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Facebook Page or Group?

Here’s some things to consider when deciding on a Facebook Page vs. a Group.

Facebook Pages are public and can be verified as “official”, while Groups can be private, public and even secret and rally around a shared interest. For instance, NDSU Extension Innovation Group is not limited to Extension employees. Anyone interested in Working Differently can join the Group. Since it is a closed group, those requests must be approved the Groups Administrator (Bob Bertsch).



Innovation logo.PNG
Groups can be open or closed, depending on how public you want your conversation to be.

Besides the innovation group, I’ve heard of agents who start groups for 4-H parents so they can share information and photos.

When deciding on a Page or Group, first you’ll want to consider if your audience is on Facebook at all. Chances are yes, as Facebook reported 1 billion daily active users last year.

Read more at Facebook Page vs. Group.

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, 231-6403

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Using Skype for Business

The archive of the first Ag Comm Webinar Series webinar is below. It was presented on Jan. 20, 2016 and covers the use of Skype for Business for instant messaging, audio calls and video calls at North Dakota State University.

If you have questions about using Skype for Business, please feel free to contact me.

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

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Managing Multiple Google Accounts

Dena Kemmet, NDSU Extension - Mercer County, emailed me to ask for help "understanding how to use Google now with the personal/professional accounts." Although I can't offer an official best practice for managing your Google accounts, I can share a couple of strategies I use.

Many of us have personal Google accounts. If you have an Android smartphone, you have a Google account. All NDSU employees and students have an NDSU Google account (here's more info on accessing your NDSU Google account). Many NDSU Extension staff also have another Google account through eXtension.

So, how do I manage my personal, NDSU and eXtension Google accounts? I use Google Chrome.

The Chrome web browser allows me to create separate profiles within the browser (Here's how). This feature was designed to help you share your Chrome browser with other people, but it works well for managing multiple accounts. Each profile can be associated with a different Google account, so I set one up for my personal Google account, my NDSU Google account and my eXtension Google account.

Once I had created the profiles, I could switch between them by clicking a small tab at the top-right of my browser window.

Switch Profiles in Google Chrome

Select Profile in Google Chrome

When I select a new profile, it opens in a new browser window. With all 3 profiles open in separate windows, I can jump between them to access the Google Drive associated with each account. Any browser tabs that you have pinned in a Chrome profile will be saved with that profile, so they will still be pinned the next time it is opened.

Using profiles in Chrome has saved me a lot of time spent logging in and out of Google accounts. If you have questions or want to share your strategies for managing multiple accounts, please email me.

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

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Choose an Image When Posting Links to Facebook

Facebook recently changed the options you have for selecting an image to accompany a link you are sharing when posting to a Facebook Page. Extension associate Stacy Wang clued me in to the change when we were discussing strategies for getting the best possible photo to appear with a link when one of our webpages is shared in a Facebook post.

As of today (10/2/2015), this option is not available on individual Facebook profiles, but only when posting as a Facebook Page.

When you type or paste the address of a webpage you want to share into a post, Facebook will display all the images on that webpage that are large enough to be included as part of the post. Below that, you'll see smaller versions of the first 3 images with blue boxes around them to indicate they are selected. If you publish the post, all 3 of those images will be displayed as part of your post with each of them linking to the webpage you shared. You can deselect any or all of the 3 images or even add an image from your computer to the post before publishing.

Choosing Images When Posting a Link on Facebook

This is a great addition to Facebook Pages, but what about when individuals share a link to your webpage? Are the best images appearing along with the link to your webpage?

NDSU Ag Communication software developer Roger Egeberg has some tips for including images in your webpages that will work well in Facebook posts.

Make sure you have at least one high-quality image that is at least 200 pixels in height AND width. That's the minimum size of image that Facebook will detect.If you don't include at least one image of that size, your link will appear without an image at all.

If you include an image at least 600 X 315 pixels, Facebook will display that image above your link rather than displaying a smaller image as a thumbnail to the left of the link. For images displayed above links, Facebook favors images that are about twice as wide as they are high (a 1.91:1 aspect ratio to be exact). Using images with landscape orientation minimizes the amount of cropping Facebook does when displaying these images.

In general, images have a positive effect on social media engagement. Including a Facebook-friendly image on your web page could make people more likely to share it on social media, and increase the number of clicks that post gets once it is shared.

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

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So You Think You Want To Make an App

More than 150 million American adults have a smartphone and on average U.S. smartphone users spend more than 37 hours per month using apps. We should definitely consider how we can leverage apps to reach out and engage the people we serve. Unfortunately, app development can be complicated and costly.

App developers at the NMSU Learning Games Lab and Ed Techs from Ohio State University developed this flowchart to help people think through the app development process.

So You Want To Make an App

The flowchart is really helpful. However, based on our experience with NDSU Extension Service apps, I'd make a couple of changes.

First, I'd add the question, "Does your app leverage the unique capabilities of a mobile device?" Many apps are no more than mobile websites, giving access to information, but not taking advantage of a mobile device's camera, GPS, audio recorder or other capabilities that could add context and functionality to the app experience. If you answer "no" to this question, you should strongly consider building a mobile-ready website rather than an app.

Second, I'd adjust the cost. Development costs vary across the country and when using internal vs. external developers, but I'd start with a budget of at least $15,000, especially if you plan on developing your app for more than one platform (Android, Apple iOS, etc.).

If you are interested in developing an app, please contact me. I'd love to share what we've learned.

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

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Liking Your Page's Post on Facebook

Over the years, Facebook has continued to make it easier for a Facebook page administrator to like or comment, as themselves or as another page they admin, on a post from a Page they administer. Confused? Let's walk through how to do it, and hopefully it will become clearer.

I am an administrator of the Nourishing Boomers and Beyond Facebook page. I also liked that page using my personal Facebook profile, so the posts from Nourishing Boomers and Beyond show up in my newsfeed.

If I see a Nourishing Boomers post in my newsfeed and want to like it or comment on it, I need to know whether I am liking/commenting as Bob Bertsch or as Nourishing Boomers and Beyond.

Shows a post from a Facebook page I am an administrator of, indicating the icon in the lower right which shows which page or profile I am using to like or comment on the post.

In the image above, the arrow shows you where to look to tell which profile or page you would be using if you clicked "Like," "Comment" or "Share" on the post. Because I see the image associated with the Nourishing Boomers and Beyond page, I would be liking, commenting or sharing as Nourishing Boomers. To change that, I just need to click that image.

Shows you can change the page or profile you are using to like or comment on a Facebook post by clicking the icon in the lower right corner of the post and selecting another page or profile.

Once I click the image, I can choose my Facebook profile or any of the Facebook pages I administer. Once I have made the selection, I can like, comment on or share the post from my Facebook page as the profile or page I've selected.

Facebook Page Post Commenting

That's it. Liking or commenting on the posts from Facebook pages you administer is a great way to reach new audiences. Give it a try and see if it improves your reach and engagement.

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

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Screencasting with Skype for Business

A couple of weeks ago, Amelia Doll, NDSU Extension Service - Burleigh County, asked me about a tool to use for screencasting. She was looking for a way to show families how to complete various 4-H forms.

I suggested she use Skype for Business (formerly Lync), since she already had it on her computer. Here's one of the screencasts she did using Skype for Business and posted to Facebook. It's a great example of meeting client needs in an innovative way!

Check out the short video below to learn how you can record your own screencast using Skype for Business.

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


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Change Spreadsheet into a Document

Have you ever needed to convert a spreadsheet into a document? I know a lot of us are using Google Forms to collect registrations, feedback, and more. Sometimes answers to open-ended questions can produce lengthy responses that require you to scroll, scroll, scroll in the spreadsheet. This is not reader-friendly.

In another situation, a state specialist was collecting registrations and wanted the registrants to get a copy of the information they registered for. Some of the responses were lengthy and it was a chore to copy and paste from a spreadsheet into a document.

There’s an easy way to convert a spreadsheet into a document by using the “Save as Doc” add-on in Chrome. Before I get to the How-To, there are some things you must do first.

1. Use Google’s Chrome browser.

2. Login in with your Google account.

3. If your spreadsheet is in Excel and not a Google “sheet”, convert it by uploading it to your Google Drive and then opening as a Google Sheet, which is Google’s version of Microsoft Excel.

4. Add the “Save as Doc” add on to your Google Drive

Follow the video below to see how to convert your data in your spreadsheet into a document.

Save as Doc Demo on YouTube (2:33)

Save as Doc add-in in the Chrome Store

Contact me if you need help with this or want to test it out.

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 371-6403

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Mobile Connection with the Skype for Business App

Updated on July 18, 2016 to reflect new name and features of app.

Skype for Business is a valuable communications tool that brings together instant messaging, audio-conferencing and videoconferencing. Those features, plus Skype for Business's ability to integrate with Outlook for contact availability and meeting scheduling, make it extremely useful.

One Skype for Business feature that does not work for us at NDSU is the ability to call-in to a Skype for Business meeting by phone. In the not too distant past, that meant you had to be at a computer to join a Lync meeting, but that has changed.

The Skype for Business app for Android, iOS and Windows is a great option for connecting to a Skype for Business meeting when you are away from your computer. With the app installed on your smartphone or tablet and a wifi or 3G/4G connection, you can join a Skype for Business meeting from your mobile device.

It's not the same as calling in by phone (you are using mobile data, not calling minutes), but it does provide a mobile connection.

You can join a scheduled Skype for Business Meeting by going to the calendar tab in the Skype for Business app and touching "Join meeting." If you can't see scheduled meetings in your Skype for Business app, you can join the meeting by touching the "Join meeting" link in the email message inviting you to the meeting.

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

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Outlook Web App Tips

I was working away from my office the other day and used the Microsoft Office Web App (OWA) in place of my laptop, which was left back at the office. With an Internet connection, I could get to my work email in Outlook and use calendering and Office tools like Word and Excel.

Sometimes the app version isn’t as robust as the desktop version. I found two things that work very differently in OWA vs. on my PC.

Folders

I find it really handy to file emails for future reference in folders by topic, project or sender. The folder structure on the desktop client is different than the OWA.Here’s a snapshot of the Outlook folders on my PC:

Outlook_Desktop.png


In OWA, it appears you would double click the Inbox folder to get to your sub-folders, but that is not the way to get there.  

OWA_outlook.png

Instead, click on More and your sub-folders appear.

OWA_subfolder.png

 

Email signature

If you've set an email signature on your computer (here’s how to), it doesn’t translate over to the OWA, so you have to set it up there, too.Here's how to set up an email signature in your OWA.

There’s an extra step if you want to add an image to your email signature. First, the image needs to be hosted online (not pasted in from your computer). Go here to get the NDSU email signature graphic online. Right click Copy and then head back over to the Web app to paste in.  

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

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