Tag Archives: social networking

Guide to Getting Started Using Pinterest

Many of you have heard about Pinterest but may have no idea how to use it or what it’s about. Others still haven’t ventured onto it because you have heard it is addicting and you don’t have the time. You may be right on that last part.

Pinterest is a website where you collect, display and share images and links to all websites you love. What’s so great about that?  Well, if you are planning a project you can browse through thousands of user’s boards and pins and find inspiration or ideas for your own project. You can then pin them to your own board for safe keeping and to reference later. The same is true for all categories in the collection. Whether it’s home decor, weddings, food, DIY projects or technology, there really is something for everyone.

Here I’m going to show you how to easily use the site so you can share my love of all things Pinterest!

1. Get An Invitation

I’m not sure why you have to be invited to the site before you can join, but it’s still a requirement. There are two ways to be invited. The first way is to go to the Pinterest homepage and click “Request an Invite” and then fill out the form and wait. The second, and much quicker way, is to have a Pinterest member invite you through their account. (I can hook you up! Just ask in the comments sections.) An email confirmation will be sent to you, letting you know that your invitation has been accepted and you can begin building your boards.










While you wait for your invite, you can browse the home page and see what Pinterest has to offer. The page gets populated with pins and repins by users, so there’s always something new to see.

2. Find Friends

Once you have your account, you will want to add friends so you can share your finds with them! Under your name in the top right, you will see the “Invite Friends” and “Find Friends” tabs. Clicking that will open a window where you can invite Facebook Contacts or enter email addresses of people you want to invite.





You can also add other Pinterest users or follow their boards. To do this, click on a pin (a picture that has been added to the feed.) It will open that full post with the user’s name and the board they posted that pin to. If you want to follow the person, click on their name. If you want to follow the board, click “Follow” under the board displayed on the left. (Mine says “Edit” because it’s my pin but that is where the “Follow” button would be)














3. Reading Pins

Find a category you want to search in by hovering over the “Everything” tab in the top menu. A drop down menu will display all the categories you can view user’s interests in.











After you select a category you can browse through all of the pins. To read a pin, click on the image you want to know more about. When the new window opens, click on the URL in the top right corner. You will be re-directed to the website that the post was originally pinned from.













4. Creating Pin Boards

It won’t take you long before you find something you think is “Pin Worthy”. When you hover over the pinned article, you will see three buttons, “Like” and “Repin”. If you “Like” something it’s much like Facebook, your name just gets added to a running list. If you “Pin” something, you save it to one of your boards for future reference. If you “Comment” you are obviously leaving a comment for everyone to read about the post.

5. Creating Boards and Pinning Images

Creating your own boards is the best part of the experience. Your account will come with generic boards already named for you so you can pin to those or create your own. To begin pinning things to your boards click on the “Pin” or “Add” button. When the new window opens, click the drop down menu, and either select a board from the menu or click “New” and name a new one. Add a description to the body and “Pin It.” It is now saved on your board! You can make as many boards as you want in any categories that suit your taste. You can also add content to Pinterest and create your own pins. Go to the tool bar in the top right corner and click “Add.” This will open a window with three options. You can “Add Pin” by entering the URL of the site you want to pin from, “Upload A Pin” from something saved on your computer, or “Create a Board” to post items to.















6.View Your Boards

If you want to browse your boards, just hover over your name in the top right corner, scroll to boards. It will open your page displaying all of your boards in the middle and all of the people who you follow in the left column.

You can rearrange the boards by dragging them to the order you want. You can also edit any of the boards by clicking “Edit” under the board you want to make changes to.

And there you have it! I am sure you will find numerous things to like, pin and comment on! Don’t forget to add me as a friend and share here what you love most about Pinterest! http://pinterest.com/audiomind/

Pentagon sets its sights on social networking websites


“I AM continually shocked and appalled at the details people voluntarily post online about themselves.” So says Jon Callas, chief security officer at PGP, a Silicon Valley-based maker of encryption software. He is far from alone in noticing that fast-growing social networking websites such as MySpace and Friendster are a snoop’s dream.

New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon’s National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks. And it could harness advances in internet technology – specifically the forthcoming “semantic web” championed by the web standards organisation W3C – to combine data from social networking websites with details such as banking, retail and property records, allowing the NSA to build extensive, all-embracing personal profiles of individuals.

Americans are still reeling from last month’s revelations that the NSA has been logging phone calls since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. The Congressional Research Service, which advises the US legislature, says phone companies that surrendered call records may have acted illegally. However, the White House insists that the terrorist threat makes existing wire-tapping legislation out of date and is urging Congress not to investigate the NSA’s action.

Meanwhile, the NSA is pursuing its plans to tap the web, since phone logs have limited scope. They can only be used to build a very basic picture of someone’s contact network, a process sometimes called “connecting the dots”. Clusters of people in highly connected groups become apparent, as do people with few connections who appear to be the intermediaries between such groups. The idea is to see by how many links or “degrees” separate people from, say, a member of a blacklisted organisation.

By adding online social networking data to its phone analyses, the NSA could connect people at deeper levels, through shared activities, such as taking flying lessons. Typically, online social networking sites ask members to enter details of their immediate and extended circles of friends, whose blogs they might follow. People often list other facets of their personality including political, sexual, entertainment, media and sporting preferences too. Some go much further, and a few have lost their jobs by publicly describing drinking and drug-taking exploits. Young people have even been barred from the orthodox religious colleges that they are enrolled in for revealing online that they are gay.

“You should always assume anything you write online is stapled to your resumé. People don’t realise you get Googled just to get a job interview these days,” says Callas.

Other data the NSA could combine with social networking details includes information on purchases, where we go (available from cellphone records, which cite the base station a call came from) and what major financial transactions we make, such as buying a house.

Right now this is difficult to do because today’s web is stuffed with data in incompatible formats. Enter the semantic web, which aims to iron out these incompatibilities over the next few years via a common data structure called the Resource Description Framework (RDF). W3C hopes that one day every website will use RDF to give each type of data a unique, predefined, unambiguous tag.

“RDF turns the web into a kind of universal spreadsheet that is readable by computers as well as people,” says David de Roure at the University of Southampton in the UK, who is an adviser to W3C. “It means that you will be able to ask a website questions you couldn’t ask before, or perform calculations on the data it contains.” In a health record, for instance, a heart attack will have the same semantic tag as its more technical description, a myocardial infarction. Previously, they would have looked like separate medical conditions. Each piece of numerical data, such as the rate of inflation or the number of people killed on the roads, will also get a tag.

The advantages for scientists, for instance, could be huge: they will have unprecedented access to each other’s experimental datasets and will be able to perform their own analyses on them. Searching for products such as holidays will become easier as price and availability dates will have smart tags, allowing powerful searches across hundreds of sites.

On the downside, this ease of use will also make prying into people’s lives a breeze. No plan to mine social networks via the semantic web has been announced by the NSA, but its interest in the technology is evident in a funding footnote to a research paper delivered at the W3C’s WWW2006 conference in Edinburgh, UK, in late May.

That paper, entitled Semantic Analytics on Social Networks, by a research team led by Amit Sheth of the University of Georgia in Athens and Anupam Joshi of the University of Maryland in Baltimore reveals how data from online social networks and other databases can be combined to uncover facts about people. The footnote said the work was part-funded by an organisation called ARDA.

What is ARDA? It stands for Advanced Research Development Activity. According to a report entitled Data Mining and Homeland Security, published by the Congressional Research Service in January, ARDA’s role is to spend NSA money on research that can “solve some of the most critical problems facing the US intelligence community”. Chief among ARDA’s aims is to make sense of the massive amounts of data the NSA collects – some of its sources grow by around 4 million gigabytes a month.

The ever-growing online social networks are part of the flood of internet information that could be mined: some of the top sites like MySpace now have more than 80 million members (see Graph).

The research ARDA funded was designed to see if the semantic web could be easily used to connect people. The research team chose to address a subject close to their academic hearts: detecting conflicts of interest in scientific peer review. Friends cannot peer review each other’s research papers, nor can people who have previously co-authored work together.

So the team developed software that combined data from the RDF tags of online social network Friend of a Friend (www.foaf-project.org), where people simply outline who is in their circle of friends, and a semantically tagged commercial bibliographic database called DBLP, which lists the authors of computer science papers.

Joshi says their system found conflicts between potential reviewers and authors pitching papers for an internet conference. “It certainly made relationship finding between people much easier,” Joshi says. “It picked up softer [non-obvious] conflicts we would not have seen before.”

The technology will work in exactly the same way for intelligence and national security agencies and for financial dealings, such as detecting insider trading, the authors say. Linking “who knows who” with purchasing or bank records could highlight groups of terrorists, money launderers or blacklisted groups, says Sheth.

The NSA recently changed ARDA’s name to the Disruptive Technology Office. The DTO’s interest in online social network analysis echoes the Pentagon’s controversial post 9/11 Total Information Awareness (TIA) initiative. That programme, designed to collect, track and analyse online data trails, was suspended after a public furore over privacy in 2002. But elements of the TIA were incorporated into the Pentagon’s classified programme in the September 2003 Defense Appropriations Act.

Privacy groups worry that “automated intelligence profiling” could sully people’s reputations or even lead to miscarriages of justice – especially since the data from social networking sites may often be inaccurate, untrue or incomplete, De Roure warns.

But Tim Finin, a colleague of Joshi’s, thinks the spread of such technology is unstoppable. “Information is getting easier to merge, fuse and draw inferences from. There is money to be made and control to be gained in doing so. And I don’t see much that will stop it,” he says.

Callas thinks people have to wise up to how much information about themselves they should divulge on public websites. It may sound obvious, he says, but being discreet is a big part of maintaining privacy. Time, perhaps, to hit the delete button.