The new Timeline on Facebook

The other day I posted a comment on Facebook about how I like the new timeline on Facebook, only to rouse the interest of others who are still apparently on the waiting list to view it. Don’t know why I get to trial it already but here are my thoughts on it so far.

IMG_4587 As someone who juggles a few different things, and has more than one job title, I approve of the new and improved way this information is now displayed. Previously I had three or four jobs listed in my profile information, all of which I currently work at so to speak, however only one could be displayed on the profile.

Along with the one job, it also listed about three other pieces of profile info, like who you are in a relationship with, where you are from and education. This used to be below the profile picture and next to that on the right hand side, you would also see some tabs like Photos, Friends, Likes, etc which would display a small picture of the most recent like or photo added. If you had more than one line of tabs, a small drop down arrow would appear which would allow you to click into and view the other tabs like Followers or other apps like Trip Advisor or Pinterest.

On the new timeline there are two coloums and above these there are still small links that can take you directly to Timeline, About, Friends, Photos and More, but they don’t have a picture on display. In the two coloums below the left lists your About info and the right holds your recent pictures, posts and status updates. The About info on the left is listed out in one long box, that’s quick and easy to read and you will instantly see where I work – 3 jobs are displeyed currently, what school I went to, where I live, where I am from, who I am married to and how many people follow me.

Below that you will find my Photos and Friends boxes which both take up the width of the coloum on the left, instead of a small tab at the top of the page, which would only show the most recent photo on my profile. Photo’s and Friends boxes now display 9 seperate pictures for each, so you can view more without having to click into photos to view the last few posted pictures.

IMG_4588Below the friends box there is a Place box, and I currently only have one place displayed – Kariba. Why this is displayed I am not sure, as I have certainly travelled worldwide and if its anything to do with where I have been, its certainly not accurate. So after a little digging I realised that this is the correct place to say where you have been, but somehow Kariba has come up a lot in the last few years and been tagged as such in my photo albums. There are options to input the other places I have been, but it seems to be a seriously time consuming job to do this, because you don’t just add the place, you add the dates you were there, whether you lived or travelled there, who you were with and of course you can upload photos to prove it. You can even list out specific places you have been within that place i.e Empire State building on Central Park in New York. And there is even a box to add your story into.

Now obviously this is all for the purposes of Graph search, which if you haven’t heard of it, is basically Facebook’s SEO. Yes we will literally be able to search for our friends that have eaten at a certain restaurant in another continent and maybe read their little story or review on it, or search for people who enjoy bike riding in your home town for example, so that you can link up to do an activity together.

IMG_4589Therefore the more you put into these sections, which also happen to include favourite movies, TV shows, books, likes, notes, Instagram and Pinterest, the more people can search on you. Or should I say, the more you will show up in people’s searches for specific info that you have put onto your profile.

So after scrolling down the left hand coloum to see what I like and watch and read and listen to, you will then find the last box displayed is my Recent Activity and it displays the last three things I did, with the option of another drop down box to see more recent activity. However you can edit these sections and choose the order they are displayed in, in case you want your likes to feature before the books you’ve read, or come before your apps like Instagram, Pinterest etc.

Adding to your interests has never been easier because its simply a case of clicking a + sign to add suggestions already made to you. However you can also add your story to these too. So if you were addicted to a certain TV show, you can tell us more about it in your own notes / story section.

So overall I like the new way all the info is displayed, its easy to see and access and add and edit. I definitely think its an improvement and sometimes that is not always the case on Facebook. Sometimes the changes are not so good. However saying that can you even remember any of them, I can’t even remember what the original facebook screens looked like. Although I do remember there was much complaining and moaning from a number of people when Facebook introduced the Timeline. Sometimes change can be overwhelming but in this case it is not and I am guessing it should be easy to transition and embrace.

If you are also using the new Timeline already, please feel free to make any comments on what you think of it, or if I have missed any great new features out.

Enter the second phase of social media…

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It seems that the first phase of social media for businesses on Facebook is over, everyone has a presence, some work really well, some shouldn’t even bother. But with virtually everything you can think of having some sort of page on Facebook, surely it is now time to separate the wheat from the weeds so to speak, and really deliver real value to people.
If you can figure out what your customers want and give it to them you are onto a winning formula every time. Solve their problems and they will love you more. Do it regularly and consistently and you are A for away.

Post regularly

This is where most fail. They start off with a great page, interesting content and most importantly the enthusiasm and consistency social media demands. Then you get bored of spending all of your time on Facebook and surprise surprise your work is beginning to suffer as a result.

Get expert help

Maybe you think hiring a junior admin sort of person will fit the bill. They may not be the next rising star in the company but they can sit there and play with pictures and post funny status updates. The thing is, why get somebody to play, when you get someone who knows what they are doing and when to do it? If you are wanting to take it all to the next level, the second phase of providing real, valuable content then you should be hiring your social media team, made up of editorial staff, copywriters, photgraphers, a film crew and developers. Or have a team manage it for you.   If you honestly can’t set aside an hour a day, you probably not going to get anywhere fast in the world of digital marketing. Merely keeping abreast of the constant changes and trends in social media is time consuming.

Content is king so be ORIGINAL

Continue to promote your social efforts through your other advertsing campaigns – print, radio, word of mouth.  It is as always, about content. Share great content that promotes further sharing and you are doing something right. Please remember though that original content is what it is all about. I notice a lot of content that is not used correctly and it’s a shame for those that take the time and effort, or pay for the service to get genuine quality content.

I would love to answer any more questions you have or listen to your comments and suggestions for the best results in social media so feel free to have your say. Get talking, get social….

The ever-evolving guide on how to work with your spouse!

So as a couple, we are new to the game of working together, although not so new to the game of spending an unusual amount of time together. Since our London days, we have always been in the position of not having restrictive working hours or jobs so we have always spent the maximum amount of time together. Sometimes to our detriment as we do rather get on each others nerves sometimes.

However when it comes to working together, developing business and making a living for our family we still figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
So far here is what we have learnt so far:
1. It helps if you both have the same vision and goals, and communicate these frequently. Overall in the bigger picture we both see the same thing, which is great, but the path we take to get there sometimes, more often than not, brings some form of conflict.
2. Thinking something along the lines of “my way is not the only way” may help in this instance.
3. By giving eachother creative space, backing down on your opinion and supporting eachothers ideas you also can bring more harmony to the journey.
4. Having definitive roles and responsibilities helps too, although sometimes if you are a control freak like me, letting someone else do it their way takes much tongue biting to stop the suggestion of how I would do it.
5. By choosing the jobs that are best suited to your individual skills, you can avoid micro-management.
6. Don’t forget praise where it is due and go easy on eachother for the mistakes, you have to share the bed tonight afterall.
7. When it doubt, get out. Take breaks from the office, to reassess things. We regularly sit in the sunny lounge for our morning brainstorming sessions, away from the kids, chaos and confusion. Or we drive around on content generation missions.
8. And last but not least, do the little things for eachother. I am the chief coffee maker, but when I get pleasantly suprised with a cup, or the kids get attended to whilst I am in the middle of particular piece of work, it alleviates the pressure and is a welcome relief.

IMG_4451We know the challenges will always be there and the pressure will always be on, but hopefully with the right focus and efforts we can make it successful and rewarding. If you are a couple who works together or know of any that do it really well we would be interested to hear your thoughts…

Bigger is better…in Kariba!

big house 1 I don’t know many Zimbabweans who haven’t been to Kariba, but where does everyone stay?  The last couple of times we have been we have stayed at Lomagundi Lakeside, because you can moor your boat there and stay in the large self-catering house as a family.  Prior to that it was Charara twice for the Tiger Tournie.  Now with things like Test of the Best underway and the Kariba Marathon in August, it got me wondering where else you can stay if you are a large family or group travelling together.  Is there a big house, with all the things you’d expect from a hotel – Sports on TV for the guys, a pool for the kids, somewhere for the ladies to relax, where your meals are served and you can check email.  By the way, did I say in Kariba?  Sounds unlikely.  But after a little digging I found the perfect solution.  The Big House in Kariba!

The house is nestled on top of a hill, overlooking the lake and in the main bedroom you don’t even have to sit up in bed to see the lake.  There is a balcony and fabulous open bathroom in the main en-suite, but all guests sleep comfortably in en-suite bedrooms, complete with large square mosquito nets and air con.

big h5In between fishing, boating and game viewing, down time at the lodge can be spent in leisure by the pool, or simply relaxing in the air-conditioned lounge watching DSTV on the 42” flat screen, whilst surfing the web on their own wireless broadband, in case you need to stay connected to the world.

The kitchen is fully equiped with cooker, fridge, freezer and microwave and at an extra cost you can hire a cook during your stay.  Perfect for total relaxtion and entertaining guests with no added stress to your day.  There are cleaning staff who ensure fresh clean linen and towels are provided and the house is kept clean during your stay, you may even get your washing and ironing done for a very reasonable charge.

You simply have to arrive and relax.  The house has a borehole and the property is secure, tranquil and quiet although you may have visitors in the form of Elephants and Zebra in particular.  Buffalo, Warthog, Hippo and Impala have also been seen, even Lion on the very rare occasion.  However you are completely safe with in the wall and electric fence, so its just a matter of sitting on the large verandah and observing nature at its finest.

big h6A large dining table on the verandah makes for wonderful al fresco dining and with a great hiring supplier based locally, the Big House has been known to host some great parties and events too, right on the verandah which has ample space to accommodate a large number of guests for dining or conference options.

There is no doubt that a stay at the Big House will go down well with larger groups and families travelling to Kariba, whether its for an overnight stay before boarding a houseboat, or after spending a few nights at Spurwing.  If you are holding your wedding in Kariba and need to book group accommodation, this is the perfect answer for anything between 10 and 14 guests, if some don’t mind sleeping out on matresses on the verandah.

If you are planning on visiting Kariba soon and would like to stay at a home away from home, then you will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, breathtaking views, wildlife visits and complete peace of mind that the Big House offers.

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Bon Voyage!