Morning Toolbox – October 5, 2012 – Yet More Facebook News

Morning Toolbox is a daily digest of interesting tools and techniques that skeptics can use online.

Remember back in May when I warned not to link directly to pseudoscience on social media? Yet another reason for this advice came to light yesterday. The Next Web investigated a report that when you send a hyperlink (URL) to someone else in a Facebook private message, the “Like” count for that site actually goes up. So simply alerting a fellow skeptic to something horrible actually helps promote that site.

In the Facebook-emulating-YouTube department, a website fan page with 788,000 likes got shut down for copyright violations recently. Be careful posting things that you don’t own, even to critique them – the owner of the platform ultimately controls your fate.

Facebook also did a study of relationships between interests, and skeptics may or may not be surprised to learn Britney Spears fans also like colon cleansing.  (Overuse of correlation vs. causation notwithstanding).

You may notice that some of my Twitter posts like Skeptic History are automatically posted each day at 9:00 AM Eastern US time. I automate this using a piece of software. Here are some tips on when to use and when not to use social media automation that I mostly agree with.

If you are into measuring your online presence, be aware there are situations where certain tools like the TweetMeme button or even the ubiquitous Google Analytics can undercount your hits.

If you give presentations at events from Skepticamp to CSICON, I recommend 11 Presentation Lessons You Can Still Learn from Steve Jobs. My top one: rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!  (He died one year ago today).

I love Google Books, it’s such a great tool for researching anything. But publishers have been suing Google for years over all that unauthorized scanning of books. Well the lawsuit has finally been settled, pretty much for the terms Google offered seven years ago.

Here’s a good background article on how Wikipedia works that I recommend.

Follow me on Twitter at @krelnik.  You can submit stories there or via submit at whatstheharm.net.

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About Tim Farley
Focused on online misinformation, Tim Farley is a software engineer, computer security expert and scientific skeptic who created the site What's The Harm. He is a Past Fellow of the James Randi Educational Foundation.

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