Office of Information Technology

Social Media

Slideshow on Creating a Secret Facebook Group

Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Social Share Toolbar - How to Create a Top Secret Facebook Group - first slide – How to Create a Top Secret Facebook Group published a slideshow with step-by-step instructions on creating a secret Facebook group. Since we found it to be quite useful, we couldn’t wait to share it with you! Learn how to create a Facebook Group that is private to only you and folks you invite…

Pinterest Releases Rich Pins

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
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Hunger Games Pinterest Movie Pin

Hunger Games, Pinterest Movie Pin

Pinterest fans have already begun using a recently unleashed new feature called Rich Pins. If you are not an enthusiast, a pin is a video or image you gather from a website or upload from your computer. The pin links back to the original source and can be repinned. The new Rich Pins feature includes the following category titles: Product, Recipe and Movie. You now receive more useful information on something you like. Product Pins tells you how much something costs and if it’s available. It also points you to the retail store selling the item (clothing, furniture, toys, and more).  Recipe Pins gives you the ingredients, total hands-on and cook time, and how many it serves. If you want more step-by-step instructions, you can click on the original source. Movie Pins gives you the movie’s rating, directors and actors. View its Rotten Tomatoes score or Netflix rating.

The Pin It button is now available for some mobile apps, such as TED and Brit+Co.

You will need to activate Rich Pins on your account since it has not been fully integrated. Click on the Click It Now button on the home page.

Catch-up or learn more by visiting Pinterest’s blog post, Introducing More Useful Pins

Going Back in Time on Facebook

Monday, February 6th, 2012
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Facebook Timeline

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and chief executor of Facebook first unveiled Timeline back in September at a conference in San Francisco. Zuckerberg described Timeline as, “an important next step to help tell the story of your life.” described Timeline as,

“…a new feature in Facebook that replaces the profile page. It shows the story of your life, as you choose to tell it or as Facebook has recorded it, in a visual, scrolling, ordered timeline. It’s a cross between visual blog and online scrapbook.”

After weeks of delay from the conference, the new feature was finally released to the public mid- December. The Timeline feature displays the entire history of status updates, photos, links, job history, and anything else that you have shared.

The reaction from the public was quite mixed as always. The company’s blog displayed comments where a large number of users criticized the new layout. Like in previous years, once you turn on the layout you will be unable to turn it off. Many of the comments resembled each other stating how they wanted the old layout back, a popular theme which often occurs when Facebook decides to revamp itself.  Despite the negative comments there were some users who were anxious to use the new feature and applauded Facebook’s Timeline.

“I like it. Better user experience…” – Robert Fleming.

“Looks good” – Cem Baker

“…It looks awesome and it’s a huge step forward.” – Anthony Coburn

To learn more Facebook’s Timeline visit here, or if you want to install it right away visit Facebook’s Timeline page.

Image Credit: Tech On the Go

Potential Employers Check Social Networks More Often Than You Think

Friday, October 28th, 2011
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We have all heard the rumors of potential employers checking social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to aid the hiring processes, but how often do these recruiters rely on this technology? Reppler, a site aimed at building a professional reputation on social networks, conducted a study that was covered by The study lays out a comprehensive infographic on Job Screening with Social Networks.

According to the infographic more than 90% of employers use social networking sites to screen prospective employees. Of the social networks checked during the hiring process, Facebook comes in first at 76%, Twitter second at 53%, and LinkedIn third at 48%. The infographic shows that upon receiving an application, 47% of employers check various social networking website profiles.

The employers check profiles for information that will help determine their decision on a future employee. While searching, they check for both positive and negative content that is posted on the profile. This content will either lead to rejection or a hire.

The most popular reasons for rejection were linked to inappropriate photos or comments, posted content with drinking, posted content with the usage of drugs, negative comments about previous employers, poor communication skills, discriminatory comments, false qualifications, and sharing confidential information from a previous employer. 69% of employers have rejected a candidate due to inappropriate content posted on a social networking site.

However, 68% of recruiters have hired candidates based off positive aspects on their social networking profiles. According to the infographic, employers have hired candidates based off positive impressions of their personality and organizational fit, profile supporting their professional qualifications, creativity, well-roundness, good references posted by others, and because of awards and accolades.

Take a look at the infographic below for more information on the study. To view the study in more detail log onto


Job Screening with Social Networks


Image Credit: Mashable, Reppler

Reviewing Your Facebook Privacy Settings

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
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Do Facebook’s privacy settings frequently change? They do, and you may see new options at some point so it is important to review them if you desire better privacy.  As stated in’s article, Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings Every User Needs to Know, the privacy settings can be an overload of information to review.  Stan Schroeder shares 10 main areas to consider reviewing and updating. You can customize the following areas under Account in the top menu:

  • sharing on Facebook
  • existing photos
  • checking into places
  • connecting on Facebook
  • apps you use
  • instant personalization
  • info accessible to your friends
  • public search, friend lists
  • enabling HTTPS

For example, you may want to consider customizing or disabling the feature, Friends can check me in to places. Stan Schroeder states,

Another setting under Sharing on Facebook often goes unnoticed, and it can be very important, as it lets your friends check you in to Places. Having someone else telling the world where you are can be unpleasant and even dangerous in some cases. If you want to avoid it, disable this feature.

It is something to consider since it can be unsafe.

Check out the article for descriptions and instructions. We hope to hear about your experiences with privacy settings!

OIT Blog, New Sharing Features

Friday, January 14th, 2011
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We wanted to let everyone know about our new sharing features for the OIT Blog! The new “follow” graphic, located on the left-hand side, helps you to quickly subscribe to our blog post updates. You have the options to receive updates by email and/or by RSS.

The other features, located to the top-right of each article, are the Twitter and Facebook buttons. When you click the Tweet button, it will automatically generate the post title and link to your Twitter feed. Your Twitter Followers will then see what you just read and possibly want to read it as well.

When you click the Like button, your Facebook Recent Activity will update revealing that you “like” this particular article.

Also, share a blog post using any of the listed social media services located at the bottom of each article.  The list of sharing icons with link text includes Blogger (Blog this!), Delicious (Bookmark on Delicious), Digg (Digg this post), Facebook (Recommend on Facebook), Buzz (Buzz it up), MySpace (Share via MySpace), Reddit (Share via Reddit), StumbleUpon (Share with Stumblers), RSS (Subscribe to the comments on this post), Email (Tell a friend).

These are great ways to let your friends, family, and co-workers know what you’ve been reading and enjoying.

Concerned about Facebook Ads?

Thursday, July 8th, 2010
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Facebook users express concern about ads targeting individuals. As a result, many are questioning the security of Facebook – you may be one of them. In The Facebook Blog, Facebook attempts to clarify a misconception about their advertisements. Some users suspect that data is collected by advertisers to create these targeted advertisements.  According to Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, this is not the case. Advertisers are not given access to this type of personal information. Okay, but how is it possible that this ad presents hiking gear and I like hiking? It seems that the ad was created just for me. Sheryl Sandberg explains that advertisers present an ad to the Facebook staff. Then, Facebook will service these to people that relate to that particular type of ad. No information is given to the advertisers even if your profile is set to public. She explains the team roles out advertisements to certain people based on what they “like.” Sheryl explains the following from her article, The Role of Advertising on Facebook:

The only information we provide to advertisers is aggregate and anonymous data, so they can know how many people viewed their ad and general categories of information about them. Ultimately, this helps advertisers better understand how well their ads work so they can show better ads.

Advertisers can also request that we display ads based on the things you have said you liked in your profile. We think this means you will get ads that are more personalized to your real interests and this makes your experience on Facebook even better. For example, if you are a small business selling tents you might want to target adults ages 18-49 who have liked camping or hiking. Our advertising system only shows the number of people who fit those criteria. – Read the entire article on The Facebook Blog

Library of Congress Archives Tweets

Thursday, May 13th, 2010
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Are you aware that the Library of Congress (LOC) archives Twitter posts (tweets)? Initially, LOC planned to archive these micro-blogs for the public’s benefit. It would be interesting and entertaining for future generations to read your thoughts on random tasks. Consequently, this information could benefit experts in which we may learn more about ourselves. Also, Twitter will be giving Google their archive of tweets. Google is creating a tool to search billions of archived tweets. You can read others’ observations and search by topic. Randall Stross reports in the New York Times article, When History is Compiled 140 Characters at a Time, the following professor’s perspective:

“Twitter is tens of millions of active users. There is no archive with tens of millions of diaries,” said Daniel J. Cohen, an associate professor of history at George Mason University and co-author of a 2006 book, “Digital History.” What’s more, he said, “Twitter is of the moment; it’s where people are the most honest.”

After some complaints, privacy was addressed and LOC altered details. So deleted tweets will be excluded and potential tweets will be held for six months before archiving. Now, LOC will only allow researchers to search the “stacks” of tweets but it seems that Google will archive without any restrictions. Twitter will not give protected tweets out to anyone. So, private accounts will not be given to LOC, Google, or anyone but the user’s permitted followers. Randall Stross from the New York Times writes,”Before transferring it, the company will remove the messages of users who opted to designate their account ‘protected,’ so that only people who obtain their explicit permission can follow them. A Twitter user can also elect to use a pseudonym and not share any personally identifying information. Twitter does not add identity tags that match its users to real people.”

Should tweets be archived with or without restrictions? Do you recommend that others not delete their tweets for the sake of history? Do you think historians will require new tools and techniques to research endless amounts of tweets?


Google Buzz Addresses Privacy Concern

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
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Last week Google released its new social networking service, Google Buzz. CNN and the New York Times reported that it received endless complaints because it seemed to be revealing people’s contacts. When users noticed they were automatically following people, they had the impression it was publicly revealing their GMail contacts. The privacy issues were brought to Google’s attention, and Google has apologetically addressed those concerns. In the GMail Blog, Todd Jackson explained that this automatic setup was to make Buzz more convenient for the user. The majority of users, however, prefer to decide on its usefulness before signing up altogether. As a result, Google states on how they continue to listen to feedback and improve on this privacy concern.

from New York Times:

Anger Leads to Apology From Google About Buzz

Google moved quickly over the weekend to try to contain mounting criticism of Buzz, its social network, apologizing to users for features that were widely seen as endangering privacy and announcing product changes to address those concerns.

Todd Jackson, product manager for Gmail and Google Buzz, wrote in a blog post on Saturday that Google had decided to alter one of the most-criticized features in Buzz: the ready-made circle of friends the service provided to new users based on their most frequent e-mail and chat contacts in Gmail. Instead of automatically connecting people, Buzz will in the future merely suggest to new users a group of people they may want to follow or be followed by, he said.

Mr. Jackson, who said that the auto-follow feature had been intended to make it easy for people to get started on Buzz, acknowledged the criticism that was heaped on Google in the last few days.

“We’re very sorry for the concern we’ve caused and have been working hard ever since to improve things based on your feedback,” Mr. Jackson wrote. “We’ll continue to do so.”

In the Official GMail Blog, Google states that the auto-follow model will become the auto-suggest model this week. This will allow users to select who they want to follow before using Buzz. Google states that there will be a Buzz tab added to Settings. Then, users can privatize who they follow and their followers. Additionally, Buzz can be hidden or even disabled in the Settings. From the blog…

from the Official GMail Blog:

A New Buzz Start-Up Experience Based on Your Feedback

On Thursday, after hearing that people thought the checkbox for choosing not to display this information publicly was too hard to find, we made this option more prominent. But that was clearly not enough. So starting this week, instead of an auto-follow model in which Buzz automatically sets you up to follow the people you email and chat with most, we’re moving to an auto-suggest model. You won’t be set up to follow anyone until you have reviewed the suggestions and clicked “Follow selected people and start using Buzz.”

Read the entire post…

Let us know what you think!

Facebook Applications and Third Party Ads

Friday, November 6th, 2009
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I recently read about the issue with Facebook’s social gaming applications, such as Farmville and Mafia Wars. Facebook has a partnership with companies who advertise on these applications. From what I’ve read, people are persuaded into signing up for credit cards and other subscriptions in exchange for game credits. Some are also attracted to surveys or tests for earning game points, requiring them to enter cellular phone numbers for the results. In return, the subscriber now has a service that will be charged to their phone bill. The costs were not mentioned by the advertisers.

In Barb Dybwad’s post Facebook Cracks Down on Deceptive Ads, she explains these “opt-out” offers. She briefly shares the perspective of a social gaming company, Zynga. The following is an excerpt:

“In a social game like virtual farming sim Farmville, for example, users can either spend real money to buy virtual goods, or complete offers and surveys from partner companies in exchange for virtual credits. The trouble is, some of those offers include ‘opt-out’ riders that enroll the user in some sort of paid service or subscription, and require action on the user’s part to avoid misleading charges.

MySpace CEO Own Van Natta earlier characterized these ‘opt-out’ type of offers as misleading, and announced a change to the Terms of Use to clarify what’s acceptable to both developers and users. Popular social gaming company Zynga also posted a statement stating a commitment to weed out bad and deceptive ads, while stressing that the offers industry is still nascent along with a belief that non-scammy offer ads still hold the promise of value to both user and advertiser.”

Read the full article…

Have you experienced any offers from these scamming ads?

In a Facebook blog post, Nick Gianos explains these types of third party advertisements are an issue across the Web and that they will work to make improvements. They have banned scamming ads in the past and continue to do so now. Facebook explains how they will enforce their policies and discontinue networks that break the rules. They mention their interest in having high quality advertising and the trust of users:

Continued Action Against Deceptive Ads

By Nice Gianos

“As part of an ongoing effort we’ve had underway to address the quality of third-party ads running inside applications, we wanted to offer some clarifications, reminders, and information on our actions.

First, deceptive ads are a widespread issue on the Web and one we fight aggressively. This battle is not new and it’s far from over. We faced stimulus scam ads on our own system earlier this year and pushed them off the site with rigorous enforcement. We did the same months later when deceptive ads from third-party ad networks appeared in applications. We’re doing that again now as we see them appear in the form of offers.

Since introducing updated policies for third-party ads on Facebook Platform in July, we have disabled two entire ad networks and suspended or brought into compliance over 100 applications for ad-related violations in regions around the world, over half of which had more than one million monthly active users.”

Read the rest of the article…

What do you think of this issue?