6 Simple Steps for Customizing Your Facebook Timeline

Now that Timeline is mandatory on all of Facebook’s personal profiles, you’d better devote an hour or so to setting up your Timeline (as opposed to letting Facebook create it for you and risk getting who-knows what).

I set mine up this week, and it wasn’t as mind-numbing a process as I feared it might be. Follow these six steps, and you’ll be up and running.

Step 1: Choose a Cover Photo

Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities note:

“You will not send or otherwise post unauthorized commercial communications (such as spam) on Facebook.” (Section 3.1)

To be on the safe side, avoid promoting your products, services, or business on your personal Facebook profile.

Personal profiles are intended for personal content, whereas pages are intended to promote your business brand.

With that in mind, carefully select a cover photo that reflects who you are as a person. You can either choose a photo you’ve previously uploaded to Facebook, or you can upload a photo from your hard drive/flash drive.

Once you have a photo in place, drag it within the cover photo frame to reposition it.

Note that the cover photo for your personal profile will be public.

When you save your cover photo, Facebook will automatically overlay your current profile picture over the lower lefthand corner of the cover photo. My first draft looked like this:

Although I like the double rainbow hovering over my backyard, the image seemed a “dark and stormy” way to “welcome” my Facebook friends. I plan to create a photo collage (someday… maybe), but for the time-being, I decided to display a picture of my sons at Disney World.

You can change your cover photo or your profile picture whenever you want; hover over the image until the pencil icon appears, and select the option you prefer from the dropdown menu.

Step 2: Update Info

Click the Update Info tab, located directly below the cover photo.

Systematically go through each module and edit the information. These are the modules you will need to edit:

  1. Work and Education (Where you have worked; where you went to college/university)
  2. Living (Where you live now; your hometown)
  3. Relationship (Your significant other, if applicable)
  4. Family (Family members who are your Facebook friends, and your relationship to each). My apologies to Jen, our older son’s birth mom, and Isaac, her hubby. Facebook does not include categories for “birth mom” and “step birth dad,” so I had to label you “Unknown.” But you’re still family.
  5. History by Year (this module does not have an Edit function; it is attached to the Work and Education module, and displays the dates you started work at your current position, and the date(s) you started and graduated from university).
  6. About You (Your bio)
  7. Basic Info (Your gender, birthdate, relationship status, anniversary, languages, religion, and political views.
  8. Favorite Quotations (Self-explanatory)

Important!

You do NOT have to provide any information you feel uncomfortable sharing.

After you Save Changes to each module, use the dropdown menu in the upper righthand corner of each module to customize who you want to see the information in that module. Don’t forget to do this! Facebook defaults to the “Public” setting, and most of us don’t want to reveal everything about ourselves to the public.

Step 3: Route Friends to Your Business/Fan Page

If you administer a Facebook Business Page (commonly called a fan page), you’ll want people who visit your profile to be able to access your Page, as well.

There are three places you can do this.

1.  Under “Work and Education” where it asks, “Where have you worked?” enter the exact name of your Facebook fan page. (When you start typing it, it should pop up from an alphabetical list of Facebook pages).

I also manually inserted my company’s website URL into the “Description” area of the “Project.”

2.  In the “About You” module, add hyperlinks to your website, blog, Facebook page, and any other sites you want to direct people to. These links are clickable.

3.  In the “Contact Info” module, you can also add hyperlinks to your website, blog, and social channels (including your Facebook fan page, of course).

When you have completely customized each module, click “Done Editing.” You’ll find that button at the top of the page, next to the “Work and Education” heading.

Anytime you want to view your Timeline as the public will see it, click the drop-down arrow to the right of the Activity Log tab.

Step 4: Customize Activity Log

This area displays all your posts and activity since you joined Facebook. Scroll through the list to:

  • Review photos and comments you’ve been tagged in
  • Delete comments you’ve made on friends’ profiles
  • Change who sees your individual status updates

For each update or photo you’ve published, you can:

  • Allow on Timeline
  • Star on Timeline (more on that in a minute)
  • Hide on Timeline
  • Delete Post
  • Add location
  • Change date

It can be overwhelming to look at everything all at once when you’re editing your Activity Log, particularly if you’re active on Facebook. To make things easier on yourself, edit each section of your Activity Log individually.

To do this, click the drop down tab that says “All” (to the right of the “Activity Log” tab) and go down the list, editing each area.

 

Another Way to Delete or Hide Published Content

You can also delete an update or picture or hide it from displaying on your Timeline by hovering over an update and clicking the pencil icon that will appear in the upper righthand corner of the update.

The Star Icon

When you hover over an update, you’ll notice a “star” icon directly to the left of the pencil icon. This is a new feature. When you click the star, it expands that update to widescreen mode, allowing you to feature that update. If you goof, just click the star again and it will resize the update back to one column wide.

Here’s an example of what happened to one of my updates when I starred it:

Step 5: Add New Info to Your Timeline

In the Status Bar (below your Cover Photo), you can add information to your Timeline from any year in your life. Click the Life Event Tab and you’ll see five categories:

  1. Work & Education
  2. Family & Relationships
  3. Home & Living
  4. Health & Wellness
  5. Travel & Experiences

As you hover over each category link, a second sub-menu will display with more choices.

Let’s say you bought your first-ever new car in 1985. You have a picture of your much younger self standing proudly next to your Toyota Camry (that was my first new car). Click “Home & Living,” then “New Vehicle.” Fill out the form fields you choose to and upload a photo if you have one. Before saving, click the dropdown menu to the left of the Save button and decide who gets to see your update.

When you add a Life Event, Facebook does not display it in your Newsfeed as a new status update; rather, it places the Event in the appropriate year on your Timeline.

As an alternative to adding a Life Event, you can click anywhere on the Timeline itself (located in the sidebar to the right of your cover photo and Friends module).

Step 6: Add Apps

Facebook has a directory of apps you can install on your Timeline. Browse the apps in the following categories and click on the ones you want.

Once you’ve installed an app, you can rearrange how it displays. Beneath your Cover Photo you’ll see several thumbnail-sized images of your Favorites (Friends, Photos, Likes, Map, Subscribers, Recent Apps, and anything else you have chosen to display in that area).

You can rearrange those favorites or prevent them from displaying (except for Friends and Photos, which are unmovable on my profile). Hover over the thumbnail until the pencil icon appears. Click the pencil icon and you can then swap positions with another Favorite, or you can Remove from Favorites.

Conclusion

I’m learning more about how to use Timeline as I continue to experiment. I’ll be sharing additional tips in future blog posts.

What about you? Have you discovered a cool Timeline trick you’d be willing to share, either in the Comments or as a guest post?

Print This Tutorial

Print a nicely-formatted PDF of this tutorial by clicking the “Printable PDF” icon directly below this post.

Share It!

If you found this tutorial helpful, please Like it and Share it with your Facebook friends. Here’s a sample update you can copy and paste to your social networks:

6 simple steps for customizing your Facebook Timeline — must-read tutorial from BloggingBistro.com: http://www.bloggingbistro.com/?p=10340

While you’re at it, Like the Blogging Bistro Facebook page and receive a social media tip every day of the year!

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  • http://twitter.com/CarrieDaws Carrie Daws

    Thank you!! I need a Facebook for Dummies book .. but they change the software so much I’d go bankrupt buying the books!

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    So true, Carrie. I thought of publishing an ebook of Facebook tutorials, but I’d have to update it nearly every week! Blog articles to the rescue…

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  • Ginny Jaques

    Thanks so much for this guide (for idiots, I mean with pictures!), Laura.  It helps a lot.

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    LOL! You’re welcome, Ginny.

  • http://www.softwaysolutions.com/facebook-customization-design-programming-houston-texas-uk-europe.html Cowan Ronnie

    Thank you for sharing these steps with your visitors. Really helpful!! You are going to get many good comments for your post as I must bookmark and share it with all.

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    Appreciate it, Cowan. Glad you found the steps helpful.

  • CHS

    Hello, I’d like to make my About Me section public, and also the usual schools and work parts public too, but the rest (like timeline and posts) private. I keep resaving the About Me section as public, but it keeps making it private and it does not show up in the preview. Would you have any ideas here on what’s happening? Thanks!

  • Mike

    When I’m in “view as public” mode, my work and education history is listed alphabetically, instead of chronologically. When I view my timeline without the “view as” mode activated, my history is organized chronologically, as I want it to be. And of course, everything else is listed chronologically on my “Timeline”. Is there any way to fix the order of my work and education history in public view?

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    Mike,
    I took a good long look at this and I can’t figure out why it would do that, either. Seems that with TIMELINE, everything would be chronological, but you never know with those Facebook gremlins. If anyone else has a solution for Mike, please chime in.

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    When you click “About” and then click “Edit” for each module on your “About” page, you should see in the righthand area of each module the tiny “people” icon. There’s a dropdown arrow next to the icon that allows you to customize how public you want to make that module. I’m guessing you’re already doing that customization, but if not, give it a try. If you have already done that, I don’t know why Facebook would keep making that section private. Strange!

  • Mike

    Thanks for the time and effort anyhow :). I hope its just a preview glitch, but there are so many settings to rule out it’s frightening! I’ll post an update if I figure anything out.

  • Denny

    Hi – Thank you for your post I found it very helpful. Would you be able to tell me how to display my family menbers on my homepage of timeline? I have seen others have family member under friends on the right side of their timeline, but I can’t figure it out. Thanks again for all your espertise!

  • Kelly Andrews

    Hi Laura! This is Kelly Thieme from Othello. I was looking up how to do something on timeline and clicked on this article and there you were! It’s been a while! Take care!

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    Now that is truly a blast from the past! Great to hear from you — I’m surprised you recognized me. Say “hi” to Craig from me and email me any time. I’d love to stay in touch. Where are you living now?

  • Jennnk

    Just figured this out myself after searching for help. Click About Me. Scroll to your family list. Next to each family member is a dot -click on it. Select allow to display on timeline.

  • Madhav

    hi! There are 3 options coming when I click the photos tab. “Photos of you”, “Photos” and “albums”. I noticed that in some profiles the top 1st option “Photos of you” is not present and just the 2 headings Photos and Albums are there, would you know how can one remove the Photos of you from there ?

  • http://bloggingbistro.com/ Laura Christianson

    I’m guessing that’s a Privacy Settings function. Try clicking “Privacy Settings” and customizing the “Timeline and Tagging” area and see if that makes a difference.

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