A few weeks ago there were some major changes with the layout of Facebook (more on the official Facebook blog). The change has been pretty unpopular with quite a lot of people, although I have to say I personally quite like the change of focus. Facebook is now far more focused on following the activities of your friends on your home page, in a similar way to Twitter (Facebook did try to buy Twitter earlier this year so it’s probably no coincidence that they are changing in this way).

At around the same time of the change, Facebook also changed its Facebook Pages, the section of Facebook for businesses and organisations, and rebranded it as Facebook Public Profiles. There’ve been a fair few teething problems including broken pages on IE for any page with opening hours included – thankfully others have been quick to raise the issues and share fixes (particular thanks to Edith Speller, @wiilassie on Twitter). Most of the issues seem to have been sorted now )or a fix found at least!).

The changes bring organisation pages more inline with personal pages, there has also been a change of focus for organisations – instead of the information page being the main feature of the page, the Wall is the default landing page (although this can be changed in Settings if you wish).

Facebook Public Profile layout

Facebook Public Profile layout

One of the main differences is that organisations can now update their status in a similar way to personal Facebook profiles. This means that fans can (if they agree to) view short updates on their homepage from public profiles they are interested in. If enabled, they can also see any new content which has been added (e.g. if a new photo album is added it should show up in their Public Profile feed).

Although this means that the page I administer for our Learning Centres needs work (previously it was a fairly static page), I view the change as a positive step. I’m currently awaiting feedback from management on where to go next with the Facebook project but ideally I’d love to see it being used in a more dynamic way. We have a lot happening in our Learning Centres and I’d like to use Facebook as a way to connect with our users and keep them up-to-date with developments (e.g. events, new databases, vacation opening hours etc.).

I’m pleased Facebook have made this change, it’s a challenge now for us to ensure that our presence on Facebook is worthwhile and although it still won’t require much time to update (it only takes seconds to change the status), I’m hoping it will remind me (and other admins) of the importance of keeping the content fresh. If I get approval, I’d like to ensure we have more fresh information on our page such as photographs, service/resource updates, possibly even discussions about any issues users have. Anyone else have any ideas of how to make the most of the new Public Profile on Facebook?

  • Hi – another of those “admins” here Jo ; ) Would love to see our FB page develop more and some images would be a great start. If we have a profile, then we really need to put some faces and places up there to build this profile. Getting approval to do some of these things will certainly help to make the page more dynamic. It might be a good opportunity to share positive feedback with our fans from workshops/events, or things like “how we’ve responded to your comments”.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Helen, I’m glad we’re thinking along the same lines.

      I love your idea of using the page to share feedback and how we’re changing things in response to user comments.

  • Thanks for this Jo,

    We have had some teething problems with the new interface, and have found out some unexpected issues from other users as well (such as no longer being able to delete the original page creator from the list of administrators – what do you do now if your page creator leaves your organisation, or leaves facebook?).

    It is frustrating that fans now land on the Wall, because we have not allowed fan postings on our wall, so in order to keep the page up to date we are now feeding library blogs through Yahoo Pipes to Facebook notes (because FB Notes will only accept one feed at a time, and the RSS applications wont feed entries onto the wall).

    The problem with that is that all the entries appear to come from one source, so we are not directing students to appropriate, specific, blogs, and it also looks like posts have been duplicated, because several blogs may contain similar posts at the same time.

    It is frustrating that we have put careful consideration into what we are offering in terms of applications etc. only to have them hidden behind a Wall we would rather not use.

    I have sent my concerns to Facebook and asked that at least we are given the option of what we display to fans landing on the page, but there is no real response yet. (You can choose what non-fans see).

    We are looking at other ways of using the page – will see what happens.

    Katharine

  • Glad to have been of help Jo!

    I agree that the changes are positive on the whole and really like the new status update feature – the downside is that organisations can’t reply to fans’ wall posts without broadcasting them to the world which I’ve seen a few people fall foul of already. Also a shame that we’re punished for early adoption because our existing fans have to opt in to see our status updates whereas new ones sign up automatically.

    I’d like to put more photos on our page, but when I raised the idea of putting staff ohotos on our own website (let alone Facebook!) it didn’t go down well with some. If you have a blog with general announcements you could feed its RSS feed into the Notes app so those get broadcast automatically, or stick in a Twitter feed if you don’t mind being very brief? May also be worth checking out the RSS Connect app as they’ve recently added a way to post new RSS entries to the wall and therefore to fans’ newsfeeds. I’ve not done this because our only RSS is new items lists so a bit spammy to push out to people.