How to Disable Emails from Google+

Yesterday, Google announced that any Google+ user will soon be able to send an email to your Gmail account. This feature will automatically be turned on for all Google+ / Gmail users and will be available to use once everyone has received the official announcement email from Google. Brands are excluded from this feature and if you don’t have a user in your Circles, they can only email you once via Google+ so you cannot be bombarded with follow up emails.

Not interested in this? Google added a new setting in Gmail to control this new feature. To turn it off, visit your general settings page and find the Email via Google+ option. In the drop down menu select no one.

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Here’s the full email from Google:

Gmail update: Reach more people you know

Ever wanted to email someone you know, but haven’t yet exchanged email addresses? Starting this week, when you’re composing a new email, Gmail will suggest your Google+ connections as recipients, even if you haven’t exchanged email addresses yet.

How it works with email addresses
Emailing Google+ connections works a bit differently to protect the privacy of email addresses. Your email address isn’t visible to your Google+ connections until you send them an email, and their email addresses are not visible to you until they respond.

Receiving email from people outside your circles
If you receive an email from someone outside your circles, it will be filtered into the Social category of the inbox (if enabled) and only after you respond or add them to your circles, can they start another conversation with you.

Suggested reading: 

Why You Shouldn’t Freak Out Over Gmail’s Update

Sorry Google+, We Still Won’t Come to Your Party

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Best Twitter App Update

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Not sure when this happened, but I love that you can now add or remove people from lists in the Twitter app. I have always wanted to do this!

Instagram Adds Video

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Are Facebook Posts With Photos Getting Less Reach?

Think Facebook success is all about photos? Think again!

I recently saw a Facebook tip from Social Identities that suggested removing the image and link preview from Facebook posts. He showed evidence of posts on his page performing better if these were removed. So I gave it a shot.

I decided to test this out on a Facebook page I manage. I continued posting as usual, but removed the link preview and stopped using as many photos. What I saw showed just that – simple text posts reached more people.

In the screen capture below  you can see that the post with a photo was seen by 24 people, while the post without a photo was seen by 89. The text post also received 2 more clicks. Both posts included a link fan could click on but the text post did not include the link preview.

Facebook Reach Experiment

I am not saying that photos don’t work on Facebook. Some of my most engaging posts have used photos.

Facebook engagement experiment

But for my everyday posts, it seems that right now a simple text update is reaching the most people. The important thing is to find what works for you. Also consider how many clicks, visits, or conversions you are getting from Facebook and how different posts affect those numbers. It is always best to test out different types of post and see what works for your fans. You might find that a healthy combination is best. And sometimes a picture is after all worth a thousand words.

Tell me in the comments below, what types of posts perform best for you on Facebook? Are you noticing similar trends on your pages?

How to Use Photo Tagging / Photos of You on Instagram

Today’s Instagram app update adds a very Facebook feeling feature – photo tagging. This adds a new section to your profile for photos of you. When someone tags you in a photo, you will be notified and the photo will appear in the Photos of You section on your profile. You can adjust your settings to approve tagged photos before they appear on your profile. The Photos of You section of your profile will not be made visible to other people until May 16.

Here is how Instagram photo tagging works.

First, select the photo you wish to share as usual.

Once you add your filters and add a caption you will see a new section to add people.

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Click “Add People” and then, similar to Facebook, you can tap an area of the photo to search for and add a friend’s name.

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Once you are done you will see your friend’s username in the “Add People” section. To add more friends just tap another area of the photo. Finally, share your photo.

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Once shared, you can see who is tagged in photos by tapping the image once.

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Want to manually approve photos others tag of you before they appear on your profile? Navigate to the Photos of You section of your profile and tap the settings icon. Then choose add manually to approve each photo.

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Suggested Reading:

Instagram’s official announcement of this new feature.

Thoughts on the Facebook Newsfeed, EdgeRank and Advertising

Back in October of 2012 I noticed many Facebook pages I follow encouraging fans to add them to interest lists to make sure they keep seeing updates from them in their newsfeed. Rumor had it that Facebook was changing again and going to make page owners start advertising to reach their fans. While this was neither true nor false there was more to the story.

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For the most part I ignored these posts. I made sure I had liked and selected “Show in Newsfeed” for the pages I wanted to see. And when browsing Facebook, I look at the most recent stories and not just top stories.

But recently I have heard rumblings again about drops in organic user interactions. One story I recently heard about, thanks to Connie Schultz, comes from New York Times Columnist Nick Bilton. In his article, Nick explains:

“From the four columns I shared in January, I have averaged 30 likes and two shares a post. Some attract as few as 11 likes. Photo interaction has plummeted, too. A year ago, pictures would receive thousands of likes each; now, they average 100. I checked the feeds of other tech bloggers, including MG Siegler of TechCrunch and reporters from The New York Times, and the same drop has occurred.

What changed? I recently tried a little experiment. I paid Facebook $7 to promote my column to my friends using the company’s sponsored advertising tool.

To my surprise, I saw a 1,000 percent increase in the interaction on a link I posted, which had 130 likes and 30 reshares in just a few hours. It seems as if Facebook is not only promoting my links on news feeds when I pay for them, but also possibly suppressing the ones I do not pay for.”

Facebook stands behind their EdgeRank algorithm that determines the content users see. What EdgeRank leaves out though is advertising, which is playing an increasingly important role in what appears in the Newsfeed. Are more ads in the feed going to dilute the personal Facebook experience? If so, this could be the beginning of the end of Facebook.

I love James McQuivey’s, an analyst at Forrester Research, wisdom here:

“It’s not just that people will feel nickeled and dimed by this, it’s that ultimately the value of the product disappears as the stream of information in your social network, one that used to be rapid and friction-free, is no longer there and now consumed by advertising.”

Suggested reading:

EdgeRank: Doing the Right Things Doesn’t Solve the Bigger Issue
Calling Facebook Edgerank What It Is: Censorship

Image credit: Hugh Briss

Image credit: Hugh Briss

Facebook Removes Cover Photo Restrictions

Facebook’s new cover photo terms simply state:

All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines. Covers may not include images with more than 20% text.

Previously Facebook prohibited advertising of any kind in the cover photo.

Suggested reading:

Facebook explains how 20% text overlay policy for ads is enforced

Hugh Briss over at Social Identities provides a comical look at what is now possible. But seriously..keep it classy!

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New Facebook Profiles

My Facebook Profile just updated. Here is a look!

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Highlights:

Posts and life events are on the right, with everything else on the left. I kind of like this because having two rows of stories was sometimes hard to read. But I do wonder how this will affect featured posts now that everything is the same size.

The About page has been updated quite a bit. The page keeps scrolling and scrolling to show all of your interests, likes, events, notes, photos, etc.Facebook Profile Updates

I also noticed that the mini feed on my homepage is missing. I wonder what that means…

Facebook’s Big Announcement: Graph Search

On Tuesday, Facebook introduced Graph Search to the world. In their words, Graph Search allows users to, “Find more of what you’re looking for through your friends and connections.”

Graph Search will appear as a bigger search bar at the top of each page. When you search for something, that search not only determines the set of results you get, but also serves as a title for the page. You can edit the title – and in doing so create your own custom view of the content you and your friends have shared on Facebook.

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Facebook says that the first version of Graph Search will focuses on four areas – people, photos, places, and interests.

People: “friends who live in my city,” “people from my hometown who like hiking,” “friends of friends who have been to Yosemite National Park,” “software engineers who live in San Francisco and like skiing,” “people who like things I like,” “people who like tennis and live nearby”

Photos: “photos I like,” “photos of my family,” “photos of my friends before 1999,” “photos of my friends taken in New York,” “photos of the Eiffel Tower”

Places: “restaurants in San Francisco,” “cities visited by my family,” “Indian restaurants liked by my friends from India,” “tourist attractions in Italy visited by my friends,” “restaurants in New York liked by chefs,” “countries my friends have visited”

Interests: “music my friends like,” “movies liked by people who like movies I like,” “languages my friends speak,” “strategy games played by friends of my friends,” “movies liked by people who are film directors,” “books read by CEOs”

Facebook Privacy

As with every Facebook announcement, many are concerned about how Graph Search will affect their privacy. The best way to protect your private information on Facebook is to not share anything you don’t want to be made public. If you do share something personal, make sure that it is only made visible to your friends, and is not a public post. For tips on how to adjust these settings you can read my post about Facebook privacy updates and tips.

Graph Search is currently available in a very limited beta program. You can sign up here to be the first to hear when you can start using the new tool.

Suggested Reading/Viewing:

Mark Zuckerberg explains the design and engineering behind the Graph Search: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10200156550214780

Venture Beat discusses Facebook privacy: http://venturebeat.com/2013/01/16/facebook-graph-search-privacy/

How privacy works with Graph Search: https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch/privacy

Facebook Privacy and Sharing Tips

You have surely heard about and experienced Facebook’s privacy and tagging changes over the past few months. These updates have changed privacy settings on user profiles as well as the ways users share content on Facebook.

Facebook Privacy Settings

Facebook profile controls can easily be adjusted directly from the user profile rather than navigating through the confusing Privacy Settings page. Each section of the profile has an option to select who can see this information. To change these settings navigate to your profile and click edit. In each section you will see a drop down to adjust the privacy level.

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Users can also preview how their page looks to certain people using the “View Profile As” tool. You can find this on your profile under the wheel next to Activity Log.

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Users also now have the ability to review tags before they appear live in the newsfeed. This means if a friend tags you in a photo, check-in or post you will have the ability to approve or reject before the post is made visible to anyone else. To enable this setting navigate to Use Activity Log – Timeline Review under your privacy settings and make sure it is enabled.

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Options for removing content and tags from your profile are also more robust. When removing content that you have been tagged in you now have the option of removing the content from your profile, removing the tag itself, messaging the photo owner or tagger, and requesting the content get taken down.

Changes to Sharing on Facebook

Each Facebook post now includes options to share your location, who you are with and who you want to see the post. All directly from your status update! Your physical proximity to the location also no longer prevents you from tagging a place. After writing your status update you can:

  1. Tag who you’re with
  2. Share where you are
  3. Choose who sees your post

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As always, if you don’t want the world to know something about you, do not share it on Facebook! If you do post something personal or risque, be sure you have adjusted your settings so that only friends (or a custom group of friends) can see the post. Facebook only knows what you have told it about you so when in doubt, don’t over-share!