Word on the Schipul SEM gossip street is that Facebook comments are being indexed by Google, which means BAM! More SEO love for your site — if you’re using the XFBML implementation.
A recent post on SearchEngineLand.com explains how at one point add-on commenting systems made it difficult for search engines to index content on sites. But now that Facebook comments are being crawled by Google, things are changing.
Apparently, the XFBML type comments are specifically the ones being crawled. That means it’s in your favor to add the Facebook Comment s social plug-in to your site. (Yes, I feel like we’re feeding the Facebook monster here…but…eh…whatchagonnado? (._.)/) Here’s how to add the plug-in:
2. Select the XFBML version of the code and copy it.
3. Go to your site and add the code just below the first <body> tag. (This is in the index template of your site. If you have a Tendenci site, contact support if you need help with this.)
4. Select the line of code on the last line and place the line of code for the plug-in on the page where you’d like it to appear:
This should add the FB Comments social plug-in to your site. Of course it will vary across browsers, so be sure you follow the proper steps for the browser most of your site visitors use to access your content.
Do you consciously share some things on Twitter that you don’t share on Facebook? Do you select the people who’ll see certain things you post on Facebook? Then the answer to the question is ‘yes.’
Count yourself among the many social media users who actively limit the information they post on social networks to just a few personal connections. Fortunately, the push for more human-centered design features has lead sites like Facebook to heed your quiet demands by adapting to your behavior.
How social networks are responding to your behavior
First it was Facebook who noticed that while you’re happy to have a ton of “friends,” you don’t necessarily want to share the news of t your recent cosmetic surgery with all of them. Enter Facebook Groups, a feature on the site that lets users share certain content with select friends.
The New York Times reports that last month about 50 million groups were created on Facebook, and each group typically had about eight members. Which brings to mind the TV show Friends. Humans are social creatures, but our day-to-day interaction happens consistently with a small number of people — eight seems about right.
Who else is paying attention to your affinity for small groups?
If you’ve ever BBM’d, Ping’d, or KIK’d one of your friends, then you know who’s paying attention.
BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) is a mobile instant messaging system by Research in Motion, or RIM, the makers of the Blackberry Software.
Kik Messenger is a similar to BBM, but it works on all smartphones. (Except BlackBerry who won’t play nicely and insists on keeping Blackberry users strictly on BBM.)
Finally, Ping is Apple’s social network that allows users of iTunes to share their music interests. Unfortunately for Apple, the noisiest complaint about Ping is that it doesn’t integrate with Facebook. Neither do the previous tools, but it doesn’t seem BBM and KIK users expect a Facebook integration.
Small group tools that integrate with other social media platforms
The whole point of streamlining is taking all of something and slimming into one functional thing. So here a few highlighted in the NYT article that “mimic offline social relationships”:
Path – iPhone app that lets you share your life with 50 people or fewer.
Shizzlr – iPhone and Android app that shows what’s going on and lets users discuss plans with up to 20 friends.
Planely – Does one thing: Tells you who else is on your flight AND on Planely. You can connect with it through Facebook and the rest falls into place.
Gowalla – Location-based social network. Shared updates through Facebook and Twitter are optional. You can have as many or as few friends to trade objects, leave tips and share photos. (Foursquare, too. But Gowalla is cuter.)
While the concept of working remote isn’t new (it used to be called ‘telecommuting’), the tools to facilitate it have grown over the last few years.
The Internet is likely the most obvious tool that facilitates working remote, and the phone may be the most commonly overlooked. Beyond email and phone, consider other third-party tools to extend your business beyond your home base and help your team continue to feel connected to one another. Let’s review the following tools for working remote:
Web-based Teaching Tools
Substitute Conference Calls with Online Video Chats
Instead of hearing only your remote team’s voices, enhance your conference calls with video chat so you can see them and experience a more engaging conversation. Skype and Google Video Chat are two free and easy-to-use tools that make meeting face-to-face a practical way to include your entire team in meetings.
Both are easy to set-up and install. You’ll need a stable internet connection, web cam and audio. Many webcams come with built-in audio devices (I have a LifeCam HD-6000 and really like it). All you do is plug ’em in, launch your video chat application and start your meeting.
Use Collaborative Tools to Create and Manage Documents
If you’ve saved, emailed, updated, saved again, and sent a follow-up email to spell out the changes you made, you may want to give collaborative tools a try. Collaborative tools allow team members to work on the same document, together in real-time. They’re also a workable solution for newsletter editors that are inundated with email attachments of articles and revisions of articles. This 3-minute video illustrates Google Docs, one of my favorite collaborative tools:
The documents and spreadsheets in Google Docs are very similar to those in MS Office. There’s no new software to learn, so getting started is just a matter of getting over the fear of trying something new. I recommend taking the tour to help get comfortable with the tool.
Use Web-based Tools to Demonstrate
Screen shots are helpful for walking clients and co-workers through online processes. Sometimes, when you can’t be there, talking a client or co-worker through the process is the most efficient way. While both methods work, tools like GoToMeeting let you share your computer screen with others to demonstrate processes in real-time. This tool has proven helpful in our web-based trainings and one-to-one client demonstrations.
The world of the internet is an awesome (umâ€¦ and really giant) sharing platform; a way for everyone to share, like or favorite almost anything possible, right? And sharing is an excellent way for products, Websites and brands to gain exposure and increase their company’s following and reputation.
But what if you’re not a large company?
What if you don’t even sell anything? Many companies and personal blogs belong to a certain niche. Gardening. Watercolors. Specialty Pet Food. Business Management Techniques. The most widely used method small niche blogs like these use is social media; and social media takes time. Lots of time if you want to do it well, interact with your followers and build reputation and influence. New bloggers sometimes have a hard time with this.
Here comes Social Blogmarking.
Social blogmarking is exactly what it sounds like. Similar to bookmarking a site, social blogmarking sites allow you to write a post, submit it to a blogmarking site and allows users vote it “up” or “down” or to the front of the page depending on how well they enjoyed the content.
Blogmarking is great for niche websites.
Social blogmarking can be utilized to draw more focused attention to your blog. The traffic you try hard to target through social media may find you on their own through a blogmakring site. It is also a great way to network with other bloggers and explore possible competitors.
Many social blogmarking sites, such as Blogengage and DesignFloat have navigation menus that allow you to search other niches, read and vote. This is not to say at all that social media is better or worse. Social media works amazingly for brand building and connecting to your audience, but takes far more time and dedication than blogmarking.
Personally, I believe good results should come from good, hard work’ so more hours poured into Social Media outlets should return favorable results. Realistically, however, not everyone has just a few extra hours laying around everyday to promote themselves properly.
Social blogmarking in the end…
Using both methods of social media and blogmarking may work well for some. If you have written a blog, share it with Social Media like Facebook or Twitter! Let others spread it across the world for you and shout it from the mountain tops! And while you’re at it, submit it to a social blogmarking site.
I suggest Blockube; so far I’ve found this site to be more stylish and easier to navigate than other blogmarking sites . It’s simple to blogmark your own posts and let others vote on its relevance, content and readability (less of a popularity contest, more focused on content). Also, remember to pay attention to the votes you get; you can use social blogmarking sites to learn what you are doing right or wrong by what kind of votes you receive.
Just a few years ago, sites like Newspaper Death Watch, began tracking daily newspapers as they steadily went out of print. Since then, publications have adapted to the changing media landscape by creating online versions of their publications. But the delivery is different, and sometimes not as visually appealing as the copy you get to hold in your hand.
Online publishing tools offer just that. And not only are they useful for magazines, but they’re great for brochures and promotional pieces. Issuu and FlippingBook are two examples of online tools used by two Schipul clients to showcase their content.
Issuu lets users upload in any format and choose the best way to display their content (magazine, presentation or paper). One of the great things about Issuu is that it’s SEO-friendly. According to the site, every word inside publications on Issuu are available from any search engine. More than that, users can try it for free or just browse it’s catalog of online publications.
FlippingBook turns PDF files into flash on a specific site, rather than a searchable community. It allows users to share and view the content online. Also, the program lets users tailor the look of publications, has a download feature for multiple ways of sharing and a built-in text search that helps users find specific information within the text. The drawback of the program is that its free versions are watermarked and only available for Windows 7, Vista and XP.
The sleek presentation of publishing sites like Issuu can be intimidating. If you’re seeking something simple, Scribd. is worth a peek.
It’s an open reading platform, meaning you don’t need a flash player or web reader to view documents. It’s HTML based. The types of documents span the gamut –school work, how-to guides/manuals, books, presentations, spreadsheets – it’s all there. To get a better idea of the community Scribd caters to, I recommend watching their introductory slideshow.
Depending on your needs, FlippingBook, Issuu and Scribd are all suitable online publication tools with great features. FlippingBook is a good tool for content that will change consistently, yet it offers the functionality of a visually appealing, hand-held publication. Issuu is definitely the way to go for a more substantial publication, that won’t “expire.” And Scribd offers a bit of both worlds, where your document can live and breath in a widely accessible format.
Now that you know about online office software, it’s time to start publishing your work. While in the past this might of been nearly impossible for the average writer, today all you need is a document and an internet connection. Being able to publish has never been easier, as there are several services now available. With the rise these publishing services the question is now, Which one should I use? Below, I will list 3 different services and discuss what makes them different.
Features (Pro Acount): Unlimited Storage, Bulk Uploading, Unlimited Document Uploading, Detailed Statistics, No Ads (A big plus for your work), Privacy Controls
My Take: Their tagline is “Publish by millions” which goes to show they are serious about producing your work. Issuu appears to be the complete package with slick design, well-rounded features, and an easy to upload system. Issuu is a great service if you are serious and plan to be publishing for a long amount of time but if you are just publishing 1 or 2 pieces of work, the $19/mo plan would not be worth it.
Features: No monthly plan, HTML 5 integration, simple layout and uploading, support for many file types.
My Take: Scribd might not be as robust as Issuu, but the HTML5 integration completely changesthe experience of reading documents. Most services make documents a static image, however Sribd formats documents so users can highlight text, and interact with the work. Also, documents load much faster and are able to be read on mobile devices like the iPhone. Scribd is practical for people who publish often but not enough to justify a $19/mo subscription. While there may not be as many features, the experience makes this service a competitor.
Features: Simple interface and uploading. Designed for magazines.
My Take: MagCloud differs from the other services by focusing exclusively on magazines. MagCloud is based off a traditional system, where users upload documents, then receive a proof, and finally publish online. When users buy magazines online, they are shipped a physical copy instead of just a digital one. MagCloud doesn’t offer much flexibility other than what it’s designed to do (i.e. you can only upload PDF’s). I would suggest MagCloud to people who publish a magazine every week or so, and don’t care or need to do much else.
I was pretty excited the day I heard about this thing. Now I’m typing this very blog post on it, sitting on an airplane on the way to California. What follows here is less of a review (5 thumbs up!) and more of a commentary on why I think this thing is the beginning of something.
iPad Form and Feel
The specs on the device don’t really do it justice. The screen is much bigger than an iPhone, but not exactly as big as a laptop screen. It weighs about as much as a dinner plate, which is light to move around but heavy to hold one-handed. The aluminum is a bit slippery to the touch, but I’ve got the apple case on mine which is thin but tactile enough that I don’t expect to drop it. While adding a case adds thickness, it doesn’t matter that much because the iPad is much too big to put in a pocket.
The screen is the same buttery-smooth glass as the iPhone. Fingers slide around very easily, though they do cause quite a bit of smudging. The buttons are all distinctly placed and easy to access. The headphone jack occasionally seems to be in the wrong place, but that it easily corrected by rotating the screen. Almost every app rotates around so that there is no top or bottom of the device. Overall the device is plenty big to see and light enough for a lap, which secures it in that middle space between iPhone and MacBook.
iPad Function and Performance
This thing is fast! The biggest problem that has plagued many similar portable devices is speed, and the iPad delivers better than anything I’ve ever used. You tap or swipe something, and things start happening immediately. The Wi-Fi is quick and browsing websites feels as fast as using a desktop.
The function of this magical thing is most called into question. If I already have a laptop, desktop, and an iPhone, why would someone ever need an iPad? Well, the short answer is you don’t need it, but you probably really want it. The iPad combines much of the portability of the phone with the power and relative size of a laptop. Using the apps loaded on the device along with some from the app store you can:
Play games where you touch the screen
Surf the web on a large screen
Read and respond to email with a full keyboard
Administer websites from a command line
Design websites using mockup and graphics apps
Edit, share, and upload photos
Write blog posts (like this one)
While that likely doesn’t cover 100% of what you do in a day, it probably covers 75-80%. And in doing so, it lets you do the things you need (or want) to do from a couch, coffee shop, airplane, or even the beach with the 3G model. The battery life will cover you all day, as it is pretty true to the quoted 10 hours. I got only 9 hours with the 3G, but that is still much longer than I would get if I was constantly using the iPhone or even a laptop.
Worth the cost?
I, likemanyotherpeople, fully expected the iPad to cost over $1000 when it was first announced in January of this year. I was blown away by the entry-level price of $499. For some people, that $499 version (16GB, Wi-Fi only) will be good enough. I settled in on the 32GB model with 3G, which rang up to close to $800 after taxes and such. Throw in the case and a couple of other extras and it’s closer to $900. Then, pile on the $80 on apps I have spent so far and I am almost at that $1000 mark. Even then, I think it all has been worth it.
The iPad changes my entire day. I wake up and am able to read my RSS feeds on a large, light weight screen while sitting in bed. That’s about 20 minutes a day. I take the iPad to work and use it to check and file email, test web designs, and keep up with social media. At night, I take it home and I browse the web from the dinner table or while on the couch. I use it as a giant remote for the media center computer hooked up to my TV. All in all, I probably spend about 3 hours a day with the device.
While I could do most of those things from a phone or a laptop, they are so much nicer on the iPad. It has the best balance of being powerful and portable than any other device I’ve ever used (and I’ve used a few). Having a great experience for 3 hours a day is entirely worth the cost of the device.
Future of computing
There was much debate before the device was released (some of which I contributed to) about the effects of the iPad on the future of computer. I do believe that touch is something that will be around for the relative future, until we get Minority Report style gesture interfaces. Using the device needs little or no training to jump in and start browsing or using apps. That jumps a major hurdle in using almost any other computing device. The iPad was made for people who aren’t that in to computers, but who use email, social media, and the internet at large.
A big part of the negative side of the discussion comes from individuals who want a normal computer with a touch screen. This is not the iPad, and I don’t think it describes the future of computing. When you really think about the level of abstraction that is involved in a normal desktop, it’s pretty mind-blowing. If you come in with the goal of wanting to look at pictures, you have to find the right folder, open the pictures (usually 1 by 1), and flip through them while they are surrounded by a window with menus and buttons and other extras. On the iPad, you tap the photos app, and there they are. When browsing a photo, your options are limited to what you can do with that photo at that moment. Many people are scared of that word ‘limited’, but I think the reduction in UI junk helps you to accomplish your goals at that time.
All of this said, the iPad can’t do everything. I won’t speak on Flash, because that has been talked to death, but the iPad is also incapable of some other things. As I said before it tackles about 80% of computing tasks. But remember, this is just the first iteration. The biggest thing the iPad has going for it is that it makes the things you want to do easier and more fun.
I’ve had my iPad for just over a week, and I love it. I carry it around with me and have already used it for movies at the gym, in a client presentation, while taking notes, at home, at my desk, and on an air plane. Much of those things can be done other ways, but nothing can do all of them the way the iPad can. Check out the iPad at your local Apple store or borrow one from your local Apple fanboy so you can understand what I am talking about.
While this review was written on an iPad with both the onscreen keyboard and a Bluetooth one, the post was published on a desktop.
We’ve all come across email SPAM, but that is only where the annoyance begins. If you have a blog, a website that takes comments, or even a contact form, then you have probably seen some SPAM there, too. It used to be easy to identify, but spammers are becoming craftier at their game. Learn how you can fight back.
Why people Spam
Before diving into the problem of comment SPAM, I’d like to answer this question: Why do people SPAM? The biggest purpose of comment SPAM is SEO-related. One of the things Google and the others factor into their algorithms is linkbacks. A linkback is any link from an external site back to your website. In many comment forms on blogging platforms there is an option to include a website, which is then linked to your name when you leave a comment. This is a way of telling people who it is that is leaving the comment. Spammers use this opportunity to link to trashy SPAM websites that make pennies per visitor. If they rank higher in the search engines for keywords like “free viagra”, they can drive more traffic and make more pennies. Pennies turn into dollars which turn into Benjamins, and you get the picture. However, this doesn’t work very well for the spammers.
While most of the blogging platforms include comments and do send links, they include a little piece of code that prevents linkbacks. It’s called a “nofollow” link. It tells Google not to count a link as a linkback. Google doesn’t follow the link, so that website isn’t given any benefit. It’s an optional setting, but it is turned on for professional blogs as well as Blogger.com and WordPress.com hosted blogs. We don’t use nofollow links on this blog so that we can pass along benefits to our commenters. However, spammers don’t know that we do this, and they don’t seem to care much either way. Even with nofollow links, the spammers will still attack your site. Now that we know the why, lets look into the “what” of comment SPAM.
What Comment SPAM looks like
Most people can identify the obvious SPAM very quickly. It is riddled with links to ED drugs or other pharmaceuticals, or in some cases it is written in Russian. This kind of SPAM is automated by the spammers and can be caught by filters. The other types of SPAM are much harder to identify. They look more like real comments. Here is an example (the link doesn’t work):
From Investment Ideas: Great Post! I stumble by this blog from Google and your content really speaks to me. You are an expert in your field and this post is proof. I am now subscribing to read more.
At first glance this looks like a very nice comment. It is probably one you would be proud to have at the bottom of your posts. Unfortunately, it is SPAM. The “name” of the commenter is used as a keyword to create a linkback to the URL, which in this case is also about investment ideas. The text sounds very nice, but it would probably sound very nice on any of your posts. These types of comments have a few things in common, and you can become a pro at identifying it and removing it.
How to Identify and Stop SPAM
Unfortunately, this kind of SPAM is not caught by the filters because it looks genuine. In many cases it is even entered by a real person (often overseas). They copy/paste a snippet on many sites as fast as possible. But, you can spot it when moderating your comments. Here is three-item test to identify the tricky SPAM:
The name looks like a description and not really a person’s name. In the example, it is Investment Ideas.
The link goes to a site very similar to the name. It may also include several hyphens, which are sometimes used in spam URLs.
The text of the comment is very generic. It doesn’t reference anything in the post and can probably apply to almost any of your posts.
Those three quick tests can help you to identify most comment SPAM. After reviewing the fake comment above, you will see that it includes all three of the regular pieces of SPAM comments. You may come across some comments that just say “Great Post!”. To determine if these are SPAM you should pay close attention to the name and link. If it is a person’s name and goes to a personal site or blog (like JMO), then it is probably not SPAM.
You will have to use your own discretion when deciding which comments are SPAM on your blog. Comments are great places to have a bit of further discussion about posts. They can add to the “conversation” in many cases, so blocking SPAM is even more important to keep the conversation fluid. While comment SPAM can’t hurt you directly, it can look ugly on your blog.
While some sites have turned off comments all together to prevent this, you may still want to keep comments on your site. Using nofollow links can help prevent the spammers from gaining anything with their garbage, but it will still pile up in the back and can clutter your real comments. Moderating your comments regularly and having a keen eye for SPAM can protect your site from the evils of comment SPAM.
I have decided it to let the SPAM comments show up on this post so you can see some examples of what we get. I will neuter them by removing the link, but the text and name of the commenter will be left alone (unless it’s profane). Our first winner is “Affiliate Network”.
Many more SPAM comments have rolled in to the mix. I’ve removed links on all of them, but the text gives you an idea of what they may look like on your site.
Over the past two years, hundreds of thousands of blog posts, forums, and comments had speculated about Apple making a tablet. Last week, Apple did something they hadn’t done during that entire time span. They admitted they had designed a tablet computer. How did they create so much buzz?
While I think their new device is a real breakthrough in future computing, I find the marketing (or lack of marketing) for such an item much more fascinating. How does a company build up so much hype? Why are people so excited about something they didn’t even know existed? And why have so many critics turned negative on something that isn’t technically for sale yet? Let’s dive a little deeper to solve the iHype mystery.
Apple, in its history as a company, has been known for releasing ground-breaking products that change the way we do things. It started back in the ’80s with the Apple II and the Macintosh, and continued in the 2000’s with the iPod and iPhone. The widespread obsession in the tech community over Apple rumors is fairly new, but the true Apple geeks have always been a hype-driven excitable bunch. The return of Steve Jobs near the end of the ’90s helped to rejuvenate this passionate group. The basics behind iHype are these:
Develop new things in ways that haven’t been done before.
Don’t publicly show prototypes or “proofs of concept”.
Make a polished, grand announcement of the new thing.
Ignore the negative critics.
Your business or organization may not make awesome tablet computers, but the principles of iHype can still apply to your business.
Develop New Things
Whether it is a piece of software, a book, a networking organization, or a physical item, your product or service stands out in some way. You may do lots of R&D for your new device, or you could simply offer a better way to manage alumni donors. Perhaps you offer public speaking advice or maybe you write code and build web apps. You can be a star by developing things that are new, fresh, and useful. Think like Apple and create things that people dream of using. Offer services that no one else can match and create your own category. To build iHype, you must build something to hype up.
Don’t show Prototypes
The biggest lesson here is this: Prototypes eat up all the hype. When you announce that your company is working on a new product to be released in 18 months, users will forget about it two days later. Not only are future predictions unreliable (see XKCD’s take below), you kill off all of your excitement by the time the thing launches. You effectively use your marketing window of opportunity to announce a future announcement.
Imagine going to a party on July 31st that was solely to announce another party in 4-6 months (New Years Eve). You would likely kill any buzz for the real party and possibly upset your current guests. The exception to this is a short timeframe with a solid date. Announcing your new product that will come out at the end of the month is probably OK, but it’s better to announce things that ship today. (Apple occasionally announces things before their release to do patent and FCC filings which inadvertently announce things. If they could wait until the ship date, they would.)
The Grand and Polished Announcement
You won’t have the same stage as Apple, but you can deliver your message with the same gusto. If you are issuing a press release, than include graphics, numbers, and memorable quotes and taglines. If you are sending an email newsletter to current clients to announce a new service, give it a great subject line and pay attention to the details. If you are lucky enough to make your announcement in person as a presentation then practice, practice, practice. A boring and unoriginal announcement is likely to be forgotten. Tell the story of your great new thing. The time you spend on it will often mirror the amount of attention it gets from your audience, so put in the time it deserves.
Ignore the naysayers
Apple made their announcement last week and already many of the tech blogs are denouncing the new device. Apple has experienced the same thing happening with the iPod an iPhone, so they are not fazed by harsh words. You may not have the same experience so a negative review could be very painful initially. Do not let it get you down. Your new offering has taken you time and energy because you built it with intent and passion. If someone with a blog or an email account doesn’t like it, there is no reason they should kill any of your excitement. You are trying to sell your product to people who want it, not people who don’t. Do not forget this. Every product has a negative critic and unfortunately their voices can drown out the positive folks. Have confidence in your service and in your announcement, do great marketing, and the buyers will come.
You probably won’t get the same media level of hype that Apple gets, but there is no reason you can’t create stir of similar excitement with your followers and customers. Make something great, boldly announce it when it’s ready, and ignore anyone who talks down about it. These are the simple keys to creating your own storm of iHype.
Ever clicked on the top link in Google only to find a page that takes For-ev-er to load? Well, that page may not be a top site for long. Google is changing up how they are ranking websites and one of their new pieces of criteria is speed.
Google has recently released an entire sub-site to improve on website speed. The site includes a tools page which highlights among others Page Speed which is Firefox plugin for developers. The also showcase a new report in Webmaster Tools to show how quickly your site loads. Many of these tools give you stats about your site speed as well as suggestions on how to improve it. These suggestions include:
*This website embeds our Twitter feed, which requires an extra DNS lookup and can increase the load time. You will have to decide the importance of similar widgets for your site. We like our Twitter feed and Flickr pics, so we’ll take the small performance hit to keep those. But, we don’t include other widgets from most of our other social media profiles so we can speed up our blog. Finding the right balance for your site may take some testing and tough decisions, but speed is definitely something to keep in mind.
Social Search and Authority
Speed is very important to Google themselves. As the real-time web continues to change minute by minute, Google is beginning to bring some of that data into its results. You may have noticed that Google now displays twitter results at the top of some searches.
The first part of the ranking system is the time of the tweet. Google generally displays the most recent tweets first so searchers will have up-to-the minute results to their queries. This speed combined with link authority shapes how searchers can get the latest Glee news (or other important things of course).
As you can see, this search result shows twitter responses. While the exact science behind choosing tweets is not know, we do know that Google follows a similar model to their search results. Incoming links to a website can raise its ranking, and similarly more followers and incoming links to a Twitter profile can give that Twitterer more authority. There are similar theories out there, but we know that Google is ranking authority somehow.
The Facebook Factor
Google also has agreements with Facebook to bring your status updates and Facebook info to the Search Results as well. Before you freak out, yes, you can keep these things from the search engines using the Privacy features in Facebook. They have a dedicated page for Search Privacy Settings. I have mine set to Everyone, but I understand that may not work for you. Other options include Friends and Networks, Friends of Friends, and Friends Only. From the Search Privacy Settings you can preview your public profile, which will give you an idea of what information Google will see about you (see below).
Google can also use this public Facebook profile to show authority. If you do not have your own website, doing a vanity search may show your Facebook profile as the top result for your name. I have my personal website (JMO), but my Twitter feed and Facebook profile both rank above it because of the authority those sites carry. I urge you to search for your name to see where your social profiles rank.
Tips for you
What steps can you take to insure people find you fast?