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With the upgrade of the ACS Network last month, we gained the ability to microblog.


What is a microblog, you ask? Microblog is a short little blurb which a user writes to say what they are doing or something they have seen and want to share with others. Examples of microblogging are Twitter and the Facebook status.


How do I microblog on the ACS Network?

Like Facebook, the microblog is part of your status. You can access your status in one of two ways.

1. Click on your name and go to your profile. Beneath your name is a line of text which is your status. Click on Update.


2. In the New and Your Stuff Pulldowns, there is an entry called "Updates".


Clicking on Updates under New to enter a microblog.


When you choose to update your status update, you get the update box.


In addition to adding text, you will notice two icons at the bottom. The camera indicates that you can enter an image -- a picture or graphic that you want to share.  The other icon, the "@" allows you to insert a link to a piece of content, a person, or a place that exists in the Network. Just start typing what you want to link to, and it will probably appear in the list below. Note, that if you are using multiple words, link them with the underscore. For example, type in ACS_Meetings to see the ACS Meetings forum.




Where can I see other users' microblog (status updates)?

There are multiple places you can view a user's status update.

  1. You can view the text of a microblog by looking at a person's profile. You can either go to their profile, or hover over their name next to a post, and you can see what they have posted.
  2. To see the update more completely, i.e. including links or pictures they have posted, you will need to look at that User's updates under their stuff
  3. On forum and group pages, a widget exists that shows user activity.  There is currently one on the home page entitled What Users Are Doing, which shows anything a user posts, including their status update or other content.



Remember you can personalize the ACS Network (your view). If you do this, you can show what other users are doing and filter these posts by friends or mentions (i.e. posts in which you are mentioned) or you can choose to view only or no status updates.




Status updates are evolving and will become an important way for users to share information.  Look for my next post on how we can use Twitter in the ACS Network.


As always, if you have questions or comments, please feel free to post them here.

The last blog post talked about documents that you upload. In this post, I cover the top 5 things with documents that you write using the online editor. The document appears directly in the browser window. It is not a downloadable file.


With online documents, users can:



1. Utilize more complex formatting using the HTML editor. Your will usually start out with the Rich Text Editor. Click on the small "HTML" in the right side of the bar, and you can now add embed code from another website or code HTML.  (Click on image to see larger version.)



Switching back to the Rich Text Editor is as simple as clicking on "Show Full Editor".





2. Insert  links, images or videos embedded in the document. This allows users  to see that image or video on screen without actually downloading the  file. It is simple to embed  The  Rich Text Editor makes adding these simple.


3. Add an attachment to their document. This attachment might be any type of file including an image, a PDF, a powerpoint presentation or a word document. The user can download this attachment (or sometimes preview it online). Typically, the attachment is supports the primary content in your online document.




Once you publish your document, your attachments appear in a list at the bottom of your documnet.




4. Compare versions.  This is very powerful -- you can look at what was deleted, added or changed between two versions. Owners of documents can revert to an earlier version as well.






5. As with uploaded documents, online documents can be public or private, shared with specific individuals or with groups. You may also like or rate document.

Most users are familiar with the process of uploading documents and the ACS Network Interface is pretty intuitive.  However, some things that you might not know about how you can use documents in the ACS Network....


1. Documents can be any format type, i.e. the Network supports almost any file format except for HTML.  So you can upload your Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, in addition to images (jpg, gif, png) and PDF files.


2. You can set who can edit a document, who must approve it before it is published and various commenting policys. If you upload a document to "Your Documents" you can grant access to specific individuals.




3. You can rate a document. There are a series of grey stars. You can rate the document by highlighting one, two, up to five stars. The average user rating shows how everyone rated the document.


Like all other content, you can also "Like" content. After liking content, you can change your mind and unlike it. (You cannot, however, dislike content).  Again, the system keeps track of how many users like a particular document.




4. A preview of the document is created once a document is uploaded. The system converts your document into a format that allows it to display it in the browser. Once displayed, you can zoom, turn pages, or search for a particular word within the document.



This preview is a special service and sometimes it gets stuck or fails. If that is the case, you will see a little yellow triange and a message that says "We're sorry! We were unable to convert this document for viewing".  You can click on "Click to try converting the document again"




The status of the preview should not impact the ability for other users to download your document. It only impacts their ability to see the document in the browser.


5. When you have a document previewed in the browser, you can add inline comments right into the document.

Click on the paper symbol at the upper left and then click anywhere in the document.


Finally, remember to tag your documents. This will help you organize your documents and help other users find your documents.


Let me know if I've missed anything about uploaded documents.

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