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Techie Tips & Tricks--Social Networking and Outlook

16-Dec-2010 2:15 PM | Steve Royal (Administrator)
by Paul Lowans, Lowans IT Service

Most of the time when Microsoft comes out with a new version of Office, the new features are not necessarily useful by those of us in small businesses like consulting. They require interaction with Microsoft’s servers such as SharePoint Server. But Outlook 2010 does have a feature that is quite useful, the Microsoft Outlook Social Connector which displays LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace social media information in emails and contacts windows.

To view the information, you need to turn on the People Pane. Select /View/People Pane/Normal. To see what this does, open an email. Here’s one from Barbara Moore. Note her Facebook picture, Facebook entries and along the upper right edge are pictures of other people she sent the email to.

People Pane

There are certain Outlook add-ons you need to download and install in order to view the social media information. They can be obtained through the Microsoft website: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/outlook-social-connector-partner-listing-FX101812910.aspx

On the web page, click on the corresponding link to download each add-on, and then install it. You can install more than one social network.

Make sure you choose the correct add-on for Facebook. There are two downloads, one each for 32 bit (OSCFB-x86-en-us.exe) and 64 bit (OSCFB-x64-en-us.exe) Outlooks. Most of us have 32 bit Outlook. To find out which version of Outlook you have, select /File/Help. To the right you will see, About Microsoft Outlook and the version will list it as either 32 or 64 bit. This is somewhat independent from whether you are running 32 or 64 bit Windows. Office 2010 32 bit will run fine on either 32 or 64 bit, Windows Vista or Windows 7 but Office 2010 64 bit can only run on 64 bit Vista or Windows 7.

At this time LinkedIn and MySpace add-ons are strictly for 32 bit Outlook 2010.

After you’ve installed your social media add-ons, you need to set up the accounts. You’ll need the username and password for each of the accounts you setup. Select /View/People Pane/Account Settings

Set up up your account

Select each connection one at a time and enter your username and password for that social media. To complete the process select the Connect button at the bottom of the window. If you have entered the correct account information, you’re finished with that account and can go on to the next account. When you’re done setting up all your accounts, select the Finish button at the bottom. You can disregard the My Site account. It’s for larger companies that have servers and their own internal version of a social media.

Social media accounts

One of the advantages of the Outlook Social Connector is if you receive an email from someone and you want to add them to your social media network, all you have to do is select the Add button below their picture and the social media network you want to add them too. You’ll be provided with a window that lets you send your request to add them to your network.

There you have it; you are now connected through Outlook to your social media networks.



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