Category Archives: Social Media

Making Powerful Image Quotes

For those of you who haven’t had one of my seminars on using PowerPoint to create powerful image quotes for your social media feed; now’s the time to get out into the garden with your camera phone and take a few photos.

photo of chrysanthemum plant
Chrysanthemum

You need to create a stockpile of good background photos that you can use for fresh quotes. And summertime in your garden is a great time and place to do this.

Closeups of plants and flowers make a great background for a variety of quotes – like this one I found on the Olds Municipal Library Facebook feed.

picture of sunflowers behind a quote from Jo Walton
A wonderful quote from Jo Walton.

You can see how they use a transparent overlay over part of the picture to help the text stand out.

You may not have an immediate need for those pictures, but you can set them aside for later use, like this image of purple pink chrysanthemums (my chrysanthemums are looking particularly lovely this year, due to the fact I’ve just bought them).

You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ― Dr. Seuss
The colour of these flowers, will do nicely for a different Valentines’ Day image quote.

You don’t need a fancy camera to get these pictures, the camera on your phone will do just fine. But do make sure you take your pictures in both horizontal and vertical orientations to make sure you have more layout options later on.

A picture in landscape and portrait orientation
When you don’t know how you’ll be using those photos, options are very good.

Don’t just focus on flowers (hehe, see what I did there), leaves and foliage are useful too.

a mirrored image of foliage
Hey! I think I see a face in there!

Don’t forget that the same picture can be used multiple ways, once you start throwing colour filters and special effects at it.

comparison of two photos with colour filters applied
Left is original photo – the right has the saturation cranked up.

Oh, and that image has been flipped, since I like the leaves appearing on the right side of the photo better.

A final tip, when saving your image quotes, use the PNG format, it creates fewer artifacts (small jiggly lines that make text harder to read) than JPEG.

Finally, be sure to create your image quotes in the right dimensions Facebook, Twitter etc. I have have some pre-sized templates that you can use.

Social Media tips – free photo resources (2018)

Its’ time for an update on free photo resources for your social media work. I like to have them all together in one place since this is a list I use myself 😉

These sites are often offering more than photos, including clip art or vector images. Many fund themselves via premium or paid options, so search carefully to ensure that the picture you love is free.

  • Library and Archives Canada –Image Search
  • New York Public Library – Search Page
  • The Rijkmuseum in Amerstdam has digitized its collection. All of its works are free to use. Its’ policy “If you use our images for publication, then we request that you acknowledge the source (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). We would also like to receive a copy of the publication for our library.”
  • Try the Creative Commons search tool.
  • One of my favourites, Pexels.
  • University of Alberta Peel Image search.
  • Good Free Photos offers Public Domain Photos, Clipart, images, and Vectors
  • I’ve mentioned Unsplash before.
  • Not a photo resource site, but very useful is The Noun Project a great site when looking for a graphic to illustrate a concept or idea. You can pay OR give credit to the artist.
  • Rawpixel has a search specifically for public domain images.
  • Gratisography is the work of photographer Ryan McGuire. You’ll note his singular style at work.
  • IM Free  offers photos, icons and more.
  • Any internet search will probably turn up photos from Pixabay, so its probably quicker to go there directly.
  • Shopify runs a free graphics site called Burst.
  • Picjumbo offers free and a paid subscription model.
  • All photos found in the Morguefile archive are free for you to download and re-use in your work, be it commercial or not.
  • Stock Vault offers free stock photos and the opportunity to purchase via their Premium option.
  • Negative space
  • Kaboom pics claim to fame, is that the colour palette of each photo is extracted for you, useful if you are planning coordinating backgrounds or print materials.
  • Fancy Crave  All photos published on Fancycrave are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CCO) license which grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Fancycrave for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Fancycrave.
  • Stock Snap
  • Startup Stock Photos
  • Splitshire
  • Life of Pix
  • The New Old Stock focused on older pictures curated from  institutions participating in the Flickr Commons.

2018-05-17 Update:
The design tool Canva also has photos available, both paid and free – the link for searching for free photos on Canva is  https://www.canva.com/photos/tag/free+photos/

Don’t get fooled by Fake News! A useful tip

I really didn’t want to put Fake News in the headline of this post, but really that is what this post is all about. How to use a reverse image search when you are on a mobile device, so that you can spot a Fake News story.

Recently a friend shared a Facebook story that just didn’t add up. The photo was of a man in hazmat style suit purportedly cleaning up an oil spill in North Dakota. You can see a version of the photo at the top of the article. The story implied some type of conspiracy that was preventing news of the oil spill from being covered.

A Reverse Image Search told a different story

This didn’t make sense to me, especially as I had been following news of an oil spill that was not on the scale shown by the photo. However a few minutes with a reverse image search showed the picture had been taken in China, and had nothing to do with North Dakota. This made the rest of the story even more unlikely.

Performing your search

A reverse image search is easy to do on a mobile device although iOS users need to download the Chrome browser app first.  Sorry, but Safari doesn’t support Googles image search file upload.

With that in mind here are the steps to performing your reverse image search:

  1. Save a copy of the photo locally, this might mean taking a screenshot depending on the posts’ privacy settings. Here you can see the photo I used. Note that the poster changed the photo to Black and White in order to make it harder to search. Didn’t work though!

    Altered version of original oil spill clean up photo
    Black and White photo of oil cleanup effort – altered from original
  2. Open Chrome and go to www.google.ca

    Either google.ca or google.com will work
    Either google.ca or google.com will work
  3. Click the Images link on the page to go to Image search. Currently that link is in the top right corner of the screen.

    Google Image Search, showing Camera
    You are in Image Search, when the camera icon is in the search bar.
  4. Click the Camera icon to see your options for searching using an image file.
    Google image search options
    Google Image search options. Search by pasting the URL of the image or by uploading the file.

    Choose the Upload an Image tab.

  5. Uploading an Image
    Uploading an Image

    Click the Choose File button.

  6. You will be offered a choice of taking a new photo or going to your Photo Library. Select your photo library, and locate the image you saved previously.
  7. The file is uploaded automatically and the search is performed.
    Reverse Image Search Results
     Reverse Image Search Results initial screen

    Make sure you scroll down the page looking for the Pages that include matching images.

    finding pages that include matching images
    Reverse Image Search – Pages that include matching images.

    Reverse Image searches are amazing

Frankly, I was astounded that the image was located even after it had been changed. Reverse image searches are a powerful tool! Whether from malicious intent or the desire to give a story emotional impact, there are all too many posts on the net where images are misused. Don’t be fooled.

Add a Google Calendar to a Facebook Page

 

Adding a public Google Calendar is a great way to present activities in an easily shared fashion.

To add a Google Calendar to your Facebook Page, you will first need a Facebook Page (not a personal profile page) and a Google (Gmail) account.

Create the Google Calendar

Make a public calendar. This can be an existing calendar or one created for this purpose.

Make the Calendar Public

After the calendar has been created, click on the drop-down arrow beside the calendar name and choose Calendar Settings. The Calendar Details page will open.

Click the Share this Calendar link.

The checkbox turning on Public Access
Making a Google Calendar Public

 

Enable the Make this calendar public checkbox.

Click the Save button.

The calendar view will be displayed.

Customize the Calendar HTML Code

Return to the calendar’s details page.

Click on the drop-down arrow beside the calendar name and choose Calendar Settings. The Calendar Details page will open:

finding the HTML to display the Google Calendar
Locate the Embed this Calendar section

Scroll down the page and find the Embed This Calendar section.

Click on the Customize the color, size, and other options link.
A new window or tab will open, the Google Embeddable Calendar Helper:

Google Embeddable Calendar Helper
Google Embeddable Calendar Helper

 A preview of your calendar is visible. You can change the title, default view and other elements of the calendar. The view will update to show you what your calendar will look like when the changes are applied. If you do make changes, be sure to press the UPDATE HTML button to ensure those changes are reflected in the HTML.

Be prepared to copy and paste the HTML code. However, do not do so yet.

Add the iFrames Tab app to your Facebook Page

From your Facebook page go to https://www.facebook.com/StaticHtmlThunderpenny/

Click the Use App link on the left hand side of the page.

The Static HTML: iframe tabs page will appear:

view of Thunderpenny app installation page
Static HTML: iframe tabs, Add Static HTML to a Page

Click the Add Static HTML to a Page button.

The Add Page Tab window will open:

Add Page Tab dialog box
Choose your Facebook Page to add the Page Tab too.

Click on the drop-down Facebook Pages Button and select your Facebook Page.

Click the Add Page Tab button.

You will be routed to the Set Up Tab view. Click the Set Up Tab button.

Follow the instructions in the index.html area

Copy the HTML code that you customized previously for your Google calendar into the index.html area.
Replace the instructions with your code (or the instructions will appear along with your calendar).

The Static HTML customization window.
The Static HTML window. Paste your calendar code here.

Click the Save & Publish button.

Name the Tab

From your Facebook Page, select Settings.

Finding the App Settings after installation
Return to Settings to Name the Tab

Click on the Apps category on the left.

Apps that have been added will be listed on the right.

From the Static HTML: iframe tabs app section, click on the Edit Settings link.

The Edit Static HTML: iframe tabs Settings dialog box will appear:

The Edit Static HTML: iframe tabs Settings dialog box
The Edit Static HTML: iframe tabs Settings dialog box

Enter the name of your calendar in the Custom Tab Name: text box.

Click the Save button.

Click the OK button.

You can also add an image that will appear beside the link on the right hand side of your page.

Additional Ideas

Now the App code has been connected to your Facebook page, additional tabs can be added. Any piece of embeddable HTML code can be used. For example; on-line catalog search code. To add additional tabs, return to the page Settings and select Apps.

Click the Go to App link for the Static HTML: iframe tabs app.

The app will walk you through creating an additional tab.

Woobox has an app called Tweet Feed for Pages, which will embed your Twitter feed into a tab on your page. The concept is similar to embedding a Google Calendar. Woobox’s app will walk you through the process of adding the tab.

Tweet Cruncher

I have a Social Media project on the go (waves at https://twitter.com/librarytrustees) that is going to involve tweeting sections of existing documents.

I really hate counting characters. So I decided it was time to make myself a tool for the job.

Original Document and Result after Tweet Cruncher is run on the selected text
Original Document and Result after Tweet Cruncher is run on the selected text

You can see above what I have; the selected area of the original document is highlighted in varying colours, corresponding to the resulting text broken up into tweets. Additionally, I have inserted my chosen hashtag and a count of the sequence of tweets.

Dialog box for Tweet Cruncher
Tweet Cruncher Dialog

The length of the tweets and the Hashtag are entered in a dialog box when the Tweet Cruncher runs. This information is saved with the document, for consistency with subsequent tweets. The Tweets are not exactly the tweet length; I’ve added a bit of code to “round off” each tweet to whole words. The hashtag and sequence count are additional to the length.

And realistically, there will still be editing for content and meaning. Nevertheless, this tool should save me a ton of counting and get the project going faster.

Sub BreakIntoTweets()
Dim IntSelection As Integer
Dim IntPostNumb As Integer
Dim IntPostCount As Integer
Dim IntCharCount As Integer
Dim IntTweetLength As Integer
Dim rngSelectedRange As Word.Range
Dim strPostText As String
Dim intColourPick As Integer
Dim docNewDoc As Word.Document
Dim docWorkingDoc As Word.Document
Dim strPropertyName As String
Dim strHashTag As String
Dim blnWord As Boolean
Dim intActualLength As Integer

Dim arrColourOptions As Variant
arrColourOptions = Array(wdBrightGreen, wdPink, wdTurquoise, wdYellow)
   
Set docWorkingDoc = ActiveDocument
strPropertyName = "HashTag"
strHashTag = frmStartCrunchingTweets.txtHashTag
docWorkingDoc.CustomDocumentProperties(strPropertyName) = strHashTag
IntTweetLength = frmStartCrunchingTweets.txtTweetLength
Set rngSelectedRange = Selection.Range
MsgBox rngSelectedRange.Characters.Count & " characters are selected. Including Paragraph Marks"
IntSelection = rngSelectedRange.Characters.Count
IntPostNumb = IntSelection / IntTweetLength
MsgBox IntPostNumb

rngSelectedRange.Characters(1).Select
IntCharCount = 1
Documents.Add DocumentType:=wdNewBlankDocument
Set docNewDoc = ActiveDocument
docWorkingDoc.Activate
For IntPostCount = 1 To IntPostNumb
    Selection.MoveRight unit:=wdCharacter, Count:=IntTweetLength - 1, Extend:=wdExtend
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> " ") Then blnWord = True ' extend to word
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> ".") Then blnWord = True
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> "?") Then blnWord = True
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> vbCr) Then blnWord = True
    If (Right(Selection.Text, 1) <> "!") Then blnWord = True
    If blnWord = True Then
        Selection.MoveRight unit:=wdWord, Count:=1, Extend:=wdExtend
        intActualLength = Selection.Characters.Count
    Else
        intActualLength = IntTweetLength
    End If
    blnWord = False
    strPostText = Selection.Text & frmStartCrunchingTweets.txtHashTag & " " & IntPostCount & "/" & IntPostNumb
    'get rid of any hard returns
    strPostText = Replace(strPostText, vbCr, " ")
    docNewDoc.Activate
    Selection.TypeText (strPostText) & vbCr
    docWorkingDoc.Activate
    intColourPick = IntPostCount - (4 * Int(IntPostCount \ 4)) 'note this is why no base 1 option for array here, also \ means different than / (truncation function)
    Selection.Range.HighlightColorIndex = arrColourOptions(intColourPick)
    IntCharCount = IntCharCount + intActualLength
      On Error Resume Next
    rngSelectedRange.Characters(IntCharCount).Select '(errors on final character of selection)
Next IntPostCount

End Sub

Update: A New Free to use Photo Site

I just came across a new free photo site called https://unsplash.com/  if you are creating visuals for your library’s social media feed, they have great pictures of books and people reading. Perfect for combining pictures and quotes. I was inspired by the picture below:

Books Stacked Everywhere - from unsplash.com
Books Everywhere

So I headed off to the internet to find a quote that I thought was perfect for these random stacks of books.

“The old man was peering intently at the shelves. 'I'll have to admit that he's a very competent scholar.' Isn't he just a librarian?' Garion asked, 'somebody who looks after books?' That's where all the rest of scholarship starts, Garion. All the books in the world won't help you if they're just piled up in a heap.” ― David Eddings, King of the Murgos
Organization – the secret power of Librarians!

Using the tip I mentioned in this post, I combined the text and image into a picture sized for Twitter.

And then because I’d fallen down into the internet quote-hole I used another picture from unsplash and a terrific quote from the always library friendly Neil Gaiman.

“It's still National Library Week. You should be especially nice to a librarian today, or tomorrow. Sometime this week, anyway. Probably the librarians would like tea. Or chocolates. Or a reliable source of funding.” ― Neil Gaiman
We love Neil Gaiman

If you want to look back – I have a previous post on other free graphics sites.

Google Slides vs PowerPoint for Social Media

Over the last few weeks I’ve been sharing tips for using PowerPoint for social media. Which leads naturally to asking about using Google Slides the same way.

And Google Slides offers comparable features; in particular it does support saving slides as JPG’s and custom dimensions.

What doesn’t Slides have? The photo editing tools and artistic filters that come with PowerPoint are not available, so you’ll have to pre-edit in another application.  And you’ll find that your capabilities are limited on the mobile versions of Slides, so you’ll be forced back to the desktop version.

PowerPoint: Make it Fit

I’ve mentioned it before, but PowerPoint can be a handy graphic editing tool. Especially when you want to combine pictures and text. The question is;  how do you get perfectly sized pictures every time?

Most people don’t play with the Page Setup options other than to swap their slides between a 4:3/16:9 ratio. However you can input your own custom dimensions.

Navigate to the Page Setup Dialog box
Make your own Custom Sized PowerPoint Templates

Go to the Design ribbon and open the Page Setup dialog box. The last choice in the Slides sized for drop down is Custom. Once this is selected you can input your own dimensions (within limits). To create the Twitter header photo template, I researched the dimensions of a Twitter header photo (500px by 1500px). Then I used this website to convert the pixel measurement to centimeters. The website also converts to inches, if that is your preferred measurement.

Now I can easily size my photos for Twitter! (Or Facebook, or Pinterest etc.)

 

Social Media tips – free photo resources

  • Library and Archives Canada –Image Search
  • New York Public Library  – Search Page
  • The Rijkmuseum in Amerstdam has digitized its collection. All of its works are free to use. Its’ policy “If you use our images for publication, then we request that you acknowledge the source (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). We would also like to receive a copy of the publication for our library.”
  • Try the Creative Commons search tool.
  • This post from Hootsuite offers a list of 20 different Free Stock Photo websites. The one I like the best is Pexels, which is where I found this posts’ featured image.
  • University of Alberta Peel Image search.

PowerPoint: Save a Slide as a JPG

Do you like those inspiring combinations of words and pictures you see on many social media sites?

Photo courtesy of National Archives of Canada. Children Reading Art books 1931-1959. Superimposed quote "There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love oa books is hte best of all. - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis"
Photo courtesy of National Archives of Canada. Children Reading Art books 1931-1959. Quote courtesy of ebookfriendly.com

You can use PowerPoint to combine pictures and words and then use the Save As command. Select the JPG type.  Perfect for  uploading to your social media feeds. Here’s a  link to the PowerPoint template  sized for Twitter pictures I used to create the above  sized for Twitter pictures I used to create the picture above. You are welcome to download and use it.

Also, here’s a link to the image search page at the Library and Archives Canada.  And for my fellow book nerds – quotes about reading.