The NEW Facebook Timeline
Since I started teaching courses to entrepreneurs in the use of Social Media as business marketing tools, I’ve had to keep up with the ever changing Facebook user interface. So when Facebook started suggesting to regular users that they should try the new Timeline sometime in December, I signed up to try it. At the time I didn’t upload a Cover Photo and didn’t bother to Publish my Timeline before the December 23, 2011 the trial-end deadline. When Facebook automatically published my Timeline (because I had already signed up for the trial), I wasn’t too concerned about missing the Cover Photo until a week ago when I tried to upload and save my Cover Photo.
Facebook Timeline Cover Photo issues
As and instructor, I refer learners to documentation, so I started by looking up Cover Photo on Facebook Help Center. Once I had all the facts like maximum image size (15 MB) and accurate dimensions (720 pixels wide), I tried to upload and save my Cover Photo to the new Timeline. Well the uploading part went without a hitch, I could now see my Cover Image with a control box over it saying “Drag to Reposition Cover”, I could see the image was Public, there was also a “Save Changes” and “Cancel” button right below the image on the right hand side. All was good until I tried to save the image and nothing happened, everything stayed as it was. The image could still be dragged around and I wasn’t notified about the image being saved. If I navigated away from the page and came back the image was gone.
Thinking that it was a browser related new user interface bug, I re-tried with Firefox, Chrome, Safari and even IE and no go. I had the exact same problem regardless of the browser I used to upload the Cover Photo. So I referred to the Facebook Bugs and Known Issues Page on Photos to find no mention of this bug. A little more digging around in the support forums revealed different layers of the same problem reported by hundreds if not thousands of Facebook users over the past week, many looking for answers and others desperately wanting to revert back to the old profile (which by the way isn’t possible).
Facebook timeline cover doesn’t work
Reading through hundreds of remarks on the FB forums, Yahoo Answers and a handful of blogs like this one, I gathered the different user interface issues are:
- Unable to upload Cover Photo
- Unable to Save Cover Photo once uploaded
- Unable to upload Profile Image in some cases
- Unable to change Cover Photo once saved
affecting mostly those who:
- Signed up for the Timeline trial, didn’t upload a cover and had Timeline automatically activated by Facebook on December 23 or thereabouts
- Accidentally deleted their Cover Photo Album
- Deleted their only Cover Photo rather than replacing the existing
A few users haven’t been able to change their new Timeline Cover Photo once they uploaded it.
Other FB users reported getting around the issue by:
- Switching browsers
- Uploading an image to Photos and then assigning it as the Cover Photo
- Creating an Album called Cover Photos with the selected photo and then assigning the image as the Cover Photo
None of the above solutions worked in my case or in the case of hundreds of other users.
No Support from Facebook – No Surprise!
As of today the Facebook Cover Page bug seems to be an unresolved user interface issue among a few others with the introduction of the new Timeline. I am personally not surprised that Facebook hasn’t got around to acknowledging this bug yet. There is no information about it in the Help Center and no posts under Facebook’s Bug’s and Known Issues section. Users are asked to send a report about new bugs but we know that nobody ever gets a reply from Facebook in reporting new issues.
One post I read suggested that Facebook hasn’t done anything about this issue yet because the problem hasn’t hit mainstream online media yet. Quite possible!
Thankfully the big white space on top of my FB Timeline isn’t as life changing for me as it is for some others. I’ve put enough time looking into this to confirm it’s a common issue and can now sit back and wait until Facebook has fixed it. If a question comes up in my next Facebook for Business class about this bug, I’ll have my answer ready!
Don’t put all your eggs in the FB basket
Thought Facebook can be a great tool for connecting your business to your customers, it shouldn’t be your only method of online presence. Facebook is unpredictable, evident by the current Cover Photo issue and Facebook’s lack of acknowledgment, support and response. Facebook doesn’t grant average users like owners of small business and companies the type of control and support required to confidently represent their business online using Facbook alone.
The worse case scenario I can picture is having the only FB account connected to your business page suspended by Facebook. This can prove to be extremely costly if you have an active page with lots of followers. Even if something like this happened in error, you’ll have no chance of receiving support from Facebook.
For business and organizations I’ve always recommended the use of a Content Management System or a blog integrated into a website over posting to Facebook alone. This provides the site owner with a place to post exactly what they want their audience to see. Signing up for a cloud hosted solution like WordPress can enable users to manage their online content as easily as they would post to Facebook. WordPress offers a great support section. If you choose to self host, you can pay for support or find a designer who can assist you. Whatever form of online solution you choose to publish your web content, as a business I recommend not relying on Social Media alone to achieve this.
For the average Facebook user my advice is to back up your FB data if it really matters to you. If you are dealing with a Facbook issue like the Facebook Cover Photo bug and not finding the answers you are looking for, don’t get frustrated and trust that you are not alone. Instead make a statement to Facebook by logging-out, going outside for some fresh air and enjoying some human contact until they’ve figure it out!
Other blogs I found on the subject:
AIS Journal: This guy made me chuckle.
PLEASE NOTE: The information provided here on this subject reflects the personal opinion of the writer. This information is provided as reference material to our Social Media and Web clients.
If you find this information useful, please feel free to share. You may also leave a comment below.