First look: the new Facebook timeline

Following these directions from Mashable  I enabled my developer preview for Timeline.  Here’s a quick look at what you get when you first get the timeline:

Click to enlarge.

First up, the cover.  This image should be something that you’ve already uploaded into Facebook.  This image can be changed as little or as often as you like.  It should represent you.

Next, the update info & view activity toolbar, is another feature that is for your eyes only.  Use this to change the privacy settings on your posts and more.

Finally, each post has some hidden options that pop up when you mouse over the right corner.  You’ll see a star and a pencil.  Use the star to mark something as a top or favorite post.  Use the pencil to hide or delete the post.

If you opt to try this feature out early, really take your time and explore before making anything public.  There are so many features to check out, and plenty more that are will be rolled up with the public launch next week (like integration with Spotify, Hulu, and Netflix).

Surprise! Another Facebook Redesign.

This morning, I noticed some pretty significant changes to the Facebook home page.  Considering there have been many rumors swirling around what would be announced at tomorrows F8 conference, I’m surprised that they’ve already started to roll out changes to users.

3 key things to look for:

  1. The division of your friends’ updates into some new categories: top stories and recent stories (grouped by time frame of your last login to the site).
  2. Top stories are marked with a blue triangle in the left corner.  These can be defined as “most commented or liked” updates.
  3. A new sidebar that shows real time updates of what your friends are doing on Facebook.
One thing I have not seen yet, are any changes to the privacy settings – meaning you can’t completely control what actions of yours show up on your friend’s activity sidebar.

Facebook privacy options finally get it right… well sort of?

This past week, Facebook launched its new set of privacy options [only the 13987 its made in the last year, or so it feels].  This new set of options really gets down in great detail with how you control what you share – just in time as we all think “thank goodness, my prayers have been answered!”

First, the news feed.

  1. Previously you could tag people in a post by putting an @ sign before their name, and a drop down menu would pop up.  Now you can click this button to tag someone in a status update.  I think it’s much easier just to do it the old way with the @sign but for those of you who can’t always remember to do so, this button does make life a bit easier.
  2. You can now also disclose your location to your friends.  I’m convinced that this is an easy way for people to stalk you – so be careful of what you disclose.  This new feature is what I like to call “facebook places for everyone.”  Places used to be only for smartphone users, and this allows people to know check-in from a computer AND say who you’re with.
  3. This last option allows you to control WHO sees your status update.  Options are simple: Public (formerly “Everyone”), Friends (only your Facebook friends), and Custom (hide from certain people, networks, or only share with specific people or networks).
That’s a horrid photo you tagged of me – REJECT!
You can choose to turn on this new option called “Profile Review.”  This puts anything you’re tagged in by your friends into a “pending” page for approval before it shows up on your wall.
OK, now I have all these new options, but what do people really see?
You now can view what others are seeing by clicking a button in the top right corner “View As”
It allows you to view how the public would view (read: non Facebook friends) or as a friend (either with full rights to your profile, or limited view).
In summary, you can now tell people where you are, who you’re with, who you tell, and if anyone gives that same information for you, decide whether or not you want others to see it on your profile.

Social sites going public – starting with LinkedIn

LinkedInMany of you may have heard that LinkedIn has gone public starting TODAY. I caught wind of the announcement earlier this week in a post from Mashable. According to Mashable, LinkedIn is rumored to be valued at almost $300 million dollars. Shares for the company are going from $32 to $35.

So the real question is, are you going to invest? And if so, how much? LinkedIn is the first of several social media sites that plan to go public (and one of the very first major ones to do so). My take – if I was in a position to invest right now, I’d be dumb not to. I don’t know that I would invest a whole bunch in it right away though. With so many other companies getting ready to follow suit – like Facebook and Groupon – I’d be interested to see how LinkedIn (LNKD) does in the financial markets first. Second, I want to see how LinkedIn’s public status affects the other social media sites worth.

In no shape or form would I call myself a financial advisor or even well-educated in the art of stock trading.  But there is one thing I am sure of and that is that LinkedIn – and social media sites – are hot.  And if you’re in a position to buy, you better move quickly before they’re all gone!

Facebook Pages – Changes, Changes Everywhere!

As we all know, Facebook LOVES to change things.  In fact, they do it so often and with so little notice, that many of us – including myself – cannot know every little change they make or adapt to them as quickly as we’d like to.  Facebook recently made two major changes for [Fan]Pages that have impacted both the page administrators and page fans.  You may be asking yourself, do I adapt my page to the new stuff now, or wait it out until they make the next change (which could be next week for all we know)?

My simple answer is if you have a bit of time and resources available, try to stay current with the changes. I’m going to focus this post on 3 major changes that I believe every page should take full advantage of.

Change #1: Using Facebook as yourself or the business/brand.
I am going to preface this with saying that this is by far my favorite change Facebook has made in the last year. This new option (see image) allows the page administrators to comment or post on the wall as themselves or as the brand. In the past, if you were an admin of a page, everything you posted would appear as “said-brand likes this” – implying that your brand liked itself. By being able to post on the pages I manage as myself, I can help to encourage engagements with the fans of the page and also help to increase the reach of each “like” or comment I make. You can enable this setting by going into the edit panel of your page and unchecking the “posting preferences” box. One word of caution with using this new setting: don’t forget to click “use as brand” when you want to post as the page and vice versatile when wanting to post as yourself.

facebook settings

Change #2: The photo strip
This change to Facebook actually was released within the personal profile pages originally, and then rolled out to the Business Pages a few months later.  By now, you’ve probably seen what this is [see image below].  What you may be wondering is, how do those photos get to the strip and how do I control that?  The five photos that get featured on the photo strip are simply the five most recently tagged photos you have – either by someone else, or that you uploaded.  With that in mind, the photo strip is a great place to use as a billboard for any sort of message you want to get across.  Read this article from Mashable that shows you how you can customize this for your personal profile or business page.

Change #3: Custom Facebook Tab (or Application)
This change is probably makes the biggest impact for business page users.  Why?  As of March 18, 2011, you can no longer add the custom FBML box that allowed you to easily create custom tabs.  Facebook hasn’t even told us the cut off date for making changes to the current boxes – though they do suggest that you switch to the new platform quickly.  What is that new platform?  It’s essentially creating applications that will direct content into an iFrame on the page.  There are a couple of ways to do this.  First, you could add the custom HTML box made by Involver to your page.  This works much like the old FBML box, where you simply copy and paste  HTML code to display.  The second way is to create a custom application through Facebook Developer.  This route is a little bit more work, but it gives a lot more flexibility in what you can do with your custom page.  It does require you to have your own web server to host your files on or to have a blog where you can pull information from like Kim Woodbridge of (Anti) Social Developemt does here.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for my walk-through on how to apply change #3 to your page.