Sixteen Sweet Facebook Tips

Sixteen Sweet Facebook Tips

(This post is dedicated to the wonderful people at American Airlines who make me turn off my Kindle during take off and landing, forcing me to pick up random magazines at airport kiosks so I can distract myself the old fashioned way; reading paper magazines.)

I love my 11″ MacBook Air. It travels well and it's a powerful work tool. (Glad I didn't jump on the iPad bandwagon at first blush because this is all that and more!) I also love my Kindle! Everything I need fits neatly into my chic little Coach handbag that my dear daughter gave me this past Christmas. (Hugs!) Together, they make my travel load light and productive...until take off and landing when I have to pull out something paper to read. (Note to airlines - Kindle wireless off, what's the difference?)

On my most recent business trip I purchased a "hard" copy of LAPTOP magazine (mostly Microsoft stuff) and found a helpful piece on 101 Social Networking Tips. I've pulled a few, put them in my own words, and hope they will be helpful for VMO readers.

1. Community is a two-way endeavor.

Don't be THAT GUY or GAL that everyone blocks from their NewsFeed because they only know how to talk about his or her self. Yes, your Friends and Fans want to know what you've been up to, but they also want you to be a part of their online lives: It's community.  To engage with others or give credit to their fantastic blog post, video or a photo, consider "tagging" them in a Facebook Status Update. Simply precede their name with the @ sign in a post; i.e. @johndoe. This will automatically include a link to their profile page and they will receive a notification linking back to your post. Get the conversations flowing.

2. The view from here.

If you think those vacation photos are just a tad bit inappropriate for sharing with your business colleagues or clients that you've Friended, no problem. Create a list to change how certain groups of people see your profile on Facebook. Start by going to your Friends page, click Account drop down menu, select Edit Friends and Create A List. Give it a name such as business, family, alumni, inner circle, or casual acquaintances.  Select Friends to add to the list. Then, go to Account/Privacy Settings/Customize. For each of the items listed; i.e. Photos, Videos, Birthday, Contact Info, etc., select the view setting (on the right) and chose Custom. In the pop-up window type the name of the Friend List you created in the "Hide This From" box. Don't forget to save the setting.

3. Speaking of the view.

While you're at it, remember that "Everyone" is a dangerous setting. Not only does anything you share with EVERYONE expose your stuff to EVERYONE on Facebook it also exposes those comments and pictures to public search engines and more. So for example, whenever you chose the icon "Share on Facebook" from another web site; i.e., the New York Times, that site will grab any data from your profile and friends that is open to EVERYONE. In return, the NYT will share the information they store about you, i.e., browsing history, user name, etc. with Facebook. So, think twice before you share that interesting news article you are reading on the New York Times using the "Share on Facebook" icon. To limit what 3rd party sites can retrieve, make all your settings either Friends Only or Friends of Friends. Alternately, just copy and paste the URL into a Status Update manually.

4. Finding "Friends" on Facebook.

Looking for your old college roommate John Doe on Facebook? If you simply type the name John Doe into the Facebook search bar, you'll have to sift through a lot of results. Try adding a pipe character between two terms, i.e. "John Doe | San Diego" to limit the number of returns. And, you can use the pipe character between any two search terms, for example john doe | NY university, law school, or etc. You could also do an age range search by typing in the name and separate it by y1 and y2; i.e. John Doe y1:40 y2:50.

5. Friends can be fickle.

Do you care who has un-friended you? Do you want to know who has not accepted your Friend request from last year?  No big deal, right, but if you have a ton of friends on Facebook and want to keep up with who has left your circle of influence, whether by choice or because they deactivated their account, there's a handy app to download from userscripts.org/scripts/show/58852.

It works with web browsers Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Safari. After downloading the plug in, log into Facebook and going forward Unfriend Finder will alert you when someone un-friends you. It will also show you the people who have declined your friend request or simply not responded. Once activated, Unfriend Finder uses Facebook notifications to alert you on these events. It doesn't register unfriending that occurred before you loaded the add-on.

6. It's a family affair.

When you create a Group on Facebook (not to be confused with Fan or Community Pages) you can broadcast information to that small set of people in the group instead of your entire Facebook community. Create a group at www.facebook.com/groups. Once you create your group, invite the Friends you wish to include. Conversations, status updates, videos, photos, etc. that are posted to the Group will appear in the newsfeed but only those in the Group will be able to see them. This is a great solution for extended families that want to share personal photos with one another but do not want them visible on any public search timeline. Groups are a form of cloud computing in that you can also create and collaborate on documents. You may also want to create a group for business purposes. For example, if you are working on a presentation, you could create a group of co-presenters or others that might be helpful to you. Then, go into the Group and select Doc from the navigation bar, create a document, name it and save it. That document will then be available to all group members to view and edit.

7. One man's treasure is another man's trash.

Your Facebook Home Page displays a News Feed of all the status update posts from people in your network.  If you're wondering why you're only getting posts from a small number of your friends, it's because the default view is "Top Posts." That view only shows posts from those Friends on Facebook with whom you regularly interact. To change this to view to Most Recent, which will include the recent posts from your entire Facebook Friend network, simply click the Most Recent tab found at the top, slightly to the left of the Feed display. Want to see more or less of specific friends? Scroll to the bottom of your News Feed page and select Edit Options. Or, to hide a specific Friend's updates, simply click on the X found to the right of one of that Friend's posts and select "hide just this one," "hide all posts from this friend," or unlike a Fan Page, etc...

To permanently block someone without unfriending (if you don't want them to know) or to stop getting their event invitations, you can block them via Account/Privacy Settings/Edit Lists/Block Lists. You can remove someone from your friends list or block invites from specific people or applications.

8. DANGER WILL ROBINSON.

Facebook Notifications can be your surrogate guardian. Control your alerts in the Account Settings/Notifications tab. Check those items that are important to you and uncheck those that are not. Notifications can be sent by email or text message.

Read tips 9 through 16 on the Virtual Marketing Officer Blog.