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The Profile Tab

Your profile is your public face on Facebook. If you're a business, you might be loathe to put personal information on Facebook. Large corporations skip profiles and go directly to pages (see Chapter 3, "Creating Your Own Pages"). Pages are appropriate for businesses, bands, stars, and so on. Pages don't have friends; instead, they have fans.

But if you're not a large corporation yet, and you want to get some good Facebook publicity, I encourage you, as a business, to get some personal profiles going. If you don't want to do that, and you're not a known presence on the Internet yet, you might consider whether Facebook is right for you. Remember, it's all about content marketing, and you want to get people as involved with you as you can get them.

Figure 1.4 shows my profile (I admit the photo is a bit grim!). You can access your profile at any time by clicking the Profile tab that appears at the top of all pages while you're logged in.

Figure 1.4

Figure 1.4 My profile page, top half.

It's a long web page, so the bottom half appears in Figure 1.5.

Figure 1.5

Figure 1.5 My profile page, bottom half.

Because the profile is so important, let's take it apart piece by piece.

Across the Top

Across the top of the profile page, you see the Facebook logo in the upper left. Clicking that at any time takes you back to your home page if you're logged in. You'll always see the Facebook logo and therefore can access your home page. You can also click the "home" link at the top right of any Facebook page to get back home. Also note the link next to the Profile tab that says "edit." You can edit your profile here, as you'll see in a moment.

The final elements across the top of the profile are these links:

  • home: Takes you to your home page.
  • account: Lets you set account info, such as credit card info in case you want to buy gifts.
  • privacy: Lets you customize privacy settings, such as who can see what in your profile.
  • logout: Logs you out.

The "account" link takes you to the page shown in Figure 1.6.

Figure 1.6

Figure 1.6 The account page.

On the account page, here are the items you can change:

  • Name
  • Contact Email
  • Password
  • Security Question: You can change the question Facebook asks you to verify that it's really you.
  • Credit Cards: You can change or edit the credit card information you use to buy people gifts on Facebook.
  • Deactivate Account

The "security" link takes you to the page shown in Figure 1.7.

Figure 1.7

Figure 1.7 The security page.

Here are the items on the security page:

  • Profile: Controls who can see what in your profile.
  • Search: Controls how people can search for you.
  • News Feed and Mini-Feed: Controls what's visible in the news feed and mini-feed.
  • Applications: Controls the security settings for the Facebook applications you install.

We'll take another look at the security page soon. When you're on Facebook, security and privacy are major issues.

The Search Bar

The search bar is directly under the Facebook logo in the upper left in Figure 1.4. You can search for people (as well as groups, events, applications, and so on) just by entering their name and pressing Enter.

Various search options are available. You can select them by clicking the down arrow next to the word Search. This opens the menu shown in the upper left of Figure 1.8.

Figure 1.8

Figure 1.8 Search options.

The items on the search menu indicate the ways in which you can search:

  • Basic Search
  • Find Classmates
  • Find Coworkers
  • Profile Search
  • Browse

Using this search box is a good way to reconnect with friends.

Under the search box is a list of links; in my profile, they are as follows:

  • Photos: Displays the photos you've uploaded—and photos from your friends.
  • Video: Displays your videos—and videos from your friends.
  • Groups: Displays the groups you belong to—and groups recently joined by your friends.
  • Events: Lists the upcoming Facebook-registered events you may be connected to—and those of your friends.
  • Notes: Allows you to publish commentary, which can include figures. Your friends can comment on your notes. And you can see your friends' notes as well.

Clicking any of these links takes you to a new page. For example, Figure 1.9 shows my notes page.

Figure 1.9

Figure 1.9 The notes page.

After I create this new note, a Notes section is added to my profile. It summarizes the new note so that friends visiting my profile can see there's a new note and read it. This offers marketing opportunities, because you can broadcast your notes to other friends. More about this is coming up later.

Finally, moving down in the search bar, underneath the Photos, Videos, Groups, and so on, is an ad. We'll have a great deal more to say about ads later in the book.

Name, Photo, Networks, and Status

You can see my photo in my profile. If you want to upload or change your photo, just click the "edit" link on the Profile tab. Then click the Picture tab in the new window that opens, browse for a new photo with the Browse button, and upload the photo with the Upload Picture button.

Your name appears next to your photo, as shown in Figure 1.8. Want to change your name? Click the "account" link in the upper right of your profile, and then click the "change" link in the Name item.

Note also the status line that appears in my profile—"having fun," as shown in Figure 1.8. That status also appears in all your friends' home pages (as in "Steven is having fun"). You can set that status by clicking the status text ("is having fun"), entering your new text, and pressing Enter.

Setting your status can be a mild marketing opportunity. For example, if you were a shoe manufacturer, you might write "is enjoying his new spelunking shoes to the max." Unfortunately, you can't use any HTML, such as a link to your company's website.

You can, however, include an URL in your status. Facebook will treat it as a clickable URL.

Under your status are the networks you belong to, and your gender. As with nearly all items in your profile, these can be restricted, making them invisible to people you want to keep out.

Under my photo are five icons; they correspond to

  • Education and Work
  • Gifts
  • Photos
  • Groups
  • The Wall

When you click an icon, the browser moves to the matching section in your profile. In other words, the same page stays open, but another section is moved to the top of the browser window. When you install Facebook applications on your profile, they each get an icon here too.

Note that above these icons are the words "I am online now.", indicating that I'm available for messages. If I weren't online, you'd see other items. In particular, you'd see links like these:

  • View Photos of Steven (1)
  • View Steven's Friends (6)
  • Send Steven a Gift
  • Send Steven a Message
  • Poke Him!

Also note the link View My Friends (6) beneath my photo. If you click it, the browser navigates to the same page that clicking the Friends tab takes you to; this is discussed later in this chapter.

The Mini-Feed Section

On the right of Figure 1.8 is my mini-feed. This is the first of the profile "sections" we'll cover. A section in your profile has a title bar (reading "Mini-Feed" in this case), and you can rearrange sections in your profile just by dragging their title bars. So if you want the mini-feed to appear below the Photos section, just drag it there. Facebook will remember the new arrangement.

What's a mini-feed, and how does it differ from your news feed? As you saw on the home page, a news feed keeps you in contact with all your friends and what they're doing. You can also subscribe to various news sources in your news feed.

A mini-feed, on the other hand, appears on your profile page and includes items and updates about you. As you can see in Figure 1.8, for example, all the items in my mini-feed begin with my name, such as "Steven joined the group Browns and Beyond." We'll cover groups in detail in Chapter 2. A group lets friends connect around common interests, and they can leave messages for each other on the group's page.

In other words, my mini-feed keeps track of what I've been doing on Facebook for users who view my profile. (Again, you can set the access that various groups of users have to that information.) The items in the mini-feed are often hyperlinks. For example, "Browns and Beyond" in my mini-feed is a link to the group Browns and Beyond. In the mini-feed item "Steven added new photos to Hawaii Trip," Hawaii Trip is a link to my photo album of photos from our Hawaiian vacation. If you see someone's name (not your own) in your mini-feed, that's a link to that person's profile.

Note also the down-pointing arrow in the title bar of the mini-feed section. You can collapse or expand the sections in a profile by clicking that arrow. When you collapse a section, it closes to just its title bar, and the arrow turns into one that points to the right. (You can see an arrow like that in the Information section of my profile in Figure 1.5.)

The Friends and Friends in Other Networks Sections

You can see thumbnail photos of my friends in the Friends section of my profile in Figure 1.8. Clicking one of them takes you to that person's profile, which is pretty cool.

Directly under the Friends section in the profile is the Friends in Other Networks section, visible in Figure 1.5. There you can see a breakdown of my friends by network—Richmond, VA; Ithaca, NY; and so on. Clicking one of these networks opens a new page showing my friends in any of those networks. Figure 1.10 shows my friend in Ithaca, NY.

Figure 1.10

Figure 1.10 Friends in a network.

Note that there's also a "Networks you belong to" subsection at the bottom of the Friends in Other Networks section, as shown in Figure 1.5. As you can see, I belong to the Ithaca, NY network, which in my case is the default geographic network that Facebook always signs you up for.

You can join other networks if you like. Just click the "accounts" link in the upper right of any Facebook page after you're logged in. Click the Networks tab, opening the page shown in Figure 1.11.

Figure 1.11

Figure 1.11 Managing networks.

You can join networks in this page. As the directions say, just enter a city, workplace, school, or region in the Network name box, and click Join Network.

Friends are the most intimate community you have in Facebook. After that, groups are the next community you can join—typically made up of groups of friends. After that come networks, which group people by city, workplace, school, or region. And you can set the privacy of your profile so that various pieces of data are restricted to friends and/or networks. It's all part of Facebook getting you involved.

The Photos Section

The Photos section of your profile gives people access to any photos you've uploaded. These don't have to be personal photos. They can be business photos of products or catalog items.

In the Photos section of my profile are my Hawaii photos. Clicking that album opens it, as shown in Figure 1.12.

Figure 1.12

Figure 1.12 Photo album overview.

Want to create your own album? Click the Create a Photo Album link shown in Figure 1.12, which opens the page shown in Figure 1.13.

Figure 1.13

Figure 1.13 The Add New Photos page.

You can create a new photo album on this page, as I've done in Figure 1.13. This photo album is of my trip to Hawaii, but you can upload your business offerings, creating a rudimentary online catalog for interested friends.

You can also set who can see your new album, as shown in Figure 1.13, where I'm saying the Everyone can see the new album. Other choices limit viewership to your friends and your network, or friends of friends, or just friends.

Clicking the Create Album button in Figure 1.13 takes you to a new page, as shown in Figure 1.14.

Figure 1.14

Figure 1.14 Adding photos to an album.

In Internet Explorer, Facebook asks you to install an ActiveX control to handle the uploading. Go ahead and install the ActiveX control (you have to click the yellow security bar that appears at the top of the display in Internet Explorer and select the Install item). When you install the ActiveX control, you see the display shown in Figure 1.14, where you can select the photos you want to upload to your new album.

When you click the Upload button in Figure 1.14, your photos are uploaded to Facebook.

How do you access the new album? You click the Photos icon in your profile and select the album you want, which opens the album. Nice.

The Groups Section

As you can see in Figure 1.5, under the Photos section is the Groups section, which lists the groups you belong to. I belong to two groups, and they're both listed.

As mentioned, groups are collections of users centered around a common interest, such as opera—which is why I belong to the I Love Opera! group. Clicking the I Love Opera! link in the Groups section of my profile opens the I Love Opera! group page, as shown in Figure 1.15.

Figure 1.15

Figure 1.15 The I Love Opera! group.

Groups are powerful tools for marketers, as discussed in Chapter 2.

The Information Section

Just under the mini-feed section is the Information section, as shown in the top right of Figure 1.5. This section displays the information you specified when creating your account, such as your email address and other contact info (again, you can restrict who gets to see this information).

You can fill out your profile, adding more information than the basics Facebook asks for when you sign up. We'll cover how to edit your profile in a few pages.

Be careful what you make publicly visible in your Information section. There might be no need for casual browsers to see your email address, for example. You can set privacy levels using the "privacy" link that appears on any Facebook page when you're logged in. We'll cover that in this chapter as well.

The Education and Work Section

As you can also see on the right of Figure 1.5, your profile also contains an Education and Work section, allowing you to list your high school and college, as well as your place of work. In fact, Facebook asks you for this information when you sign up.

Like the Information section, you can restrict who gets to see what information in your Education and Work section.

The Gifts Section

You can give gifts to others in Facebook; they appear in the Gifts section of your profile. As you can see in Figure 1.5, someone sent me a duck, one of the few free gifts on Facebook.

Usually, gifts aren't free—you have to pay for them. It doesn't mean anything more than just getting a virtual gift that you can display, but it costs real money. The fact that thousands of people buy gifts is a testament to the power of Facebook as a marketing tool.

The Wall Section

At the bottom right of Figure 1.5, you can see the Wall section—a wildly popular item in Facebook. Here you can leave messages, links, or videos for others.

The Wall is a way to connect to your friends. As you see in Figure 1.5, some of my friends have been connecting to me. You can even leave yourself a note on the Wall. Just type into the "Write something on your own Wall..." box and click the Post button. You can attach video and links with the links under that box.

When you get a message on your Wall, several links appear at the bottom of the new message. For example, if you get a message from Albert Einstein, you see a link to "Write on Albert's Wall," which allows you to get back to Einstein immediately by writing on his Wall.

There's also a Message link, that, when clicked, opens the Message system. You can message the person who posted on your Wall. All you have to do is to enter your subject and your message and click Send.

There's also a Delete link that lets you delete Wall posts, which is a good idea when things start to get too cluttered.

That completes our overview of what's in your Facebook profile. Your profile might acquire more sections over time. For example, as you add Facebook applications (discussed in Chapters 9 and 10), each application may get a new, titled section in your profile.

What if you want to change your profile information? That's easy.

Editing Your Profile

You can edit your profile at any time. Just click the "edit" link on the Profile tab. This opens the profile editor, shown in Figure 1.16.

Figure 1.16

Figure 1.16 Editing your profile.

Facebook wants you to enter as much information about yourself as it can get. Although you might think that's not a good idea, there are trade-offs—ones that might be of interest to marketers. The more information you enter, the more Facebook targets the unsolicited information it sends you.

In other words, Facebook targets ads to specific demographics in a way that's more precise than just about any other marketing platform you can name. That's one reason your marketing dollars on Facebook can go further than many other places.

Another aspect of the unsolicited information that Facebook hones according to the information you give it about yourself has to do with which friends it suggests you might want to add. And that can be useful.

Facebook is always after you to add more information to your profile. For example, if you open the Information section in your profile, you'll probably see a yellow box with a link to "Fill out your Profile." That link opens the profile editor shown in Figure 1.16.

The tabs in the Facebook profile editor are as follows:

  • Basic: This is basic information, such as sex, birthday, hometown, and so on, but the information here can get pretty personal—such as what your religious beliefs are.
  • Contact: This tab asks for your contact information. It's pretty probing, asking for your phone number, cell number, email address, and street address.

    You might feel queasy about supplying such a depth of personal information, and if so, by all means, don't. Many young people, raised in an environment where everything is shared, seem to have no problems putting down the most intimate details. But that doesn't mean you have to.

    If you're a marketer, on the other hand, this may be information that you'd love to share—such as your phone number. Note that there's also space for a website URL here—prime contact info for businesses.

  • Relationships: This is where you can use Facebook as a dating service. You can list yourself as single or "In an open relationship." And you can indicate your specific relationship preference by selecting a check box in the "Interested in:" section: Men or Women. The "Looking for:" section lets you check Friendship, Dating, A Relationship, or Networking.
  • Personal: This tab lets you list your interests. There are text boxes here for Activities, Interests, Favorite Music, Favorite TV Shows, Favorite Movies, Favorite Books, Favorite Quotes, and About Me.
  • Education: The Education tab lets you list—surprise!—your education history. You can list your high school and multiple colleges/universities, including your major.
  • Work: There are boxes on this tab for Employer, Position, Description, City/Town, and Time Period. There's no option if you're an employer or self-employed, though.
  • Picture: This tab allows you to upload the profile photo you want and delete photos you don't like.

You won't edit your profile every day, but it's good to know that you can do so when needed.

But what about that sensitive data you entered? How can you restrict who sees it? For that, take a look at the next topic.

Setting Profile Privacy

As mentioned, privacy is a big issue on Facebook. Fortunately, you can set the privacy level for a great number of items in Facebook.

To customize your privacy settings, click the "privacy" link in the upper left of any Facebook page when you're logged in. You see the page shown in Figure 1.17.

Figure 1.17

Figure 1.17 Setting your privacy.

The sections shown in Figure 1.17 are as follows:

  • Profile: Controls who can see your profile and personal information.
  • Search: Controls who can search for you and how you can be contacted.
  • News Feed and Mini-Feed: Controls what stories about you get published to your profile and to your friends' news feeds.
  • Applications: Controls what information is available to applications you use on Facebook.

Let's look at the profile security settings. Click the Profile link, opening the page shown in Figure 1.18.

Figure 1.18

Figure 1.18 Setting your profile privacy.

Note that the Basic tab is chosen by default. Here are the items in this tab:

  • Profile: Controls who can see your profile.
  • Basic Info: Sets access to your Sex, Birthday, Hometown, Political Views, and Religious Views.
  • Personal Info: Sets access to your Activities, Interests, Favorite Music, Favorite TV Shows, Favorite Movies, Favorite Books, Favorite Quotes, and About Me.
  • Status Updates: Sets access to your status data (such as "Steven Holzner is having fun.").
  • Photos Tagged of You: When you upload photos, you can tag each one with the names of the people in the photo. This box lets you set access to such photos.
  • Videos Tagged of You: You can also tag uploaded videos with people's names. This box lets you set access to such videos.
  • Online Status: Specifies whether people can see if you're online.
  • Friends: Controls access to your friends list.
  • Wall: Controls access to your Wall.
  • Education Info: Controls access to your education info—college and the like.
  • Work Info: Controls access to your job info.

Each of these items can be set—using the drop-down list box next to it—to one of these values:

  • My Networks and Friends
  • Friends of Friends
  • Only Friends
  • Customize

As you can see, the primary groups you can restrict access to are the groups that social life on Facebook revolves around—friends and networks. Friends you select yourself, but by choosing a network, you may be letting in swarms of people you don't know, so being able to restrict network access is great.

In fact, you might want to restrict the access of certain networks while allowing access by others. That's what the Customize item is for. Clicking that item displays the window shown in Figure 1.19.

Figure 1.19

Figure 1.19 Customizing network privacy.

Using the customize window, you can admit everyone in the Ithaca, NY network while excluding everyone in the Gonzo Wackos network. (Actually, there is no such network—not yet, anyway.)

That's all fine, but what about the more personal information, such as your email address, home address, and phone numbers? You don't have to share your address or phone numbers with Facebook, but you need to give Facebook your email address, or it won't open an account for you.

You set the privacy of these items using the Contact Information tab, as shown in Figure 1.20.

Figure 1.20

Figure 1.20 Setting your contact information privacy.

Here are the contact information items you can set privacy for:

  • IM Screen Name
  • Mobile Phone
  • Land Phone
  • Current Address
  • Website
  • Email

As with the Basic privacy information, you can set these items to My Networks and Friends, Friends of Friends, Only Friends, or Customize.

That completes our overview of setting profile privacy items. As you can see, you can restrict access to your data. But note that the most restrictive settings still allow friends, so if you're a privacy freak, plan accordingly.

That completes the first of the three main tabs you see in every Facebook window when you're logged in—the Profile tab (including the edit link in that tab). There are two more tabs—Friends and Inbox—and we'll take a look at them next.

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Last Update: November 17, 2020