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Hacking the new Facebook profile images

15 Dec

So I got the new Facebook profile today and immediately set about seeing if I could hack it to make it look much better than it does.

It took me a while to figure out the dimensions that I needed, but it seems as though a good size for the main picture is 180×540 – that’s what mine keeps coming out at anyway.

The five smaller pictures are all 97px x 68px so by taking chunks out of the original image you used for your profile picture you can, in theory, create a cool effect.

Here’s what I’ve managed so far. I’m aware that it’s not there yet, but hopefully you can see what I’m trying to do.

hacked facebook profile

Now check out this video of one of the coolest hacks of a facebook profile that I’ve ever seen. Well done sir!

Further inspiration:


    Crowdsourcing local newspapers on Facebook

    24 Nov
    Express & Star Facebook page

    Express & Star Facebook page

    On researching ideas for using Facebook for local news organisations, I found that there was no easy to find a local newspaper on Facebook. Why hasn’t anybody made a list of all of them before I wondered?

    Because it’s time-consuming seems to be the answer. And having got through all the A’s and the B’s, I thought it time to ask for help.

    So if you’ve some time to spare and fancy collecting some data so that I can put a useful list together and play with some of the data surrounding the regional press and their Facebook presences, read on.

    Using this list of newspaper websites, I’d like people to commit to a letter of the alphabet (no, not X or Z…) and search for each name in the list on Facebook. I’d like to know:

    a) Are they on Facebook?

    b) If so, do they have a group, profile or page?

    c) How many members/friends/likes does their principle persona have? – Please add the date you looked

    d) Is the page used by the organisation? (Is it updated?)

    e) If so, is it updated manually or automatically? If you can tell that is – give away automatic signs are things like RSS Graffiti and twitterfeed.

    If you’d like to take part in this, please claim your letter in the comments section below and email me the results to

    Being a cyncial guy, I fully expect that nobody will take me up on this offer – I realise I’m not offering much in return – but I will credit you in any blog posts that result from the data being collected.

    A and B have already been done. Claim your letter below.

    • Disclaimer: I work for MNA Digital and look after the Facebook pages for and Although I may use the data to inform my own work, this is a purely personal project.

    Fo’ shizzle, ma nizzle, it’s Krizzle Akabizzle

    3 Oct

    This morning I had the unusual experience of conversing with none other than Kriss Akabusi of Olympic and Record Breakers fame on Twitter. This was particularly pertinent for me, having been the founder of Team Awooga, something that my drinking buddies and I did as a joke on pub crawls, with Akabusi as our hero. I once went out wearing an mask of his face, covering my own. So when I saw he was on Twitter, I just had to share it with him: – Rather excited that @krissakabusi is on Twitter. Once went on a night out in an Akabusi mask…
    The Kriss Akabusi mask

    This was retweeted by a few of my followers, posted again on their own Twitter accounts for you non-converts, and sparked disbelief in one or two before the great man picked it up and RT’d it himself, responding:


    The conversation continued as follows:

    @krissakabusi Cheers man, the ladies loved that mask – you’re clearly a crowd pleaser!

    @toddnash But I bet you scared the children 😎 did you perfect that belly rippin laugh too-smell the grease paint..

    @krissakabusi Nahh, just shouted ‘AWOOGA’ at the top of my voice every few minutes. That scared children and adults alike!

    @toddnash Yeah that Fash war cry does it every time but those who know the busiman goes awwwllrighhtt know better 😎

    @toddnash If you are a record breaker you say awwwlllright but if you are a gladiator it was awwoogga! I know it hard for some people though

    @krissakabusi Haha, damn wrong catchphrase! What an ass. I’m gonna shout ‘awwlllright’ at the top of my voice by way of apology!

    @toddnash m8I’m loving your sense of humour bro-you be da man!!!! Awwllllrightt!

    So yeah, I’m an idiot. In my defence, the idea first came to mind as a football forum that I used to frequent obsessed slightly over our hero and would constantly use ‘his’ catchphrase ‘Awooga’ as a joke. I just took it at face value, not really remembering that it was actually the Fash that it actually belonged to.

    That aside though, Krizzle Akabizzle thinks I’m ‘da man’ (assuming it is actually him, of course – Update: his official website’s Twitter section would suggest that it is)

    “I’m loving your sense of humour bro, YOUR WIT MATCHES YOUR BRAINS”

    I’m tempted to put that as a testimonial on this here blog!

    Journalists need to start taking more notice of their communities

    13 Mar

    During Meg Pickard’s Social Media briefing today, she discussed how journalists could use the comments posted on newspaper websites as a potential source for new stories or interesting angles on a current story and it made me wonder, why is this practice so underused in journalism? Having spent the time and effort to build up a community filled with intelligent people with local knowledge and often specific expertise, why do newspapers seem not to make the most of this easily accessible, cheap and willing resource?

    It took me back to my studies, where I would often use local messageboards and comment sections to look for potential leads, with mixed success. Often, I would find little of use, but occasionally I would find an interesting comment that I could follow up. I was once able to scoop the Birmingham Mail with a story about how police were failing to crack down on the trading of illegal goods across the region. I discovered this story in a forum post on the Birmingham Mail’s own website.

    So it would seem that there is potential for news stories to come out of user activity on newspaper websites. Yet, as far as I know, it is not a particularly well-utlised area. Time is clearly an issue here. How many journalists have time to scroll through all of their comments to search for something that could well resemble a needle in a haystack? It was commented that, ironically, freelancers may make better use of this resource as their need for that next story is greater than their staff member counterparts.

    If time is the issue, then why not have other staff members do it for you? As commented before, the moderation team at now has a Twitter feed @GuardianVoices which highlights good individual comments and interesting debate. Could they be used as a tool to collect potential leads? After all, moderators will already be reading the majority of content of the publication they work for. However, it would require a rather different mindset to look out for story leads compared to the more usual role of finding and removing offensive content.

    The idea, I think, is a good one, but requires a more concerted effort than merely scrolling through comments. ‘What do you want to talk about?’ threads are often used to garner ideas and often work quite well. They certainly aid interactivity, giving the user the opportunity to present their ideas and, potentially, have them reported by a professional journalist. Also, a number of blog posts ask for user opinions about a particular subject, or for ideas to fill a new series, which is a semi-effective of utilising the community.

    I can’t help but feel though, that lots of potential ideas are being missed. Increased interactivity with users builds trust, which in turn produces a higher class of debate and, with it, more opportunities for follow-up articles. Since commenting became the norm on newspaper websites, community conversations have been inspired by the journalists articles. Perhaps it is now time for the journalists to take inspiration from their communities as well.

    Why I was wrong about Twitter

    11 Mar

    Around a month ago, I penned a blog post entitled Why I just don’t get Twitter and, well, since then I’ve been emphatically proved wrong in writing the microblogging site off. What I’ve come to realise is that the reason I hadn’t fallen in love with Twitter, as many social media addicts have done, is because I hadn’t embraced it in the same way they do.

    Before, I used Twitter intermittently and not in a particularly interesting way. Whilst following all the right people, I didn’t really engage with any of them or tweet anything that would really spark off a conversation. Hence, I missed out on much of the social conversation aspect of Twitter, which is one of its of the primary advantages. I hadn’t used it for crowdsourcing opinion or added much to ongoing discussions. In short, I was missing out.

    As is almost always the case, it didn’t take long for this blog post to come back and bite me on the backside. Exactly a week later, I twittered an idea that I had had about creating an account for the community, which would highlight the best comments that the moderation team read during our shifts. Jason Cobb replied almost immediately that he thought it would make “wonderful reading” while, later, Janine Gibson, editor of, replied “it’s a great idea.” For me, this is where I began to realise just how useful Twitter could be. Not just because of the idea that I had to utilise it, but also that I had been able to gather opinions on it and find that other people also found it to be a good idea. It had given me the confidence to pitch it to colleagues at work, not that I needed to though, as my direct manager had already tweeted to register her approval.

    The blog post has proved to be a turning point for my Twitter activity. I’ve been posting much more regularly and using it more efficiently. It speaks volumes, to me at least, that I had three pages of @replies when I wrote that blog post, having been on Twitter for 11 months. I now have nearly six. I’ve used Twitter to crowdsource names for the Guardian Community account, to help me fix a hacked hotmail account and to share interesting articles that I’ve found. It has helped me to network much more effectively than any other method that I’ve tried and I have a quite extensive list of contacts now, many of whom I know only through Twitter.

    Now, almost a month to the day that I posted about Twitter, GuardianVoices has been born. The idea that I came up with reached fruition this afternoon and, to be honest, I’m pretty chuffed with it. It has given me the opportunity to be creative and to prove that I have good ideas. For this reason, I’m determined to make it a success.

    So, to sum up, I was wrong. Although Twitter does have its limitations, it is, essentially, what you make of it. If you don’t use it to full potential, then you won’t get the rewards from it. If you do, then you may just get something out of it.

    Follow me on TwitterFollow GuardianVoices on Twitter

    Why I just don’t get Twitter

    9 Feb

    Reading Charlie Brooker’s column in The Guardian today about how Twitter is a “monumentally pointless social networking thingamajig”, I thought how, as a Twitter user, I could write about how wrong he is and how Twitter is an extremely useful tool for journalists. After all, experts such as Paul Bradshaw adore it, as do seasoned journalists like Jemima Kiss swear by it. So why, after almost a year, have I still not ‘got it’? Why do I still find it to be a slightly amusing distraction, rather than the bastion of web 2.0 that everyone is proclaiming it to be.

    As I write this, I’m constantly checking Sarah Hartley’s excellent blog post to avoid looking like a twit, though I’m not sure how successful I’ll be. In general, it seems that Twitter users don’t take to kindly to criticism of their toy. With celebrities on board such as Stephen Fry and Phillip Schofield on board, the site has been gaining a lot of publicity and, as Sarah points out, a lot of criticism. While I may not agree with all that they say, even though I am a Twitter user myself, I can understand some of their points.

    I tried to think of a time where Twitter had helped me in some way that could not have been done without it. I have used it to promote this blog and Journalism Today and I can see that it has attracted an audience to an extent. Due to the nature of my followers, that has no doubt brought some media professionals here too. In fact, thinking about it, it probably had a hand in getting this on as Laura Oliver informed me via Twitter. This helped to raise my online profile and drew some traffic to my blog, but I am fairly sure that it would have been up there had I not been on Twitter anyway.

    I realise though, that I tend to use Twitter as a more professional version of Facebook. Rather than actively trying to source stories and opinion, I tend to remain active on there so that, if I need to, I have an easy way to contact the professionals that I wish to, just as I do with social contacts on Facebook. I do not have these same contacts across both social networks, so I tend to use both.

    I’m not going to deny that for an aspiring journalist, it can be a handy tool, though I don’t believe it to be as important as some make out. When I read Paul Bradshaws assertion of Dave Lee as one to follow on Twitter because he is a “former journalism student and excellent blogger who landed a plum job at the BBC after graduating. Get the point?” I sighed a little. The implication that by being active on Twitter, you will have a much higher chance of getting a good job as a journalist is, to me, as inconceivable as it is exaggerated. Azeem Ahmad is as good example of any that having a strong web presence doesn’t guarantee a job in the industy.

    It also makes me despair when I see Twitter users brownnosing the celebrity twits. I followed Stephen Fry for a while (it was the done thing, after all), but became fed up of reading the regular @stephenfry ‘validate me’ tweets that he seems to garner. The majority of the people I follow are in the media too, so what it is like amongst the general Twitter population I don’t even want to imagine.

    I guess that the point of this rant is that, in my opinion, Twitter really isn’t that useful. It is occassionally interesting and, I admit, I do tend to log in most days to see what is going. My contributions to the site vary though, but rarely get beyond the inanities of what I am thinking at the time (which is often about my stomach.) 70 odd people clearly want to read this though, or do they? Perhaps, like me, they use Twitter almost as an address book, just in case they want to get in touch with me about something. Perhaps, for the non-celebrity, professional user, this is the main function of Twitter.

    If, after reading this, you wish to follow me, I’m @toddnash and you can look forward to hearing about how hungry I am, the interesting things I’ve found down the toilets of Kings Place and how Reading are getting on.