Software

Twitter and Facebook meet Outlook

Skip the interface craziness and stay current with Twitter and Facebook using Outlook.
It's official: I think everybody is on Twitter or Facebook, and some people use both! If you have Outlook, two new add-ins make keeping up easier than ever:
  • TwInbox is for Twitter users. This free add-in lets you read new tweets and send updates and even new tweets from inside Outlook.
  • Facebook users can try FBLook for a similar experience.
Part of the fun of Twitter and Facebook is the online interface experience, which you definitely lose with both add-ins. However, if you enjoy the social interaction and don't care about the interface, one or both of these add-ins might be for you. If you use either, let us know how you like them. Tell us what works for you and what doesn't.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

29 comments
runnerkmf
runnerkmf

Company firewall now blocks Facebook. How can I remove the FB toolbar?

HBEaker
HBEaker

So the comments seemed to go astray rather quickly in to killing these add-ons. What about functionality? Has anyone tried these yet? Do they work well? Do they conflict with anything (like Google App Sync conflicts with MS Search)? Compare with Xobni? Oh, and if someone does install them, they could answer the first question about executable names...

JSmotherman
JSmotherman

I'm not. Currently have no plans to be, either.

kferraro
kferraro

Thanks for the heads-up, although I don't think it was meant to be that. If MS was smart they would have a way to control add-ins from Group Policies.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

That sucked too. Sorry, my fingers were typing it before my brain realized what was going on.

Ken Wolf
Ken Wolf

Thanks for the heads up! If someone could provide the names of the executible files so I can monitor my network for any installations, that would be great. IMHO, these two add-ins present possible security concerns that I would like to avoid. Not to mention another great way for users to waste time while at work. Just my 2 cents worth.

HBEaker
HBEaker

Okay, so tried the Twitter one. It might be good for some people, but not me. All it does it sucks everything from Twitter into a folder in Outlook (and allows you to reply, retweet, etc.). I was hoping it would integrate with Outlook contacts -- so I could open a contact and decide whether to contact them by email, phone, or Twitter. This is not that add-on. I will be uninstalling.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I notice you've been a member here for a while, but it looks like you've only recently become active in the forums. FYI, we go off-topic around here a lot. While this is frowned on in some forums, the overall attitude of the membership is to consider TR is a 'water cooler' and discussions can wander where they will. Second, you worried in your previous post about being long-winded. Around here, you're not considered overly verbose unless we have to page down more than once.

HBEaker
HBEaker

I have installed the Twitter add-on, the file location and name are: %ProgramFiles%\TechHit.com\TwInbox\OutTwit.dll

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

I block web downloads so there is no 'easy' way to get the file. Somebody could bring it in but then there is no permission to install on the PC's. :-)

Bizzo
Bizzo

Would it be possible to stop users installing add-ins to office products?

DuctTapeNHammer
DuctTapeNHammer

FBLook_setup.exe TwInbox_setup.exe You could always block the site (www.techhit.com) on your firewall to keep them from ever visiting the site in the first place. Although there may be alternative sites to download these files.

Ken Wolf
Ken Wolf

That's what I was looking for! thanks for taking the plunge. Saw your post about your thoughts after installing. Doesn't sound like an app to increase productivity at the office (at least not at mine).

lallig
lallig

I think that says it... fortunately I don't have one. Maybe the employees need to be managed/incentivised to not want to waste time at work.

Ken Wolf
Ken Wolf

There may not be executibles as such since these are add-ons to Outlook. Not sure how add-ons are implemented. Yeah we are using OpenDNS to block Twitter and Facebook sites. Hopefully, these add-ons would be blocked also

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I have one too, and the keys are permanently in it. You couldn't give it away. But if you put an se-r sticker on it, some kid would steal it for sure. :)

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

But...IT is part of the buisiness. Does the finance department need to strive to be strategically aligned with the business? What about the marketing department? It's comments like that (no offence) that make me wonder what the hell are some businesses upto. Shows that they view IT outside the business, which is incorrect.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

when it hits the fan. Inevitably it does when there is nobody in charge. Me? I'll be sitting back, probally unaware of your situation. Just the way I would like it.

HBEaker
HBEaker

Absolutely. I was already getting long-winded, but I agree with you that IT has the responsibility to educate the business on all things tech - risks, potential benefits, potential abuses, what the competition is doing, etc. IT should also strive to be strategically aligned with the business, and be able to map new tech to strategic goals of the business. Depending on the organization, Facebook/Twitter might be very interesting to marketing, or community outreach, or recruiting. Plus, this is a great time to have a dialog with business leaders that isn't about something bad (data loss, outage, need more budget, project delay), take advantage of it!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Or were you going to park it in questionable sections of town, keys in, engine running, unlocked? Maybe stick some aftermarket geegaws on it; they may hurt the performance, but they look cool!

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

While using it I may modify the contents as I see fit, without your consent. But thats OK as you would not want to ruin my buzz now, would you?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

That's not what I got from him, but I can agree with most of your position. It's also the responsibility of IT to point out how these features can be misused to the company's detriment. Having done that, if the business leaders decide the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, then it's time to implement the utility.

HBEaker
HBEaker

He misspelled it, but it's a word. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incentivize - though I don't care for it either. Heck the original guy misspelled "executable." And I've probably misspelled a bunch of words, too... But I think he's got a point. IT Managers should support their users. When a new tech comes along, the knee-jerk reaction should not be "how do I kill it?" Rather, the first reaction should be to ask the business decision-makers if they need it. When many news outlets are discussing how companies should use Twitter and Facebook to connect to their customers and business partners, I don't think one can assume they are non-productive. If they are trying to recruit a younger generation of social-networking-savvy workers, they might find retention difficult in a hostile work environment. Accessing sites such as these is not a tech decision - it's a business one. The business should make the decision, and the IT department should enforce that decision. I've seen many managers in IT who make business decisions, thinking they "know what's best" for their users. In my opinion, that is not the job of an IT Manager, any more than assigning the corner office is the sole job of facilities.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

How can you use a word like 'incentivised' and still accuse others of being soul crushing? And in the passive tense, too.

Ken Wolf
Ken Wolf

check Tools \ Options \ Other (tab) Click the Advanced Options button. Then click COM Add-Ins.. button. Apparently Add-Ins take the form of .exe or .dll(s). Someone needs to install these things and post back if they use .dll(s) or .exe , LOL!!