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Facebook Pages: A Look at the New Timeline Design Features

Facebook Pages: A Look at the New Timeline Design Features

    As with everything it does, Facebook divided opinion recently with its controversial move to a timeline design that according to the social networking giant will ‘tell your life story through photos, friendships and personal milestones’. There are those who really like the new layout, enjoying further levels of customization on their profiles, and viewing the changes as an opportunity to completely control the way their viewed online.

    And then there those who utterly loathe Timeline, either because it reminds them too much the Myspace of ol’, suddenly brings to light ill-advised status updates and embarrassing photos from years past, or perhaps because they just can’t deal with change.

    Whether we like it or not, Timeline is here, and it’s coming to Facebook Pages too.

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    If you manage a Facebook Page, you’ve probably noticed the large box looming ominously over said page announcing that from March 30th, all pages will get a new design. Facebook have given us all a few weeks to preview the new design, which comes with the following new features:

    Cover images

    Perhaps the biggest and most noticeable difference with the new design is the cover. If you’re not already familiar with this, the cover is a large image you can place across the top of your page.

    If you use a Facebook Page to advertise your business, you’ll probably be disappointed by guidelines which insist your cover image must not include promotions, advertisements or any other kind of call to action, including:

    • Contact information including website addresses
    • Anything encouraging visitors to ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ content, including placing arrows from the cover image to those buttons on your page.
    • Any price or purchase information, so no ‘50% off from mywebsite.com’ or anything like that.

    That said, this does give you the chance to be creative with your cover image, selecting something that’s both appealing to the eye and which creates a great first impression.

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    Default Landing Tab

    There’s further bad news if you’re using your page to sell and make money, with the announcement that the Default Landing Tab, which were previously used to direct first-time visitors to a tab other than the Wall, shall be no more.

    It’s still possible to point people on Facebook to a tab of your choosing by paying for an advertisement linking to that tab, but to entice people towards that all-important ‘Like’ button without shelling out the cash, you’ll need to find creative ways to do so from within your timeline.

    Pins and highlights

    That’s not to say you’re completely doomed, as the new design does offer a couple of handy tools to make your biggest stories stand out. First, there’s the chance to ‘highlight’ a key story, placing it prominently on your page simply by hovering your mouse over the top-right corner of a post and hitting the star button.

    If you decide that a post is so important that it should be the first one people see, you can ‘pin’ that post permanently at the top of your page in much the same manner.

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    Edit your tabs

    Further customization options allow you to rearrange the order in which you display the various tabs on your page. Your Photos tab must stay first in the pecking order, but from there, you can hover over any tab, click the little edit button, and chose to swap your remaining tabs in any order you see fit.

    Admin panel

    Another major change comes in the form of the new Admin Panel. Those used to locating their admin functions (number of notifications, page insights, etc) on the left-hand side of the page, will now find them in a huge, and I mean huge, box at the top of your page.

    This has its benefits.

    Everything is laid out nice and simply, with page notifications, most recent ‘Likes’ and a handy graphical display of page insights down the left, and, most useful of all, a messages function on the right. This is a big step for Pages, meaning fans can now send a direct private message to the page, rather than to your personal account, and that you can respond in kind.

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    If you decide you don’t want this option, it can easily be turned off in your admin settings, easily found in a big drop-down menu marked ‘manage’ at the top of this panel.

    The only downer on what is otherwise a great tool is the size. Again, the thing is enormous and is quite the distraction if you’re only interested in getting at your page content. Still, flicking the ‘hide’ button at the top of your panel solves that problem, whilst accessing the panel is as easy as hitting the ‘Admin Panel’ button.

    Where to next

    Once you’re comfortable with the big changes to your page, it’s time to play around with some of the smaller features, such as adding milestones to tell your story. However you decide to use it, have fun, get creative and enjoy your timeline. After all, it’s here whether we like it or not.

    (Photo credit: past, now, future words in vintage wooden letterpress via Shutterstock)

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    Chris Skoyles

    Coach, and trainee counsellor specializing in mental health and addiction.

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    Last Updated on December 18, 2020

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

    Can Technology have Biases Like Humans?

    Technology has taken a vantage leap in providing solutions for man. Before now, technology used to appear complex and would require a great deal of expertise to handle solutions available. Today, we have technology applicable in the simplest human activities as smart products with intelligent algorithms powering them as they make error-free judgments and provide intelligent and analytic solutions.

    Does technology have all the answers?

    This article from Credit Suisse, tells us that technology does not have all the answers because it has been found to exhibit “similar biases,” as humans. No one can discredit the impact of technology, but it is not totally free of human input and this is the reason we experience these biases in many areas we have technology holding foot.

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    Creating technological solutions transparently

    This article suggests that the process of creating technological solutions be made transparent and subject to contribution from many people who would end up as users of the product – male, female, young, old, learned, unlearned and all other preferences as we have them. It also underscores the importance of having women on product development teams. This approach is not sure to eliminate all forms of bias, but it is a good way to start in order to appraise the full benefits of technology.

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    Technology as the connecting tool

    Technology so far has been a major connecting tool amongst us humans. It is used and appreciated by all regardless of race, language and sex. In order to keep it less subjective to these arguments about human biases. I believe we should gather opinions on products and solutions before making them available to the public. This could be done by gathering input from intended target users and receiving feedback across the stages of production.

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    “Recognizing the problem is a start…success will depend on inclusive technologies that meet this vast untapped market.” This cannot be more apt especially at a time when we look up to technology for solutions. We should not muzzle our progress with technology by battling algorithm bias. The first way to avoid this battle is by reading this article here.

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