What's new with the Facebook Timeline?
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Here comes the Timeline (don’t run screaming)

Facebook TimelineLove it or hate it, yet another major Facebook shift is upon us–the advent of the Facebook Timeline format for Pages (it’s already been involved with our personal profiles for some time, as Facebook time goes).  If you haven’t enabled it yourself for your library’s Page, it will shortly be forced upon your library’s Facebook Page on March 30th, 2012.

Better get cracking if you want to be ready.  The new format has some not-insignificant changes, and you’ll want to be prepared.  In a nutshell, here’s what’s coming:

  1. The cover image.  By far, this is the most noticeable piece of the Timeline; after all, it’s really hard to miss an image that is 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels high.  This image is not only large, it’s likely going to make or break your library’s image on Facebook.  It’s the first and biggest thing that first-time visitors are going to see, so it’s critical to get it right.  There are many creative things that can be done with the cover image, so get thinking.  Please, please, don’t stick a giant picture of your library’s building up there.  Raise the bar at least a little?
  2. The profile picture.  That’s the little picture with the white frame that is embedded in the lower left of the cover image.  Create a nice version of your library’s logo (this is NOT your building!) that is 180 x 180 pixels.  Facebook won’t accept an image smaller than that; it is going to do the scaling to 32 x 32 itself.  If you don’t have a logo, go the creative route and make the profile picture interact somehow with the cover image.  (See the link in #1.)
  3. Apps.  Pages can have up to 21 apps on their Timeline; only 4 of them, however, actually show clearly under the cover image.  Be aware that many older apps may not work properly with recent Facebook changes; test heavily.
  4. Pinning of posts.  By pinning a post, you force it to stay at the top of the Timeline for 7 days.  A nice feature for things you don’t want to get pushed down by newer content.
  5. Highlighting posts.  This doesn’t change the position of the post on the Timeline; rather, it forces it to stretch across both columns, so that it is more visible.
  6. Custom tabs and landing pages are gone.  Totally kaput.  Good riddance, really.  Research has shown that those custom landing pages especially were a waste of time, with virtually no ROI.
  7. Direct messages from fans.  People who “like” your Facebook Page can now send direct messages to Page administrators.  So be prepared for possible messages from people you don’t know
  8. Addition of milestones.  You can add important dates for your library to the Timeline, such as when your library was constructed, when additions or renovations were made, etc.

What does this mean to me, Laura?

  • You’re likely going to need to spend some time on getting your Facebook Page in shape.  Start now.  And then, don’t stop.  The Timeline offers more chances to really curate your content and emphasize those things that are important.
  • There is the potential for more direct communication to your personal Facebook account from unknown people, if you are publicly shown as the Page’s administrator.

Has your library already moved to the Timeline? Post the URL in the comments!