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Facebook Changes Contest Rules

photo by the past, Facebook required businesses and organizations to use a third-party app to operate contests or promotions on their Facebook pages. If you wanted, for example, to post a trivia question to your Facebook page and ask your followers to try answer that question in the comments to the post, you were only operating within Facebook's terms of service if you did not offer any prize. If you wanted to offer any prize, no matter how small, you had to use a third-party Facebook app run your contest.

Now Facebook has changed their terms of service, so you can run a contest or promotion on your Facebook page without using a third-party app.You can now:

  • Collect entries by having users post on the Page or comment/like a Page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the Page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism

You can only do these things on a Facebook Page. Running contests on a personal Facebook profile is still prohibited. Facebook also still has some restrictions for how you run contests on your page (see their announcement for more), but it is definitely much easier to run a contest now.

If you do choose to run a contest on your Facebook page, make sure you have a good plan for how you are going to receive entries, what qualifies as an entry, how you are going to contact the winner and how you are going distribute the prize. You can really hurt your social reputation by running a contest that is disorganized or that people perceive as being unfair.

(Photo by xxrobot via Flickr)

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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A New Media Platform for Extension

Jeff Hino, Oregon State University Extension ServiceThe increasing demand for mobile delivery, social learning and online multimedia is disrupting the traditional model of Extension communication.

On the latest "Working Differently in Extension" podcast, I talked with Jeff Hino (pictured right), Learning Technology Leader at Oregon State University Extension Service, about a "New Media Platform for Extension." Jeff and his colleagues are working with content experts early in the process of conceiving educational materials to make mobile delivery, social media and multimedia integrated parts of the overall educational effort, not just add-ons to traditional print publications.

Check out my conversation with Jeff and all the other conversations I've had with leaders throughout cooperative extension on the Working Differently in Extension podcast.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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Write the Right Word: Over vs. More Than

Despite common usage, “over” is not a substitute for “more than.”

“Over” generally refers to spatial relationships. For example: “The plane flew over the field three times.” Or this: “Place a blanket over your flowers to protect them from frost.”

Use “more than” when referring to numbers. For example: “This year’s wheat crop produced more than 40 bushels per acre.” Or this: “The building is more than 10 stories tall.”

If you don’t want to use “more than, “try “exceed” or “in excess.” For example: “The total value of the land exceeds $5 million.” Or this: “North Dakota producers planted in excess of 2.5 million acres of corn in 2010.”

The same rule applies for “under” and “less than:” Use “under” for spatial relationships and “less than” or “fewer than” for numbers.

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Extension Apps

Wanted to share some apps with you that I learned about at the ACE (Association for Communication Excellence) Conference last month.

List of Extension Apps from land grant universities

More apps to consider (although not endorsed) from

Truffle Media has a list too of apps for agriculture

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist (701) 231-6403

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Easy to Create Events in Facebook and Ag CMS

Using the Event type vs. a page or post in Facebook and Ag CMS allows a user to add events to a calender, get a map and driving directions to your event, even the weather forecast. Learn how to create an Event in Facebook and Ag CMS.

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Plan Ahead to Keep Your Data Safe

With summer in full swing, it’s time to think about the potential dangers summer storms can bring to your computer systems. While data loss can occur at any time, thunderstorms can bring a multitude of issues, including power outages, power surges, building fires, floods and even the occasional tornado that can strike at a moment’s notice. If one of these happens to you, do you have a plan in place to keep your data secure?

For most people, the answer is to simply back up your data to a secondary storage location. This storage can be a server drive, a portable hard drive, a USB thumb drive or even a CD/DVD. The important thing is that you have a second copy of your files somewhere other than your computer.

Once your backup location is established, determine how often you want to back up. A good rule of thumb is to decide how much work you are willing to lose and then back up accordingly. A starting point might be one-week intervals.

For servers and critical lab equipment, consider having them connected to uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units. These units are essentially a battery backup to continue providing power during brownouts and power outages. Make sure the UPS is powerful enough to do what you need as most units are intended to only provide power long enough to survive short-term power outages (less than 10 minutes) or safely power down equipment.

For critical data, it's a good idea to plan for the unimaginable. A backup drive next to your server works great if you need immediate data after the server stops working. But what happens if your office is hit by a natural disaster like a flood, fire or tornado?  If you have data that you cannot afford to lose under any circumstances, plan for off-site backups in addition to your regular backup method. An off-site backup can be as simple as a recent backup on SkyDrive or a portable hard drive that is taken home (or some other area away from the office). It also can be as involved as having a second copy of your data stored on another server located in a different building or town. The idea is to have a copy of the data in two different locations in case something happens.

While not all of these suggestions may apply to your situation, we hope that they will provide some food for thought and give you a starting point in evaluating your data backup needs.

Jerry Ranum, Desktop Support Specialist; ITS Help Desk, (701) 231-8685

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Use New USDA NIFA Logo

USDA is strengthening its brand by eliminating agency-level branding. This "One USDA Speaking with One Voice" branding initiative requires that only the USDA logo be used to identify all 17 agencies. Also, the new regulation prohibits program/theme logos.NIFA logo

The National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) communications staff ask that partners, grantees and other collaborators adopt the "One USDA" branding initiative when acknowledging NIFA in any and all of your materials--printed or digital.

The Official Identifier for National Institute of Food and Agriculture website includes guidelines, many format options for download and FAQs.

NIFA communications staff said, "As USDA is actively monitoring the acknowledgment of the department and its agencies, both in print and online, it is important we comply with the One USDA initiative."

This is similar to NDSU's branding efforts for logos. See the NDSU guidelines and examples and the N.D. Agricultural Experiment Station and NDSU Extension Service logos that follow the NDSU guidelines.

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875

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Forms/Surveys in Ag CMS

Do you know that you can create forms or surveys in Ag CMS? Having online forms makes it easy for respondents to fill out, and easy for the recipent to manage the data submitted. See how to use forms in Ag CMS

- Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Write the Right Word: Web and Other Terms

Modern technology had spawned a whole new set of terms. It also has led to questions such as whether the first letter of these words should be capitalized and whether some should be one word, hyphenated or two words.

Here are a few of the common terms:

* email - It is short for electronic mail. Capitalize the “e” if it is the first word in a sentence. “You can reach me by email.” “Email me with your suggestions.”

* Internet - It is a global system of interconnected computer networks. The first letter is capitalized in all cases because it is a proper name. The Net is OK on second and future references in the same article.

* Web - That’s short for the World Wide Web, a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet. When referring to this system, the first letter is capitalized in all cases because it is a proper name. “The Web was developed between March 1989 and December 1990.”

* Web page and Web feed - Notice they are two words and Web always is capitalized.

* website, webcam, webcast, webmaster - These are one word. The “w” is lowercase unless the word is at the beginning of a sentence. “John Smith is our new webmaster.” “Websites are easy to develop.”

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391



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Add a Portlet to the Left Side of Your Ag CMS Site

There's a little trick you need to do when adding a portlet to the left side of your website in Ag CMS. It's a best practice to make sure the navigation is at the top of your site. To do this, you need to hide the existing navigation portlet and re-add it, along with your new portlet. Then you can go in and move the position of each portlet. See this video to learn how (4:39):


Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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