As Americans head to the polls Tuesday to cast their vote in the 2012 presidential election, Facebook hopes it will be the go-to site for up-to-date news and results coverage.
If you’re of voting age, Facebook will show you a reminder that it’s election day at the top of your news feed when you log in. You’ll be prompted to mark whether you’ve voted, and that action will be broadcast to your Facebook friends on both Web and mobile versions of the site.
Beyond its efforts to encourage you to vote, Facebook has partnered with and is promoting a handful of apps and pages to ensure you’re up-to-date on the latest news. Here’s a look at how you can use Facebook for Election Day coverage.
U.S. Politics on Facebook
TheU.S. Politics on Facebook pageaggregates the use of Facebook by politicians, elected officials and political campaigns. You’ll also see a number of reshared Facebook posts from sites such as C-SPAN, as well as Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama and other well-known figureheads and celebrities.
In addition to aggregating posts from others, the U.S. Politics on Facebook page also posts Facebook-specific election stats, such as the top trending terms on the social network in the U.S.
Lastly, the U.S. Politics on Facebook page includes an app that helps you find your polling location by entering in your address.
CNN Politics I’m Voting App
This summer, Facebook and CNN announced a partnership to createan app that lets Facebook users declare that they’re voting and broadcast what issues are important to them.
In addition to sharing your support of a candidate on your Timeline, which is optional, you can browse and answer a series of questions on the candidates ranging from, “Who has the most compelling vision for America’s Future” to “Has Superstorm Sandy changed your preference in presidential candidates?” Other question topics include the economy, immigration, health care, foreign policy, social issues, gun control and more.
iSideWith.com Facebook App
Still undecided about who to vote for? Before you head to the polls, check out theiSideWith.com Facebook app, which shows you which presidential candidate you side with based on the political issues that you say are the most important to you.
After you give the app permission to access your profile, you’ll answer a number of multiple choice questions and select how important each issue is. The app will then match your answers to the candidates and display which issues you agree or disagree on.
The app also lets you share, compare and discuss your results with your Facebook friends.
Barack Obama’s Official Facebook Page
FollowPresident Barack Obama’s Facebook page. for the latest information and campaign photos. You can also donate to President Obama’s campaign from within Facebook, visit his store for Obama gear such as bumper stickers, buttons and coffee mugs, and commit to vote for the President.
Mitt Romney’s Official Facebook Page
In addition to news and photos, you can also donate to supportMitt Romney’s campaignfrom Facebook, “Commit to Mitt” to vote for him, purchase Romney-branded gear and upload a photo of yourself supporting Romney for president. There’s also a petition you can sign supporting small businesses and job creation.
Windows 8 comes preloaded with plenty of apps for basic productivity and entertainment, but they're not necessarily the best you can do. We've already mentioned theapps you should download first, but now we want to share some third-party apps that you might like more than what Microsoft includes in its basic Windows 8 installation.
None of the following apps is perfect, but the same holds true for the apps built directly into Windows 8—hence the point of this article in the first place.
Part contacts list, part social media hub, Microsoft's People app is a central bucket for all the personal associations you make via email, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Although this built-in app shares Facebook and Twitter updates, it's confusing in the way it jumbles together all your services.
Likewise, People is definitely not a worthy Twitter client. Andnoworthy Twitter clients are available in the Windows Store yet. An official Twitter app is in the works; but until it arrives, we'll all have to make do with third-party alternatives.
Microsoft's Video app has a split personality. It's a storefront for purchasing the latest movies and TV episodes, as well a video player for your own personal content. Unfortunately, when we tried it, shilling commercial content seemed to take precedence, leaving many PCWorld editors wishing for a deeper, more robust video-player app.
PressPlayis an excellent alternative for viewing your local files. It supports great touch controls that allow you to adjust the volume, change the video's position, and browse videos with the flick of a finger. It doesn't offer any videos for sale, but that's a good thing—and a thing best left to the app built into Windows 8. PressPlay is free in the Windows Store.
Microsoft's Messaging app lets you quickly chat with anyone in your contacts or Facebook list, and it even supports video chat. That's great for communicating with the friends you have on those networks, but you'll probably want to chat with people on myriad other services too.
IM+ facilitates messaging through nearly every imaginable service, from Facebook to ICQ. It supports photo sharing, text messaging, and multiple accounts per service, making for the most comprehensive messaging app we could find on the Windows Store, all for free.
The built-in Calendar app does exactly what you'd think it would, but not much more. You can check the day's events, add an event with reminder options, and...that's about it. You can use Microsoft's app to sync up your own personal Google calendar, but you're out of luck if you need to sync Google calendars that have been shared with you.
That's why, as with the Mail app (see below), we recommend using the tried-and-true Google calendar as the alternative. You have to access it via your browser, of course, but you'll be able to see all your schedules at once without worrying about hacking the app. And yes, you can put Google Calendar on your Start screen: Justpin it to Startas you would any other URL, and pretend that it's an app.