Module 6: Facebook–Setting up your Personal Profile

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Objective: To provide information about how to set up a personal profile as the first step to setting up a public page on Facebook.

I’m guessing that all participants of this training have heard of the social networking service called Facebook. There are, however, quite a lot of nuances to using the site effectively for organizational purposes–and specifically for use in emergency preparedness, response and recovery information dissemination. For this module, we will simply address how to set up your personal profile, which is the first step in establishing a facebook page for your organization or agency. In subsequent modules we will provide some examples to demonstrate why organizations should this particular tool and how to do so effectively.

(If you cannot access Facebook via your government or workplace computer, you will have to complete this module on your home computer.)

Why do I need a Personal Profile?

Reason 1: Facebook is tricky–they require anyone who wants to set up a page for their organization to first have a personal profile. What’s the difference? Facebook states:

Profiles (timelines) are for personal, non-commercial use only. They represent individuals and must be held under an individual name. Pages are for professional or official use, and allow an organization, business, celebrity or band to maintain a presence on Facebook. You may only create Facebook Pages to represent real organizations of which you are an authorized representative.

Pages are managed by admins who have personal Facebook profiles (timelines). Pages are not separate Facebook accounts and do not have separate login information from your profile (timeline). They are merely different entities on our site, similar to how Groups and Events function. Once you have set up a Page within your profile (timeline), you may add other admins to help you manage this Page. People who choose to connect to your Page won’t be able to see that you are the Page admin or have any access to your personal account.

Reason 2: In order to fully view all content on Facebook, you have to have a personal profile. Facebook does allow you to view landing pages, however, if you want to do a search on Facebook you have to be a member. For example, I can click from the Boston Police Department’s website to their Facebook page, but the search bar within the page does not appear until I log in. Also, if you want to comment on someone else’s post, you will have to have a profile of your own. Why would you want to comment? After a disaster, what if you stumbled upon a volunteer organization’s Facebook page and saw that they were directing people to drop off donated items at the Fire Station? Your reaction should be to correct that information as quickly as possible, which could simply be done by clicking “comment” and stating: “Please do not drop off items at the Fire Station. We have set up a donations drop of center at location XYZ.”

To see what first response organizations are already using Facebook in your county click on the link either in the toolbar at the top of the page, or  below:

 Setting up your profile

To sign up for a brand new account, enter your name, birthday, gender, and email address into the form on Then pick a password. After you complete the sign up form, Facebook will send an email to the address you provided. Just click the confirmation link to complete the sign up process. 
Note: We often hear people lamenting that they don’t want a personal profile because they have no interest in updating their information or connecting with their old high school classmates: in short, they are concerned about privacy. Facebook is a public forum, however, you can do several things:
  1. Choose not to post anything to your personal wall–even if you are a public page administrator that does not mean you have to actively update your personal profile;
  2. If you do want to post a few things you can choose who you share them with. Facebook tells you how:
    1. “Your controls are right next to each thing you share. Use the audience selector to choose who can see what you’re sharing. The audience you choose appears along with whatever you are saying. You can also use the tool to change who you are sharing with after you post.
    2. Have something you only want to share with a few friends? Send a message,create a group, or share with a friend list of your choice.
    3. Read this “Tutorial About Sharing
  3. Be more comfortable with the privacy settings. Know and understand the truth behind the myths. Facebook states the following:
    1. Do advertisers have access to my personal information?No, Facebook’s ad targeting is done anonymously by our system, without sharing personally identifiable information with advertisers.
    2. Does Facebook sell my information? No. You have control over how your information is shared.
    3. Can others know when I view their profiles (timelines)? No, Facebook doesn’t currently provide an application that allows people to track profile (timeline) views or statistics on the views of any specific personal content. Third party developers, however, may …
    4. Can I know who’s viewing my profile (timeline) or how often it’s being viewed? No, Facebook does not provide a functionality that enables you to track who is viewing your profile (timeline), or parts of your profile (timeline), such as your photos. Third party applications also cannot provide this functionality.
    5.  What personal information is shared with sites that use social plugins? None of your information

Your Turn

This module’s task is simple. Set up your personal Facebook account and then go to the WRHSAC’s Facebook page. Click “Like” and then comment on their first post  about “” that states the following:

WRHSAC has a website and facebook site dedicated to providing information about personal emergency preparedness planning to citizens of Western Massachusetts

In your comment, casually mention your discipline but not necessarily where you work (e.g. Firemen welcome you to Facebook” so that we can aggregate your points). This task comes with a huge reward: 50 points!


The New Design for Facebook Pages



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