I really enjoy a good Twitter chat. And last night was another example of a great community built through the Twitter stream using hashtags to create a real-time “chat”. When people talk about Twitter going out of style, I always remind them of the power of the Twitter Chat. Look at these stats for last night:
If you haven’t enjoyed a Twitter chat yet, take a look at this schedule and find one you think you’ll enjoy. Then read this post about how it all works. When my second book comes out, I have a large section in the Twitter chapter about chats, too.
The subject of the Twitter Chat was all the recent Facebook Changes. It was a wild and furious chat stream and a lot might have been missed, so I’m going to try and fill in the missing bits in this post to all the folks on #smmanners and beyond.
First up — required reading for everyone – @AndreaVahl ‘s excellent post for Social Media Examiners blog on Facebook changes. She is one of the co-authors (along with me and @amyporterfield) for our book Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies. Writing a Dummies book makes your brain orderly – step-by-step, so her article is extrememy clear and worth the read.
Q1: How can adjust or get rid of the “ticker” – and what is it anyway?
I enjoy the ticker – but many people don’t – it’s a collection of what Facebook calls “activity stories.” These are what Facebook considers not important enough to put in the main news stream – it’s the random comment on a friend’s photo, or someone is now the friend of someone else. You know those types of posts. Now, instead of seeing them in your main News Steam (more on that in a moment) you see them in the right sidebar as a real-time “ticker.” If you have a lot of Friends, this ticker might be showing these activity stories pretty quickly. If you don’t have a lot of Friends, you might notice it moves every now and again.
If it bothers you to have this movement off to the side of the screen, there are a few things you can do to adjust or remove it. The following points are about a computer view, not how it looks on a mobile device.
- To adjust the size of the ticker, open the chat bar – then slide the horizontal bar between chat and ticker up as far as you can. You will always have one ticker post showing this way – so it’s not too distracting, but the chat sidebar will be open with this method.
- Some people will make the size of their screen width smaller until the right sidebar disappears. I really like being able to scroll through the ticker and find interesting things, so I don’t recommend doing this, but hey – it’s Your Facebook — you get to shape it how you Like it.
- There is another way to make the ticker go away. You’ve had the ability to do this all along. It takes a little preparation, but for some of you, this will be the best ‘fix’ if you don’t like the ticker. First, you need to build a Friend’s List of the people and Pages you want to see most often. In case you don’t know how to do that Scott Ayers has a fabulous post on how to do that whole process — here are the instructions . Then just click the name of that List in your left column and voila — the ticker and the ads (as a bonus) go away!
- If you are a DIY-kind of person there are instructions for Chrome and Firefox browsers that remove the whole right side of FB here .
Why I Like the ticker — I have found I can scan through the ticker very quickly to find interesting comments, and music that people are listening to on Spotify. Don’t write it off yet. When you hover your mouse over an item in the ticker a larger interface opens up with more details. It’s a very efficiant use of space on the page.
Q2: What happened to Top Stories and Most Recent? Can I get that back?
It used to be you could toggle between Top Stories and Most Recent. A LOT of people didn’t realize they had the option to switch back and forth between two different streams in their News Feed. Facebook defaulted to Top Stories and used EdgeRank (a Facebook magic formula) to determine what fell into that stream. This is why people complained that they weren’t seeing posts from their friends.
You still have two streams — Top Stories (just like before) and Recent Stories (which is the same as Most Recent), but now Facebook has them stacked on top of each other instead of having to find the toggle button to switch the view.
- Top Stories are curated by Facebook based on your interactions with those posting (EdgeRank).
- Recent Stories are status updates, photos, videos, checkins and posts from third-party apps (like networkedblos) in chronological order.
And you have the control of what shows up where.
Each post has a dropdown where you can adjust where it shows up and how often, and of what type of content. You can move posts into the Top Stories or take them out.
It might take you awhile to adjust Facebook so it is truly adjusted to your Liking, but it will be so much better if you take the time. Everytime you see a post from someone you are close to, click the dropdown and change the setting to see All Updates from them.
Q3: What’s up with the Subscribe button? Why would I want to activate that?
One of the biggest problems on Facebook, was the public figure (speaker, trainer, author, politician, etc.) who had developed a really large number of Friends on their personal account, with people who weren’t really close Friends. They would hit their 5000 Friend limit and would open another personal account and start again. Crazy world. They never opened a business Page and were “conducting business” through their personal account. Facebook used to be very clear about the distinction between a personal account and a business account — and the Terms of Service were very clear. If they found you were conducting business through a personal account they would shut you down.
With the Subscribe button everything has changed.
Now you can have an unlimited number of people “Subscribe” to your public posts on your personal account. In essence, allowing people to conduct business through their personal account. This is a big change. Huge Change.
There are still some great advantages to having a business Page though. And for most businesses a business Page is still the way to go. As a consultant, I would look at all the options before activating the Subscribe button on your personal account. By the way, Subscribing is like Following someone on Twitter. You don’t have to be their Facebook Friend to see their public posts.
In general, if you are branding yourself – activate Subscribe.
If you are branding your business – stay with your business Page.
To activate the Subscribe button on your account go to: http://facebook.com/about/subscribe and follow the steps. Then people can Subscribe to your Public posts. Notice I keep saying Public posts. You adjust your post with the dropdown on the status box. It is currently defaulted to Public. So you can send your Friends one type of post, and your subscribers another. But NOTE — anyone who is already your Friend is also Subscribed. So many people are now unfriending the people who are not really their close personal friends, to separate those people into Subscribers and Friends. If you have 5000+ personal Friends — good luck with THAT project!
Q4: Should I have a business Page or activate Subscribe? What are the differences?
The best visual comparison I have seen is here I’m using both a business Page and a Subscribe button on my personal account, but just having access to Facebook’s Insights is worth keeping my business Page active. You don’t get a built-in analytics program with Subscribe.
As I get Subscribers I will try to move them to my business Page, because a Page is better in my opinion for businesses. This is my strategy — it is not for everyone. Remember you can target posts by language and location with a Page, can’t do that with Subscribe system.
And here’s another tip — You can make a Facebook List for just the people you Subscribe to – it’s very similar to a Twitter List.
Q5: The Timeline sounds like work – what is your experience of it?
I can preview the new Timeline look and honestly I really Like it. It goes live for everyone October 1st. You can adjust everything on the Timeline – hide stories, feature a story or change the privacy settings. It’s like a really long scrapbook. You can add historical events (marriage, children, etc.) by date and scroll through it.
As Facebook is right now, you will rarely go to the Profile Timeline (Wall) anyway. You will be watching the News Feed page. However, the design of the Timeline brings Facebook into a more beautiful user interface, which I am very happy to see.
If you can’t wait until October 1st to see yours, it is a very easy thing to become an “app developer” to get a preview. Follow these instructions for activating the Timeline http://ow.ly/6GOyG.
OK – whew — I think that’s it! If you have any more questions about the upcoming and recent changes Facebook has developed — leave it in the comment section and I will attempt to answer them! And thanks again to Dabney for introducing me to your fabulous #smmanners community!