Tag Archives: Twitter

Facebook rolls out new design for news feed

Facebook Timeline updateFacebook is slowly rolling out changes to your news feed, but this new design may not leave you grumbling like all the other changes. Unlike previous design updates, this layout one is intuitive and easy to figure out. It allows you to customize your feed based on your interests and viewing habits.

facebook photos newsfeedI think the new design features a cleaner look that’s customizable based on what you want to see. The stories and photos in your feed are bigger. You can also customize your news feed on the right hand side. You can select recent, all friends, or just photos. When you select photos only, your news feed is filled with large photos that your friends posted. The photos are vivid and large. It’s like a slideshow of your friends lives. It’s so customizable, you could view photos only from people you went to school with or your work colleagues. It’s all based on groups you create. You can also choose a news feed based on music or games. It’s all based on your interest or mood at the time.

new timeline 2 edited There is a sidebar full of icons that allow you to easily navigate to the other sections of Facebook like events, photos, and messages. There is even an icon to build a family tree.

News feed family tree icon The family tree is not an app, but you need to add it to your timeline. You can build it right on the web. You click add a family member, and Facebook automatically populates possible people. It’s pretty accurate, and based on your previous interactions and mentions. You can even get stats on your family, like age distribution, gender distribution, alive/deceased.

Facebook is trying to get you to spend more time on their site. While the family tree is an interesting feature, you need to consider what you are telling the social media site and all your friends. At some point, you need to consider what to share and what not to share. Privacy is becoming more of a privilege than a right, and we’re partly to blame. While social media sites make it easier to share and connect, the more we share the more we give up our right to privacy.

The family tree is a neat feature, because it makes it easy to see how you’re connected to loved ones. It’s visually laid out for you. However, think about what you’re doing and how much of your privacy you’re compromising.

privacy settings

Whenever changes are made, it’s a good idea to check your privacy settings. You can do this by clicking at the top of your Facebook page and choosing Settings. Then click privacy from the left hand column. You can also find privacy settings as a lock icon in the sidebar.

Most of these changes seem to effect your news feed only. The Timeline page looks the same, other than the icons that are on the left allowing you to navigate to different sections of Facebook.

My husband got the new look this weekend, but I still don’t have it. If you want to get it earlier than scheduled for your Timeline, you can add your name to the waiting list.

Facebook explains the new design here. What do you think of the changes?

Related links you may like: 
Facebook Timeline 101
How to use Facebook Graph Search
Facebook Timeline privacy

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Tweet your way to customer satisfaction

airline lineThere is an art to complaining, and I’ve always tried to emphasize that to consumers who call me for help. If you don’t approach the situation properly, you may be your own worst enemy and end up with no resolution. How the times have changed. I started out in the business teaching people how to complain properly in writing, and then with online disputes, and now it’s turned to social media disputes. If used effectively, Twitter and Facebook are great tools to get customer satisfaction.

Facebook and Twitter have evolved into sounding boards and real time reflections of a company’s customer satisfaction. Companies are beginning to realize they need to manage their social media pages. Some businesses are better than others in dealing with this new frontier in customer service.

Recently, I put social media complaints to the test. We were flying back to Kansas City, and of course it was snowing in Cleveland. Many airline sites now allow you to track the history of your plane, so you can see if it’s on time or delayed in another part of the country. I noticed that our plane was delayed in Canada and still had to go to New York and New Hampshire before making its way to Cleveland. Based on the available data, I knew our plane was going to be four to five hours late.

I called the airline and tried to use the old fashioned version of customer service. After waiting on the phone for a half hour, I got a representative who offered me no help. She just repeated what the computer said. The plane was on a short delay, even though digging deeper on that same computer system showed at least a four hour delay based on all the cities that plane had to visit before Cleveland.

There was another plane leaving for Kansas City just two hours after our scheduled flight. I asked for seats on that plane. I was told that wasn’t possible.

Out of complete desperation, I got on Twitter and shared my travel story making sure I mentioned the airline. Within minutes, I got a direct message from the airline asking me for my reservation #. I sent it back to the airline, and they asked if I wanted to get on the 8 PM flight. Within 30-40 minutes, I had two seats on the 8 o’clock flight.

Once it was resolved, I tweeted my satisfaction showing the airline I appreciated what they did.

When we arrived at the airport to depart Cleveland, we saw long lines of frustrated passengers trying to rearrange their flights with customer service. People were waiting in line and on the phone. I wanted to get on the loud speaker and tell all those people to hang up and get out of line and get online. Sharing your travel nightmare on Twitter or Facebook is quick, easy, and the best way to get customer satisfaction.

Airline social media pages are full of customers who are asking for help, and full of responses from the airlines. While many airlines monitor their social media page, some companies don’t respond to these types of complaints. Some consumers say their complaints are even erased from some Facebook pages.

I think companies need to improve their social media response efforts, so the expectation of a response is more uniform. That being said, customers also need to improve their attitudes toward companies.

I’ve always found that you’re more likely to achieve a resolution if you put aside your deepest hatred for the company. Keep a level head, and share your story in a concise and friendly manner. Don’t be accusatory or sarcastic. Just use straight-forward language and sell yourself as an appealing and appeasble customer.

Next time you have a problem, try social media. You might be surprised at the response.

What were they thinking?

instagramWhen are companies going to learn the power of social media? People now use Twitter and Facebook to complain about their problems and get action on them. They also use social media to vent their opinion about new policies and procedures that impact all users. Yet time and time again we see companies making irrational changes that spark outrage among customers. Then, the company is forced to change their course of action to react to the outrage. It leaves me asking – what were they thinking?

Facebook, a social media company that knows the power of that medium, is the latest company to make a decision that upset many users. The company owns Instagram,  a photo sharing app that allows you to quickly treat your photos with filters. The new terms included some complicated and clumsy language which made it seem like the photos you upload through the app are up for grabs by advertisers without notifying you or paying you. Of course, that sparked outrage. Users threatened to delete their accounts before the changes in mid-January.

The negative publicity sparked Instagram to change the language and make their point more clear. The company now says you  own the photos you upload with their app and they won’t be used in advertising.

Maybe Facebook didn’t think the negative pressure would be that intense with Instagram. After all, they make decisions all the time that spark outrage. Remember, the growing pains with Timeline? Facebook usually continues on with their plan despite the negative comments. People predicted Google+ would take over as king of the social media world after repeated changes at Facebook. That never happened. This move was unique for the social media company. They don’t always cave to social media pressure.

netflixThis is not the first time a company took a beating in the social media world.  In 2011, Netflix was under fire for the decision to change its name and pricing structure. The name Netflix made the company famous; then it decided to split the company’s DVD and streaming business by adding Qwikster. The backlash led to a change in position weeks later.

On the Netflix blog; the CEO wrote, “It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs. This means no change: one website, one account, one password… in other words no Qwikster.”

What is wrong with these companies? Don’t they use focus groups to test new products and ideas? If these companies are so easily persuaded by social media pressure, which I would argue they have no choice, why don’t they propose the changes they are thinking about instead of announcing the implementation? That way they don’t need to apologize or backtrack if the Twittersphere or social media landscape reacts poorly.

Some companies don’t cave to public pressure as they’ve clearly evaluated their business decisions before announcing them. For example, the stores that opened on Thanksgiving evening around 8 PM received pressure for opening on a holiday. While the publicity was intense, these companies knew the majority of customers would still shop on Thanksgiving. The businesses even said their decision to open earlier was based on customer demand.

For a few weeks, the stores endured some negative attention. In the end, their cash registers rang and rang as they racked up unprecedented sales. Opening on Thanksgiving was a huge business win, and a win they expected because they obviously did their research before they made the decision.

Social media is powerful especially when your customer base is a tech savvy bunch as in the case of Instagram. One could make the argument that companies don’t think this through on purpose because they want any and all attention. Whatever the case may be, these crazy business decisions have me asking over and over: what were they thinking?

What do you think? Weigh in below by clicking comment.

Related links you may like:
Netflix changing DVD service to Qwikster
Netflix gets rid of Qwikster
Navigating Facebook Timeline
Facebook Timeline privacy

Earn money while shopping on Cyber Monday

The focus is turning from retail stores to the Internet for Cyber Monday, and there are lots of ways to save on your online purchase.

1. Look for discount codes
Retailmenot shows promotional codes that will save you money your purchase and shipping. If there is a discount code, Retailmenot typically has it listed. You can also search the store you are shopping and “promotional code” in Google to find a discount.

2. Shop with Ebates
Ebates is one of my favorite sites. I earn money for shopping. Every quarter, I get a check in the mail. To qualify, sign up for an account. Then, when you’re ready to shop type in the name of the store. You’ll see if it participates in the program and the percentage you will earn back. Not every store participates in the money back program, but many do. When you find one, click on the link from Ebates and start shopping.

3. Get free shipping
Retailmenot will also let you know if free shipping is available. Also, Google your store and “free shipping” to find a discount code. Many stores require you spend $50 or $100 to earn free shipping.

If you are shopping Amazon, consider a monthly membership to Prime if you think you’ll do more shopping in the future. The membership was once only sold for a year, but recently the e-retailer began offering month long memberships. It might be worth it to join for a month or two at $7.99, and then cancel your membership after the holidays. You get two day free shipping in qualifying purchases.

4. Look for discounts on social media
If you’re looking to buy a certain product from a certain company, consider “liking” their Facebook page or following the business on Twitter. Exclusive deals are given to friends and followers on social media. Read more on publicizing your purchase to save money

Also, look in your Facebook news feed for deals. While some deals are only for followers, others are publicized through social media. Perhaps you’ve seen these coupons in your news feed when a friend of yours claims the offer. Toys “R” Us has an offer right now for 20% off a regular priced item.

Once you claim the offer, it shows up in your news feed so your other friends see it. It’s a way for businesses to promote their sales and deals and it’s a way for you to find out about sales.

Third, consider linking your credit card to your Facebook or Twitter page. American Express allows you to Tweet and Facebook your way to savings. These offers are limited, but offer more significant discounts like $10+ off your purchase.

Related links you may like:
Ebates pays you to shop
Publicize your purchase to save money
Tweet your way to savings

What will you do for $5?

Need some spare money? Have a unique talent? How would you answer the question — “I will _____ for $5?” If you have a service to offer, and want to buy one for $5, Fiverr might be for you. It’s the latest marketplace allowing you to buy or sell your services, only this site charges a flat fee of $5.

When you offer a service it’s called a “Gig.” People in Cleveland are selling postcards and baseball cards all for the fixed price of $5. However, one of these sellers told me she hasn’t had any takers.

Just like with Ebay, you are rated based on your activity, performance, and reputation. As with most sites, there are good and bad reviews even for the most highly rated.

Getting you hundreds or thousands of Facebook or Twitter followers is a common Gig on Fiverr. While many positive reviews, there are also comments that the Facebook likes are not legitimate or the Twitter followers are people with no profile and no picture.

If you don’t get the service you paid for, you can cancel your order whether it wasn’t fulfilled or wasn’t delivered on time.

There are lots of quirky posts like, “Use a chicken puppet to read a short poem about my website” or “Create a 3 min video of you doing somersaults in various places.” Both were posted as a need. Not sure why you would need either one, but if you can fulfill these needs you could earn $4. That’s how much you’re paid when you perform or sell a Gig.

You can remain anonymous, or let your identity known when paying or getting paid. You select the degree of privacy you want when you sell or buy a gig for just $5.

What will you do for $5? Click comment below.


Publicizing your purchase to save money

Retailers are looking for new and creative ways to advertise as mass media shifts from television and print to online. Social media plays a huge role in making nothing — something. Tweets, re-tweets, and shares on Facebook are great ways to expose a new product or service to potentially new customers.  Special promotions are often offered to followers or those who like a page. Now, companies are finding ways for you to make money by sharing their product on social media sites.

When you buy a product online, you’re asked if you want to let others know about it. You can share it on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter , and other sites. Soon, your news feed will be filled with more than just the news story your friend read, game they played, or the music they listened to. I think it’s a matter of time before our feeds are filled with items people bought at stores as more and more people share their purchases. Their may be good reason to share that purchase — it may earn you cash!

American Express is offering a program it calls “Tweet your way to savings.” However, this takes the marketing to a whole new level because you have to sync your eligible American Express card with Twitter, and tweet special offer #hashtags to get exclusive savings on your card. The savings are great, but is it really such a good idea to link your Twitter account with your credit card information?

To answer that question, it depends how much you value a deal.  American Express says it doesn’t share your card information with Twitter. Instead, the company said a unique identifier is used to link the accounts. That’s one thing to consider.

Also, consider the work you need to do to cash in on the savings. Is it worth it, and are you buying something to simply save money? Only certain companies participate in the promotion. To find the offers, you have to go to American Express’s Twitter page and read the Tweets under the Favorites section.

Here’s a look at some of the current offers: Zappos is offering $10 back on your next purchase, H&M is offering $10 on a $50 purchase, Gulf Oil is offering $5 back on $25 purchase, Whole Foods is offering $20 back on a $75 purchase, and Virgin America is offering 10% off a main cabin ticket. For example, for Zappos you tweet #AmexZappos and you get your statement credit within a few days as long as you meet the minimum purchase requirement.

This is not the first coupon venture for American Express if you link your card to a social media site. In July 2011, I wrote about their “Link, Like, Love” Facebook promotion. It works in a similar fashion in that you link your American Express card to your Facebook page, and based on your interests and your friends interests you’ll get special offers and deals. You can also browse the promotions.

I think this is the wave of the future. It’s the latest way for companies to get their product in front of a broader audience. All, for free.

Other ways to make money online without publicizing your purchase
The linking of my credit card to a social media site, even though they say it’s not shared, makes me a little uneasy. I think I’ll stick with other ways to make money. When I shop online, I look to Ebates or my credit card company to see if they have a special promotion with the company I’m shopping. I seek out the savings when I’m ready to buy rather than buying just because I see a good deal.

On Ebates, I earn cash back if I link to a retailer through the Ebates site.  They don’t credit my credit card because they don’t have that sensitive information. The money comes in the form of a check each quarter. Of course, someone is making money because they’re tracking my purchases. So, that’s not exactly the most private service but it’s nice to get that check in the mail every quarter.

With my credit card company, they already have my personal information and if I link through them to a retailer I earn more points than I normally receive. Sometimes, the offers are 3 and 4x more points than I normally earn.

Both of these money saving and earning options are potentially not as valuable as the $10 offer from American Express’s social media savings programs, but there are no strings attached. Plus, I don’t overbuy because I don’t have to make a minimum purchase. Finally, there are far more retailers participating in these other offers. That may change as the marketing changes as I think American Express is on to a new trend.

For now, I’ll spare my social media connections tweets and Facebook posts about my purchases. Will you? Click comment below and share your thoughts on this new type of marketing.

Facebook & Twitter security

Lately, it seems friend after friend is being hacked on Twitter.  There are a number of reasons this could be happening, and the letters “https” may have something to do with it. I posted directions to make your Twitter and Facebook accounts more secure in March, but think it’s worth re-visiting.

Creating a secure connection on Twitter
Go to the top right of your Twitter page, and click on the menu under your name.  Click on settings.  Scroll to the bottom of settings and you’ll see a box next to “Always use HTTPS.” Make sure it’s checked so you can begin browsing securely.

Twitter has also announced it’s automatically turning this feature on for a small number of users.

Creating a secure connection on Facebook
Go into Account Settings on the right hand side of your Facebook page under Account. Once you’re into Account Settings, click on Account Security.  Make sure secure browsing has a check mark next to it. This will allow you to browse securely. You’ll notice the change at the top of your browser in the address bar. It should say https. The s stands for secure.

Facebook says it may take longer for a site to load when you’re using a secure connection because the information is encrypted. Plus, some third party applications do not support https. Facebook is working to resolve those issues.

Click here to read more about this change on Facebook.

While we’re talking about social media – follow me on Facebook and Twitter so you can stay up to date on the latest money saving ideas and consumer tips.

FACEBOOK FAN PAGE: Jenn Strathman – WEWS

TWITTER: JennStrathman


Check-in for Delta flight on Facebook

Delta is the first airline to allow you to check-in for your flight through a Facebook app called, Delta Ticket Counter.  No need to go to Delta’s website to download or print your boarding pass.

In August, Delta began to offer flight booking through its Facebook app.  The flight check-in is the latest feature for the app.

You’ll also be able to share your itinerary right from the app with friends or family instead of having to email it separately.

While convenient, it raises questions about privacy.  I see people post pictures and daily updates while on the road. While it’s great to update friends on your whereabouts, status updates have been suspected in home break-ins.  Just make sure any app you use truly makes your life easier, and doesn’t post anything on your wall making it easier for criminals to know your whereabouts or know too much about you.