Apr 092012
 

Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/) is one of the fastest growing Social Media sites.  According to comScore (article here), Pinterest.com ranked in the Top 10 fastest growing Web properties and surpassed 10 million unique visitors in January. This growth is amazing considering it is still in beta release.  This means you’ll need a friend to invite you to join in the fun or request an invitation from Pinterest on their site.

Pinterest Logo

Fun?  Yes, you’ll have fun creating a visual pinboard with photos and videos of things that interest you. You can add the Pinterest “Pin it” button to your browser and use it to select images and videos from any Web site.  The site allows you to upload media directly as well.  Once uploaded you’ll need to place the images and videos into a pinboard organized by the subject of your choosing.  Of note, there is no nudity allowed on Pinterest so this should be a family friendly site.

As mentioned, to sign up and post your own pinboards you will need to get an invitation.  You can set it up to login using a Twitter or Facebook account.  Friends can follow all of your pinboards or just one of them.  They can also re-pin one of your images or videos to add it to their pinboards.  Users can also “like” your photos and provide comments as well.  By following you will be notified of new images.  By liking images the “pinner” will be notified that you like their image.

Pinterest provides tools to help promote your pinboards.  You can add a button to your Web site so that others can pin your images or simply follow you on Pinterest.  Pinterest works on all major Web browsers and there is a Pinterest iPhone app.  Other mobile devices can access Pinterest through their mobile URL: (http://m.pinterest.com/)

To learn more about Pinterest I would suggest starting here.  The jury is still out on how this site could be used for business. If your target market is starting to use Pinterest then it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a business presence there to display your products or samples of your work.  The creative ways in which this new site can be used to share your interests seems to be endless.

 

Mar 072011
 

Facebook Account SettingsBecome the Page

Facebook recently released new design and feature changes for Pages.  If you already have Business Page(s) on Facebook then this may impact you.  This will certainly impact those of you considering developing a Business Page.   For the past month, Business Page owners have had the ability to login as their Page.  So this means you will be able to Like and make comments as the Page throughout Facebook.  Page administrators will be able to switch back and forth between their identity as the Page or with their own personal profile.  Facebook has indicated that this should make for better overall communications.  Assuming you have already setup your new Page on Facebook, you can access this new feature under the Account drop-down box.  Choose “Use Facebook as Page” and then select the Page for which you have administration rights by clicking the “Switch” button.  You easily switch back under Account settings as well.

More Images

Businesses will be able to display featured images at the top of their Page in the center column.  You will also notice graphic images of the Pages you like displayed down the left column along with images of you Page administrators on the right column.  The images of people or other Pages that Like your Page are also displayed on the right column.  Speaking of columns, the new format now emphasizes columns along with vertical menus that have replaced the horizontal tab menus.

Sorting Changes

Facebook has added a new feature for sorting your Page’s Wall information.  There are two options:  1) Top Posts; and 2) Most Recent.   Facebook attempts to put the most popular posts at the top when “Top Posts” is selected.  “Most Recent”, as expected, just puts the posts in chronological order.

Preview Time is Running Out

If you have not made any changes to your Facebook Page then it should still be displayed with the old format.  You can preview the new format when you go to your Page by clicking a Preview button.  You also have the option of upgrading.  Upgrading will no longer be an option on March 10, 2011.    At that time all Pages will automatically be upgraded.

I would strongly suggest previewing your Page and then making updates as desired.  For instance, you will probably want to take advantage of the images displayed over the center column.  You will just need to create one or more photo albums and experiment with what looks good.

FBML Changes

Facebook Markup Language (FBML) allows Page administrators to create custom Page tabs.  According to Simon Cross, Facebook’s  Platform Partner Engineer in Europe, FBML will be replaced by iframes on a Canvas tab.  He indicates that Page owners/administrators will be given about a month to make the transition from FBML to iframes sometime in Q1 2011.  Existing FBML pages will still work but you won’t be able to create anything new without using iframes.  Business owners will need to talk with their Web/Facebook developer to see what impact this may have on any future changes you had in mind for your Page on Facebook.

Shameless plug… If you don’t yet have a Facebook Page for your business then please give me a call.  If you are curious as to what a Facebook Business Page looks like then please check out our page here:  http://www.facebook.com/webstreetusa

Dec 222009
 

Losing control of your domain name can happen to anyone.  As was seen last night, Twitter.com, lost control of their domain name for a short while.  Someone calling themselves the “Iranian Cyber Army” managed to redirect the Twitter.com home page to a different page.   “How can I prevent this from happening to me?”, you ask.

You need to take care in not sharing your DNS (domain name server) user name and password with anyone.   The DNS setting tells the servers that make up the Internet how to translate your domain name to the IP (Internet Protocol) address of the host server for your Web site.  If someone changes these settings then your domain will display the home page of a different server and you will no longer have control of the content.

According to the Twitter.com Blog, this is exactly what happened last night.  The problem was noticed quickly and resolved within about 90 minutes.

You also need to choose a user name and password that isn’t easily guessed or discovered through trial and error.  You may not have a choice in the user name, but you can usually choose a strong password that makes guessing or using brute force methods more difficult.

Some tips for developing a strong password include using upper-case, lower-case, numbers and special characters, making long passwords and avoiding the use of easily discovered personal information or words straight out of the dictionary.  And finally, don’t store these passwords, memorize them if possible. For a more thorough list of tips please check out the US-CERTS  Web site.

Dec 022009
 

After years of recommending to others that they should start a business blog, I finally found the time and inclination to create one of my own.  I have gone so far as creating a number of test blogs on Blogger.com and GoDaddy’s Quick Blogcast, and developing a soccer team Web site using Geeklog.  I decided to go with WordPress which I think they should rename “ImPress” because of the impressive feature set, theme choices and myriad of developers contributing to this Open Source success story.  I have helped others tweak their WordPress sites in the past but the latest version is incredibly powerful and has gotten a lot easier to use.

Dare I say it, “Static Web sites are going the way of the dinosaur”.  I have seen the writing on the wall and traditional Web design is on its way out.  Starting in 2010 I will be shifting focus completely away from static site development.  Dynamic sites are far more powerful and more interesting for me as a designer.  People will always need help setting things up, creating unique designs and developing solutions that fit a particular business.  People are far less likely to need me to type in the content of their pages and posts.  I can’t say I’ll miss that aspect of Web design since it reminds me of the old typing pools of 60′s and 70′s.  For you youngins, rent an old movie like “9 to 5″ starring Dolly Parton and you’ll get an inkling of what a typing pool is.

Getting back to why I started a blog… it just makes too much sense.  Blogs are cheap; you can host it for free or get a low cost hosting account and garner complete control.  Blogs let you express yourself and demonstrate your knowledge to your peers, clients and hopefully, future clients.  Search engines love blogs due to all the fresh content and keyword rich posts and comments.  Blogs fit together nicely with all your other online activities such as social networking, email, business Web sites, SEO, Paid Search advertising, analytics, etc.  Blogs are easy to use.

Just because it makes a lot of sense doesn’t mean I’ll be the next Matt Drudge.  That’s not my goal.  My goal is to reach out to my Web design clients, social network contacts and others in order to share what I know and in turn learn from the responses I receive.  If it helps business, great.  If not, perhaps I can learn something and improve my writing skills :-)