The BOTW Scholarship Program

The Online Degree Directory is dedicated to providing the ultimate resource for anyone considering obtaining a college degree – whether online or on campus. Since its inception in April of last year, it has successfully helped college-bound students make informed decisions regarding higher education.

This success has only made our commitment to providing the ultimate college resource grow. In an effort to not only offer all the tools necessary for those planning to enroll in a degree program, but also to support the learning community, Best of the Web now offers scholarship opportunities through the Online Degree Directory.

The launch of the BOTW Scholarship Program allows students to use the Online Degree Directory to find not only important information about higher education, online and traditional colleges, and specific degree programs, but also financial support for the costly venture that is a college education. While a college education grows increasingly expensive, the Online Degree Directory aims to assist those who may be struggling to afford the rising costs of tuition with continuing their education. Scholarship funds can be applied directly to tuition, textbooks, housing, and related college expenses.

Right now any U.S. citizen over the age of 16 intending to enroll or currently enrolled in a college degree program is eligible to apply for the $2,500 scholarship award. Scholarship offers will be updated frequently, so students should check back at the Online Degree Directory regularly to find details about the latest scholarship offers.

Be Green with BOTW

Best of the Web’s newest resource, Be Green, is dedicated to providing meaningful guidance to Internet users interested in “going green.” You can get informed about environmental issues such as ecology, alternative energy, technology, transportation, and find ways to embrace a greener lifestyle through educational articles as well as a question & answer forum.

Through Be Green, Best of the Web is committed not only to guiding and educating users about all things environmental, but also to spreading awareness about why such issues are worth considering. Think you’re living as green as can be? Be Green features a 30-question environmental quiz that lets users measure the eco-friendliness of their current lifestyle, providing informative tidbits along the way.

Ultimately Be Green visitors can learn how to make their lifestyles more environmentally friendly and, in turn, lead healthier lives. Whether it’s making your home more energy efficient, or cooking with locally grown organic foods, you can find advice and direction for every step of your journey to a greener and healthier life through Be Green.

Facebook Brand Pages Meet the Timeline

If you’ve been following this blog in recent weeks, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that the most popular social networking platforms are a bunch of copycats when it comes to design. In the case of Facebook’s most recent update, it comes down to the age-old question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The new Facebook brand pages could be a response to Twitter’s redesign (the focus of which was on brands). Just as feasible is the idea that Facebook’s development team had been planning to roll out the Timeline to brand pages all along. Needless to say, the redesign was inevitable regardless of how it came about.

If you don’t have a very active personal profile on Facebook, here’s what you can anticipate on your revamped brand page:

An example of the new brand pages with Facebook Timeline from American Express.

  • Cover Photo: The Timeline allows you to choose a graphic to feature in banner-like fashion at the very top of your page. You’ll want it to be not only attention-grabbing, but also aesthetically pleasing, so it may take more consideration that choosing your most recently uploaded picture.
  • Featured Story: If any aspect of this update feels similar to Twitter, it’s the new ways Facebook is allowing brands to feature content. Now brand profiles can choose to pin important updates or special content just below the basic profile information.
  • Displaced Tabs: Through the current brand page layout, profiles can include countless tabs. These are used to organize content and direct visitors to important content. With the Timeline, and the implementation of featured stories, the tabs now appear as icons below the cover photo, and only three will remain immediately visible (others can be accessed through a drop-down menu).
  • No Landing Page: Perhaps the most disappointing part of this update is the inability to set a default landing page. Landing pages used to be included within the page tabs. Having transformed tabs into icons and relocated them, the Timeline does not accommodate any default landing page. Brands will now have to translate the information landing pages once provided visitors into featured content.
  • Private Messages: Brand pages can now send messages directly to users without going through a page Admin’s personal account. This will not only enhance communication, but also keep clutter off the brand’s wall. For instance, questions about the company or products offered can be sent directly to a page’s inbox, and addressed on a case-by-case basis. For Best of the Web‘s Facebook fans who regularly participate in the weekly Trivia Challenges, soon you can expect to receive your prize details directly from the BOTW page.

Companies with Facebook brand profiles need to anticipate these upcoming changes, but consumers also have plenty to consider in interacting with these redesigned pages. Many Facebook users are still adjusting to the Timeline on their personal profiles. The new layout is promised to take effect within the month, so users and brands alike should take this time to adjust and prepare for the remnants of Facebook’s older appearance to disappear entirely.

Celebrating a National Pastime: Super Bowl Sunday

Regardless of the team you support on the field, or if you prefer to simply tune out until the most expensive commercials of the year air, there’s no doubt that all eyes at home will be set on the television this Sunday night. At 6:30pm (EST), the New York Giants and the New England Patriots will go head-to-head in the highly anticipated 46th NFL Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts.

While everyone gathers to view the game in the evening, many view the entirety of Super Bowl Sunday as a holiday. The likeness is not hard to find: the Sunday on which the Super Bowl is played is a high-spirited time when loved ones celebrate by consuming copious amounts of food and alcohol. The Super Bowl is usually the most watched American television broadcast of the year, and is also one of the most watched sporting events worldwide. So if you’re not hosting a party at home, chances are you have made plans elsewhere.

Whether your Super Bowl Sunday celebration consists of a visit to the local sports bar, a few close friends gathered in your living room, or a large-scale party, you can find unique ways to make the most of the honorary American holiday through the BOTW Directory. Those looking to contribute some homemade appetizers can find dozens of Super Bowl themed recipes alongside party ideas on BOTW-approved sites.

Have a hunch about the game’s outcome that you simply can’t ignore? Visit any of the countless Super Bowl betting sites featured in the directory to get in on the action before it’s too late. On the other hand, less sports savvy party-goers who would prefer not to be clueless Sunday night can find information, videos, and more pertaining to Super Bowl history, as well as predictions about the upcoming game. Whatever your needs, use the resources provided in the BOTW Directory to ensure that this Super Bowl Sunday is unforgettable.

Facebook to Launch Open Graph Actions

Earlier this year, Facebook announced the Open Graph protocol that enables developers to integrate pages into a social graph, allowing users to connect to brands, pages, and friends through social actions. Instead of merely “liking” a page or product, now additional verbs can be found filling the new feeds of Facebook users.

Those connected to Spotify, for instance, will publish stories displaying what they “listen” to through the online radio application, while avid news junkies can share all the articles they’ve “read” on a site. When Facebook launches Open Graph Actions, users will be able to interact with applications, products, and brands in even broader ways.

Facebook users are all too familiar with frequent changes to the popular social platform, but that doesn’t mean they’re immediately accepting of such updates. This is especially true when privacy issues arise, which is the case with the auto-publishing features that Open Graph applications enable.

While users do have the ability to remove any stories published to their Timeline, certain applications (such as Spotify) require Facebook users to grant access for auto-publishing. This is problematic for users who are not constantly monitoring their Timelines and do not want to share all, if any, actions.

On the other hand, however, Open Graph applications and the launch of Actions in particular will have positive implications for brands. Unlike brand pages, users do not have to “like” an application in order to use it or to enable auto-publishing. As a result, brands that are frequently interacted with can easily gain exposure through the new social actions.

Additionally, the Open Graph applications feature related friend activity prior to content, encouraging the sharing and discussion of mutually interesting brands and products. Paired with the action-based mini-news feed visible on the home page (implemented when Timeline was still in Beta) that tracks friend activity, brands have many more opportunities to attract new users through Actions.

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