature over the past few days, and while Facebook Page administrators working in teams have generally welcomed this functionality and notation, there are several important things to note to understand and use the feature.
authorship via facebook
First, this notation is only visible to you and those other Facebook users who help manage your Page. The presence of an actual person’s name alongside a Page post has caused alarm among some administrators with concerns that their names are now linked and visible on a Facebook Page. Be assured that only the other administrators of the same page can see who posted content; your audience is not privy to this authorship information.
Second, if you use a third-party tool like Spredfast for publication, this feature is redundant and can be misleading.  If you are a Spredfast customer, you should continue to rely on the Spredfast platform to determine “true” authorship. Just like before, Spredfast customers can use the publishing calendar to determine who authored, modified and/or approved any Facebook content.

When viewing your Facebook Page posts natively, you will notice that all publications originating from Spredfast are attributed to the Facebook administrator who authenticated the Facebook Page to Spredfast. This may not necessarily be the Spredfast user who authored the content within Spredfast.
Authorship via Spredfast
While the rollout of authorship information for Page Admins will be a helpful tool for teams of administrators that manage their Page directly via Facebook, this should not interfere with how Spredfast customers track and manage post authorship directly within our Social Relationship Platform. Whether you publish natively or through a third party tool like Spredfast, know that only your fellow administrators can view this authorship information (and breath a sigh of relief!)
Armed with this knowledge, you can thoroughly understand and know where to look to learn “Who posted *THAT* content”.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Getting Draconian...Blocking on Facebook

You've had it.

Time to be tough.

It's time to embark on the on the ultimate in Facebook privacy...the Facebook block.

This is not for the person you simply think is a little loud, nor the person you wish would quit posting about what they had for lunch. This is big time. The block makes a person virtually invisible on Facebook, and also makes you invisible to him or her too.

When you opt to block, all of the following happen right away. People you block can no longer:

  • See things you post on your timeline
  • Tag you
  • Invite you to events or groups
  • Start a conversation with you
Add you as a friend, or be your friend.

In other words, it's over...almost.

There can be a few conditions in which a blocked person still sneaks through, but this is mainly if you are both in a common Facebook group, or if you both use a Facebook application that disregards your Facebook preferences. These, however, are rare. For the most part, you are severed.

If you decide to block, you can follow these steps:
  1. Click the Settings (gear) icon in the upper-right corner of Facebook.
  2. In the drop-down, click Privacy Settings.
  3. In the left column, click Blocking.
  4. In the Block Users section (typically the second section), type the Facebook name of the person you wish to block. You can also opt to type an e-mail in this section as well, which can allow you do to a pre-emptive block, assuming the person uses that e-mail in connection with Facebook. 
Keep in mind that if you block, then later decide to unblock, not everything is restored. You will NOT be friends, and you will need to re-initiate a friend connection if you want one.

Blocking...it's not often used, and that's good. Sometimes, however, you do need it, and who knows, it could leave you singing this....


Sunday, May 19, 2013

To Friend or To Unfriend...That Is The Question

Back from a long, quiet spell...let's just say I've had my hands full with a marathon and a promotion at the office, but I'm back with some good stuff, again in the Facebook category.

What should you do with Facebook Friends that you would rather not Unfriend? Perhaps you  friended your boss, and now you are watching every move you make on Facebook. Or you have that Debbie Downer or overly political friend that inadvertantly takes over your Facebook NewsFeed and leaves you in a foul mood.

You have options that do not extend all the way to Unfriend, which they can eventually find out about. Consider these less draconian measures...

1. Use the Acquaintances option.

I hear you talking to your computer. "I have an Acquaintance option in Facebook?" Yep...congratulations...you do. And this is a prime time to use it.

The Acquaintance option is for Facebook Friends you don't need to stay in close contact with. And if you place someone on a Acquaintance list, Facebook will automatically cut back on the real estate those Facebook Friends get in your NewsFeed. That Friend will still pop-up from time to time for big events, but Facebook should pare back the Pinterest photos and hourly philosophical rants.

To use the Acquaintances option, just spot your Friend in the NewsFeed. Hover over their name. In the box which appears, click Friends and then choose Acquaintances from the popup. (And No, Lisa, you're not going on my Acquaintance list!)

2. Take 'em out all together.

You can nuke someone from your NewsFeed altogether. This means exactly what you think it does; the Facebook Friend disappears from your NewsFeed altogether. You can still, however, chat with them and you can still visit their Timeline to see what they have been busy with. But you don't have to see the NewsFeed stories at all.

To take someone's stories out of your NewsFeed, start down the same path as above. Find them in the NewsFeed. Hover over their name. In the box which appears, click Show in News Feed. Although not intuitive, that is actually an ON/OFF checkbox. Unchecking this takes them out of your NewsFeed.

Enjoy the peace.

3. Send them to the Restricted list.

This is probably the least known option, but one of the coolest. In this scenario, the Facebook Friend drops out of your NewsFeed. Mission Accomplished.

But additionally...they are much less likely to see your stuff in their NewsFeed either.

Read that again. Not only can you restrict what you see in YOUR NewsFeed, but you can restrict what content of yours that someone else sees in their NewsFeed. You can live in less fear of Mom seeing your 2am partying (and the resulting 9am hangover).

This feature lives one level deeper in Facebook. The first steps are the same. Find the name. Hover over it. Click the Friends button. Now click Add to another list... and then find Restricted, which is typically near the bottom.

Perhaps the best news about any of these options is that Facebook will never tell your Friend you have done any of this. And it helps you manage your NewsFeed into what you want to see. After all, it's YOUR NewsFeed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The GRAPH APP Facebook Hoax, and what you SHOULD do

I'll be back with more on getting started with Twitter, as I have 1 or 2 more blog posts for new Tweeters, but I am taking a quick break to look at all buzz about Facebook's GRAPH APP, and your friends' desperate pleas for you to make changes in an effort to protect their privacy.

In a word...DON'T!

This is simply some outright false information, some misleading assumptions and some lousy recommendations spun in a blender and poured out as an incorrect strategy which has  virally spread across Facebook.

It looks something like this as an update from your Facebook friend:

WARNING!!! FACEBOOK HAS CHANGED THEIR PRIVACY SETTINGS ONCE MORE!!! DUE TO THE NEW “GRAPH APP” ANYONE ON FACEBOOK (INCLUDING OTHER COUNTRIES) CAN SEE YOUR PICTURES, LIKES, AND COMMENTS. The next 2 weeks I will be posting this, and please once you have done it please post DONE! Those of you who do not keep my information from going out to the public, I will have to DELETE YOU! I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. I post shots of my family that I don’t want strangers to have access to!!! This happens when our friends click “like” or “comment”… automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we cannot change this setting by ourselves because Facebook has configured it that way. PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (DO NOT CLICK), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on “LIFE EVENTS” and “COMMENTS & LIKES”. By doing this, my activity among my friends and family will no longer become public. Now, copy and paste this on your wall. Once I see this posted on your page, I will do the same……

Let's learn a little bit about what's going on here.

This is just simply false. If you have seen this, or if you have even posted this yourself, do not feel bad. It sounds very dramatic and urgent, but it is not.

The fact is, Facebook’s latest Graph Search does not make any of your personal data any more public than it always has been. Your information, your photos, your demographics and your data are available to the same audiences. All the Graph Search feature does is allow your data that your friends could have seen anyway appear if your friends search for something. If you post about Mexican restaurants in Austin, your friends will see your information if they search Facebook for Mexican restaurants in Austin. People that are not your friends won't see it. (And by the way, Hula Hut is my recommendation for location and great food. Unless you want fajitas, in which case you need to head here for the best in Austin.)

If you take the recommended steps, all you really do is remove your friend's updates, Likes and Comments from YOUR view. You are not protecting yourself, or them. You simply won't see their updates when you use Facebook. Why would you do that? Why remove your friends' updates from YOUR view? Isn't that why you are friends in the first place, so you can see what they are up to?

There are 3 recommendations I make to better protect your information, and they will quickly get progressively more draconian.
  1. Reconfigure your Facebook Privacy Settings to Friends Only. Do this in Facebook by clicking the gear (Settings) icon in the upper-right next to your name. Then clicking Privacy Settings. This determines who can see your stuff, and that first line is critical. Setting that to Friends Only limits your data and your updates to your friends. Any line that reads Everyone is one I would trim back, as it means that information is open publicly, literally to anyone.
  2. Set better boundaries on Facebook. If you really are that concerned about your friends knowing you like Mexican food, quit talking about it on Facebook. Or if you don't want to get Facebook ads about Caribbean vacations, stop clicking LIKE on all things Caribbean. It's really that simple. Every time you click, post, Like or Comment, Facebook learns something about you, and it is going to sell that data to its advertisers. To you, clicking LIKE is a game, a way of showing what you like. To Facebook and its customers, clicking LIKE is gold, signaling your interest in this, that and the other.
  3. Get off of Facebook altogether. Yes, really. You are using a free service that allows you virtually unlimited communications in words, photos and messages with friends everywhere, for nothing. If you fear someone seeing a photo of your family, then honestly, it shouldn't be on Facebook in the first place. And perhaps you shouldn't be there either. Anything private enough that you fear it going public does not belong on your Facebook account. You didn't think Facebook was really truly free, did you?

Bottom line...don't take those recommended steps. You will only hose up your NewsFeed by blocking the very people sending you this message. And I would bet you a beer that 95% of your friends won't do a single thing if you sit tight. Really. Your energy is better spent considering what you are putting out on Facebook in the first place.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting Started on Twitter: Part 2

There is an incredible interest in Twitter, and simultaneously a notable uninterested sigh regarding what the fuss is all about. To give you a chance to participate, I am delivering a series of easy-to-follow instructions to get started in Twitter. Part 1 came last week, and will establish you as an official Tweeter.

On to Part 2...

Step #3: Complete your Twitter profile

After you are logged in to your newly-minted Twitter account, head over to this page:

This is your Twitter profile page, a place to provide some of your basic information and a few photos. This will look and feel much like your Facebook profile, although Twitter's profile information is more basic than Facebook.

  • The Photo is a place for your mugshot, or a recognizable logo. This is equivalent to your photo in Facebook.
  • The Header is much like your cover photo in Facebook. You can put a splash of personality here.
  • Your Name and your Location make you easier to spot for your friends and easier to learn about for new Followers. Fill these in, and be honest.
  • Your Bio may be the most critical piece here. Take a moment to put something interesting here. This helps other Tweeters determine if they want to follow you. Brevity is key; you only get 160 characters to work with.
  • You have a big decision to make on the Facebook section. If you choose, you can configure your Facebook and Twitter to link. Every time you Tweet, Facebook will automatically publish your Tweet on Facebook. I don't recommend this, as it tends to generate a lot of extra "noise" on your Facebook account. Yet if you desire to link they two, click Connect to Facebook to configure. Otherwise just leave this alone.
Why bother completing this Profile section at all? For visibility and recognizability.
  • You will acquire about 10 times the followers if you have a photo over not using a photo. No photo makes you look very fake, and most Twitter users are reluctant to Follow a take account.
  • You will acquire about 8 times the followers if you have a completed bio over an empty bio. The same rules apply: A completed bio shows you are real, and helps your friends know its you.

Fill out that Profile. You will be happy you did.

Step #4: Find people to Follow and Start Reading
Here is where Twitter starts becoming fun. Find people to follow.

Twitter may suggest some folks for you to follow. If you know someone's Twitter handle (remember from before, a Twitter handle is the name someone goes by in Twitter), just type it in the search box near the top-right corner. Or, if you have a good guess of a brand you want to follow, type that.

When you pick a name or brand from the drop-down, you will land on their profile page. (You can see why this profile page was so important to complete.) Find the button marked Follow and click it. Once you are following someone, the Follow button changes to show you that you are following that Twitter user.

There is virtually no limit on who you can follow, at least not right away. To read Tweets from those you are following, you can visit their profile. You can also visit your own "home" page in Twitter, where you will get a NewsFeed of sorts to read that is a compilation of those you follow. Just click Home in the upper-left corner to get back home.

Your Home NewsFeed will start to fill with Tweets from those you follow. It's rather fun. And then watch for Twitter users to follow. Your favorite store, your television news anchor, your sports team and your techie friend down the street all have Tweets for you to read.

If you really run stuck on who to follow, come follow me at @gomattlind. 

That should do for now. I know you want to start Tweeting, to start sending messages out. I have found that reading and following others helps you get started and prepares you better for writing your own Tweets. Just practice reading and following for now, and the Tweeting will come along shortly.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Getting Started on Twitter: Part 1

Twitter...just use the term and some people will jump up and down with excitement while simultaneously grabbing for their smartphone to get the latest updates. Then others will glaze over blankly and wonder what all the fuss is about.

Facebook seems easy enough to use, but Twitter requires just a bit of preparation and a primer on learning the ropes of Twitter. Never fear...I will walk you through this step-by-step.

Twitter allows people to communicate, but in chunks that never exceed 140 characters. It can be rapid fire communication, or very short blogs, or a way to quickly communicate. But the big rule is that no single message can ever exceed 140 characters.

See...you are already smarter. Now let's get rolling:

Step #1: Go To Twitter.com and register
Seems logical enough, right. Just point your web browser to http://www.twitter.com. Then look for the section labeled New to Twitter? To get started, you will need to input your name, an e-mail address and a chosen password.

Step #2: Pick a Twitter username
Then you will need to select a Twitter username. This can get a little tricky because your Twitter username needs to be 100% unique. While there can be more than one Joe Smith on Facebook, there cannot be more than one @joesmith on Twitter.

And while we're at it, you may be wondering about that @ sign. That generally precedes a username. Whenever you need to use a username, you will always signal that by using the @ sign.
Your Twitter username can only be 15 characters long, but it can include numbers, letters and the underscore symbol. Generally speaking, a shorter username is good, because Twitter when people want to find you, they too only get 140 characters. If they have to "use up" 15 characters just to address you, your messages might get shorter.

And here is your first decision point...your username. Do you use a cute pseudonym or your own real name? It's your call. Using a pseudonym might make you identifiable because your friends are accustomed to seeing your username in a blog, e-mail address, or simply from an embarrassing night in college. In contrast, finding you in a search engine like Google can be easier if you use your real name.

And lastly, you will often hear people talking about Twitter handles. In the Twitter vocabulary, a Twitter username and a Twitter handle are one and the same. Once you have a Twitter username, you have a Twitter handle. Way to go!

I picked @gomattlind as my username/handle. I really wanted the nickname I use for my e-mail address, but it was taken. So I opted for something that was easy to remember, somewhat short at 10 characters, but was also a play on my own name.

Once you register, congratulations. You have been to Twitter's website, you registered, you picked a username, and you have a Twitter handle. You are a officially a Tweeter. That is what a Twitter user is called, a Tweeter.

So go become a Tweeter, then check back and we'll get you moving forward from here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Unfriend and Unfollow...Who Done It?

The social networks do a fine job of telling you when you have new Friends and Followers. You receive an e-mail, and your mobile phone vibrates and makes a cute noise, and your count increments by one, alleviating and yet simultaneously enabling that 3rd grade fear about how popular you are.

YAY! I have a new friend.


That friend leaves...quietly...discreetly...hoping you won't notice.

The social networks generally won't tell you that you lost a connection. And I defy anyone to quickly notice that one person out of hundreds who quietly disappears from your NewsFeed.

Thankfully, there are some nice tools to help you figure out who left. 

For Twitter...
There is "Who Unfollowed Me" located at this link:

This tool is VERY easy to use. Once you arrive, just click the big orange button at the top, then the magic begins. With your permission, this tool will begin tracking who has left you from that point onward. During subsequent visits, you will see who has left, and you can look at some helpful information exposing if this is a 2-way following, or just 1-way.

For Facebook...
There is Unfriend Finder located at this link:

This one requires some additional installation, but it is fairly easy as well. You will end up with some additional buttons integrated neatly into your Facebook page which will help you spot friends who have left, or those who simply never accepted your Friend request in the first place.

The key thing to understand about both of these tools...they only record your loss on a go-forward basis. In other words, they won't start working until the moment you first use them. This is because you have to let these tools take a look at your Followers and Friends, and only then can the tools determine when someone has left that baseline list.

So give it some time, and then you will have the inside scoop on who is no longer in your merry band of social media connectedness.