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Feb 22, 2008

HOW-TO: Privacy Settings on Facebook

Gen-Y communities have embraced Facebook. Gen-X and Boomers have been reluctant because of privacy concerns. Here are some of Facebook's many privacy settings. (See glossary of Facebook terms)

What's Visible to Whom - The Default

Any information you provide is visible to confirmed friends. Without friends, you can still be searched by name, but little is visible. Friends who find you can ask to friend you. Strangers can try to friend you, but you can refuse or ignore them.

An account, without friends, is private, invisible, and useless.

When you join a regional network (via the top Network tab), members of the same region can see your profile. Joining school, company, and interest groups makes your profile visible to those members, as well.

Conversely, you can see the profiles of those members, if they have not set more limited access.

Thus, Facebook's default setting allows friends and network members to see your profile - not everyone on Facebook.

What Can You Control? There are three levels: contacts, panels, activities.

Contact Privacy Control

By default, Facebook allows friends and network members to see your profile. Through the top right privacy link, you can use Profile and Search to restrict access.

You can choose 'Only me' for all options. No one can find or see you, but you can still browse profiles of those members in your network who have opened their profile to others. Actions of this stalker mode is still visible to Facebook (to control hackers) and not the intent of social etiquette.

This might be appropriate for first time users who want to understand more before fully participating. A friend at Microsoft has linked, but restricted access, perhaps to protect her confidential role at work.

Facebook also allows you to block specific people and select others to access only limited profiles. My nephew has blocked his mini-feed from the older generation and encouraged his cousins to do the same - the start of the generation gap in the new social network age.

Facebook's default setting is reasonable. Panel and activity settings, below, better control privacy.

Panel & Activity Privacy Control

You can show or hide panels; and select the activities in each panel via 'Applications and Ads' and 'Poke, Message, and Friend Request'. For more granular control of panels, use 'edit' at the top left menu.

For each panel, you can choose to hide or show for friends, some networks, or all networks. You can select to report activities to the news feed (visible on your friend's home page) or personal mini-feed (on your profile page.)

Thus, you can use panel and activity settings to show photo albums and game panels to friends; while publishing notes to your extended network.

Activity Specific Control

Finally, you can control activities one by one. 'News Feed and Mini-Feed' and 'External Websites' control classes of activities. Using your mini-feed, the X next to each activity allows hiding of that activity from mini-feeds and news feeds.

Activities do have persistent history. Although the mini-feed shows 10 activities, the 'See All' shows more.

You can see the activities of friends through the news feed. You can also see the activities of friends of friends (or networks) by showing the friend's friend list and selecting either the 'Status update' or 'Recently updated' tabs.


Social networking is viral, exciting. Once we understand the controls, more will participate. Enjoy networking!

by Dash Chang http://adEcon101.blogspot.com/

Feb 21, 2008

NEWS: comScore Media Metrix Releases Top 50 Web Rankings for January

comScore Releases January 2008 U.S. Search Engine Rankings

comScore Media Metrix Releases Top 50 Web Rankings for January

U.S. Internet Users Viewed 10 Billion Videos Online in Record-Breaking Month of December, According to comScore Video Metrix

comScore Press Releases


Blogging Ecosystem of Distribution Gadgets

Legacy publishers purchase lists and mail products. The distribution costs absorb 60% of revenues. Online publishing has zero distribution costs. A rich ecosystem of web 1.0 and 2.0 tools help publishers to gain readers and subscribers.

Web 1.0 Tools

Web 1.0 tools include emails, forums, and groups. Mailings to friends and strangers; discussions with groups; and participation in forums bring visibility. For example, joining a Google or Yahoo group and posting to the group's mail threads and digests can produce instant views. Similarly, posting to a forum on Craig's List or Facebook creates quick results.

However, these methods produce transient results. Popular groups and forums gain thousands of posts per day. Thus, your posts disappear into a huge pile after a few hours or days. Without repeated posts, your message is lost.

Further, these tools lack the feature to bring visitors back to read the latest postings.

(Ed: Despite the growing mindshare of social networks, thousands of web 1.0 forums and groups continue to thrive with loyal communities. Active effort is required to befriend these communities.)

Using Social Media to Grow Your Blog’s Readership

This week we’re looking at five different methods that I’d use to find readership if I were starting a new blog. So far we’ve explored guest posting, advertising and networking - but today I want to turn our attention to the explosive and dynamic area of social media.

Web 2.0 Gadgets

The new web provides a plethora of tools that distribute content, track subscribers, and share popular content with Internet users. These tools can be called widgets, gadgets, or code snippets. In essense, a blogger adds some code to their blog and the code provides features that automate services.

RSS Feed to Readers

An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) allows users to subscribe to your blog.

Image of RSS Feed
This auto-sends your blog to RSS readers such as personal pages at Google, Yahoo, or Live; readers such as Google or Netvigator; and social networks and social media portals such as Facebook, Technorati, ... Subscribers click to read your posts.

personal portals like My YahooRSS Readers like GoogleSocial networks or social media like Facebook

The RSS feed is a built-in feature of every blog. Search robots from Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and hundreds of others also use the RSS feed to analyze every article of your blog.

You can add buttons to your blog to simplify subscriptions for readers.

Multple formats for feeders complicate publishing and subscribing to feeds. Hundreds of sites provide readers. Many companies now provide simple solutions that allow a publisher to outsource the feed process. A single gadget supports multiple formats and many readers.

Smart Self Subscriptions

To promote yourself among friends, bring your content closer to your circle of friends and interested readers at social networks. Two networks that already support RSS include:

  • Facebook - import as Facebook notes or choose an RSS application. Note that Facebook does not report imported notes to the newsfeeds of your friends. Manually 'Post an Item' to promote one article among your friends.

  • Technorati - this is a blogger community that shares and rates blogs. Although Technorati has a robot that eventually discovers every blog, opening an account and feeding your blog accelerates the process.
As the OpenSocial trend opens more social networks to third party developers, you will be able to syndicate your blog to many more networks.

Adding User Comments to Blogger

A list of user comments encourage readers to interact.

Blogger supplies the RSS URL 'http://adecon101.blogspot.com/feeds/comments/default/'. The trick is that your blog becomes the RSS reader that subscribes to your own feed. Copy this URL, change the blogname to your name, and create a Feed part (i.e. panel) using this URL. Your page automatically shows the latest comments from readers.

Permalink and TrackBack

The permalink is the permanent URL for a page. This allows readers to link to your page on their blog. Usually, the permalink includes the date and title. If you change the date and title, the permalink may change. So, make changes to archived articles with care.

The trackback searches and lists sites that have linked your page.

Bookmarks and Social Media

Dozens of sites allow sharing, rating of bookmarks. Some call this social media. This includes del.icio.us, digg.com, Google, Newsvine, and Yahoo. Proponents claim that social media produces more timely rankings when compared to Google's method that depends on history and longevity.

When users see something they wish to save - they bookmark, tag with keywords, and optionally rate and share with the community of Internet users.

Early services required users to download a toolbar application such as those from Google and Yahoo. Recent gadgets such as AddThis or FeedFlare allow users to bookmark with dozens of sites, if the blogger adds the gadget to their blog.

Adding social media support helps the social media site more than the blogger. However, it has become a socially required feature for every blog.

Optimize Keywords for Search Engines

Tagging your content with the right keywords (i.e. Search Engine Optimization or SEO) to improve your ranking at Google, Yahoo, and Live has been over-hyped. Technorati claims hundreds of millions of blogs. Legacy magazines and newspapers total hundreds of thousands of sites. Seeking to improve your rank and visibility by selecting what Google believes is the right keyword is an exercise in futility.

Bloggers are better advised to know their readers, organize content around keywords that are relevant to their readers, and ignore search engine ranking systems. Promoting using legacy web 1.0 methods, RSS feeds, social networks, and social media is more likely to produce results. Search and social media sites need to advance their semantic systems to modernize their rankings. Writers should focus on communicating.


Write well. Don't forget to build distribution. Use Web 2.0 tools.

PS: Identify and post more distribution tools for publishers in the comments.

(c) Dash Chang, 2008

Feb 18, 2008

ANALYSIS: Productivity Value of Facebook

Facebook is a social network. Many potential users fear that they don't have time to check in with Facebook everyday. Let's review its productivity value.

Newsfeed for Instant Updates

A single page updates you on the status of hundreds - even thousands - of friends, family members, and associates.

It takes a few seconds per day to review. You can send short messages, poke people, send virtual gifts - because you didn't have time to buy and send real gifts, and write on their walls. You can arrange dinner and lunch; coordinate weekend events; and coordinate your social life - without long conversations by phone.

eMail Threads

Facebook organizes email messages by thread. Click on a message to see the thread. Quickly see outstanding threads where you still expect responses. No need to maintain email. Each friend maintains any changes. Beats email many times over.

No Spam and Broken Spam Filters

Although you do get requests to become friends, it's easy to confirm, reject, or block people. Spam mail clogs email, but Facebook manages to keep spam out of your Facebook inbox.

Communicating With Friends

If you're taking a trip, a single status setting lets local contacts know that you're out of town; and the destination contacts know that you're coming. Beats vacation notices and legacy means to coordinate.

When you return, an uploaded set of photos instantly connects with interested friends. Friends tag photos to associate images with names.

Christmas and Birthday Greetings

Obligatory Christmas cards become a simple photo upload and posted note. You can control view by friend, friends, or other granular privacy settings. Time savings from printing photos, updating mailing addresses, and stamping mailers - you get the picture.

Birthday greetings turn virtual. Facebook provides alerts and responses can include dozens of multimedia greetings.

The Other Shoe

It takes some time to understand the language and etiquette of Facebook. Further, the privacy controls can be complex. These barriers can be overcomed in days for an average professional.

There have been stories of stupid users doing stupid things. The answer is don't do stupid things.

For conservative, older folks, it takes time for the user to TRUST Facebook. Users ask many what-if questions that address implications of what they do on Facebook, what the results are, and what the long term problems might be. This is a tough challenge to answer all the questions.

The simple answer is to put one shoe in - then the other.


As you discover features, you learn the power of social networking and gain the productivity of this new tool. Facebook saves time.

Enjoy networking.

HOW-TO: Understanding Facebook for Web 1.0 Users

Facebook is the second largest social network, and growing fast. In Web 1.0 terms, what is it?

Fundamentals of Social Networking

Users create an account at Facebook and invite their friends by email. A user can also receive an invitation by email and creates an account at Facebook. If the second user invites their friends, the community grows virally. Without friends, the new user sees little - since privacy settings block strangers.

Facebook allows users to see the activiites of friends. That's the home page or a personal news feed. It also allows friends (and strangers, if you allow them) to see personal activities and interests. That's the user's profile. The mini-feed is a key panel of the profile. The merging of mini-feeds from all friends results in your personalized news feed.

The company is moving toward a social platform. Among other uses, this allows other websites to participate by reporting activities to Facebook. Thus, you can see friends playing games, shopping... whatever.

Here is a list of Facebook terms translated into legacy web 1.0 terms.

Header Tabs - at the top of the page for managing contacts and communications

  • Profile - your page of your friends, groups, activities, and interests - i.e. what the public sees

  • Friends - your list of friends

  • Networks - your networks; you join one region only, but can select new regions; also networks by work or school that require confirmation using an email with the domain of the network

  • Inbox - similar to email with actions to link, poke, friend (i.e. friend as a verb), etc.

  • Home - News feed - current activities of your friends on a single page - i.e. merged mini-feed of your friends

  • Privacy link - detailed methods to control access to profiles

Applications - Left Menu for uploading and posting content

  • Photos - simplified photo sharing, but very popular

  • Groups - similar to email groups, but no email digests. Has walls and forums as primary panels.

  • Gifts - shopping mall to buy gifts for friends

  • Marketplace - classifieds forum similar to Craigslist

  • Notes - blogging/writing tool without a rich editor. Can import blogs and auto-sync. Originally intended for view by everyone on Facebook. Now the default is set to friends and networks.

  • Posted Item - shares stuff using the URL address of a page, video, photo, or any content on Facebook or the Internet

  • 3rd party applications - thousands

  • Pages - a business account so that a business can build a circle of fans; also a page to monitor traffic, buy ads, and track results.

Panels and Parts of a Profile - similar to personal pages of portals like myYahoo, but shared with friends and visitors

  • Friends - list of friends

  • Networks - list of networks for this friend

  • Photos - unlimited, uploaded albums

  • Video - unlimited, uploaded video clips

  • Mini-feed - activities of a user

  • Wall - forum around one person - others post on your wall.

  • Thousands of 3rd party panels

Not every profile has every feature. Each user controls what to show, to whom via the privacy link at the top right.

Personal Communications

  • Poke - a flirty action usually with a friend that is sent to their inbox; 3rd party apps allow virtual gifts, hugs, whatever

  • Send message - via Facebook inbox and optionally to the user's email

  • Add as friend - request to become a friend via inbox

  • Wall post - post message that is visible to user's friends, networks, and possibly more folks - on a friend's wall, it's a personal message; on a network, page, or group wall, it's a means for self promotion.

  • Wall to Wall - an Instant Messenger like chat, with photo and video share. But is the chat visible to friends on both side?

  • Upload photos - unlimited uploads. Facebook claims more uploads than the sum of all other photo sites.

  • Photo tag - upload photos, and tag friends in the photo; visitors then click on images of the friend to see other tagged photos

Viral Means to Communicate

  • What are you doing? - self-report to the Mini-feed on the profile page and the personal news feeds of your friends

  • Import notes - from a blog; Facebook has rudimentary writing tools and depend on import and sync to support writers; anyone can read and/or import your entire blog; notes visibility depends on privacy settings

  • Create a Group - members join and communicate via forums, posts and replies, photo sharing, video sharing, and wall posts.

  • Post or Reply to notes, posted items, group forums

  • Wall post - post message that is visible to user's friends, networks, and possibly more folks

  • Create Pages - a business creates a profile with forum, photo, event, and video features; also allows creator to monitor traffic, buy ads, monitor campaign results.

  • Beacon - means for 3rd party sites to report activities into the Mini-feed - such as playing games at ..., shopping at ..., reading novel at ...,

  • Create an App - means to connect 3rd party content or activities to a profile, such as an RSS feed from a publisher, a network game, ... users learn about apps from friends, participate, and auto add apps to their profile

  • Advertising - buy advertising to reach members


Facebook seamlessly combines forums, email, groups, photo and text sharing, and more around a personal portal of your immediate friends. (My profile at Facebook)

Enjoy networking.

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