Take Advantage of Pinned Tweets on Twitter and Don’t Waste a Great Opportunity

When Twitter launched the new design recently one of the very valuable changes was the option to Pin a tweet. Pick any tweet and pin it and it will be the first tweet on your page for as long as you keep it pinned. This gives you a perfect opportunity to tell people why they should follow you, make a sales pitch, etc.


It’s not likely people visit our Twitter pages more than once but it’s important to make a good first impression the first time they do so they follow us. And if you can grab their attention (more…)

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Twitter Image Trick Encourages Followers to Click to Find Hidden Tweet Treats

The best way to get a lot of impressions¬†and engagement on your Tweets is to post content¬†that grabs the viewer’s attention and then compels them to retweet it. A good way to do that is to include an image. Images stand out better in a long stream of tweets and the right images can create a knee jerk retweet just like a good image on Facebook will get a quick like.


In this post I’m going to show you how to create an oversized image that looks good in the stream on both desktop and mobile but encourages followers to click to expand it. Of course this happens naturally with certain photos but how about an image that includes a hidden Easter Egg they can’t (more…)

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Google+ Becomes Next Big Social Network to Offer Embedded Posts

Yesterday, Google announced the new option to embed Google+ posts, making them the third of the major three social networks to add that capability; Facebook added it a couple weeks ago and Twitter has offered it for about a year. The best thing about embedded posts and tweets is that they retain all the characteristics they have on the network itself and readers can retweet, like, comment, share or +1 them which benefits the person who posted it originally.

As you’ll notice from my three examples below, Facebook’s posts are wider than 500 pixels and for now anyway, there’s no way to format the width so if the column you embed it in isn’t wide enough it may be an issue.

Edit: I just noticed that when I view this post on my mobile phone the Twitter and Facebook posts reformat to fit the width properly but the Google+ post does not.

Here are embedding instructions for each network:

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Twitter Mods Great News for Those with Custom Backgrounds

In case you haven’t heard yet… hey, I don’t know, maybe you were in a coma… Twitter modified a few design elements earlier this week. The purpose was primarily to improve the mobile experience, but the two changes that are the most exciting for those of us who think it’s important to brand all of our social networking pages, are the addition of a big new header banner, a la Facebook, as well as the option to center our backgrounds, which opens up all kinds of new design possibilities and makes using the right side practical. It also means that the design elements maintain their position relative to the main tweet area no matter how large the viewer’s monitor.

The screenshot above shows my Twitter page as it looks when viewed on a 1280 x 1024 pixel monitor. I design all custom backgrounds for this size monitor. It’s one of the most popular sizes and also the smallest size monitor it’s practical to design for.

The image above shows how much space is available on each side of the main tweet area when viewed on a 1024 x 768 monitor. Although there are people using small monitors with this resolution, (iPad 1 and iPad 2 do but the iPad 3 is 2048 x 1536), as you can see, it’s just not practical to attempt to design a background that works on such a small monitor.

The next three images show how my Twitter page looks on progressively larger monitors. It’s important to design the overall image with plenty of extra background image on the sides even though you’ll want to keep the important parts within the area that is visible on a 1280 pixel wide monitor. I recommend saving the overall background image at 1920 x 1200. At that size your background should look great on even the largest monitors… except for those folks using something larger than about 23 inches, and in most cases when someone uses a monitor larger than that they’ll keep their browser narrower than full screen.

1366 x 768

1600 x 900

1920 x 1200

If you’re interested in having a custom background and header banner designed for your Twitter page, please visit my website for more information.

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Twitter Rolling Out New Look for Our Pages

CEO Dick Costolo unveiled the new look for Twitter on the Today Show this morning. Fortunately the overall dimensions haven’t changed and the design modifications are occurring only within the main tweet section so those of us with custom backgrounds won’t need to scramble to fix things again, but they have added a new large header graphic to the top of the page, a la Facebook.

Personally I think it’s poorly designed, takes up way too much real estate (especially on the mobile app) and I really don’t like the way they’ve put our avatar in the center of the graphic with our name and bio in white text which means that Twitter darkens the photo so the text shows up even on light backgrounds, giving it a muddy look. We’re going to start seeing a lot of really ugly and hard to read Twitter pages soon.

You can switch to the new layout now if you want: settings/design/change header

According to an email I got from Twitter a few minutes ago, everyone will be switched to the new look in November and if you haven’t uploaded a header image they’ll just put an ugly grey box there.

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How to Get the New New Twitter

I’m sure by now you’ve heard that Twitter has launched a new new design. I love it and I think you will too, but I’m not going to review it here, I’m just going to tell you how you can get the new design early, if you don’t already have it.

According to Twitter, the new new design will be rolling out to everyone over the next few weeks but there is a way to get it early. If you have an iPhone or an Android, simply download the new Twitter app to your phone, launch the app and soon thereafter you should see the new design the next time you log in on your computer. It took a couple hours to happen for me but it did work.

Tip: If you already have the Twitter app on your phone just upgrading to the new version should work, if not, remove the app and download again from scratch.

Update: As you’ll see in the comments, many people are saying this trick is not working for them. Twitter says it will but if it doesn’t, the only choice is to wait till they finally roll the new layout out to everyone. I’m not sure what’s taking so long, but Facebook took a couple months to get the new Timeline rolled out.

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Facebook Launching Some Cool Changes You’re Going to Like a Lot

Facebook announced on their blog today that they have made a “bunch of improvements” that will be rolling out to users over the next several days. Rather than rewriting their post I’ll just give you the link here, but below is a video explaining the new sharing options which are going to make it a lot easier to share posts, photos and other content with your friends, family, coworkers and any other lists you create.

In addition to the sharing options which, if you’re familar with the new Google+ is very similar to their Circles, the other change I think most people will be excited about is the ability to @ tag anyone — friend or Page — whether you are friends with or have Liked them or not. And don’t worry, if you’re tagged by anyone who isn’t a friend it won’t appear on your profile until you approve it.

Once the changes are available to you you’ll get a prompt for a tour that will walk you through all the new features.

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Do Your Pages Really Rank As High on Google As You Think?

One of the best ways to get traffic to your website or blog is from the search engines, and in particular, Google, but you may not be ranking as high as you think.

If you want your pages to rank high in Google searches you probably pay attention to SEO and search for keywords and phrases people would use when searching for something you want them to find. I’m sure you periodically search for those keywords to make sure your pages are coming up within the first couple of pages, and preferably on the first page, and adjust your SEO if you don’t, but did you know that if you do a test search while logged into Google that you will see different results than everyone else does? You may be under the impression that you’re ranking on the first page when in realty you may not even be showing up in the top 100 results.

When you search Google to find out how you’re ranking, make sure you log out of Google first. If you’re logged in because you’ve been checking your email or using Google+ — or anything else you need to be logged into Google to use — you’re not going to get accurate results and may be losing out on a lot of traffic.

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How to Stay Safe from Hackers on Twitter and Facebook

It’s become a very common occurrence lately to hear about a celebrity’s Twitter or Facebook account being hacked. It’s happened to Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Ellen DeGeneres, President Obama, and many more. The most recent is New York Congressman Anthony Weiner who seemingly tweeted a lewd photo of a man in tight briefs to a Washington State college student. His claim is that his Twitter account was hacked and, unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to do than most of you realize, especially if you make use of WiFi in public places like Starbucks or the airport. If you’re using Twitter or Facebook in a public place, anyone sitting nearby could gain access to your account and do anything from posting updates or photos to closing your account. And here’s the thing… since it’s usually only the celebrities we hear about when their accounts are hacked, how many ordinary folks get hacked every day?

To show you just how easy it is for someone to hack your Twitter or Facebook account, let me tell you about a new Android app called FaceNiff. Anyone with a rooted Android phone and this nasty little app can take over your account by simply joining the network you’re using and running the app. Watch the video at the bottom of this article to see just how easy it is to hack someone’s Facebook page. Here’s the app description from their own website:

FaceNiff is an Android app that allows you to sniff and intercept web session profiles over the WiFi that your mobile is connected to.

The good news is that you can protect yourself… well, mostly… obviously if the BAU wants to access your laptop to find out if you’re a serial killer, they’re getting in, because, well, Penelope is just that good, but in most cases, the following suggestion should protect you.

Facebook and Twitter both provide a way for you to use their websites in secure mode by using an https URL. In Twitter, go to your settings and check the box next to “Always use HTTPS”.

For Facebook you’ll want to go to the “Account Security” section in your Account Settings page and put a check in the box next to “Browse Facebook on a secure connection (https) whenever possible”.

Please note that although both Facebook and Twitter are working on a way for you to use a secure connection when using your mobile devices, for now, you pretty much need to be using their official website and not a third party app, so be sure to check to see if there’s a way to secure the app you’re using.

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