An Upgrade for SMUGgles?

When I visited the SMUG Facebook group this evening, I saw a message that gave me pause (click to enlarge):

From the language of the alert (and what I found when I read more), it appeared that the archiving function would migrate the posts on the wall into the new group format, but that everyone would be kicked out of the group and would need to be added again.


I couldn’t let that happen, so I went for the upgrade. One thing I saw immediately was that there was a LOT more activity. Here’s a screenshot of what happened in the next 26 minutes:

With, on average, one comment every two minutes, this certainly was an upgrade in terms of activity and engagement. Clearly that’s because of the change in email notifications, as evidenced by my Inbox:

We all do have the ability to control our level of email notices, as you wee when you click the Settings button for the group:

So, this will be an interesting experiment to see how a group with more than 1,200 members works in the new format.

What do you think of the new SMUG group? Are you going to adjust your email notification settings? If so, how?

Chancellor’s Choice: Keynes vs. Hayek

This has got to be the best thing to come out of George Mason University since 2006, when the Patriots made the NCAA basketball Final Four. It’s a fantastic example of how a creative video can make a dry topic (economics is called “the dismal science” after all) vibrant and interesting.

This one definitely gets a Chancellor’s Choice Award for Best Use of Video in an Educational Context:

As of this writing, Fight of the Century has racked up 621,000 views in just two weeks.

Here’s the first video in the series, which has had more than 2.2 million views:

And this video, also from the EconStories channel, includes an interview with the George Mason professor and his creative sidekick behind the series:

Together, these videos — which range from 7:33 to 10:10 — demolish the conventional wisdom that a video needs to be short to get traction, or that the “ideal” video is less than three minutes, or two minutes, or whatever a supposed “expert” says.

Length doesn’t matter. It’s more important that a video is interesting. And it isn’t necessary to be interesting to a mass audience. You just need to be interesting to your audience.

This video on myelofibrosis is about the same length as the Keynes/Hayek boxing match. Not funny at all, but extremely interesting to people who have myelofibrosis. As of today, it has more than 8,200 views, which has made it extremely successful. It has reached and interested the right people.

What’s your favorite video that’s more than four minutes long?

Facebook 111: Customized Facebook Privacy Settings

In Facebook 110 I provided a basic intro to Facebook privacy settings, and how by selecting one of the pre-configured settings you can substantially control access to your personal information on Facebook.

And it only takes a minute or so.

This course will help you take the next step.

Shaun Dakin, a commenter on the previous post, shared a helpful post by Nilay Patel on using lists to manage your Facebook privacy. Check it out on Engadget.

Here’s my introduction to lists as a tool for managing access to your Facebook data. As I did last time, I have posted text to accompany and explain each slide.

Slide 2: To most effectively manage access to your Facebook information, you need to create lists of your various types of friends. To create those lists, you start by going to the Edit Friends link on you Facebook profile, and then clicking the Create List button.

Slide 3: Create your various lists to segregate friends you want to group together for privacy purposes and for group communication. Privacy controls are just one use for lists; you also can use friend lists to address messages in Facebook.

Slide 4: When you go back to your privacy settings and click the Customize settings link you will see that there are three basic groupings of information you can control. The first of these is things you share. You will note that there are several types of data in this category, and that you can have different privacy settings for each of them. The adjustment process is the same for all of them (and for the other categories as well) so I will show how to do that after introducing the various types.

Slide 5: The second category is Things others share. You don’t have control over what other people upload to Facebook, but by tweaking these settings you can limit who sees those materials. So, if you’re concerned that someone might upload a less-than-flattering or unprofessional photo of you, you can strictly limit who can see photos and videos you’re tagged in.

Slide 6: Contact Information is the third major category. For example, you probably would want to limit who can have access to your cell phone number, because if you’re like most people you wouldn’t want just anyone to call you on your mobile; you wouldn’t want them to consume your costly minutes.

Slide 7: This shows what you see when you click the button with the lock symbol next to each data type. You can limit access to your Friends, to Friends of Friends, or to Specific People.

Slide 8: This is an example of access management by exception. For this one, I have said all of my friends can see the items, with the exception of those on my Limited Profile, Professional and Blog Friends lists.

Slide 9: This is an example of managing access by limiting to specific people (those on my Family list and on my High School Friends list). In this category the only people who can see this information are those on one of those two lists.

Slide 10: When you click the Preview my Profile button, you again see how most people see your page. But you can also…

Slide 11: Put in the name of one of your friends, and see that page as he or she sees it. In this case, I put in my sister-in-law’s name, to see how her view differs from the basic view. By using this preview feature you can fine-tune your settings until you get them just as you want them.

Slide 12: Privacy settings are just one use for Friend Lists. In this slide I created a group called Facebook Addicts and included my wife, Lisa, and two of my daughters. When you are sending messages in Facebook, instead of listing the individuals, you can use a Friend list for distribution.

Slide 13: Check out other courses in the SMUG curriculum for more step-by-step training in applying social media.

Facebook 110: Protecting Privacy in Facebook

In “What’s Wrong with this Picture?” I made an analogy that relates to a situation I think is all too common: people who express anxiety about their privacy in Facebook, but who haven’t taken advantage of the privacy protections Facebook offers.

It’s like playing goalie in the National Hockey League without a mask, and then complaining about facial injuries.

So in this course I’m going to provide a step-by-step process for using Facebook’s privacy settings to accomplish your objectives in using the site, while also giving you comfort that you are limiting access to your personal data.

I’m trying a little different approach this time, in that I am embedding slides with the graphics, but instead of an audio track or a video to accompany, I’m using text with links to narrate each slide. You may want to consider opening another window so you can have one showing the slides while you scroll through the text narration in the other. (Open another copy of this post). I would also recommend you open a third window and sign in to Facebook, so you can apply settings on your personal profile as you learn by switching among the three windows.

Slide 1: As per my analogy, this is a shot of former NHL goalie Gump Worsely, sans mask, with a puck hurtling toward his face. In the next 9 slides I will show you how to adjust your personal protections to avoid a similar problem in Facebook.

Slide 2: To adjust your privacy settings, just go under your Account tab in the upper right corner of your Facebook profile. Or you can just click this link. At the top of the page you will see a message that describe the kinds of information that are available to everyone, along with a link that lets you modify some other elements everyone can see by default. Click that View Settings link.

Slide 3: On this slide you see the basic settings for what the half-billion plus users of Facebook get to see on your profile. You will see rationale for each element, and why you would want to make that information available.

Slide 4: For each of the types of information, you can decide to limit access. You can limit to your networks, to your friends and networks, to friends of friends, or friends only. Then if you click the Preview my Profile button in the upper right, you will see something like the next slide.

Slide 5: This is how a most people see my profile on Facebook. Yours would look somewhat different if you decide to limit access to one or more categories of information. But the point is, you can click the Preview my Profile button to see what you’re making available. And if you don’t like it, you can change it.

Slide 6: Now, going back to your main privacy settings page, let’s look at some of the other information you can share or choose to restrict. This slide shows the categories of information, and highlights that if you choose  the Everyone option it will all be available to the world. I don’t recommend that.

Slide 7: The next broad option, Friends of Friends, makes several items available to people who are friends with people who are your friends, while leaving other categories (such as your contact information) only open to your friends.

Slide 8: If you choose Friends Only, you can limit access to this information to only those you have accepted as friends.

Slide 9: These are the settings Facebook recommends. I personally think they are pretty reasonable for most people, but the key is you get to decide just how much of a mask you want to wear.

Choose whichever of the basic frameworks you think is closest to what you want, and then hit the Apply These Settings button.

This is the end of the first course in the Protecting Privacy series on SMUG. In the next course, we’ll look at further customizing your mask.

Christmas Eve Reflections on 2010

It’s 6:30 on Christmas Eve morning as I begin writing this. Why am up early on my first of five days off from work? Because my youngest daughter, Ruthie, needed to get to her nursing assistant job at 7, and we had to get a car free from six inches of new-fallen snow. Part of the record cumulative snowfall for December here in southern Minnesota, and further evidence for global warming.

But then again, isn’t everything?

So, as I sip coffee and wait for the snowfall to taper off so I can fire up my newly acquired snowblower (good year to get it, huh?), it’s time to reflect on – and give thanks for – the events of 2010.

Continue reading “Christmas Eve Reflections on 2010”