Stories From Your Life: Using Facebook to Tell Your Story

I’ve introduced you to the idea of using email to give yourself a structure for telling your stories (click here to read about using email) and simple audio technology to record them (click here to read about making narrative audio recordings). This month, I’m going to talk about using Facebook  for recording stories from your life.

My students and I are experimenting with Facebook for sharing family stories – Facebook’s “Page” account feature makes it easy to place stories and photos into chronological order. Facebook designed Pages for companies and organazations rather than for personal use – for example, you can check out Senior Planet’s Facebook page or your favorite restaurant’s – but there’s nothing stopping you from creating a Page for yourself.

Using your own Facebook account, you can create a Page and name it anything you want – like “Hatfield Family” or “My Difficulties with the McCoys.” Facebook‘s privacy policy isn’t all that hard to understand (click here if you want to read it). Still, you’ll want to be sure you use the privacy settings you intend.

What Is a Facebook Page?

The differences between Facebook Group and Facebook Page are important; you can click here to read about them on Facebook. Basically, the differences boil down to this:

  • Groups work well for posting quickly and privately with a small number of people – you can set them as “secret” so they aren’t visible to anyone else. Posting photos and stories to Groups is simple – but a Group isn’t useful for archiving.
  • Pages was designed for companies and organizations who want a very public social media presence. Page has a Timeline just as your own personal account does – and with a little creativity, my students and I have found ways to use this feature to share and archive stories and photos.

How to Use Pages to Tell Your Story

How to Start
  • Click here to go to Facebook’s “Create a Page” screen
  • Set up your Page in the Cause or Community template and give it a name. Then click the “I agree” checkbox and the Get Started button.


  • You’ll be asked to fill out a profile for your page. Add a short description of your page; click No for “Is this page a real organization, cause or event”; you can leave the website field blank. Click Save Info.


  • On the next screen, you can upload a profile picture or skip this step.
  • You’ll be asked to come up with a web address for your page. Say your page is called “My Story Page,” you would enter those words without spaces, and your address would be


  • You can skip over the next screen.
  • On the screen after, you can choose to add your new page to your favorites so you can quickly link to it from your personal Facebook.
  • That’s it! The next screen is your new My Story Page. You’re the Managing Admin – the only one with the ability to make other people admins and give them permission to edit or create posts. Each admin must also have their own Facebook account. To add admins, click on Edit Page in the Admin Panel above your public page.

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 2.20.53 PM

Using Timeline to organize stories and photos

Here’s the fun part. The Page template uses the current date as your Page “creation date.” Then, you fill in the date your “organization” was “founded.” The earliest date allowed is 1000 – which could be a blast if you want artistic license to speculate on your family’s early history.

To set the creation date for your Page:

  • Click on the Edit Page in the Admin Panel
  • Click on Basic Information on the left side of the screen
  • Click on Add Year


Adding to Your Timeline

A vertical line stretches from the current date to your “founding” date.


Click on this to post photos, stories or video in the status box, just as you would on your personal page.


When you specify dates, Timeline plugs the posts into chronological order.

To Publish or not?

With Unpublish, your Page is visible only to yourself and anyone you name as admin. Choose this if you want time to edit your posts before sharing. Once you Publish, anyone on Facebook can “Like” your page and see what you post there. As Managing Administrator, you can edit your Page any time in either mode.

To publish or unpublish your page:

  • In your admin panel, click Edit Page 
  • Select Edit Settings
  • Check the box next to Publish Page or Unpublish Page
  • Click Save Changes
See Some Timeline Examples


4 responses to “Stories From Your Life: Using Facebook to Tell Your Story

  1. Mary, I’m glad you found the article useful! Barbara Aria, Senior Planet’s content editor, deserves credit for the screenshots in the step-by-step instructions — it adds so much to see it all laid out.
    Yes, a Page will work in privacy for your young friend and his family in Unpublished mode as long as everyone is given access as an Admin. Someone, a real person — your young friend?— must first have a personal, public Facebook account, but that account needn’t be more than minimally active.
    Pages is very useful for archiving stories and photos, with the built-in Timeline feature. It’s Groups that is less useful for archiving, as it’s set up as sort of a continuing private conversation between members. A Group might fit the bill for your friend.
    Either way, Facebook has excellent and easy-to-follow advice on their Help page.
    Good luck, and let me know how this works for you!

  2. Judy, your blog couldn’t be more timely for me. A young man with autism has been sharing stories about his education with me, stories that I’ll shape into a memoir for him and his family. In recent months he has begun writing frequently to his mother on Facebook, and she reports that he expresses himself far more easily that way than through conversation. I asked if he’d like to write some email letters about his experiences to me, because I haven’t used Facebook myself and I didn’t think it would be private enough as a supplement to interviews. But email lacks the appeal of Facebook to my young friend.

    Do you think he could share stories privately through Pages, if I followed your directions on “unpublishing”? Members of his family might want to add something, too. I think that would work with Pages, too, wouldn’t it?

    One more question: Why did you say Pages is not useful for archiving?

    Thanks so much for these detailed instructions. They make me feel ready to tackle Facebook–finally! I suspect they’ll help others to share stories using social media, too.

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