Facebook Subscribe: How To Make All Posts Show In News Feed

Okay in my last post I mentioned Facebook’s new subscribe feature saying it provides a new way to ensure all posts show up in your News Feed. When you go to a Facebook Profile you can subscribe to if  you will see a button on top right hand corner of the profile saying Subscribe or Subscribed if your already subscribed. For each individual profile you  subscribe to will have to mouse over the Subscribe button and in the drop down menu that appears where it asks how many updates you want you can control for that user whether you want all updates in News Feed, most updates or only important updates. Wonder how Facebook determines if you pick Important which are Important updates? Will try to research and provide some insights on this question in another post.

That being said I think this subscribe feature is very interesting. In order for other users to be able to subscribe to your posts you must opt-in to allow others to do so on Facebook. The subscribe feature as I noted in previous post is really cool and provides an interesting new way to follow updates from journalists and public figures. What do you think about Facebook’s subscribe feature? Sound off in the comments!

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Twenty Fifth Blog Entry Mon Sept 5th

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As promised at the end of my last article discussing the democratization of content across the Web using social networks like micro blogging service Twitter I will now share some insights on what to expect from a non personalized open Internet.  A non personalized open internet can be a positive force for good enabling diversity of information to be accessed something impossible with algorithmic editors that filter out content and present only information they think is personally relevant to us. The Open Internet was intended to provide us after all with a diversity of views. As a result the information we access is becoming increasingly limited thus short circuiting the Web’s potential to introduce knowledge and to build bridges between disparate viewpoints.

It is really unfortunate that some social networks are doing this. The solution is to disable automatic personalization in our social networking accounts, delete our browser history and cookies often or use private browsing as I have discussed in previous article covering solutions to pop your filter bubble. The good news is that there are open source social networks like Diaspora, Anybeat (formerly named Alltly) and even Twitter that don’t personalize our results for us so we can freely share and access diverse amounts of information.

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Eighteenth Blog Entry Sun Sept 4th

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I believe in an Open and Participatory Web enabling free flow of communication, information and commerce online that makes it easy to share great content with others. Having written about personalized filter bubbles, open source social networks like Diaspora and Altly (now Anybeat) that are more respectful of user privacy than Facebook I wonder how Google’s Open Social web platform for such social networks will work out? Is Google using Open Social for Google+? If not why not considering Open Social was Google’s salvo against Facebook a few years back in the social networking world.  Will Facebook’s new privacy changes giving users more control of their content prevent user defections from their proprietary web platform or could it already be too late to prevent some users from leaving? These are some interesting questions to ponder. What’s better for users open source social networking sites like Social@Mozilla, Diaspora, Alltly (now named Anybeat) or the closed proprietary online services and web based platforms like Facebook for publishing and accessing information? Considering My Space used to be dominant in the social networking arena and was overtaken by Facebook just as My Space defeated Friendster earlier it is very possible for a Facebook alternative to come along and displace Facebook as king of social networking.

So what are your thoughts about social networks? Share your thoughts by posting to the comments section of this post. It would be interesting to know more about what other users think of each of these social networking websites. Certainly open source social networks that lack automatic personalization features may help reduce the threat of personalized filter bubbles ruining our democracy and depriving us from accessing worthwhile content.

Sixth Blog Entry Thurs Aug 18

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Here is some interesting and potentially good news for any users concerned about personalized filter bubbles hiding information from us online that we may not necessarily want to know about, as we don’t spend time trying to find out about every single news story and topic online but might need to know about. While there is no magic bullet so to speak for popping filter bubbles there are some methods to avoid them online. One of these recommendations is to delete browser cookies often, and if using a browser that allows you to disable tracking cookies users should do so via their browser’s security settings. In Google Chrome you can do so by accessing Preferences, Under the hood, Content Settings to view all cookies installed to your computer by Chrome. In Mozilla Firefox access Preferences, Privacy and enable custom settings for history. To access cookies stored on your computer by Apple’s Safari web browser depending on which version of Safari your using visit Preferences, Security or Preferences, Privacy and in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer cookies can be accessed via Internet options, Privacy.

Erasing cookies and enabling private browsing to prevent new cookies from being installed to your computer when browsing the web are good ways to reduce your chances of being caught in a personalized filter bubble.However, there are other steps you can and should take to minimize the risk of being caught in a filter bubble. If you have a Google account and happen to do web searches via Google when signed-in it is likely that Google is saving your web history. Remember the expression those who fail history are doomed to repeat it? Well a great deal of Google’s search personalization features are powered by your web history that is the list of websites you’ve accessed via Google. Translation: Google can and is saving your web search results so they know what websites you searched for and accessed via their site. By default if your logged in to their site Google tracks this information for you, compiling a long list of everything you’ve searched for on their site that can span a number of years.

To remove this stored data visit Google’s homepage, having logged-in click your username in the top right corner and access Account settings. If you have a Google+ profile when you click Accounts you will have to scroll down to the bottom of the accounts page that loads and click on the link to visit the previous version of the Google accounts screen. Then you can click edit in the My Products area and click Remove Web History Permanently to permanently remove Google’s Web History from your account.

If you use Facebook the next step is to access your Facebook account’s privacy settings and adjust them accordingly to ensure that it keeps your important data private. Facebook has often been criticized more than any other company for making a great deal of  previously private data public. A number of times Facebook has  automatically changed user’s data settings for them without advance warning. As a result for all you know Facebook could change your privacy settings without your informed knowledge or consent to make more of your private information available to the public. For examples, the pages you liked on Facebook may have been private but are now public and while all these changes might not be clear to users they enable companies to create and sell profiles with information about you to whoever they want. So the most important thing to remember when using Facebook is to not share anything on Facebook you don’t want everyone online to know about you. If you use Facebook it would be wise to increase your privacy settings to the highest level possible.

It is also worth noting that if your logged in to Facebook they can by default transmit information about you to certain websites like Microsoft’s Bing and Pandora Radio  in addition to other websites. That is they can personalize their sites using data from your Facebook account.  Therefore it would be a good idea for users concerned with privacy or being caught in personalized filter bubbles using Facebook to also turn off the instant personalization feature in the privacy section of their accounts.

To turn this feature off just follow these simple instructions. The first step is to log-in to your Facebook account, and then click Account in the top right hand corner of your screen. Next from the drop down menu that opens click Privacy Settings and under the heading Apps and websites click Edit your settings. On the page that loads scroll down until you can clearly see the heading Instant Personalization on your screen and click the Edit settings link next to it. A popup titled Understanding instant personalization may open up but is not needed so you can close it.  Finally scroll to the bottom of the page and uncheck the box labeled enable instant personalization on partner websites. This will prevent websites Facebook partners with from accessing your data.

First Blog Entry Sat May 23

To start off this blog I’d just like to say the web is really an amazing and transformative way to communicate and share information. Having grown up during the 1980s and 1990s and having seen new web based technologies that helped contribute to the decline of traditional print media and rise of new online and social media tools I am often fascinated with emerging technologies and their impact on society. At the same time I worry about the emergence of personalized filter bubbles only displaying pleasing and personally relevant information to each user since reading Eli Pariser‘s book “The Filter Bubble: What The Internet is Hiding From You” that undermine the purpose of an Open Internet. You see filter bubbles make the web more isolated as users form their own Circles in Google+ or lists in Facebook of friends they start interacting with those users and are cut off from everyone else. Considering the Internet is a global advanced telecommunications network that lets users from anywhere in the world freely communicate and share information online if social networks are isolating us from others not in our Circles or friends lists are they really social or anti social?

Mobile communications and the rise of the mobile web are also having a transformative effect upon society. In the era of the mobile Internet, users can update their Facebook, Twitter, My Space, Google+ status via text message, using mobile applications for Android, iOS, Blackberry, WebOS or Windows Mobile devices as well as the mobile websites of these social networks. Web publishing and authoring tools like Tumult’s Hype on the Mac App Store that enable users to create rich interactive web content experiences using HTML 5 animations are also nice. Platforms like Facebook, Google+, and sites like WordPress.com and Examiner.com reduce the need for using web hosting companies services to publish and host your own sites to the web. However, some of these sites have closed platforms and use proprietary technology to lock-in users to their sites. Privacy issues and control or lack thereof of your information on some of these sites might make some users reluctant to share information on these sites. As a result new alternatives like the open source Diaspora a social network whose mission is to be more open and respectful of user privacy than Facebook are gradually emerging online. If your interested in staying up to date with all of my work I often blog for Examiner.com also as their Yuma Culture & Events Examiner. Furthermore, you can find me on Google’s Blogger service also and I am currently working on creating a website using Google Sites.