So now we’ve created a very basic Facebook profile, and just as we did with LinkedIn, it’s time to expand on that.
When Facebook welcomes you, they want you to fill in your profile information, activate your mobile phone, find people you know and control what information you share. We’ll go through each of these steps, as well as the "why" behind them, in the coming days. Today, we’re going to focus on step one – filling out your profile information.
You may remember that we finished up at this screen the other day:
You’ll see at the top next to step one is a button that says "Edit Profile." We’re going to click on this to continue editing our profiles.
Please note that although we’re going to go into privacy settings in a future post, at this point, your FB page is still public. So it is searchable on Google, and anyone can see both the information you have in your profile, and anything anyone will write on your "wall." The "wall" is part of your profile page, where people that you’re friends with can leave you messages – these message are public – depending on your settings they are either public to the world, or public only to those people you’re friends with (and sometimes, not even them!). We’ll take a look at what this looks like in a later post.
For now, let’s just continue with updating our profiles. When we click to edit, we’ll get a screen like this:
On the left hand side, you can see that there are a number of different categories that we’re going to touch on to fill out the profile entirely. Each one of these "tabs" so-to-speak, will have it’s own window. Right now, we’re looking at the one for basic information.
First, we fill in our current city as well as our hometown – none of this is required information, but it can help FB to put you in touch with the right people you may know. As before with the schools, as you start typing, a list of possibilities will come up. Choose the one that represents your city and click on it:
You’ll see that next to each of these is a little globe with an arrow – this represents the privacy settings that you can control from here. When you click on this, you get a menu:
FB defaults everything to public (lovely, isn’t it?), but you can see from here that you can make this visible to just your friends (those people that you’re connected to), only yourself, or do something more custom. This setting applies only to your current city and you would also have to set this for your hometown.
Since I like to keep things more on the private side, and I only "friend" (the term people use on Facebook for connecting to someone they know) people that I know, I’ll change this setting to "Friends" by clicking on it.
You can see that now that we’ve changed this setting, the globe changes to silhouettes of people – this shows you with one glance what your privacy setting for this part of your profile is.
Since the custom option is a special feature here, I’ll show you that quickly as well. If you were to click "Custom," a new window would pop up:
This allows you to make even more customized privacy settings – again, this is limited here just to the option you’re changing, either your current city or hometown, but we can make more broad privacy changes later.
If you were to click on the drop down bar that says "Friends," you would see this:
So you can choose to show this part of your profile to just your friends – that’s what we chose in the last step – or "friends of friends," which means that those people who are connected to your friends (in LinkedIn, we called these 2nd degree connections) can also see this information, but not the general public. You can also choose that only you will be able to see this, or you can select specific people to share it with.
FB also notes that anyone who is tagged in a post, and their friends can see it – we’ll talk more about tagging and what that means in a future post.
I think it’s more likely though that when you’re setting your privacy controls, that it won’t be that you want to share information with only a few people, but you may want to block one or two people from seeing it. If your settings are fairly private, and there’s no one on your friends list that you want to keep from seeing this information, you will be fine. But this feature is quite useful if you’ve had to friend someone for some reason or another (like the sister-in-law you don’t get along with but can’t justify ignoring totally), and you’d like to block that person from seeing certain parts of your profile.
If that’s the case, you’ll start to type their name in the "Hide from these people" box:
The person must be your "friend" on FB in order for them to come up as you’re typing them, and for you to select them to block from. Again, this setting is just limited to the thing you’re changing, and we’ll make more widespread privacy changes later. With something as basic as your hometown and current city, you may not feel it’s necessary to have such strict privacy settings, but this may be the case for other parts of your profile.
Moving on…FB has already asked us for gender and birthday, so those are inputted automatically, though you can change them here if you would like to. You can also check the box to decide whether you want your gender shown in your profile.
That’s fine with me, so I leave that information. Below that, you can see that my full birthday is shown. As I mentioned in the last post, your full date of birth is required by FB to ensure that you’re over 13. However, you don’t have to let everyone know what your age is. If you click on the menu button below that, "Show my full birthday in my profile," you’ll see that you have a couple of options:
When you agree to show your full birthday or even just the month and the day of your birthday in your profile, it not only appears in your profile – it will also appear on your friends’ FB home page on the day of your birthday. That way, they are alerted that it’s your birthday and can send you a message if they wish to. Since I love celebrating my birthday, I like having the month and day up there.
However, I don’t include the year and here’s why – it’s not that I’m concerned about my age; 31 is a good age to be. But I recently read an article about identity thieves who will use your social networking profiles to get information about you. So despite the settings on my existing FB profile being as private as possible, I still don’t put this information on my profile page. Just food for thought…
You can also choose to not show your birth date at all if you’d like to keep that entirely private. Some people have said they like to see who their real friends are by who can remember their birthday without a FB reminder, but with all of us being so busy these days, I find the reminder useful. Also, when we talk about connecting with people on FB, you’ll see that it’s a good way to reach out to your friends.
So I’ll change this to only showing the month and day of my birthday by clicking on that in the list. Here, you’ll also see a little gear next to the setting, which allows you to change privacy for this again.
You can choose to make it public, for friends, only you, or custom. Custom gives you the same option as the custom setting we saw earlier.
The next three options are "Interested in," "Languages" and "About Me." "Interested in" is best if you’re single and looking. Otherwise, you can leave this blank. For my personal profile, since I’m single, I have this set to men, and it shows up on my profile. Again, you can control who sees this in the same way we addressed the other privacy settings.
Next is languages. As you can see, this is a text box, which means you can type whatever you would like here – "English," "Conversational French," "Spanish," etc. This is particularly useful if you’ll be connecting with clients and you want them to know that you can do business in other languages. I speak English and a little bit of French, so I’ll add those in. You’ll note that as you start to type, as with most other options, a list will come up to choose from. I choose "American English" and "French (only a little)."
The final box on this page is "About Me." This is going to be a short description of yourself, similar to a bio. You will want to tailor this to the audience you’re planning to connect to – if you’re going to "friend" friends, family and acquaintances, this can be very casual. If you want to include colleagues and clients, you may want to be more formal. We’ll talk about who you are connecting to and the ramifications when we get to that post.
My about me looks something like this:
"Hmm, about me. I’m complicated and simple, dedicated to finding a balanced life and learning how to be my best self, and learning to live in the now and enjoy it."
As you can see, it’s very short, and since I’m mostly connected with friends and family, it’s also very casual. Once I have all the information in this section that I want inputted, and the individual privacy settings to my liking, I click "Save Changes" to put them into effect.
Since we’ve already uploaded a profile picture, we can skip over this next tab. If you wanted to change your picture, you can do it here. Next up is "Friends and Family."
Friends and Family
To get to this screen, click on "Friends and Family" in the menu on the left hand side. Here, you have three main options. The first of these is to identify your relationship status.
Facebook gives us a lot of options here, so choose what you think fits you best. You can also leave this blank. All of these are a personal decision, and while I’ve said before that I highly recommend filling out, it will depend on what you plan to use FB for as to how you fill these out. If you want it to remain a more professional tool, you may want to omit some of the more personal details of your life. However, these can often be talking points for networking. I do recommend that if you’re going to be using Facebook for personal AND professional reasons that you skip over politics and religion. These are hot button topics for most people, and you’ll be less likely to alienate people if you don’t discuss or publicize your views.
Since I use FB for both personal and professional reasons, I do keep my marital status on there. Again, I can choose here by whom I want this viewed. If you are married, engaged, in a relationship, in a civil union or domestic partnership, and the other person is on FB, you can also indicate who they are here – that person has to approve the relationship before it appears on FB, but you can request that here!
The next section allows you to list people you are connected to on FB as relatives. Since I’m not connected to anyone on the profile I’ve created for the purpose of this tutorial, I’ll show you my existing profile to go through it.
Here, you can see that I’ve already added my parents and sisters (sisters’ last names blocked out to protect their privacy, particularly because one of them has a husband with a security conscious job). Below those, there is a link to "Add another family member." I’ll click this so that I can add my brother-in-law.
I’ll start by typing his name into the box, and waiting for the list to come up suggesting people.
His name is first in the list, so I’ll click that and then select from the next button over how we’re related. They have pretty much every option you can think of!
Similarly to when you add a spouse, etc., FB requires confirmation from the relative you’re adding to your page. So they will contact my brother-in-law to have him confirm that he is my brother-in-law and wants to be included on my profile. Note that I’ll have to click "Save" before they will contact him about this.
Next to this option is again a setting where you can specify how visible you would like this to be.
And the final item on this page allows you to create lists of friends. This will come in handy later in terms of sharing things with certain groups of people only, so we’ll go into that further when we look at adding connections and interacting with them.
To ensure that your changes take effect, click "Save Changes."
Education and Work
Next, we move on to "Education and Work" by clicking that link on the left hand side.
Here, the answers that you selected in the first part of the profile creation are filled in automatically for you. If you have additional universities that you’d like to add, additional job positions, or even additional high schools – to do this, you would start typing the name into the respective text box, as we did before, and select the school or employer that fits. On this page, we can also change the privacy settings for each of these sections to fit what we would like them to be.
You will also see a few extra links here – "Add a class" under both types of schools and "Add a Project" under employer. This allows you to further customize your experience at these places to better connect you to others in the same classes and projects. To add this, click the link, which will open up this option below:
Similarly to other entries, as we start typing here, a list of possibilities will come up that we can select from. Once you’ve entered your choices, click "Add Class" to save your changes.
From here, we’ll move onto "Philosophy."
As before, to get here, we’ll click on the link on the left hand side, which will bring us to this page:
As I mentioned before, you may want to consider leaving your religious and political beliefs to yourself if you are planning to have clients and potential clients connect with you on FB. On this page, you can also list people who inspire you and favorite quotations you may have. I have a favorite quote, so I’ll include this by typing it into the text box.
From here, you can also set the privacy options for these items as we’ve done before, but you’ll see that there are some additional choices.
While we still have the usual public, friends, only me, and custom settings, you’ll see that we now have some lists to choose from. We would have to set some of these ourselves (which we’ll do in another post), but just know for now that while you can choose your regular settings, you can now also restrict these options even further by individual lists of people if you so choose. For example, if I do want to show my close friends my political and religious beliefs, I can keep these restricted from the majority of my FB friends by choosing "Close Friends" here.
Once we’re finished here, click "Save Changes" so that these options go into effect. Note that anything you omit throughout your profile is fully omitted – it won’t be that the category will come up with a blank; only that those things you’ve filled in will be shown as part of your profile.
Arts and Entertainment
The next section is arts & entertainment. We’ll click the link on the left hand side as before to open up this window:
In the earlier days of FB, when you would enter items here as your likes and dislikes, they would simply come up as text in your profile. Now, FB is linking them to the "pages" for these things – pages are like profiles for things such as musicians, television shows, companies, and so much more. Similarly to profiles, when you are connected to them by "liking" them ("liking" them means that you’ve clicked a button on the page that says "Like" which allows them to post to your news feed, similar to the news feed we had on LinkedIn), their updates will appear on your home page in your news feed.
It was a big surprise to me when this started happening – I didn’t want my news feed cluttered up by every television show and band I liked, so I got a little pickier about what I was including in here. So keep in mind that while you can include whatever you want, updates about that will appear in your news feed – we’ll look at this in more depth in a future post.
I will add a few things here that I like, and again, a list will pop up to choose from as I start to type.
Again, I can also set the privacy here to what I want it to be – I’ve set it to friends only. You may have noticed in the first screen that you can also choose games as favorites – Facebook has a LOT of internal games, like Farmville and Mafia Wars. A LOT of people will play these games instead of working, but I personally don’t find them interesting, so I don’t have any favorites. I will also show you when we look at our news feeds how you can block individual people or posts about games, so if you don’t want to see every game move someone is making, you don’t have to!
As we’ve done before, we’ll click "Save Changes" so that these take effect, and move on to the next tab.
If you are a sports fan, sharing the same team and love of the same sport can be a great connector. I love hockey and watch a lot of American football, so I’ll include these:
As you can see, we can input favorite sports, favorite teams, and favorite athletes. Note that similarly to arts and entertainment, whatever choices we make here will automatically "like" those pages for us, and include information about them in our news streams.
On this page, they do things a little bit differently, because you have to save your changes by subject – under favorite sports, each time you choose a sport, they ask you "With" (honestly, I’m not sure what that means here) and a description, and then you click "Add Sport" in order to save it to your preferences. For favorite teams, you add them and then click "Save Changes" for just that section. This is the same for favorite athletes. As you can see, I’m a fairly equal opportunity football fan. I once met Tom Brady, so despite the silly hair, I’m still a big fan of his.
We interrupt this post for a brief Tom Brady interlude to make sure you’re still paying attention.
We were so young! But anyway, back to FB…
The next tab is Activities and Interests.
Activities and Interests
Activities and interests are fairly similar to the last two sections that we’ve looked at, and is the place for you to include whatever interests you have that don’t fit into the sports or entertainment categories.
This will also bring up lists of those activities and connect you to those pages. I’ll include some of my activities and interests and then click "Save Changes."
You can see I’ve included some of my interests. With activities, like sports, you can include the "with" and a description, and then choose "Add Activity" for each of these.
As the bottom of this box, you’ll notice that it says "Other pages you like." Right now, this is blank because we haven’t "liked" any other pages. But as you progress through FB and start "liking" pages that don’t fit into any of the categories we have looked at – like company pages or friends’ pages – they will appear here so you can edit them if you’d like to. But we’ll go through pages in much greater detail later on.
Finally, we move on to our last option (yay!) which is your contact information.
Contact information allows you to share with whomever you want to how they can get in contact with you.
Again, for security reasons, you may want to keep things like your home address private (as in not including it at all), so that nobody can access your address, full name, and birthday all in one place – because, let’s be honest, that’s all available somewhere on the internet, but let’s make it as hard as possible for identify thieves.
I used to keep my address on there in case I had a secret admirer who felt the need to send me flowers, but that never happened, and security is far more important to me! My email address is required and already inputted because that’s part of my FB profile. But I can decide here whether I want anyone else to be able to see it so they can contact me directly. I like mine to be super private – after all, people can always send me a message through FB without seeing my email address if we’re connected – so I set this to "Only me."
I don’t want to share my IM screen name with everyone (this is instant messenger for those of you who might be unfamiliar with this terminology), so I leave that blank.
For phone numbers, I can include my mobile, work or home number if I so desire. Something to note here is that Facebook makes these available to everyone you designate and are connected to – in the case of your connections, FB is now syncing this information with your connections address books on their smart phones. So, for example, when I use the FB application on my iPhone, anyone who has their phone number on FB is downloaded with that information into my address book.
I’ve never called anybody whose number I didn’t already have, but it’s just something I want to make you aware of. FB’s default is often very, very public, and sometimes when they make changes to the site, it will suddenly change your settings to be very public again, so it’s something to be aware of and keep an eye on.
Then, we can add our address if we would like – I leave this blank for the reasons I’ve already mentioned. And you can also add websites – this I do make sure to include because I like to share my company site, as well as all of my blog addresses. Keep in mind here that this is one of the reasons that social media training can be so important for your law firms – any one of your employees can link directly to your firm’s website from their page, or list your firm as their employer in their information. This isn’t a problem, but if they misuse social media or say things that are offensive to others, they are directly representing your firm. It’s not enough to just have a social media policy – you have to discuss in detail what you expect from your employees and what that policy means.
I add my websites, change all the privacy settings to what I’m comfortable with, and click "Save Changes" for the changes to take effect.
And with that, we’re done creating our profile!
Now, there’s always more we can do, but for now, we’ve got a very complete profile. From here, there are two things I want to make note of – they’re buttons on the top right of the page:
The first is "View my Profile." Clicking on this will take you to your profile so you can see what most people who are connected to you will see. Mine looks like this:
This is the info section of my profile – we’ll go through all the profile options in another post.
Back to the previous page, and we’ll look at the other button – View As. This is useful if you’ve blocked one of your connections from seeing parts of your profile. You would click "View As" and this box comes up:
FB notes here that you can use this to see how your profile appears to a friend or to the public – this lets you check how private it appears as you continue to edit it. They also say that you can change who can see posts individually and other types of stories as well, which we’ll go through another time. To see what a specific friend sees, just type their name and select them from the list that comes up. To see what the public sees, click the word "public."
You can then go back to edit your profile using the button.
In the future, when you’re browsing Facebook and wish to change your profile, you can click in the left hand corner next to your photo where it says "Edit Your Profile:"
That’s it for this week on FB! Next week, you’ll see some guests posts from Barry Camson, as I will be traveling for the ILN’s 2011 European Regional Meeting in Copenhagen. Then, back to FB the following week, so get your profiles set so you’re ready to jump in!