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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 February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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