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If you’re still playing catch-up from the holidays, you might have missed a few important changes that if used and understood properly have the potential to dramatically improve your Facebook outreach at no cost.

First, and most significant is that page administrators can now use Facebook tags to mention other pages in their status updates. For an excellent walkthrough of how this works, check out: “How To Post Status Updates on Other Facebook Page’s Walls.  Essentially what this means is that page admins can, and should (when appropriate) use Facebook’s @ tagging feature to have their updates appear on the public walls of other pages.

Secondly is that as of November 23rd, Facebook has now made per-post impressions counts available to all pages, rather than just those with over 10,000 members.

facebook_pages_adminAs explained by the official the Facebook Pages account, admins now have access to data on impressions in two places:

1.  Interactions portion of your Insights page

2. On the Page wall directly beneath each post

In terms of what this means for your business, non-profit, corporation or candidate; whether you’re an established presence or just getting started, these new insights make it quick and easy to tell how engaging your content is and whether or not your fans are paying attention. Some things to consider: Continue reading »

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Facebook - InternetAttn: Sir Tim Berners-Lee and / or Al Gore

If you haven’t caught it, Nick O’Neill’s 11/8 post  Facebook Now Letting Brands Claim Community Pages details how Facebook is now letting brands claim community pages as their own, which in most cases is a good idea- especially for non-profits.

However like most changes Facebook has made recently, this well-intentioned and long overdue good idea is ripe for abuse and / or hilarity.

So what, exactly does it take to be the “authentic representative” of the Internet on Facebook? Continue reading »

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As someone who has blocked Farmville / Mafia Wars /Texas Hold’em Poker and defriened anyone with the audacity to send more than one invite, when I first learned of Campaigns the Game, a new Facebook application that allows users to “compete in online virtual elections,” I was skeptical but intrigued.

In brief, Campaigns is a free-mium game which allows Facebook users  to run for a real or imaginary elected office against their friends in virtual elections. Ironically, all users start off campaigning for dog catcher, which contrary to popular myth is not an elected office anywhere in the U.S. (In Peterborough, New Hampshire they do elect a Fence Viewer.)

Campaigns on Facebook In terms of the dynamics of the game, for anyone that has worked or volunteered for a local, state or national campaign, the developers have attempted to digitalize the typical tasks one must perform to win votes. For instance, you can ‘take action’ or click a button no more than 5 times in 6 hours to be awarded ‘votes’ for activities like giving a speech at a local high school or placing an advertisement.  After 5 such clicks, I earned 12 of the 20 votes it would take to become dog catcher.

At this point, in order to earn more votes and be elected dog catcher on Facebook,  I can upload a YouTube video and ask my friends to ‘like’ it to earn votes, wait 5 hours to engage in further slacktivism, spend real money  for votes, ask my friends to ‘donate’ their money or install the application. Like Farmville, you can spend money to unlock bonus features, which in this case is buying votes (The “best value” is $40 dollars for 65 campaigns points). The proceeds of these ‘donations’ I assume to be the profits for the developers.
Continue reading »

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Facebook Chat-A Window to Your Soul!

On May 5, 2010, in Facebook, by Tyler Gray

If you have been online at all today, you probably noticed that for most of the morning, Facebook chat was “down for maintenance.”  If you inquired further or happened to be following TechCrunch you were probably astonished to find out that the reason Facebook chat was down was because of a:

”Major security flaw in the social networking site that, with just a few mouse clicks, enables any user to view the live chats of their ‘friends’. Using what sounds like a simple trick, a user can also access their friends’ latest pending friend-requests and which friends they share in common. That’s a lot of potentially sensitive information… The irony is that the exploit is enabled by they way that Facebook lets you preview your own privacy settings. In other words, a privacy feature contains a flaw that lets others view private information if they are aware of the exploit.” Steve O’Hear TechCrunch Europe

Several hours later, Facebook released their statement as a status update on their wall:

“For a limited period of time, a bug permitted some users’ chat messages and pending friend requests to be made visible to their friends by manipulating the “preview my profile” feature of Facebook privacy settings. When we received reports of the problem, our engineers promptly diagnosed it and temporarily disabled the chat function. We also pushed out a fix to take care of the visible friend requests which is now complete. Chat will be turned back on across the site shortly. We worked quickly to resolve this matter, ensuring that once the bug was reported to us, a solution was quickly found and implemented.” (emphasis added).

A couple things about this statement: First, as any longtime Windows user knows, even with a vigorous quality control program, some pretty glaring security loopholes can come to light due to unforeseen advancements and the greater creativity / incentive of those in the cloud to find loopholes.

Secondly although many of us have come to accept that you have no expectation of privacy visiting a site you do not own or otherwise pay for, this is still more than a little unsettling. In Facebook’s defense, there is some personal responsibility on the part of the end user to be selective about what they share online and which friend requests they accept. While there has no word on how long this vulnerability existed, one would hope that Facebook would be a little more forthcoming about exactly how long this “bug” existed for, and more importantly- What, if any steps they have taken or are taking to prevent any such future mishaps. Is it our responsibility to discover and report any future such issues?

Finally, do you agree with Facebook’s characterization of this major security flaw as a “bug” ? On the one hand, to characterize such as major flaw as merely a “bug” seems to trivialize the issue. Dictionary.com has multiple definitions of the word “bug,” but in this instance these three definitions seem particularly appropriate:

  1. “An unwanted and unintended property of a program or piece of hardware, especially one that causes it to malfunction.”
  2. “A hidden microphone or other electronic eavesdropping device.”
  3. “To avoid a responsibility or duty. Often used with on or of:bugged out on his partners at the first sign of trouble.”

On a somewhat related note, Dan Yoder’s post on Business Insider- “10 Reasons to Delete Your Facebook Account” is a particularly good read, even if you have no intention of canceling your account.

Re-posted from my column on The Bivings Report

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