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Facebook Updates Privacy Settings (Again)

Archive for August, 2011

Facebook Updates Privacy Settings (Again)

Posted on: August 24th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

Once again Facebook is changing its privacy settings and options. In a blog post yesterday Facebook’s Chris Cox laid out the changes, which include options when you detag yourself in a photo.

In an article in the Huffington Post, blogger Bianca Bokser surmised this all has something to do with Google+. She wrote: “Yet the latest update also appears to be a defensive move against Google+, a social networking service Google launched in July that has attempted to woo users away from Facebook by offering several unique privacy and sharing features. Facebook’s latest revamp underscores the increasing pressure the social networking site is facing from competitors and appears an attempt to assure users their personal data is safe with Facebook.”

Here’s Chris Cox’s blog post with screen shots:

Today we’re announcing a bunch of improvements that make it easier to share posts, photos, tags and other content with exactly the people you want. You have told us that “who can see this?” could be clearer across Facebook, so we have made changes to make this more visual and straightforward. The main change is moving most of your controls from a settings page to being inline, right next to the posts, photos and tags they affect. Plus there are several other updates here that will make it easier to understand who can see your stuff (or your friends’) in any context. Here’s what’s coming up, organized around two areas: what shows up on your profile, and what happens when you share something new.

On Your Profile

Your profile should feel like your home on the web – you should never feel like stuff appears there that you don’t want, and you should never wonder who sees what’s there. The profile is getting some new tools that give you clearer, more consistent controls over how photos and posts get added to it, and who can see everything that lives there.

Inline Profile Controls

Before: Most of the settings for stuff on your profile were a few clicks away on a series of settings pages.

Going Forward: Content on your profile, from your hometown to your latest photo album, will appear next to an icon and a drop-down menu. This inline menu lets you know who can see this part of your profile, and you can change it with one click.

A side benefit of moving most settings to inline controls is a much shorter and simpler Settings page.  A bunch of settings that were there previously have been moved directly inline, and a handful have been replaced or removed. (You can find more detail on the profile settings here:http://www.facebook.com/about/control)

Profile Tag Review

Before: Photos you were tagged in would show up on your profile as soon as you were tagged. One of the top requests we’ve heard is for the ability to approve these tags before they show up on your profile.

Going Forward: You can choose to use the new tool to approve or reject any photo or post you are tagged in before it’s visible to anyone else on your profile.

Content Tag Review

Before: Anyone who could see your photos or posts could add tags to them.

Going Forward: You have the option to review and approve or reject any tag someone tries to add to your photos and posts.

View Profile As…

Before: We heard you wanted to know what your profile looked like to others, but the tool for doing this was behind the scenes.

Going Forward: This tool is now on the top of your profile where it’s easier to access.

When You Share

 

In addition to the profile changes, it will now be more visually straightforward to understand and control who can see your posts at the time you share them. We’re also broadening the functionality of the sharing tool: now if you want to make your posts more expressive, we’ve made it simple to add location and tag the people you’re with.

Inline controls

 

Before: Controls for who could see your stuff on Facebook lived on a settings page a few clicks away.

Going Forward: The control for who can see each post will be right inline. For each audience, there is now an icon and label to help make it easier to understand and decide who you’re sharing with. Also, when you tag someone, the audience label will automatically update to show that the person tagged and their friends can see the post.

This dropdown menu will be expanding over time to include smaller groups of people you may want to share with, like co-workers, Friend Lists you’ve created, and Groups you’re a member of. These will make it easy to quickly select exactly the audience you want for any post.

If you’re posting to Facebook from a phone or app that does not yet support inline controls, your setting will be the same as it is today. You can change this with a new setting available on your privacy settings page. (For a guided tour of these new controls, go here:http://www.facebook.com/about/sharing)

Word Change: “Everyone” to “Public”

Before: You had the option to share a post with Everyone, which meant that anyone on the internet might be able to see it.

Going Forward: We are changing the name of this label from Everyone to Public so that the control is more descriptive of the behavior: anyone may see it, but not everyone will see it. This is just to make the setting more clear, and it’s just a language change.

Change Your Mind After You Post?

Before: Once you posted a status update, you couldn’t change who could see it.

Going Forward: Now you’ll be able to change who can see any post after the fact. If you accidentally posted something to the wrong group, or changed your mind, you can adjust it with the inline control at any time.

Tag Who You’re With, or What You Want to Talk About

Before: You could only tag someone if you were friends with them, and you could only tag a Page if you had liked it. This felt broken or awkward if you had a photo album of co-workers and had to become Facebook friends to tag them in the photos.

Going Forward: You can add tags of your friends or anyone else on Facebook. If you are ever tagged by a non-friend, it won’t appear on your profile unless you review and approve the post.

Tag Locations in Posts

Before: You could only “check in” to locations using the Places feature on a smart phone.

Going Forward: Now you can add location to anything. Lots of people use Facebook to talk about where they are, have been or want to go. Now you can add location from anywhere, regardless of what device you are using, or whether it is a status update, photo or Wall post. Of course, you can always choose not to add location at all.

As a part of this, we are phasing out the mobile-only Places feature. Settings associated with it are also being phased out or removed. (You can read more about how location works and settings affected here: http://www.facebook.com/about/location)

Remove Tags or Content from Facebook

Before: When we asked, people had different ideas of what removing a tag actually did, and different motivations for wanting to remove them.

Going Forward: Your options for removing tags or content on Facebook are presented more clearly. Your options are: removing from your profile, removing the tag itself, messaging the photo owner or tagger, and requesting the content get taken down. (More details on tagging can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/about/tagging)

These changes will start to roll out in the coming days. When they reach you, you’ll see a prompt for a tour that walks you through these new features from your homepage. In the meantime, you can read more about the upcoming changes from the links throughout this post. We’ll look forward to your feedback on all of this.

Taken together, we hope these new tools make it easier to share with exactly who you want, and that the resulting experience is a lot clearer and a lot more fun.

Speech Recognition Today

Posted on: August 23rd, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

I’m currently reading Paul Allen‘s autobiography “Idea Man” and when I was in college I read Bill Gates‘ first autobiography. I remember a section in Gates’ book that talked about the beginning stages of Microsoft’s attempts at speech recognition. The program was nicknamed “Beach Wreck Ignition” because that’s how bad the system was — when you said “Speech Recognition” what the computer showed on the screen was “Beach Wreck Ignition.”

Speech recognition technology has gotten much better over the years. Mashable published an infographic by Medical Transcription that explains speech recognition technology and introduces some projects in development. Speech-recognition technology is making the world more accessible. Not only is it changing the way we use computers, but it is making our cellphones more useful and making our comes more connected.

Speech recognition still has a long ways to go, though. As Google will tell you, speech-recognition technology is challenging and complicated to implement. There are a lot of steps between you reciting a sentence and the computer or phone writing those words out on the screen.

To better explain the science and impact of automated speech recognition (ASR), Medical Transcription has created an infographic that goes through the technology behind ASR. It also explores some of the most interesting ASR projects in development.

Click here to see the infographic at Mashable.

How has speech recognition changed how you live and work? Let Access Computer Technology know in the comments.

Biggest Facebook Fan Page Mistakes

Posted on: August 17th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

Brian Carter of AllFacebook.com clearly has his finger on the pulse of Facebook marketing. In fact, we’d even call him the guru of Facebook Pages.

This past spring, Carter delineated the top seven biggest Facebook fan page marketing mistakes. There’s a lot that businesses can learn from these mistakes. Here’s the list (drum roll please!):

Fan Page Mistake #1: Assuming People Go To Your Fan Page (Versus Seeing Your Posts In Their News Feed)

Most people, if they ever go to a fan page, only go there once. Some highly interactive pages get more visitors, and you can bring fans back to the page or to specific tabs with posts or ads, but usually fans see your page’s posts via their news feed.

One of the biggest surprises to me, in teaching Facebook marketing to many audiences, was that most business owners don’t understand how people use Facebook:

When you log on to Facebook, what you see is your news feed, and this is all Facebook is, to most people.

Your news feed doesn’t contain every post from all your friends or all the pages you’ve liked.

You can change your news feed to show more, or everything, or the most recent from everyone, but fewer than 10 to 20 percent of people do this.

If you have a Facebook page, all your fans do not see all your posts. The fans who have liked or comment on your page’s posts will see more of your posts.

If you’ve done a poor job getting people to interact, you may need to rehabilitate your fan base by paying for sponsored stories.

This is also a good reason to look at Facebook Groups, because every time any Group member posts or comments, everyone gets a notification.

Fan Page Mistake #2: Expecting Welcome Tabs To Get You Lots Of Fans

Reveal tabs, aka Fan Gates, are very popular. Some people think they possess magical powers. But they don’t help most businesses very much because:

For a welcome tab to get you fans, you have to get non-fans to go to your Facebook page, because only non-fans see the pre-like version of a fan gate.

If you have a website with a lot of traffic, you may get a significant number of people who do this by clicking on a Facebook icon from your website.
If you use a like box to get fans on your site, these new fans will never see your welcome tab.

If you get new targeted fans the cheapest way there is (via Facebook ads), most of these like the page by liking the ad, so they also never see the welcome tab.

See that big circular diagram from the last mistake? Notice how many fans go to the actual page? That’s the percentage of people likely to see your beautiful welcome tab. Actually, less, because once they’re fans, they’ll go straight to the Wall.

Fan Page Mistake #3: Overestimating Apps and Tabs

Some people also seem to think creating a Facebook app is a magical move that will create all kinds of buzz and engagement. While this may be true for big companies who can get mass media coverage for deploying a clever new app, for most companies this the long way around to less results.
The Facebook app’s fatal flaw is the ominous opt-in page that requires you to share your Facebook data with the App. I can’t find any authoritative percentage of how many people bounce away from that page, but anecdotally, I know the number is high. I only became more willing to allow once I knew where to go to remove App access from my account. But this extra step means at least 25 percent and maybe as many as 75 percent of people who go to try an app will not carry through with it.

What that means is- you spend all kinds of money and time programming a new app (and programming efforts, especially if you’ve never been involved in one, are always more money and time than you expected), and may come out with less results than if you just use the incredible tools Facebook has available.

Think about it, if 100 percent of users already interact with posts and pages and groups, won’t you have a better chance of getting engagement by using those, than by using a weird new app that they have to give up privacy to opt-in to?

Fan Page Mistake #4: No Budget For Ads To Acquire Fans

As discussed above, the cheapest way to get targeted fans for your page (fans who are likely to be good customers), is with Facebook ads. The power, depth and precision of the Facebook ad platform is unrivaled and historic. And you can get fans for anywhere from 1 cent to $1.50, depending on your niche and parameters. You can’t get email subscribers that cheap anywhere, and this is the same kind of owned media.

But so many companies go to ridiculous lengths to avoid spending money on ads, or they just don’t have ad spends in their paradigm. They use a ton of time on roundabout tactics that yield fewer and less qualified fans. They forget about the cost of the employee time required to do so. And then when their fans don’t produce a return on investment, hey wonder why. Well, because you went cheap and you didn’t get good prospects. That’s why.

Fan Page Mistake #5: Posting In A Self Centered Way, Not Trying To Get Likes And Comments

You’ve seen it on hundreds of corporate blogs: post after post about them, them, them, and few comments, if any. Comments from sycophantic employees who want their company to look good. You can see it on Facebook pages too: me, me, me posts, and very few likes and comments, especially compared to the fan base. Your actual active fan base is about 100 times the number of likes and comments you usually get. How does that compare to the number of fans you have?

You would think by now that everyone would understand the lessons of web 2.0; push and pull, conversational marketing, etc. But no. So many marketers have never learned to care about what their audience cares about. You can’t communicate effectively until you know your audience. You can’t get responses if you don’t ask for them. You can’t get enthusiasm until you stimulate it.

And if you don’t get responses, you become invisible.

Fan Page Mistake #6: Not Optimizing For Impressions And Feedback Rate

If you don’t have a metric for every stage of your marketing, you simply can’t optimize your tactics for that stage. Your goals for the fan page should include:

Visibility to as many of your fans as possible, calculated by dividing post impressions by your total fan base
Responsiveness to your posts, calculated by feedback rate, which is the total number of likes and comments divided by post impressions

If you aren’t getting at least a one percent feedback rate, you probably are missing the mark in connecting with the bulk of your audience. Think about what passions and interests your fan base has in common, and speak to those. If you used Facebook ads to grow your fan base, you should know exactly what interests comprise the bulk of your fans and which ones were most passionate (measured by ad CTR).

A couple of caveats: I haven’t seen pages with more than 100,000 fans get one percent feedback rates, but I also don’t see pages that size using best practices in post content. Also, for pages of any size, when you post blog posts or sales-focused discounts, the clicks to your website or blog aren’t counted in this feedback rate. In those cases, a lower feedback rate is acceptable, if you’re getting sales and ROI from your efforts.

Fan Page Mistake #7: Over-Selling and Hard-Selling Without Conversing Or Arousing Desire First

This is very similar to the “me, me, me” selfish mistake discussed in #5.

Think about the typical conference. There’s a reason they have a separate area for vendors: The selling approach doesn’t always jibe with the conversational focus of the main part of the conference. And similarly, a fan page is a bunch of fans who typically are fans of something besides your offering. What they’re fans of is related to your offering. You have to continue to fan the flames of desire around that passion. My rule of thumb is to engage, converse and stimulate four times as much as you sell. Go for 80 percent interaction, 20 percent selling. There’s a wisdom to this that goes beyond Facebook.

Why does Corona sell relaxation and the beach rather than just show people drinking beer? By reaching beyond features and benefits to sell the dream implied by the offering’s benefits, playing with follow-through, focusing on the vision beyond, companies knock the ball out of the park.

Conversely, companies that focus on themselves and selling immediately end up disappointed, much like the college freshman looking for a one night stand. Not knowing the value of romance, he ends up rejected and alone. There’s a reason why it’s called foreplay and there’s a reason that flowers are a billion dollar business.

Brian Carter is CEO of the Facebook Marketing Training Company, FanReach, a social media trainer, and Facebook consultant.

White House Joins Foursquare

Posted on: August 16th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology
Ben Parr broke the story that the White House has joined the social networking site Foursquare. Here’s the article from Mashable.com:
Foursquare has just gained its highest-profile user yet: President Barack Obama.

“The White House is now on Foursquare, a location-based social networking website, which is the latest way for you to engage with the administration,” The White House said on its blog. “There are over 10 million people already “checking in” around the world, and now you’ll be able to discover “tips” from the White House featuring the places President Obama has visited, what he did there, plus historical information and more.”

The White House says that it will be posting tips about the President’s visits around the country as he embarks on an economic bus tour across the Midwest. The White House will also be creating checkin locations for different presidential events. The White House posted its first tip on its page on Monday, revealing that the President delivered a speech in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, where he discussed ways to grow and strengthen the economy.

Obama joining Foursquare comes just hours after the geosocial network unveiled Tip Lists, a feature that lets users and brands bundle and curate their best tips into easy-to-follow lists. It seems that the White House will be using Tip Lists as a way to track the President’s visits across the country as he begins his campaign for reelection.

The addition of the President of the United States to Foursquare’s 10+ million users could be a watershed moment for the mobile service, especially as the 2012 campaign kicks into high gear. Expect a lot more people to join Foursquare very soon.

This story originally published on Mashable here.

Why Are They Still Printing the Yellow Pages?

Posted on: August 9th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

When I walked into the office today, I started laughing. There sitting on a table was that thick yellow brick. It was the Yellow Pages.

We use “The Yellow Pages” as an example of old media — that thick book full of super thin yellow paper containing ads. Businesses from law firms to chiropractic clinics still pay expensive monthly fees to display their ads in the Yellow Pages even though most people waste little time in moving the Yellow Pages from their front porch to the recycle bin.

We use the Yellow Pages as an example of old media because that’s the old way of marketing. In the old days, there were not many choices for businesses that couldn’t afford park bench ads or billboards over the highway. And there was a time when the Yellow Pages were actually kept next to the house phone and used to look up numbers and decide which plumber to call for the leaky faucet. Today, Facebook pages, Google Ads, Twitter feeds & Yelp listings have replaced the Yellow Pages. New media advertising is inexpensive and has a much better return on investment (ROI).

Maybe we’ll keep that big yellow book around just as a reminder to clients of the marketing medium of a bygone era and how much more effective their marketing campaigns can be in the 21st century. Or maybe we’ll use it to prop open the door every once in a while.

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A Techie Goes on Vacation

Posted on: August 4th, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

Gloria Sin of ZDNet lets us in on what tech gadgets she takes with her on vacation.

One of the last thing I had to pack for my vacation this week was my gadget bag and the corresponding cords and plugs. I had to strike the best balance between packing light and bringing everything I could possibly need for my week away from home. After all, you don’t want to weighed down by too much gear that just becomes too heavy to tote around all day, but you won’t want to miss that priceless shot because water got into your expensive camera. Here’s a peak inside my vacation gear bag and why I couldn’t leave home without these gadgets.

  • LG Thrill 4G: This review unit from AT&T literally arrived just as I was about to leave on my trip so I decided to bring it along to see how it would perform on the road. I will be comparing its performance with the HTC Evo 3D in an upcoming review.
  • Nintendo 3DS & Nintendo DS Lite: I’ll admit it: I’m currently hooked on playing Nintendogs + Cats on my Nintendo 3DS so I couldn’t leave my virtual dog behind, but the 3DS’ poor battery life means my DS Lite will be a more reliable source of entertainment when I can’t charge the 3DS. I realize the 3DS is backwards compatible with DS games so the newer device will suffice for most people, but this way I can play in multi-player mode with my friends. One can never have too many handheld portable gaming consoles, in my humble opinion.
  • Asus Eee 901 netbook with a wireless mouse, Virgin Mobile 3G USB Modem, Porsche + LaCie 750 GB Portable Hard Drive and retractable headset: The 8.9″ Eee netbook is small and light enough to slide into my carry-on and yet powerful enough for me to write from anywhere. While I don’t mind using my netbook’s touchpad, I find I can get things done faster with an external mouse so I tend to pack one along, just in case. Having never stayed in my hotel before, I had no idea what kind of Internet connection is available so I decided to bring along my Virgin Mobile USB 3G Modem for insurance. My retractable headet is a very space efficient accessory to turn my netbook into a VoIP phone and entertainment unit when necessary. I also packed the portable 500 GB hard drive from Porsche and LaCie so I can backup my photos from my smartphone’s SD card to a more reliable source. Its small form factor and large capacity really made the hard drive a no-brainer to pack.
  • Samsung Infuse 4G: It’s massive 4.5″ SUPER AMOLED touchscreen is a great benefit when I don’t have time to whip out my glasses to scan my emails. Plus, its 8-megapixel rear camera offers pretty accurate colors and captures shots relatively quickly so I don’t have to bother with a point-and-shoot.
  • Nokia N900: This smartphone may be from 2009 but its smaller display at 3.5″ means it’s easier to slide into most pockets, plus its 5-megapixel rear camera with Carl Zeiss Optics can be accessed via an external button and by opening the Carl Zeiss lense cover, which means I can capture images quickly.
  • Lok Sak Resealable Element Proof Transport and Storage Bags: None of my devices are waterproof out-of-box so these resealable bags are handy to store my phones (especially the review unit) even if I get caught in a passing thunderstorm.

What gadgets can you not leave home without? Share with Access Computer in the comments below:

Businesses Need to ‘Get’ Social Media

Posted on: August 2nd, 2011 by Access Computer Technology

 

Alexis Dormandy writes in The Telegraph about businesses still not quite “getting” social media:

Ticketmaster estimates that every time one of their customers posts on Facebook that they’ve bought a ticket, their friends spend an additional $5.30 with the site. When last year’s Google conference was taking place, they tweeted the morning of the conference: “100 tickets left, 550 bucks a piece, use this promotion code”. 11 minutes later they tweeted, “Sold them, thank you.” That’s $55,000 in sales with one tweet in 11 minutes. E-commerce sales are expected to top $1.4 trillion by 2015. And IDC estimates that in five years, 10-15 per cent of total consumer spending in developed countries may go through sites such as Facebook.

Given the overwhelming evidence that social commerce works, why are big businesses so slow to take advantage? Could it be because senior marketing directors don’t understand it and don’t want to admit it?

Your typical 40-year-old marketing director would have left school in 1988. More than likely their last maths lesson was when they were 16, and they were glad to see the back of it. Computers weren’t even available at school then. The brightest graduates interested in marketing studied English, foreign languages, or history.

The fast trackers went into advertising agencies to do planning and account management. Life was a lot of fun and not a computer in sight. I recall being phoned by an account director friend the night before a big pitch asking me to “explain again how a percentage works”. She was an Oxbridge graduate and it had been 9 years since she’d last had to do any maths.

Our 40-year-old marketing director probably spent four years at an agency, before going to work on the client side. They spent the 1990s pulling together billboard campaigns, debating what they could say with the Advertising Standards Authority, agreeing joint promotions with other big businesses, and sponsoring celebrity sportsman. Life was still a lot of fun.

They turned 30, the dot-com bubble came, and a small number of the more enterprising ones became entrepreneurs. Most kept rising up their businesses, learning to take eighteen months to launch a consumer product, and working with retailers to plan their Christmas sales nine months in advance. The really good ones rose to the top and had teams to look after all this stuff for them.

And all the while, those computers and the maths they thought they’d avoided at school were catching up with them.

Ten years ago marketing meant spending millions on a TV campaign that would be seen by 10m people of whom maybe 200,000 bought something.

Then Google came along with Adwords and let you “buy” customers on a cost per click (CPC) basis – you agreed to pay a certain amount per customer, and Google connected you. Marketeers had to learn about search engine optimisation, paid-for-search, and affiliate sales. Most of them didn’t.

Then Facebook came along and transformed things again. Now you only need to target 5,000 people, and they in turn influence 20,000, who influence 200,000.

Marketing has become all about analytics and maths and measurement and making targeted investment decisions on a daily basis. It’s about data – lots of data.

It requires totally different skills than the senior marketing director spent the last twenty years learning. But the guy who didn’t want to do maths is still making the decisions, and he can’t admit that he doesn’t really understand sponsored stories or Open Graph or hashtags.

The limiting factor in the adoption of the internet and social media by businesses is not the technology, it’s the people in charge.

Most large consumer businesses have someone responsible for social media. They are 26 and have a job title like Community or Social Media Manager. Because they are 26 and they work in a large business, it’s difficult for them to change the way things work. They can see that it’s costing four times as much to get a new customer on TV compared to Facebook, that paid-for search isn’t cost effective, and that the marketing agency is clueless online, but they can’t do anything about it.

I’ve got some good news for those Social Media Managers: you may be exasperated today, but you’re about to inherit the earth.

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