Stay Connected on Facebook

31 10 2012

Have you noticed that your personal Facebook newsfeed isn’t as well-rounded as it used to be?

Facebook decides what makes it to your newsfeed and what doesn’t. Let’s say you “like” 10 pages on Facebook. If you seldom interact (like or share or comment) with a page’s posts, or seldom visit a page, its posts slowly disappear from your newsfeed.

Facebook thinks it has you figured out and, if left alone, will show you only what it thinks you want to see.

There is a simple way to see the posts that you actually want to see. You create a “list” of the pages that you like and those pages’ posts will start showing up again in your newsfeed. Most of them, anyway. You can see every single post from every page that you like by clicking on the “list” that you created.

This is how to do it:

Look on the left side of your newsfeed/home screen. Click  INTERESTS. If you do not see INTERESTS, click MORE.

The INTERESTS section will appear – click ADD INTERESTS

Then, click CREATE LISTS

Click PAGES on the left, then click on each page’s icon. A little blue check mark will appear to indicate that you’ve chosen that page to be on the list. Once you’ve selected all the pages you want for this particular list, click the NEXT button at the bottom of the box.

Type in a name for this list, and choose who can see the list. Once you’ve done that, click DONE.

That’s it! Now most of the posts from the pages on your list will appear in your newsfeed. To see all of the posts from each page on your list, look under INTERESTS on the left side of your newsfeed/home screen and click on the list. If you don’t see INTERESTS, click on MORE and that is where you’ll find it.

There is another way to ensure that you get a page’s posts in your newsfeed, and that’s to go to a page, hover over the LIKED button and then click “Show in News Feed” in the dropdown menu.

Those of you with branded pages should share this post with your Facebook followers so that they can get your page on their list.

[Update: No sooner do you post something about Facebook than it changes – a little or a lot. In this case, it’s a little, but it’s helpful. Check out this article on staying connected:]

By Trish Parnell

Twitter Header How-To

24 09 2012

Heads up, Twitter users! Come November, your twitter profile is going to look a little grey if you don’t do something about it.

They’re changing the look to include a header image of your choice, similar to the timeline cover that is now on Facebook pages.

The fix is simple and here’s how you do it:

First, create an image. Keep in mind that the header image you’re about to create will show along with your existing background image, so make sure they don’t clash.

Open your image editor (Photoshop or Paint or whatever you use) and create a New image with these dimensions: 1252px (width) X 626px (height) and 300 (resolution). I like to set the resolution this high because it makes any text you put on the image look good. This holds true for your Facebook timeline cover, and maybe even more true for that image.

Design your image as you like and keep in mind that your profile picture and some of the text from your profile will automatically show up on the image once you’ve uploaded it and are done with it:

Log onto your Twitter page and click on the Settings wheel at the top of your page on the right side. In the dropdown menu, click on Edit Profile:

On the left side of your page where you see Account, Password, Mobile, and so on, click on Design:

Scroll down a little, and click on the Change Header or Header option. It might say something slightly different if you don’t yet have a header, but look for the “Header” box above the Change Background box on the right side of the page:

Click on the Header box and a box will pop up that is a directory of your computer. Make sure you’ve named your image something obvious and that you remember where you stored it, then click on the “Look in” dropdown at the top of the box and go find your image:

Once you’ve found it, double-click on it and a new box will appear saying “Upload a header image” and it will have a slider bar at the bottom so you can do any final adjustments to the image. You then click Save or Cancel on the box, as you like:

Assuming you clicked save, it will do so and then you scroll to the bottom of the Design page and click “Save changes.” To see your new header, click on “Me” at the top of your page.

And that’s it! Do you have some Twitter headers you’d like to share? We’re all looking for great ideas!

By Trish Parnell

Facebook Tips – Let’s Share

16 08 2012

Facebook is a free social media site where we can share health messages and communicate with our patients, our community, or our world.

But, useful as the site is, the powers-that-be keep changing bits and pieces of it. It’s annoying. And, it’s hard to keep up.

Therefore, every so often we sit down and put together some tips for the current version of Facebook (at least, current as of the day this is being written). We hope you’ll share your tips in the comments. It’s easier to keep up on all the changes if we do it together!

Facebook has an App Center now. There’s no obvious search function on the page, so you do a lot of scrolling through the menu, but if you like apps and have the time to poke around, why not?

We love the convenience of going into Hootsuite and setting up our posts, but Facebook doesn’t care for it. There’s this thing called EdgeRank that is a magical formula used by Facebook to determine which posts will show up in your newsfeed, or which of your posts will show up on your fans’ newsfeeds.

Posting your updates directly on your Facebook page rather than through a third-party utility such as Hootsuite increases your EdgeRank.

You can schedule your posts to run when you like, just click on the clock image at the bottom of the status update box. It will ask you what year, month, day, and time you want your post to run.

You may have 1,264 “likes” on your organization’s page, but not all of those people will receive your posts. Facebook steps in and decides which of your posts will show up on which individual’s newsfeed. The more your posts are liked or commented on or shared, the more often they will show up in newsfeeds.

You can also ask your fans to hover over the Like(d) button on your page and make sure the “Show in News Feed” option is checked.

Use your Timeline cover image to share your various messages, and change that image a couple of times a week. The image is 851 x 315 pixels. You can use Paint or any simple software to create as many covers as you like. We’re currently sharing one of CDC’s flu messages.

We all love pictures, and we need to take advantage of the space on our Facebook pages. See the tabs below? The ones that say Photos, Likes, Home, Move to the Beat? You can go to your tabs on your page and change any image on any tab so that you have branded tabs.

The images are 111 x 74 pixels. To change them out, click the arrow in the box to the right of the tabs (next to Move to the Beat). Hover over a tab and click on the little pencil, click Edit Settings, click Change next to Custom Tab image, then click Change again when the new box pops up. After that, you upload an image from your computer and boom, customized tab images.

There are many more ways to enhance your organization’s Facebook page. We blog about them occasionally and we’d like to hear what you do to make your page a go-to site for your target audience.

By Trish Parnell

Facebook Timeline

26 03 2012

If your Facebook page doesn’t look like this (see below), you better get ready, because it will change over automatically to the new layout on 30 March.

That giant image at the top, called the Cover Image, is a significant change. Now, last week, we were helping to promote World Water Day, so we loaned our cover image space to Normally, we have something PKIDs-related up there. You will want something that relates to your organization’s work in that space.

The cover image dimensions are 851 pixels wide x 315 pixels high.

Open your picture editor and choose “new” to create a new image. Set the image size at the pixels stated and then just lay it out as you like.  Keep in mind that your profile picture (see our big purple P above) juts up into your cover image, so don’t put anything critical in that space when designing the cover.

Some Facebook rules about the cover image are:

  • All covers are public. This means that anyone who visits your Page will be able to see your cover. Covers can’t be deceptive, misleading, or infringe on anyone else’s copyright. You may not encourage people to upload your cover to their personal timelines.
  • Covers may not include:
    • price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on”;
    • contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;
    • references to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or
    • calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

Facebook has removed your automatic landing tab, if you had one, and given you this space instead. 

If you want new visitors (those who haven’t “liked” your page yet) to first land on a tab that encourages them to “like” your page, you can still do that. Create the tab, copy the URL for that tab, and use that URL in all of your hyperlinks that point to your Facebook Page. When they click on that hyperlink, they’ll be taken to your custom landing page.

You can have up to 12 tabs/apps. Four are viewable at any one time, and when folks click the down arrow, the rest appear for viewing. These are located under the cover image to the right of the About paragraph. You can move them around so that certain apps are part of the four that are viewable all the time. Put your page in edit, hover over the app icon and click on the edit pencil. At the top of the dropdown box it says, ‘swap position with’ and you just click the name of the app or tab you want to swap.

You can also change out the thumbnail image of each app/tab by clicking on the ‘edit settings’ and choosing Custom Tab Image: Change.

The image size for a thumbnail is 111 pixels x 74 pixels.

You can hover over the Liked button on a page and see a few options, one of which is to unlike the page. The Interests list is also located here. You should try it out to get an idea of what it is. It’s a way of bookmarking pages or people on Facebook and listing them under whatever list name you choose. You can make those lists viewable by all, some, or no one but your page admins.

I haven’t gotten into it yet, other than to create a list to see how to do it. I’m not sure if this is something that will be useful or not. But, because one’s newsfeed quickly fills up each day, being able to check out a list of interest to see what they’re up to—for instance, a list of vaccine advocates—would be a way to drill down through the mass of information you get each day.

There are a couple of things you can do to posts. Hover over one and click the star. That post will be highlighted and spread across both columns. Try it and see, you can always click the star again to unhighlight a post.

You can also ‘pin’ a post to the top of the wall for a week or just a day or two, whatever you want. If it’s something you really want everyone to see, try it. Experimenting is fine! To pin a post, click on the edit pencil of a post and choose ‘pin to top.’ You can always reverse your actions to unpin it.

There are a few more gewgaws to the new Facebook layout, but we’ll get into those later. You know enough to get set up. Don’t be afraid to experiment. And, if you have any suggestions for others, we’d all love to hear them!

By Trish Parnell

Is Social Media Worth It?

28 02 2011

Nonprofits are noodling around with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter . While trying it out, we’re thinking about next steps and determining if incorporating social communications tools into our everyday work is a productive route to take.

 Given the limited resources faced by most nonprofits (especially these days!), many of us are hesitant to make the leap. How can we determine whether the return on investment (ROI) for social media will ultimately pay off?

The funders and the board members and the directors all want proof of ROI before committing. If you’re working in a nonprofit and believe in the need to get into social media, here are a few calculations you can make to determine the ROI for your social media efforts. Some of the biggies are:

  • Staff time – most organizations don’t have the budget for a full-time social media manager, so determining how much time is required for Facebook and Twitter curating  is a good beginning.
  • Tools – even though social media is mostly free, the tools supporting it aren’t always. Make sure your computers and systems allow access to social media tools like Facebook.
  • Installation, set-up and monitoring – someone has to have the technical expertise to set up the various accounts and monitor them for glitches.

According to Beth Kanter, a key player in nonprofit and social media education, social media ROI is worth calculating and there are many viable considerations to make when putting together your program. 

Is social media for nonprofits ultimately worth it? We think it is for PKIDs, but the answer for your organization may be “it depends.”

To learn more about social media for your nonprofit or health department, don’t forget to register for PKIDs’ Communications Made Easy program  and also visit the archive, which is replete with many recorded webinars. Tweets Right!

4 11 2010, a coalition of several federal agencies, uses Twitter and other social media such as Facebook as cornerstones of their communications strategy.

These efforts support the President’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which has three primary goals

  1. Reduce new HIV infections
  2. Increase access to care and improve health outcomes for people living with HIV
  3. Reduce HIV-related health disparities

Such broad strokes are perfect for the likes of Twitter, according to the team.  Twitter as a health communications tool is exemplified by the success of the recent National HIV Testing Day Twitter Town Hall.  

A Twitter Town Hall, a group of people tweeting about the same topic at the same time (and using key hashtags), is an excellent method to reach a wider audience using social media with a relatively low investment of organizational resources.

The types of Twitter interactions may vary—from dialogue, to link and picture-sharing, to retweeting—but one thing is clear: different demographics can be reached using Twitter, versus Facebook, radio and television. 

For health educators, a broader reach is always a good thing.

Try these tips from to increase your organization’s Twitter effectiveness:

  • Integrating Twitter into an overall communications strategy
  • Consistently tweeting news and updates
  • Promoting your organization’s Twitter work on business cards, websites and other materials
  • Interacting with Twitter and making sure to share links and retweet information from those in your industry

Like this story? Retweet it!

New Twitter New Functionality?

21 10 2010

Like all social media, it seems Twitter functionality changes almost daily, adding and then removing features, offering a seemingly endless array of ways to make sense of the stream of endless conversation. Here are ways of using Twitter to help you manage your time and resources wisely.

1. Managing Your Twitter Stream

Sometimes the most onerous of all Twitter tasks once you follow and are followed by numerous people, is sorting through the vast streams of incoming content.  Among the newest and niftiest tools, Cadmus holds great promise for the slightly Twitter-whelmed.

It takes a while to upload and sync your account, but once you do, Cadmus has some great features, including ranking tweets by their relevance to pre-selected topics, trending conversations for all of Twitter, and trends within just the groups that you follow. So, for instance, if you’re interested in hepatitis B, you can prioritize those within your Twitter followers who are talking about it.

2. Twitter To Go

iPhones, Androids, and Blackberries, oh my!! As if streaming your Twitter account to your Blackberry weren’t enough, now you can use specialized applications that bring a smarter Twitter to your iPad.  This integration allows Twitter to serve as your intelligence when surfing the web remotely and increasingly allows you to categorize and manage different areas of your life online.

3. New Twitter Functionality

But of course the biggest news is that Twitter is unveiling a brand-new layout with even greater integration with media stars like YouTubeDeviantART, Etsy, and Twitpic.  By adding photos and videos into the Twitter stream, the methods for companies and individuals to use Twitter will expand. Now groups can use pics and videos as well as 140 characters to announce late-breaking news, or promote a new flu-prevention campaign at the state or national levels.  Some argue that Twitter is just becoming Facebook.

While Twitter has always pitched itself as more of an information rather than social network, the integration of multi-media into the streams and additional two-way communication devices (“You both Follow” for example) means Twitter is becoming a major player in the realm of social media destinations.

Whatever happens, one thing is clear, micro-blogging will never be the same.

Nonprofit Social Media Superstars!

7 10 2010

Here at PKIDs we’ve been talking and thinking about social media and nonprofits, particularly health-related nonprofits, for the past year.  Our Communications Made Easy Program focuses on helping immunization educators use social media to reach a broader audience.

 As part of the program, we host how-to webinars for immunization educators.  To listen to any of our social media or social marketing webinars, go here to register and you’ll have access to our library of webinars. To date, we’ve covered a number of topics including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

There are plenty of nonprofit groups who could teach us a thing or two about effectively using social media, so this week marks the beginning of a new blog series we’re calling Nonprofit Social Media Superstars! Once a month we’ll highlight great examples from around the Web of groups using their social media chutzpah to make a difference.

This week’s Nonprofit Social Media Superstar: GAVI Alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation)  for their Facebook page (pictured below):

Even though GAVI has resources not available to many nonprofits, the methods they employ to maximize their organizational presence on Facebook are simple but effective. GAVI’s Facebook page does these four things particularly well:

  1. Customized Page – By adding a banner, a person coming to this page immediately learns something about GAVI (they support children) without reading anything further.
  2. Quality Interaction – GAVI posts regularly (several times daily) about global happenings, including those not directly related to their mission and projects. They also engage their fans (page audience) with conversation starters and discussions.
  3. Organizational Information – Every page allows organizations to post mission statements or brief accountings of work. GAVI adds a simple sentence that engages and challenges the reader to take action. “The world needs changing. Join us.”   
  4. Shameless Self-Promotion (in a good way)  – Many nonprofits are either too swamped or too reticent to promote their good work. GAVI places information about their projects and related pages right on their main fan page (see below).

If you’re doing the work, why not share as much information about it as possible? Facebook makes it very easy, by allowing you to promote your projects and programs in the sidebar.

If your organization has decided to invest time in social media such as Facebook, following GAVI’s example would behoove you.

See a nonprofit doing wonderful things with social media, or think your group deserves nominating? Send an email to and tune in for our next Nonprofit Social Media Superstar!

Three Social Media Trends to Watch

23 09 2010

Whether you’re active on Facebook or Twitter, or use your iPhone to track news and traffic, social media is taking center stage in the way we interact as a society. Some of the constant communication can be stressful, but it’s clear the two-way flow of information is democratizing news,increasing patient access to health information, and literally bringing the world to our fingertips.

If the thought of even more two-way communication makes your head hurt, stop reading here.

If these next three trends typify where we’re going, it’s quite likely that today’s social media will seem quaint in a few short years.

  1. Geo-locating Foursquare and its ilk, including Facebook Places, “tag” users as they wander around town or across the country. These updates, “Jane Smith is now in Starbucks in downtown Bellingham” appear as status updates. Why would someone want to share location information with the public? Isn’t that sort of creepy? To old notions of privacy, geo-tagging is a little creepy, but to the social media pioneer, tagging allows one to track others (“Hey! I’m at Starbucks too!”) and possibly meet up or view communities in real time.
  2. URL meets IRL – Fasten your seat belts, folks, we’re entering another dimension at the intersection of virtual and real called “social scanning.”  Programs like Stickybits encourage you to “tag your world.” You can add barcodes to businesses you frequent and then scan in photos, video, and commentary in real time.  It is also a real sticker that you can download and place on a real business -sort of a virtual Like button. A boon to businesses that elicit positive scans, but one wonders if negative scans will be left in place for long. 
  3. Specialized content sharing – Only interested in news and information relating to red fire ant behavior in the Mojave Desert? Niche content sharing is for you!  For many media consumers, scanning all headlines is no longer a desired use of time. Instead, people want to target their attention to a sub-topic or interest area.  Answering the question, “What are you working on?” people working in a specific field are able to share project ideas, photos, even drafts for others to review and comment upon. This makes way for seriously collaborative opportunities.

What does all this mean to health information, patient privacy, and infectious disease? Well, what if in the future we scan our doctor and leave comments in real-time for those who follow us on Facebook.  For example, “Don’t ever use this pediatrician, he’s very poor with fussy kids.”

Or maybe we’re newly diagnosed with hep C, and we want to filter our content by that disease alone?  Or we are a nonprofit health coalition interested in soliciting feedback on our new website. Sites like Dribbble allow us to do just that. Interested in infectious disease as a patient or caregiver? The notion of online community is going to change radically over the next decade. Whatever happens next, it’s clear Facebook and Twitter are only the beginning.

And the lines between the virtual world and the real world will become very blurry.

Social Media Questions? Lets Talk

13 09 2010

Have you tried to set up Facebook for your health department? Are you considering regular tweets for your health coalition? Are some elements of social media confusing to you? PKIDs Social Media Roundtable for Health Educators is for you!

Beginning Thursday, September 23rd @9am Pacific, PKIDs will host a monthly roundtable discussion during which we will review and present potential solutions to your social media related questions. We hope to learn from each other and help each other through the occasionally puzzling maze that is social media.

There are three ways to participate:

  1. Submit your organization’s question by 9/22 to and we’ll do our best to incorporate it into the discussion
  2. Sign up for the Roundtable, by going here
  3. Don’t be shy! Call in, discuss, and participate on 9/23.