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5 ways to be better at social media

By Scott Kleinberg
Chicago Tribune

If you could make a big difference in how you use social media in just a few minutes, wouldn’t you want to do it? For those who answered yes, here are five things you can do quickly and painlessly to tap into powers that go beyond the basics.

Google image search to the rescue

You know all those photos that are either being passed around as new or that are totally altered with Photoshop? Using a Google image search can help find the potential pitfalls of believing something that’s not true. Just go to images.google.com and drag and drop the photo in question from your desktop to learn so much more about it than you knew before. (This doesn’t work very well with Internet Explorer, but Chrome, Safari and Firefox are just fine).

Find out when a photo was uploaded to Instagram

Maybe you never noticed it, but every photo on Instagram has a small time stamp at the top of the photo. So say you’re searching a hashtag and a beautiful photo comes up. Check the time stamp to make sure it says 2 hours and not 2 years.

View your Facebook profile as someone else

There are endless privacy options on Facebook, and you really should have a handle on all of them. If you go to your profile on the desktop version of Facebook and look for the gear icon toward the right side of the page, there’s a drop down menu. There, you’ll see “View As.” There, you’ll see what your page looks like to the public and you can also narrow it down to a specific person. Very useful if you want total control over what you are sharing and how good of job you’re doing.

Don’t just search in Twitter, advance search

It’s super easy and helpful to go to search.twitter.com and type in a term to see what people are tweeting about. But with so many tweets, maybe you want to narrow them down. Go to twitter.com/search-advanced to find many more search options. And once you figure out the search lingo, you can modify it all day long. So for example, you could type “So Social” near:“Chicago” within:15mi into the search window to find all the people tweeting about So Social within 15 miles of Chicago.

Make a statement in Google+

Here’s something you can’t do in Twitter or Facebook: bold and italicize text. In Google+ it’s super simple. Just surround the text with asterisks for bold or underscores for italics.

Now that you’ve moved beyond the basics, you’ve got new tips to share with your social media contacts.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

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