Convenience Alert: Manage your Facebook Page from Your iPhone!

We believe in convenient communication. That includes managing your social networking. The formatting may look a little funky, but it’s certainly possible to manage your Facebook page from your smartphone. While using your browser is ultimately the best method, it’s good to have the option when you are in a pinch or on the move.

Here’s how:

  • Log into the Facebook app on your iPhone.
  • You’ll be given the option of adding a current friend or page as a favorite to the core icons. (This will save you the hassle of searching for it every time you visit.) Add your page as a favorite by clicking the + button.  An icon will appear for that page, allowing you to quickly manage your page. (Currently, you can’t view your notifications for your pages on your iPhone like you do on your computer, but you can post links, copy, and images to your wall and respond to comments on your wall, photos, videos and other content.)
  • Now that you have your page added as a favorite, you can decide to move the icon anywhere you want. Just press your finger over the icons for a few seconds and they will begin to shake, allowing you to move them to wherever you want and delete them if necessary.
  • To begin sharing content, visit your page and click on the Info tab. Now you can respond to questions and comments, share a photo or write a post. To share photos from your phone or email, click Share Photo.
  • To share a message, click Write Post. (You can save this text in your iPhone or emailed to yourself, so you can prepare ahead of time.
  • When you’re viewing pages that you have administrative access to, your posts will come up as a post from your page, not you personally.
  • To respond to links, click on the content that you need to respond to and add a comment as the page.

We want to know:  Have you tried managing your Facebook account from your iPhone?

Are Social Networking Site Users More Politically Engaged?

Are Internet users stuck to their laptops —  or out in the world being politically active?

The Pew Internet & American Life Project wanted to see if there was a solid link between the use of social network sites and political engagement. In their quest for an answer, they conducted a survey during the November 2010 mid-term elections. In the survey, they asked people if they had “gone to any political meetings, rallies, speeches, or fundraisers in support of a particular candidate,” if they “tried to convince someone to vote for a political party or candidate,” and if they had or planned to vote in the November election. 

Here’s what they found:

  • 10% reported that they had attended a political rally.
  • 23% reported that they tried to convince someone to vote for a specific candidate.
  • 66% reported that they intended to or had voted in the election (note: this is much higher than the 41% of American who were eligible to vote who actually did vote. This is a common post-election poll finding.
  • Users of LinkedIn are much more likely to be politically engaged than users of other SNS. 14% of LinkedIn users attended a political rally, 36% tried to persuade someone to vote, and 79% reported that they did or intended to vote.
  • MySpace users are the least politically active. Only 9% attended a political rally, 18% attempted to influence someone’s vote, and 57% voted or intended to vote.  (Education and gender are highly predictive of the likelihood of a person being politically engaged. Older and more educated Americans are more likely to be politically involved. Since LinkedIn users tend to be older and more educated, and MySpace users tend to be younger and less educated, this explains most of the difference between SNS platforms, according to Pew.)
  • When controlled for demographics, the study found that Internet users — and Facebook users in particular — were more likely to be politically involved than similar Americans.
  • Internet users are nearly two and a half times more likely to have attended a political rally (2.39x), 78% more likely to have attempted to influence someone’s vote, and 53% more likely to have reported voting or intending to vote than non-internet users.
  • A Facebook user who visits the site multiple times per day is two and a half times more likely to have attended a political rally or meeting, 57% more likely to have tried to convince someone to vote for a specific candidate, and 43% more likely to have said they voted or intended to vote.

Read the full report here: www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Technology-and-social-networks/Part-4/Political-Engagement.aspx

We want to know:  Do you see a link between social network use and political engagement?

Breaking it Down: The Stats About Social Networkers

How does social networking affect our lives? The Pew Internet & American Life Project wanted to know, so they conducted a comprehensive survey. Overall, the survey findings showed that the real-life social networks of people who use social networking sites is as good or better than most people’s, in terms of size and diversity.

But does this fact make social networking site users better citizens — or cut people off from their physical communities? Are they less supportive? Less trusting? Are they isolated and unable to explore multiple opinions and points of view? Or more engaged with their communities, voluntary associations, and politics? (Sort of think filter-bubble) Here are a few results we thought were interesting:

  1. MySpace users have a greater propensity to take multiple viewpoints.
  2. Internet users get more support from their social ties.
  3. Facebook users get the most support from social ties.
  4. Internet and non-internet users are equally as likely as others to know at least some of their neighbors.

Read the full report here.

We want to know: Do you see a direct link between your social networking use and civic engagement?

Next: Are Social Networkers More Politically Engaged?

News Flash: Facebook to Target By Zip Code

The news that Facebook will start to target US Users by ZIP Code has spread like wildfire over the political blogosphere.

Why does it matter? Because candidates looking to use the web as an organizing tool can go one step further.  Until now, ads could only be narrowed down by city. But with the new feature, advertisers can narrow down their ads and sponsored stories for users in specific zip codes. This means spending advertising dollars more efficiently and yet another level of targeting.

 “In an election cycle when social networking is expected to play such a big role, Facebook’s new program signals its intention to be a major player in the sprawling, and lucrative, market of local campaigns,” says Politico’s Ben Smith.

We want to know:  Will Facebook’s new ZIP code policy affect the way your office campaigns?

A Transparent Future

“Americans have the right to know that the money that the government takes from them is well-spent.” This is how a House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee began last month. The topic: transparency and federal management IT systems. At that time,  federal CIO Vivek  Kundra spoke in front of the panel and identified ten principles for improving federal transparency.

As we move into an world increasingly dependent on technology, we wanted to share these with you. You can watch the video here or read a summary his recommendations below:

1. Build end-to-end digital processes– Automate transfer of data between systems to increase productivity, protect data integrity, and speed data dissemination. Capitalize on game-changing technologies to increase transparency.

2. Build once, use often– Architect systems for reuse and share platforms to reduce costs, streamline systems and processes, reduce errors, and foster collaboration.

3. Tap into golden sources of data– Pull data directly from authoritative sources to improve data quality, shorten processes, and protect data integrity.

4. Release machine-readable data and encourage 3rd party applications– Make data machine-readable to allow the public to easily analyze, visualize, and use government information.

5. Use common data standards– Develop and use uniform, unique identifiers and data standards to ease the flow of data and reduce system complexity.

6. Validate data up front– Correct errors during collection and at the point of entry to block bad data from ever entering the system.

7. Release data in real time and preserve for future use– Release data as quickly as feasible to enhance its relevance and utility while maintaining future accessibility.

8. Reduce burden– Collect data once and use it repeatedly. Pull from existing data sets to reduce costs and burden and to increase productivity and uniformity.

9. Protect privacy and security– Safeguard the release of information to increase public trust, participation, preserve privacy, and protect national security. Open Government doesn’t mean vulnerable government.

10. Provide equal access and incorporate user feedback– Provide a common view of data to all stakeholders to foster collaboration. Incorporate user feedback to help identify high-value, meaningful data sets, set priorities, to continuously drive and improve future planning and processes.

We want to know:How do you promote transparency in your office?

Destination: Your Office

You might not think of your office as a hot destination spot, but someone does. Especially travelers coming from far and wide who want to see exactly what a Congressional office looks like. That’s not only good for curiously-minded tourists, but also good for your exposure.

How do you capitalize on these visits to the Capitol? Fill out your Google Place Page, which allows constituents who visit to check in and become connected for the near future, if not longer.

Here are the steps, according to The New Media Congress blogger Derek Pangello:

  1. Check your stats. Make sure your information is correct on Google Places so your rank gets boosted in search and upping the chances that your constituents have the information they need to find you.
  2. Google your office. What comes up? If it’s something that you’d rather not see, then beef it up: Click on Business Owner on the top right, and then add your address, hours, photos and of course, your website.
  3. Convert visitors to check-ins. When they show up at your doorstep, check them in. On your Facebook page, click "edit" in the top right, then go to the "Basic Information" tab. Make sure you have a valid street address entered, then you should be able to "check in" to your page.
  4. Let users tag themselves. Snap a family photo in your office. With their permission, put the picture in your "Capitol Visitors" album so they can tag themselves on your Facebook page, likely upping your exposure and your likes all at once. One more thing: Fan tagging is off by default, so make sure you enabled it in the photo app settings for your page.

Report: Mobile Apps Beats Web Consumption

In a recent study, Flurry reported that 9% of people spent more time using mobile apps than the Internet. Among mobile app users, these people spend 79% playing games and using social networking. These stats show a huge paradigm shift in how people are using technology. 

That's why we're so excited about the Constituent Gateway Mobile Phone Application, which is gaining serious traction among Members.  

It's the future, and it's how people are increasingly communicate. As you can see by the Flurry stats, that's not just our opinion, it's the facts. Our app gets quick information to your website, Facebook Page, Twitter Feed and YouTube site. Constituents can respond to polls and read news in real-time.  Basically, the app lets constituents stay in constant communication. And that's what we're all about.    

We want to know: What are you doing to be found easily on a mobile app?

Getting to the Top: SEO for Congressional Offices

When it comes to SEO, we all want to be on top. How do we get into this coveted position? The Google algorithm is a combination of your location, previous searches, and what your friends are searching. While these things are out of your control, there are things within your control.

Here are a few things that can help you gain control of your SEO, according to The New Media Congress. (@derallo)

  • Bump up Your Press Releases. Google News requires a unique number, at least three digits long in your URL, in order to be indexed in Google News. So when you post, include the date in the URL. This will ensure that your site gets seen.
  • Know Your Keywords. By using the right words in your URL, you have a better chance of showing up in searches. How do you know what words to use? Use Google Insights to see the most popular keywords — and then plug them into your URL for maximum exposure.
  • Take Care of Your Metatags. Know those descriptions that pop up on Google when you search? These are meta-tags, a sadly underused element of SEO. If you don’t take charge of them, Google will just use a few sentences. Instead, take time write them yourself, using keywords for the best results.
  • Publish Your Press Releases.  Before you send a press release out en masse, publish it on your website first. This means you have a URL, which means reporters and bloggers could pick it up (especially if you repeat the URL every paragraph!), bumping up your search.

We want to know: How do you boost your SEO?

This post was based on information from @Derallo's post here: http://www.derekpangallo.com/2011/07/seo-social-signals-search-links.html.