Your mother always told you Santa knows what you're up to! This time you can blame Facebook. Santa saw that photo of you from Friday night! Yes, "that" photo! The reason is because your boss posted it and tagged you. It's now posted front and center stage on your personal Facebook wall! Facebook changed how our profiles work and of course opened our privacy up yet once again to risks. Santa must have been on the "nice" list and has early beta access.
I am already getting tons of questions so I thought I'd write up a quick blog post. Note, it's late so I am not claiming this to be an all inclusive list of every feature and change. It is however, my opinion of the top changes affecting your privacy and key information as well as the action you should take and why.
1. Your New Profile is Active Before you Activate it
-Important Note: Even if you have not updated your profile to the new format, people who have updated their profile will see yours in the new format! This must be how Santa got such an early glimpse of your photos!?
Action: Go here and learn about the new profile. Second stop should be your privacy settings! http://www.facebook.com/about/profile/
2. Introduce Yourself
-You can add a brief introduction for your profile page visitors. I think this is Facebook's attempt to make us feel good about the fact they removed the info/text box that use to be on the left side under our profile photos.
-Good news is for the narcissist in you, you can now brag about yourself even more. The only question is will people read it?
Action: Update your information section. There is a link titled "edit information" at the top of your profile making this very easy!
3. Profile pages now feature five tagged photos of YOU at the top of your profile page.
-Yikes, do you see a photo of you and your last mean boss or the crazy girl from the PTA? No worries, you can remove with a simple click of the "x" in the top right top corner of the photo. A new photo will automatically appear. If you don't like that one either keep clicking until you find one that suits your fancy.
-Once you reset the images they aren't suppose to auto-rotate.
-The featured photos appear in the order they were tagged. Your most recently tagged five photos will be the one that initially appear in this featured section.
-Don't forget that you can modify who can see tagged photos of you in the Facebook privacy settings.
Action: Check your five photos. If they're not the ones you like, hide them by clicking the "x". If you don't want to share any tagged photos, adjust your privacy settings globally.
4. Tab Boxes went Buh Bye!
-We knew this was going to happen eventually so no big surprise here.
-Most of your tabs can now be found on the left side under your profile photo.
-You will probably be missing some. I know I have at least two missing including LinkedIn. Bummer.
Action: Verify what information you are left with and what Facebook decided to toss to the wind. If you're missing something relevant, simply be aware and add it in the information section if necessary.
5. "The Empire Likes Back" (Facebook Creates an Auto Community Page for You)
-This one confuses me. I wish Facebook would share more of their plans for the community pages. Too much is left to the imagination.
-When you add information such as employment to your new Facebook profile page, Facebook automatically searches for a community page that matches.
-The most important part is that if Facebook doesn't find a match, they automatically create one for you!
-Don't forget to "like" your own community page. It was easy for me to find my page as Facebook auto posted it to my wall. One other person had already "liked" the page before I did (thanks Lisa from Fashion Hope!)
-I had to "like" my own community page, that I didn't want to create in the first place?
-This has potential to cause major confusion with official Facebook business pages (fan pages). I don't like that in my profile people who are Facebook clueless will probably wander onto Facebook, click on my employment and follow the link to the community page. They'll have no easy clue that my Fan Page exists since Facebook took the info/text box away where I use to post links to my Fan Page, blog, twitter etc. from under my profile pic.
-So in summary, my Facebook profile visitors will probably just think I am a clueless nerd with a boring, generic Facebook community page with nobody in my community? My opinion is this is a major #fail on the part of Facebook.
Action: Be aware when you update or add information to your employment, groups etc. Double check for any community pages added.
Action: Confirm ownership and take over administration for the page Facebook so kindly generates on your behalf. To do this simply go to the community page and click the link on the left toward the bottom that asks if you are the owner of the page. Facebook will ask you to enter your email, title, phone number and address as well as accept terms and conditions before claiming your own community page. You will then receive an email to confirm it's you. Click the link and you'll be provided with a notification informing you that you will receive more information via email. Note, there is no time frame provided in the email so can't help you with that one.
6. Feed Your Social (and Narcissist soul) with More Data in the Information and Interest Sections
-Since much of the "information" about you that use to be viewable only by clicking on the "info" tab is now viewable on your Facebook wall, I highly encourage you update this right away. You can feed your social and narcissist soul by adding your favorite sports, all the cool events you have and will attend, your interests, books that made you oh so smart and the list goes on. You're smart, I am sure you will figure this section out in no time!
Action: Update your data. If you're anything like me, the data was in need of an update anyway due to the fact I have put more focus on my "official business pages".
7. Share even More with the "Experiences" Feature
-Just in case your information section isn't enough, now you can showcase all of the cool events you have and will attend. You can even tag the awesome speaker for the event you paid too much money to attend. Tag a co-worker, tag someone you don't know. As long as they are on your "friend" list, you can tag them. You can add projects at your place of employment or school. Tag people as appropriate using the field titled "with" under the experiences section.
Action: Update and edit the experiences section of your profile page.
8. Choose a Post Type
-Now each time you post anything on your wall you have to select if it s a status, link, photo, question or video.
-At first look I didn't think I could add text to a "link". However, they simply changed how this works. Now you first enter the link and then the box to enter the text appears below the link.
Action: Get familiar with this new functionality. Pretty self explanatory. However, if you don't feel comfortable you can always post a few test posts during off hours where it is less likely to be viewed by the masses. If you mess up, you can delete. However, remember once you post and it has showed in one of your friends news feeds you can't remove it.
9. Facebook "Questions" is Coming or May Already be On Your Wall!
-This is another feature that was announced some time ago. Facebook has launched this to a select few. From my understanding they are in the midst of a more global roll-out. You can check here for status of the feature in your area http://www.facebook.com/questions//. However, note when I and many others checked this page it didn't offer any information on time frame, just told me it was coming soon. Some of you may already have the option on your page. I for one did not.
Action: Check to see if you have the questions feature. It's really easy to tell. If you do there will be an option to post a question along with the choices of a link, photo, video or status. If you do, best way to find out how it works for you is to try it. Go ahead, ask a question. Chances are you'll get lots of answers and everyone will be jealous and want to know how you got that cool "Questions" feature on your wall. If it doesn't work to your liking, simply delete the post/question. Chances are people will still be so confused they'll think the delete is user error on their part and they never saw it to begin with?!
10. Featured Friends
-Your profile will now showcase friends you interact with and friends you have in common with those who visit your site. I haven't had time to play around with the details of this as of yet. However, at early look one thing is true.... update your privacy settings! Visitors to your page will see not only friends you have in common, but also events, projects etc.
Action: Verify and update your privacy settings to confirm only the people you want to see your friends can see your friends!
11. Don't Be a Facebook Privacy Dummy!
-As with any Facebook changes it is always good practice to review and double check your privacy settings. Educate yourself on the changes before you make them. I saw several tweets from clueless social media consultants this evening encouraging people to update to the new profile asap with no direction on what they should know.
-The key with your privacy in general as well as your privacy on Facebook, you need to take some responsibility. You can not assume Facebook as a default has your best interests and protection in mind. I encourage my clients, colleagues and friends to check status of privacy, friend lists, application settings at least bi-weekly. Better safe than sorry.
Action: Check your privacy settings pronto! This means before you feed your social and narcissist soul with the info and experience updates.
So, there ya' have it. At least enough to hopefully save you a couple hours of time doing research. Now you can spend time on updating your information and brag about all the cool things you have done, getting that Friday night karaoke photo off your top five featured photos and confusing yourself beyond belief with your new Facebook generated community page.
Please do something about that Friday night photo pronto. Otherwise, your social media stocking might be filled with coal, spammers and unknown privacy risks.
Please share your experiences, learnings and insight so we can all help one another! I welcome your comments and tips!