Posts tagged profile
Facebook’s Timeline is a dramatic new direction for Profiles. What does it mean for Pages? As with anything, there are opportunities and challenges. Let’s start with the opportunities and move on to the challenges in a future post.
The first question to ask, really, is whether it means anything for Pages. What if Facebook decides to give Pages a different look?
I’d be surprised if they did. After all, the last several Page revisions have been focused on making Pages more like Profiles, not less. But even if Pages do get a different look, there are still a lot of ways in which recent changes can help bring new awareness and energy to your brand’s presence on Facebook.
1) New metrics. Facebook has introduced a “People Talking About” metric. This includes the good, the bad, and the ugly, because it doesn’t measure sentiment. But it does measure likes, comments, shares, questions answered, and more.
2) It’s not about the “like.” As Seth Odell* discusses in a recent Higher Ed Live webcast, there’s now a lot less reason for someone to like your Page–because they can comment without clicking like. As Seth’s conversation with Webster University’s Patrick Powers points out around the 42:50 mark, control of that process is shifting further away from the Page (although it may not really matter very much, because if someone wanted to snark you, they just clicked “like” to gain the privilege anyhow).
3) It’s not only about the “like.” New social actions will allow people to “read,” “listen,” “watch,” and more. Why not get creative with it?
4) You can find new ways to spread your content. As Mike Schaffer points out, the cover photo offers the chance to ask people to use your branded image on their profiles without changing their profile images; Timeline entries mean you can ask someone to add an encounter with your brand to their personal history; and Life Events mean that people can include your brand in their milestones–which are expanding from things like relationship status to include “bought a house,” “got a dog,” and more. (You can find icons with drop-down menus near the status update box on Timeline.)
*If you like people who have ideas and talk about them, you ought to be watching Higher Ed Live. And remember Seth Odell’s name. You’re going to keep hearing from him, and he’s worth listening to.
Remember when profiles were “too boxy”? Well, the new Timeline kind of looks like it’s taking us back there.
The first thing you see is startlingly new: the “Cover.” It’s a large photo that stretches across the screen, overwhelming your existing profile photo (which is still there, just smaller).
Following that, you see a quick bullet-point summary of your personal info, along with photo arrays of your friends, photos, and pages you’ve “liked.” Below that, running down the center of the page, is an actual timeline–just like the one in history books–except that in this case, the boxes of information off to each side are about you, and not about the Hundred Years War or the Qing Dynasty. On the right is a shortcut to years and months (mine shows decades for recent years and then, oddly, “1974”–but I can’t figure out why, because nothing appears when I click on that year). And it scrolls on and on and on. And on. PCWorld has an article that provides more explanation of the structure; take a look.
My immediate thought is that it looks like a lot of blog templates I’ve rejected over the years–for being too boxy. The timeline down the center isn’t very obvious, and it took me a couple of looks to figure out how this thing is organized.
But I do think it’s interesting, and if Facebook is going to change, then I’d rather it changed in ways that are interesting. This is a very different way to display information than the previous versions of profiles, and I think it’ll take a bit of time to get used to. But it has the potential to be fun.
It also has the potential to be alarming. I think an awful lot of us are going to re-encounter things we posted long ago, and that we thought were buried and gone (which of course they weren’t, because here they are). But the plus side of that is that it may provide an opportunity to edit your profile in a substantive way. (Josh Catone suggests that this may be generational, and that younger users, who grew up with Facebook, may see it as an opportunity to fill in blanks.)
There are other changes beyond the look of the profile, and Mashable does a good job of introducing them.
Want to try out Timeline ahead of time? Mashable tells you how to do that, too.