cover for Windows 8 for Tablets Plain and SimpleWe’re excited to announce that Simon May’s Windows 8 for Tablets Plain & Simple (ISBN 9780735670839) is now available for purchase!  You can find the book’s introduction in this previous post.

In today’s post, please enjoy reading an excerpt from section 10, “Connecting to Social Networks.” 

Today many of us are hyper-connected because we use social networks and email to keep in touch.  With email we typically store the contact details of everyone we come across in our address books.  Our social network connections typically link us to almost every individual we know from our schooldays through our working adult lives, from friends through family through co-workers.  It can be a challenge keeping all that information together and this is where the People app comes in to help make sense of it all.

The People app on your Windows 8 tablet connects all your email address books and social networks together so you’re never short of a contact.  Those contacts are available to you in other apps, such as Mail and Messaging, so that you don’t have to keep storing duplicate account details.  The wonderful thing about social networks and the people on them is that contact details remain up to date, so when a friend changes their phone number the chances are you’ll get it straight away.

Social networks are places where people share all types of information from status updates to conversations to photos of their kids or what they did on Friday night.  The People app is again the hub for this information on your tablet. Once connected your Facebook account, photos will be available in the Photos app, or in fact in any app that can use photos so you don’t have to keep adding your Facebook details over and over.  This information is stored in your Microsoft account so that it follows you from device to device along with the preferences you make around sharing.

The People app itself is also a great place to find out what’s going on with your friends through the “What’s new” view that shows you all your friends updates in one place.

Introducing People

The People app is the starting point for connecting your social networks to Windows. When networks are connected you can access the information they store, such as pictures or names and addresses, in other apps such as Mail or Photos. The People app shows updates from your connected social networks as well as showing when those people are actually connected to and available on those social networks through chat.

Linking Social Networks

The first step in using the social features throughout Windows 8 on your tablet is connecting your social networks to the People app. Most social networks connect in the same way; the following steps show Facebook but other networks work similarly. Once connected you can view status updates and chat with people you are friends with on those networks.

Connect Facebook

1. Tap the People tile on the Start screen.

2. Within the People app select the Settings charm.

3. Tap Accounts from the People settings list.

4. Tap Add an account.

5. Tap the social network to add, Facebook in this case.

6. Tap the Connect button to link to the social network.

7. If you aren’t signed up to Facebook tap the signup link.

8. Enter your Facebook username.

9. Enter your Facebook password.

10. Tap Log In.

11. Tap Done to complete the process. 

Linking Email Accounts

Connecting email accounts is a slightly different process from connecting social networks.  When you’ve connected an email account such as a Microsoft Hotmail, Google Mail, or Microsoft Exchange (for corporate email) account any contact information you have stored with those mail boxes will be brought into the

People app.

Connect Hotmail

1. Within the People app select the Settings charm.

2. Tap Accounts from the People settings list.

3. Tap Add an account.

4. Tap Hotmail.

5. Enter your Hotmail email address.

6. Enter your email password.

7. Tap Connect to connect to the account.

Removing Account Links

There may be times when you want to stop the People app from conversing with your social network or email accounts. For example you might decide to withdraw yourself from a social network or to move your email to another provider. Account Links are managed through a web service, rather than just your tablet so that your services are connected whatever device you use.

Remove Social Networks

1. Open Internet Explorer and navigate to http://profile.live.com.

2. Tap the Manage link.

3. Tap Edit connection under the connection you want to remove.

4. Tap Remove this connection completely.

Changing Social Network Permissions

Social networks make it easy to share information with our friends, family and co-workers but sometimes we can have a tendency to over share. Windows helps you manage this by deciding what your devices can share with the world and again this is managed from the web so it works automatically with all your devices.

Manage Social Network Permissions

1. Open Internet Explorer and navigate to http://profile.live.com.

2. Tap the Manage link.

3. Tap Edit connection under the connection you want to manage.

4. Check or uncheck the options you like, these change for each social network but take care anywhere the word “share” is used as this indicates that you will push information to this social network. Usually “publish” implies you’ll need to take additional action such as tapping a “share with Facebook” button.

5. Tap Save to confirm the changes.

Finding People

With all this information about your friends in the People app you might actually want to do something with that information.

View a Person’s Details

1. Tap a contact in the People view.

2. Tap Map address to open a Bing map of the contact’s address in Internet Explorer.

3. Tap Send message to send the person an instant message using the service noted. Optionally tap the down arrow to the right to change to a different service.

4. Tap Send email to send the person an email.

5. Tap the View profile item to view the person’s profile on the noted social network. Optionally tap the down arrow to the right to change to a profile on a different network where you know that person.

6. Tap the back arrow to return to the All People view.

Search for People

1. Within the People app select the Search charm.

2. Type the start of a name into the People search box.

3. Results will be shown as they’re found, tap an individual to view more details.

Tip You don’t need to be in the People app to search for people, just like any app you can search within it from outside the app. Just open the Search charm and select People form the list of apps to search.

Tip To quickly find people use the pinch gesture to zoom out form the People view to see an alphabetical list that allows you to tap a letter to go to friends whose names start with that letter.

Viewing Friends Updates

We all like to know what our friends are up to, to share news with each other and to plan events. The People app makes these things simple with the What’s new view which aggregates status updates from your friends’ social networks.  The actions you can take on an update depend on the social network the update is from.

View Updates

1. Tap What’s new to view your friends updates.

2. Scroll left and right to read more updates by tapping, holding and dragging.

3. Tap an update to view more information about it.

4. Scroll comments up and down by tapping holding and dragging.

Comment on Updates

1. When viewing an update you can comment on the update by tapping into the Add a comment box and typing your comment. A Comment button will appear; tap this to add your comment, if you’re replying on Twitter the button will say Reply..

2. Often on social networks people “like” or “favorite” a post, tap the thumbs up icon or star icon to “like” or “favorite” an update.

Caution Be careful about the comments you make, be as respectful online about a person, their thoughts and opinions as you are in real life. Remember all their friends and all your friends will see the comment. If you wouldn’t make it in a room full of real people, think twice or thrice about saying it online!