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Students collaborating at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division

What Facebook Graph Search Means for You

7 August 2013

Facebook Search Bar

Earlier this month, Facebook launched a new feature called Graph Search. Now, when you type a user’s name in the search bar, Graph Search will allow you to search for specific items including public posts, likes, location, photos and interests. You can use broad searches as well as more specific ones like “Friends who live in Pittsburgh and like photography” or “people who work in graphic design.”

Graph Search improves Facebook’s search functionality by taking information that was previously very hard to stitch together and making it easy to search. As you can imagine, this feature can help you to identify people with common interests and quickly find specific photos or content. However, if you can easily find this information about others, remember that your Facebook friends, friends of friends and even the public may be able to find the same information about you!

Protecting Your Privacy
With the introduction of Graph Search, it may be time to change your privacy settings—especially if you’re uncomfortable with people searching for your old Facebook pictures and status, or if you don’t like the idea of showing up in a search based on pages that you’ve liked and music or interests that you’ve listed on your page.

The easy way to protect yourself from unwanted privacy intrusions is to go to your privacy settings and click “limit past posts.” This will turn all old posts to a “friends only” status with the click of a button. However, if you want some things to stay public or to be visible to friends of friends, you’ll need to do it the manual way by clicking “Use Activity Log” and going through each post one by one, changing settings as needed.

Business Insider created this great step-by-step guide to help you make your information private. If you don’t have time for that right now, here are the basics:

  1. Go to your Privacy Settings and check who can see your posts: public, friends, friends of friends, or only you.
  2. If you want some posts to stay public, click "Use Activity Log" and scroll through your history, editing the privacy settings for each one as you go.
  3. To change who can see your profile information, go to the “About” page on your profile and click the "edit" button next to each category.

What are your opinions on Facebook's new Graph Search? Feel free to share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

Facebook Privacy Settings

Why You Should Be on Pinterest

28 March 2013

An inspiring quote, a new recipe, creative photography poses and the latest interior design trends—what do these things have in common? You can find them all—and lots more—on Pinterest. Pinterest is a fun tool for saving and organizing things you love, and, no matter what you’re interested in, you can find it on Pinterest.

Learn the Pinterest Lingo

Pinterest logo

There’s new terminology to learn with every social media site, and, with Pinterest, you’ll need to become familiar with boards and pins. We recommend thinking about Pinterest as a collection of virtual bulletin “boards” to which you can attach your favorite pictures and links with virtual push “pins.”

The pictures you pin might be inspirational or might just be something you like. You can also pin links to sites or information that you think will eventually come in handy (pinning is similar to bookmarking web pages, only it's more visual).

Most people organize their boards by topic, so that they can easily find the pins when they are looking for them in the future. For example, you might have one board for party ideas, one for exercises and one for remodeling projects you’d like to do around the house. Most pins link to a website that includes the picture featured in the pin.

You can follow other people’s boards on topics you like so that you can see what they pin. Their pins will then appear in your feed, which is the first thing you see when you log in to Pinterest. You can even repin items that you like and that you want to save on your own board. If people like what you pin, they’ll follow your boards in return.

Get Pinning

If you’re new to Pinterest, you’ll need to set up an account and create your boards before you start pinning. Pinterest has some helpful forums that can get you going:

Joining Pinterest
Pins, repins and likes
Add, edit or delete a board
Following boards and people
And lots of other Pinterest basics

Start playing around. You’ll get the hang of it. In addition to re-pinning items you like, you can also install a “Pin It” button for your browser so that you can pin any image at any time while you are surfing the web.

If you have questions about Pinterest, post them on our Facebook page and we’ll try to help.

Find us on Pinterest

Find us at Follow our boards to discover fun street art, eco-friendly designs, graduation party ideas and more. You can also create your own board titled “My Art Institute” where you can pin photos that inspire your creativity or represent your field of study, your dream job or anything else you associate with your experience at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division. We look forward to seeing what pins you find!

Social Networking as the New Norm

26 January 2012

In this day and age, those who don't have a Facebook account are probably in the minority. In the past few years, thanks to social networks like Facebook, we’re able to cast a wider social net than ever before.

Working on Computers

It used to be that once a person graduated from high school, they’d have to make an effort to keep track of fellow classmates via letters and phone calls. Now, we can connect with those old friends and quickly and easily share photos and news with them. Excited to announce your engagement or the birth of your first child? All you need to do is log in to Facebook to get the word out to your extended network of connections.

Of course, there are some that argue that while Facebook makes it easier to keep in touch, the connections are often superficial. In a recent New York Times article entitled “The Facebook Resisters,” several individuals who are not Facebook members are profiled. One remarked that they found that because of Facebook, they rarely called their friends to speak on the phone anymore. Another recounted an odd situation in which he was in an elevator with a friend of a friend, and, thanks to Facebook, he already knew everything about her, despite the fact that the two had never spoken to each other.

While the Facebook naysayers may be in the minority today, they certainly have some fair points. As we build our social connections, what purpose do they serve for us? Do we really feel connected to our “friends”? If someone sends you a friend request, what determines whether or not you’ll accept it?

In the case of the online student, Facebook can be an invaluable resource. It allows you to connect with fellow classmates from all over the country, share experiences, and provide each other with support. Social networking, whether via Facebook or some other medium, can provide a wonderful supplement to a student’s online learning experience.

While Facebook and other social networks are deeply ingrained in our everyday lives, most of us can remember a time when that wasn’t the case. How have our interactions with those we consider close to us evolved since those days? Provided that we are mindful of how we interact with one another online, we can find that our lives are actually enriched by the ease with which we are able to connect with each other today.

How to Make Yourself Shine Online

2 May 2011

We’ve all heard stories about how employers Google the names of candidates they’re considering during the hiring process. Most people would agree that what you say and do online can work against you. In other words, if you’ve done or said something that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see, don’t post it online.

But now, according to this article from, many of us have put ourselves at risk not of sharing too much, but sharing too little. While it will definitely work against you when an employer Googles your name and finds a picture of you acting the fool, what do you think happens when an employer Googles your name and doesn’t come up with any results at all? Obviously you exist, but why don’t you exist online? Not showing up can be every bit as detrimental as showing up in an unflattering light.

It may seem like it’s impossible to fix this situation. Some of the world’s biggest companies hire SEO firms to gain visibility in the natural search rankings. But you don’t have to go to such extremes. There are a few relatively simple ways you can boost your presence in a positive way.

Google Yourself! – This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t take this simple step. If you don’t know what conversations are happening about you online, it’s difficult to control them. If you find anything unflattering, take the necessary steps to stomp it out. Untag yourself in Facebook photos. Delete unfavorable comments.

Beef up Your LinkedIn Profile – LinkedIn is a great way to boost your credibility online. If you don’t have a profile yet, create one. If you have one but haven’t spent much time on it, there’s no time like the present. In addition to listing your employment history, you can join professional groups and list any special talents you have. The next time you Google yourself, there’s a good chance you profile will show up on top.

Contribute to the Conversation – You can use LinkedIn and other avenues to join groups related to your interests and professional affiliations. Contributing to conversations that take place there can help build your online presence. You might even consider starting your own blog, keeping in mind that anything you say has the potential to be viewed by the entire world.

When building your online presence, it’s safe to assume that the whole world could be watching. Luckily, you have it within your power to present yourself in the most flattering light possible.