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Welcome to the ACS Network, version 4.


I hope most of you noticed that we were down most of yesterday and that we have a new look. For more than six months, we've been working on the new interface. We new early in the year that we wanted to move to the new version of the software (that we license from Jive Software), but we also wanted to customize our interface to meet the need of the community.


We took time at both ACS National meetings to do some usability testing.  In that, we had users look at wire-frames and mock-ups of the Network and asked them specific questions around labels and their placement. We had a team of staff here who were familiar with social media reviewing the final changes. We think we have an interface that is more intuitive to our users.


In the coming weeks, we'll be working on rearranging some of the content on our forums. We understand that some of our forums need work.  In addition, we will try to work on updating our help documents for the current version.  I'll post things to the blog as we release them.


For now, we ask you to enjoy the new ACS Network and to have patience as we continue working on improving it.




As we start 2013, many of us are busily summarizing 2012.  As product manager for the ACS Network, I thought I would share with you some of the highlights for the year.


First, we started 2012, with a major upgrade (that was officially completed on Dec 29, 2011). Most users probably didn't see it until 2012, and we spent several weeks in the beginning of 2012 fixing small bugs and configuring the system. This was a major upgrade which introduced a new look and feel to the Network and rearranged much of the functionality.  We introduced the What Matter Pagesctivity, Communications, and Actions ) to help you get notifications about the content you are interested. Many of the issues with system speed/performance improved, and the entire Network was more visually pleasing.


Other new functionality introduced in 2012 included

  • Photo Albums allow you and your colleagues to organize and share photos from events you sponsor into albums.
  • Events & Calendaring allow you to schedule, to invite, and to RSVP to an event. This is a great way to distribute information about events you are sponsoring, including directions, menus, and contact information.
  • Quicklinks, currently called “Your Stuff”, is a pulldown menu that is customizable to allow you to create their own set of shortcuts to the groups and forums that you most commonly visit.
  • Publications uploader allows you to upload citation information for multiple publications via an RIS file. RIS files can be created from many publishers’ sites.


Of courrse functionality is good, but we are particularly proud of the growth in content.


New Forums

    • Chemical Entrepreneurs and its subforums are targeted at chemical entrepreneurs and small businesses and contain various resources to support the endeavors of this audience. At least one of the subforums is restricted to ACS members.
    • A new Job Club serves unemployed ACS Members.
    • ACS Combinatorial Science highlights some of the latest advances in combinatorial chemistry, biology, materials science and analysis.




Special Groups

    • International Chemistry Olympiad contains photos and links to videos from the 2012 International Chemistry Olympiad that was held in Washington, DC.
    • Green Chemsitry & Engineering also contains photos from the annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference. It also contains information for the upcoming conference in 2013.
    • Ask an ACS Chemist is a group of ACS members who are professionals in their respective fields and who are ready to answer general chemistry and other science related questions.


Finally, the Molecule of the Week was created on the Network, and we ran promotions to friend MOTW, and later in the year, to attend an event sponsored by Molecule of the Week. These promotions were held at both national meetings and four regional meetings. Those participating received a MOTW t-shirt with either caffeine or tryptophan on it.


We are looking forward to 2013. Look for my next post to get hints about what might be coming next.

Happy New Year!

We have been working this year on identifying inactive groups on the Network. We're in the last steps of actually removing these groups from the Network. We notified group owners earlier this year to notify them that their group was inactive and on the list to be deleted. Some owners requested that they still want their groups and we will not be removing them.


It is not too late. If you own a group that is inactive but want to keep it, please let us know by sending an email to You can also let us know if you have a group you would like to get rid of.


Paring down the number of groups will help the active groups be more easily found not only today but in the future. We appreciate your help in this.



As the end of 2012 approaches, We are looking at wrapping up some activities which we started earlier this year.  Appropriate to end of year, is a clean up of inactive groups.  We did an assessment earlier this year and want to delete groups which are no longer being used.


The motivation to remove old, inactive groups is purely one to enahance the experience of you, the user. Eliminating 'old' groups will help make it easier for you to find the groups you seek from both a browse and a search standpoint.


We took inventory of the groups earlier this year, and identified those which did not have any activity for more than six montns.  Our summer intern then tried to contact each of the group owners/admins to let them know we were considering deleting their group unless they responded otherwise. We did have several folks tell us they still needed their groups.  We did not include secret groups in this assessment.


Now as the pace of work slows for the holiday, we want to finally delete these groups. This will happen during the between Christmas and New Years. I wanted to give some final notice that we are doing this, so if there is a group that is inactive that you would like to still keep, please let us know. You can post a comment here or send us an email at


As always, thanks for reading. I hope to start posting more frequently again to tell you more about things we're doing on the Network.

Many of our users are probably familiar with Facebook, but did you know that we have a page that works very similarly to the Facebook wall.


If you go to Your Activity Page (, you will see a place to enter your status update. Then you will activity around content you are following. This content might include new discussion and documents in groups or forums or by peopel you are following. It also lists latest likes and other social news that might be of interest to you.


Of course, if you want to see more or less content, you can select "All Content" to see everything posted on the Network, or you can choose to hide content so it doesn't appear on your wall. The ACS Network also has some recommendation algorithms so that the system will show you items that it thinks you will find interesting (in the right hand column).



(click on image to see this larger)


You can access the Activity page by clicking on the first icon in the topbar.


Finally, if you like the Activity page, you may choose to make it be the page that appears when you login.  Go to your preferences page, and the first option will alow you to select your landing page.

preference_landing page.png


We welcome your questions or comments on this.


screenshot.jpgThere’s a lot of great content on the ACS Network. So much so that at times finding your favorite information can be difficult.  We’re making it easier for you to track the content that matters most to you by introducing a new feature: Your Stuff.


Your Stuff will be your go-to place to find the groups you belong to or manage, the content you've created, and anything else that you want to find easily. We've pre-populated it with links to Your Groups and Your Content, but you can add up to ten other shortcuts--just hit the Edit link and enter the information. Unlike Bookmarks, these links are just for you.


If you have ideas for other shortcuts that you think users would find useful, please let us know.

I want to welcome Christopher McCarthy as the new ACS Network Community Manager. Chris McCarthy replaces Mark Obrien who has moved on to be the manager of the ACS Leadership Development Program.


Chris has been at ACS for a little more than five years, first as a communications specialist in ACS Meetings and more recently with the Virtual Content team in the Membership and Scientific Advancement Division. Many folks may know Chris for his work with ACS on Facebook and Twitter, so he has a good handle on social media.


Prior to working at ACS, Chris worked in PR and communications for trade associations representing the flavor and fragrance industries as well as for an interdisciplinary computing research institute at the University of Maryland.


Expect to see more content in the future from Chris.


Creating Content via Email


There might be times when you want to post content to the Network but you are away from your computer.  You can actually post content directly to the Network via email. It’s easy – all you have to do is send an email to an address associated with that particular place and content type from the email address that is associated with your account.  The Subject line of the email becomes the title of the document or discussion and the body of the email becomes the body of the discussion, document, or blog post.


Listed below are examples email addresses for creating content. Alternatively, you may look in any forum or group for a link in the Actions box entitled “Create by email”. It should bring up a box that has links for that particular place. NOTE: There is a bug when the Recent Content widget is in the center column of the home page and the Create Content link in the Actions box does not work.  You may still create content using the  email addresses described below.


Personal content  (associated with you and not a particular place):


For forums that have a URL structure of


If the URL of the forum has multiple levels, i.e. it is a subforum and the URL is

the forum_name becomes "forum-subforum" and the email address becomes


Example: Paying It Forward Forum  -

To start a discussion:


If the forum URL is hyphenated, an extra hypen is added between the two words in the URL that are hyphenated.


Example : Chemical Entrepeneurs

To start a discussion:




Where group_name is the group name as defined in the URL. (  Hyphenated group names follow the convention described for forums wiht hyphenated names.

We are so happy to be able to announce the release of a Events on the Network. This new functionality allows users to create events or respond to invitations to events. These then appear on a calendar for the forum, group, or person where this event announcement resides.


The “event” allows you to describe the event, give details about the location, to send invitations and to collect responses. An event might announce your local section’s monthly meeting or outreach event or conference that might be of interest to your division’s members.


If you are at the National Meeting, you can use “Events” to plan a meetup, i.e. a gathering of colleagues at a set place.  It’s a great way to catch up with old friends, or  to meet others who have similar interests or who have attended similar sessions.  You could even try to find partners for dinner or running or sight-seeing.  The possibilities are there.



Creating an event is easy – Go to the create button at the top of the page and select Create an event.  If you are invited to an event, you should see notifications under “Actions”.  Finally, check out the Upcoming Events box on the home page for other events users are setting up. events_widget.png

As always, if you have questions or issues please ask. And we would love to hear what you think of this functionality and how you plan to use it.



With the Network upgrade, many users have questions about where to find certain things. I've put together a list to answer these questions. If I have omitted something, please comment below and I'll add it to the list.


  • Status update : You can view your status update when you click your name (to get to your profile page) or on your Activity page (first icon, very top bar).  You can update it via the "Create" button, or there is a place on the Activity page as well.
  • Help: The Support forum has all sorts of posts, documents, and discussions covering how to do things in the Network. If you don't see it, ask.
  • Log out: This appears under your Personal Settings, accessed by the small down arrow next to your name.
  • Edit my profile or change my photo: Under Personal Settings.
  • Change my preferences (email and twitter): Under Personal Settings
  • Change my password or opt out : Your password is part of your ACS ID credentials and should be changed on  You can access the link to change the password by going to your bio/Profile page (bottom right corner). Opting out of the ACS Network provides information and a link to opt-out.
  • Drafts:  These can be found by clicking Browse (top bar). One of the options in the resulting left hand sidebar is Drafts. (At this point, you cannot access drafts through content on your profile.)
  • My groups:  There are two ways to access groups you belong to. THe first is to go to your profile, and select the "Places" tab. The other is to go to Browse, and select Places, then groups. From either of these pages, you should have some options in the left side bar which allows you to find the groups you own, you belong to, or you follow.
  • My content: Similar to My groups, you can find your content either through Browse>content or Profile> Content.
  • My friends:  Also similar to My groups. Access through Browse>People or Profile>Friends.
  • Home page -- Home icon on the far left on the navigation bar. You can set what you want your home page to be in your preferences. (You can choose to have it go to your Activity page, a browse page, etc. )  where.png


Don't forget to hit the History button (top bar) to see a list of content, groups, forums, and profiles that you have recently visited.


As the Network grows, you may be concerned that the amount of  posted content will become overwhelming to you. This is contrary to the purpose of this social platform which is supposed to make information sharing/gathering easier and your work and interactions more efficient. So with this upgrade we are introducing functionality to help you manage this information.


In many of the places on the Network, you will see different choices of things to do: Track in Communications, Follow, or Receive Email notifications.  Let me explain the difference and how you might use them to see the content that most interests you.



On many pages, you will see a green "Follow" button.  Think about following as keeping up with the activity around that group, forum, or discussion.  You follow these items because you are interested in them and want to monitor activity around them. Users in your friend lists are automatically included in people you follow.  (Don't forget to click on the images to view them larger.)


New activity of your followed content will appear in your What Matters: Activity stream which is accessed via the first button of the top bar.  When there is new activity, icon turns yellow and a number may appear next to it, indicating how many new items you have.



Track in Communications

When you select Track in Communications, activity for this group or forum or person, will appear in your What Matters: Communications stream which can be accessed through the second button at the top.


In addition, any updates or comments on content you create or collaborate on, direct messages, mentions, shares, and announcements automatically appear in your communications until you choose to stop tracking them.


Email Notifications

The default setting is that all things you are following or tracking automatically sends you an email.  You may want to change that in Your Preferences.



Select the types of default notifications you would like to receive.



You can, as always, override your preferences and email notifications for individual groups, content, or people through the link in the Actions Box.


As always, if you have any comments or questions, post them below and we'll answer them as soon as we can.


As I mentioned last week (see Upgraded for 2012 - ACS Network 3.0), the ACS Network user interface has changed fairly dramatically. In some ways it is easier to use, but if you have been a regular Network user, you may need some hints on where to find your stuff. As usual, there is more than one way to skin a cat.


Before I begin, it helps to understand these definitions:


  • Places = Groups, Forums, sub-forums.  Groups are sometimes referred to as "Social Groups". (You may see a reference to spaces. We call spaces forums in the ACS network.)
  • Content = discussions, documents, blogs, ideas, video, polls.


How to find your stuff:


1. The top bar of the Network has a link to Browse. You can then select whether you want to browse content, people, places, or bookmarks. This should take you to a page which will allow you to filter to allow you to find your content or places.  (Click on image to expand it.)


2. If you go to your profile (click on your Name next to welcome).

It should pull up a profile and from there you can take a look at your groups or your content. Again these are filterable.



How can I get to my groups faster?

These two ways are work well but they do require a few clicks.

I've thought about two ways that you can get to your groups faster.


1. You can bookmark the groups, forums, or other content you want get to quickly, especially if you have one particular group that you need to get to.


2. Once you start following groups, content, or people, notifications should start appearing in your "What Matters: Activity" stream.  I'll devote an entire post to "What Matters", but in simple terms, it is a way that recent content that is most important to you is brought to your attention. Your groups and content should be available through that if there is anything new. If you are curious, I recommend you click on the "What Matters" icons to access more information on them.

(Click on image to expand it.)




If anyone else has a different way to find their stuff, let us all know. The Network platform is a complex and powerful tool, so we are all learning how it works.


Happy New Year!

Yes, we've upgraded. If you have used the ACS Network before, you realize that it is now different.


Why upgrade?

Social tools are evolving quickly and our vendor makes several releases of the platform software each year.  Not only do we want to offer you new functionality, but we want to fix the things that are not working properly and enhance the overall performance of the Network. This can only be acheived by upgrading on a regular basis.


What does this upgrade include?

Our platform vendor made some major changes to the software which will make it a more useful tool for you. Some of these changes include a redesign of the user interface which we feel will be easier for more of our users.


We've also updated the look to be more visually appealing and segmented the content so that users can more easily find the information they are seeking.


The new platform also introduces an activity stream to help you follow and segment the content you are most interested in. You can access these via the top of the page. We will post more information about this functionality and start to show you how you can use the Network.


Finally, this upgraded platform sets us up to grow. We are looking to making the Network more useful. We are looking at how we might integrate it with other systems, including some of those already existing ACS applications and websites. It will also allow us to leverage externally-developed applications and tools which again, will enhance the usefulness of the ACS Network as tool to do your work.


This is so different - what am I supposed to do?

We realize that this change is fairly major and that it may take time to relearn to do certain things. We will be working in the coming weeks to release information on how to use the Network's new functionality.  We hope to offer both written and video pieces, not only to show you specific functionality changes, but also how to best use the Network for the things you want to do.

We encourage users to ask questions in this support forum to help us understand what major challenges and frustrations the new interface brings. (And yes, we know it is not perfect but we hope it is constantly improving).


What's next?

We don't anticipate any major changes to the platform for the first half of 2012. We do expect to release some smaller features which may enhance your work as a chemist and ACS member.  Our primary focus will be on helping users learn to take advantage of all the Network has to offer.


I am open to your suggestions, comments, and even criticisms. I am not only the ACS Network Product Manager, but I am a chemist and ACS Member, and I value your opinion. I encourage you to follow me or this blog so you can keep up with different topics about the ACS Network.

Have you ever seen those square looking bar codes? QR (Quick Response) codes are essentially two dimensional bardcode. The data behind this barcode can then connect to a web address, download a MP3, dial a phone number or start an email to a specific address. At ACS, we are seeing them being used to promote web-based materials about our products and events.


The use of QR codes is taking off with the improvement of mobile phones and the mobile internet.  Reader applications for mobile phones exist to allow users to read these codes and to view the corresponding website with their smart phone.  (The phone must have a camera for the reader to work.) To help you get started, I recommend going to the website, to their list of QR-Code Readers. They also have general information about QR-Codes.


Finally, the ACS Network is running a promotion using a QR code at the national meeting. You should be able to read this QR code right from your computer screen and it will take you to a Network page. 




If you want to create your own QR code, try the QR code generator at


You can also use to create short ( URLs that are friendly for twitter and other on-line posts.  Essentially, you cut and paste a long URL on bitly and bitly presents you with short URL that redirects to the actual page.  Bitly will also create a QR code to direct to your page.

iphone_app.pngACS Network has gone mobile. With our recent upgrade comes a cross-platform mobile web app.  This app will let you view and comment on content in the ACS Network. You can also create discussions and update your status. You can follow, like or send content. You can watch what your friends are doing or what everyone is posting.


It is accessed through a mobile browser at and does not require distribution through the various app stores.  (You can then bookmark it and/or save it to your device's home screen to a make it easier to access repeatedly. This app has been designed for the iOS (iPhone, etc), Android, and Blackberry devices but should work on most smartphones with web browsers.


Bookmarking the app on iPhone

After  logging into the app via Safari:

  1. Tap the bookmark icon.  See the image below for an example. 
  2. Choose "Add  to Homescreen". 

  This will place the Jive icon on the last page of apps making  it easier to find the app again.  You can name it ACS Nework.

Bookmarking on the Android

After logging into the app via the browser, follow these steps:


  1. Tap the flag icon at the top of the screen. 
  2. Bookmark the page. 
  3. Long-press the newly addded bookmark. 
  4. Select “Add to Home Screen”


Bookmarking on the BlackBerry (requires OS6)

After logging into the app via the browser, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Globe icon at the top of the screen. 
  2. Tap "Add to Homescreen".


More to come...

The ACS Nework is an early adopter of Jive Software's mobile app. Improvements are continually being made. If you have any suggestions on what you would like to see, let us know.

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