Delving into Facebook Timeline

Delving into Facebook Timeline

Delving into Facebook Timeline

IT | Kirsty Weakley | 16 Mar 2012 looks at the latest Facebook update to organisation pages and what it means for charities.  

There are more than 37 million Facebook pages with at least 10 likes and the chances are that your charity is one of them. So how will you be affected by the latest round of Facebook changes as the ‘wall’ is replaced by ‘timeline’?

On 30 March all organisation pages will automatically be transferred to the new timeline format, but you can already preview how yours will look and make any changes before making it live.

Most people will be familiar with how the timeline format looks as it was introduced for individuals’ profiles last year, but there are some things you should be aware of to continue to get the most out of your charity’s Facebook page.

Your page so far

Pages were introduced Facebook in November 2007, shortly after Microsoft bought a 1.6 per cent share in the company and advertising was introduced.

Initially known as fan pages, in April 2010 the ‘become a fan’ button was replaced by the ‘like’ button. As with individuals’ profiles and Facebook Groups the main feature, and automatic landing page is the 'wall' where you can share different types of content and interact with followers. 

Page owners have been able to customise their page by developing apps using Facebook’s FBML code and in February 2011 Facebook launched iFrames which made it simpler for developers to pull HTML content from elsewhere on the web to create a page. Users can select one of these apps to be the default landing page for vistors to the page as Oxfam GB has done below.

Oxfam landing page










Here are some other examples of Facebook apps that has featured in the last three years:

The following slideshow provides examples of some charity Facebook pages still using the old system, as a comparison for the new timeline layout:



Timeline structure

Instead of a ‘wall’ your main page will now be a timeline with content displayed either side of the line. Users can also use the button in the right hand corner to skip down to a particular year or month.

NSPCC star

Facebook have included a ‘star’ feature which means you can make a straddle both sides of your timeline ensuring your supporters cannot miss it. To undo this and move a post back to one side just click the star again. Last Wednesday NSPCC used the star feature to highlight its doodle campaign (see image on the left).

Another way of highlighting a post that you don’t want your supporters to miss is to ‘pin’ it. Click on the orange flag and to pin a post to the top of your page for seven days.

Cover image

The most visually striking change is the addition of a cover image which spans the width of the page (animal and children’s charities should love this), just like with individual profiles pages still have a square profile image. You can select an image already uploaded to Facebook or upload a new one and move it around in the box to get the right fit (nobody wants to see any chopped off heads).

But beware Facebook has placed some restrictions on what can be displayed in the cover image.

Anything featuring purchase information, contact information (your charity’s website and email address should still be included in the ‘about’ box below though) or calls to action (which would include any ‘text … to donate’ language) are forbidden.

Age UK apps
Your Facebook apps are now situated on the right hand side below the cover image and are more prominent than on the old style pages. The photos tab is fixed on the far left but you can add, swap and remove apps in the other slots. Four apps are highlighted with others visible through a drop-down button, Age UK's full list of apps is shown in the image on the right.

It is no longer possible to choose an app to be the default landing page for your Facebook followers – this may irritate charities who had been using the feature to set specific campaign app or the Justgiving donate app.

View the slideshow below showing some charities using the new-style page:

N.B included Oxfam America in the above slide show to compare it with Oxfam GB which is yet to switch to the new format.

Click on the following names of the charities included in the slideshow to visit their Facebook pages:
ActionAid UK
Age UK
Cancer Research UK Race for Life
Oxfam America
War Child UK






[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear


  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Kirsty Weakley

Kirsty Weakley is a reporter at Civil Society Media.

Follow Kirsty on Twitter @KirstyWeakley 

Popular Tags

The long and unhappy saga of the Local Sustainability Fund

29 Jun 2015

Last week the government announced a £20m pot of funding for charities. This sounds like good news, says...

Government can't ask charities to compete for contracts while savaging council spending

15 Jun 2015

The government cannot tell charities they must compete for contracts in a market while slashing the spending...

'Northern Powerhouse'? Almost as clearly defined as the big society

4 Jun 2015

Ian Allsop talks tomatoes and why charities should look north for income growth opportunities under the...