Changing Your Facebook Gender Settings

Your body. Your definition. Now on Facebook.

Facebook added the ability to set your gender outside the binary male/female choices just in time for Valentine’s Day. Now you can define yourself with a choice more reflective of who you really are if the binary choices don’t cover it.

Here’s how to update your gender settings.

1. Choose Edit Profile. If you’re on the page with your News Feed, it’s under your name at the upper left.

choose edit profile
Choose edit profile

2. Scroll down to the Basic Information Section and click Edit.

Edit Basic Information
Edit Basic Information

3. You’ll see a gender option. Use the pull down menu to select “Custom.”

Select Custom
Select Custom

4. Start typing in the input field. After you type the first letter, Facebook populates the list with options based on your first letter. I typed a “c” thinking that I would like to identify as “crone.”

The "C" options
The “C” options

As you can see, crone isn’t an option. I tried typing it in and saving, but got an error message. It will only let you choose one of the options offered. (There are about 65 choices in all.)

I typed a “f” in the box. Here are the options offered. As you can see, choices included options with “f” in many places, not just as the first letter.

the "f" options
The “f” options

5. Pick a pronoun. If you choose a custom gender definition, you have a chance to choose your pronoun.

Choose a pronoun
Choose a pronoun

The pronoun choices are limited and don’t offer some common choices that people who don’t fit the binary prefer. Maybe Facebook will add to the pronoun options later. They need to do that.

6. Save

Related post from 2010 (or this has been a long time coming) Have You Thought About the Gender Choices on Web Forms?

Note: This post was syndicated on

Yes, Pinterest Can Help You Grow

I do something a bit eccentric with Pinterest. I keep track of books I read in the two book clubs I belong to. I could be doing better with Pinterest, and I’ll bet you could, too.

Pinterest screen shot of book club board
A screen shot from one of my book club boards at Pinterest.

Are you missing out on the value of Pinterest? Apparently it’s a secret traffic getting, marketing tool known only to women. If you’re missing out, you may suffering from male-Pinterest-blindness, or you may be like me and not yet organized to harness the full potential of this site.

Lauren Bacon, the genius behind Curious for a Living recently posted Why Pinterest is Seriously Valuable (and What It’s Teaching Men in Power). Here’s a small Snippet of what she said.

This morning, I read Kevin Roose’s New York Magazine commentary on Pinterest’s valuation with a familiar combination of amusement and irritation. Now, to be fair, the headline (“It’s Time to Start Taking Pinterest Seriously”) is the worst part – but I’m pretty confident he didn’t write it, so I’ll just shake my fist at that headline writer. (Perhaps New York would consider “It’s Time for Men to Start Taking Pinterest Seriously”?) But the body of the article is frustrating to read, as a woman in tech, because it feels like Roose is having a series of “Aha” moments that he could have had ages ago, if only he’d looked outside his own personal preferences and seen what has been patently obvious to every women I know in the tech sector: Pinterest is a freaking gold mine.

Further, she states,

Tech sector leaders – startup founders, VCs, and so on – need to climb out of their solipsistic holes and start targeting users that aren’t themselves.

There are plenty of convincing facts in this article at Curious for a Living to encourage men to take a look at women’s spaces. I suggest you read every word of it very carefully.

BlogHer’s Master Class

BlogHer, which absolutely pays attention to the needs and habits of women, recently held a Pinterest Master Class. They published the class so that anyone can learn how to make the most of Pinterest as a marketer or a brand.

At BlogHer, we like to share the knowledge. Here is our Pinterest Master Class — a series of three videos equaling an hour of content — all focused on getting the most out of Pinterest. We want to share the expertise we’ve developed with digital influencers — and with brands — who want to learn how to better leverage the enthusiasm of the powerful female consumer for this digital marketing space.

Jory Des Jardins, a co-founder of BlogHer, led the class. The Pinterest Master Class videos are available on BlogHer, YouTube, and right here.

BlogHer Master Class: Harness the Power of Pinterest (Part 1 of 3)

Pinterest Best Practices and Busted Myths (Class 2 of 3)

BlogHer Master Class: Harness the Power of Pinterest (Part 3 of 3)

This session is the most helpful in terms of thinking about how to create and produce images that will work with your blog and bring in traffic from Pinterest.

Pinterest is about getting up to scale with good content. Get organized and start pinning.

Geeky Highlights from BlogHer 13


The Girls Code panel that I was on went well. Kimberly Bryant from @blackgirlscode had to miss BlogHer because of a family emergency, but the other three of us forged ahead and we had a good discussion.


Automattic was in the Expo hall and it was fun to talk WordPress with them. Here I am with Automattic Happiness Engineer Karen Alma.


Sheryl Sandberg was a keynoter. She was inspiring! She arranged for Lean In circles to take place after the keynote with her there participating.


I got to meet Majora Carter and have a brief conversation with her. She’s someone who has done so much good in the world, someone I really admire.


Adria Richards brought Glass. She let lots of people try it on, play around with taking video or photos, learn how to scroll through the menus, and just generally see why Glass is cool.


She told me she brought her Glass to Chicago just for me to get to see it, and she did let me try it out several times. Thank you, Adria!

Virginia and Glass. Cool!

I did two sessions in the Geek Bar, which I wrote about yesterday in The Whys and Hows of Two Step Verification.

Although I shouldn’t rightfully count them as geeky, Queen Latifah and Gale Ann Hurd (from The Walking Dead) were awesome.

You can see all my BlogHer 13 photos on Flickr.

The Whys and Hows of Two-Step Verification


I spent the weekend in Chicago at BlogHer13. One of my jobs there was to do a couple of sessions in the Geek Bar on two-step verification. While I have the information at my fingertips, here are the whys and hows of two-step verification


Why is every big company bringing in the opportunity for users to sign up for two-step verification? Horror stories of hacked accounts, mostly. All these companies have made it possible for you to use two-step verification.

  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WordPress
  • Evernote
  • Apple
  • Dropbox

Two-step verification adds a layer of security to your account and makes it harder for your account to be hacked.

Once your account has been breached, it can be used to broadcast spam or malicious links. Your password can be changed. Your information can be changed or removed (and there’s no way to get it back). If it is a Twitter or Facebook password that someone has figured out then all the sites that you sign into using Twitter and Facebook have been compromised as well.


You still need a strong password, even if you opt in to two-step verification. Remember that.

If you use two-step verification, here’s how you do it.

  • Sign in to your account on Facebook or Gmail or whatever service you are using. Find the settings in your profile.
  • Sign up for two-step verification and provide your mobile phone number
  • Now, when you go to the site and enter your password to sign in, you may be required to enter a second access code, which is sent to your mobile phone

On Facebook, for example, enable ‘Login Approvals’ from the ‘Account Security’ section of the account settings page

facebook opt in

On Twitter, visit your account settings page. Make sure you have provided a phone number. Check the “Require a verification code when I sign in” box

twitter opt in

Unless a hacker has your phone in his hand, he may have guessed your password, but he won’t have the code that gets sent to your mobile phone.

It depends on which company you are using whether you are asked to enter the second code every time you sign in. If you are signing in from a recognized device, you may not be asked for the second code.

Useful links: BlogHer, Flexbox, Promote Yourself

BlogHer has an new, clean makeover to brag about. Their aim is to make it easy to find your way to great content by women bloggers on the original bloggers site. An impressive goal.

Does Flexbox Have a Performance Problem? CSS Tricks is trying to figure it out. You can help.

8 Tips for Promoting Your Dev Skills. There are some you may not have thought of.

My BlogHer 13 speaking schedule

I'm speaking at BlogHer13

I’m speaking or leading sessions on 3 separate occasions at BlogHer 13 in Chicago. If you will be attending the event, too, come say hello. Here’s what I’ll be doing.

You have two chances to catch me in the geek bar, discussing two-step verification on Twitter and Facebook. Friday morning at 10:30 or Saturday afternoon at 2:30. The geek bar sessions are small and informal and are more of a discussion than a presentation.

Along with Amanda Spann from BRANDSPAN Consulting, Kimberly Bryant from Black Girls Code, and Nelly Yusupova from Webgrrls, I’ll be part of a panel on Girls Coding. The women on this panel are really accomplished and impressive. I’m looking forward to being with them.

Are you going?

Adobe’s Creative Cloud: Drawbacks, Incentives, and Education Implications

Users of Adobe CS6 have already had access to cloud based versions of the popular Adobe product line, but now these products will be cloud only. No more software downloads, no more boxes with CDs inside. The Adobe business model for the new Creative Cloud line means a monthly subscription fee to use the products.

The products involved include Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Dreamweaver, Flash, Muse, InDesign, Lightroom, Bridge, and more Adobe tools and services. These products are now identified as CC for Creative Cloud. The CS (Creative Suite) name is going away. There won’t be a Photoshop CS7 or any other numerical ID, there will only be Photoshop CC. The release date for Adobe CC is June 17.

Those of you who use Photoshop Elements don’t need to worry. This change does not apply to your product. You’ll still be able to buy software in a box like before.

What Does This Mean?

In terms of products, Creative Cloud means you’ll always have the most up-to-date tools, and you’ll be able to share your designs with a team if you work that way. Here’s how Adobe describes it:

All-new desktop versions of your favorite creative tools and services, check. Immediate access to new features and updates, check. And that’s just the beginning. With Creative Cloud™, everything you need to create intuitively and collaboratively is included. All-new tools and services will be available in June.

It also means you aren’t paying for products, you’re paying for access to products in the form of monthly subscription fees. New users get access to the whole list of Adobe CC products for $50 a month. You can save if you sign up before the end of July. There are student and teacher pricing plans, and a pricing plan if you want to use only one product. (For example, you can use only Dreamweaver for a price of $20 per month.) The pricing plan for existing Adobe customers who own from CS3 up is also less than the $50 a month. If you own any version of from CS3 up, act quickly to get in on the price savings. You have to commit to a year’s subscription when you join. Here is the complete pricing plan list.

That monthly payment may feel like a big drawback to some. And, there is the reliability of your internet service. As Laura Scott tweeted,


Adobe Fireworks is going away. That may make a lot of people unhappy. According to Julie Bort, writing in Business Insider, “Adobe’s screen-grabbing, no-coding graphics tool Adobe Fireworks was originally included with the Creative Cloud, but Adobe just announced that it was killing that product.”

In spite of the drawbacks, I see some incentives for users.

If you normally buy each new version of everything each time it comes out, this monthly fee is a substantial savings. Even if you are paying the whole $50 a month, something most people won’t have to do, you’ll still be able to get two years worth of subscription services for the previous cost of a full creative suite.

If you’re like me – I’m still using Photoshop CS3, but have upgraded to Dreamweaver CS 5.5 (not the latest version either), it may not be such an attractive deal money-wise. But – you get the latest version of everything – all the time. That is a huge incentive.

Adobe has already been talking about some of the changes to Photoshop CC that users will like, always an incentive if you need to stay on the cutting edge.

Another incentive is the cloud-based collaboration and sharing that creative teams can take advantage of with Adobe CC.

Implications for Education

What does this mean for educators and classrooms full of students who want to learn Dreamweaver or Photoshop or Illustrator? Although the pricing page shows a listing for teams, it doesn’t specifically mention educational licenses for computer lab settings. I’m sure that Adobe has this figured out, but as far as I know, there’s no word out to educational institutions about it yet.

Implications for extension makers

Another question I have is what happens to those businesses like Project Seven or Community MX that have done very nicely supplying extensions for Adobe products? Will their extensions be available in Creative Cloud? Can a subscriber individualize a version of a product like Dreamweaver with custom extensions and widgets if everything is cloud based?


Are you happy about this announcement and are you signing up early to get in on the savings?

Note: A shortened version of this post was also published on BlogHer.

UPDATE: See Adobe Creative Cloud for a more informed explanation of how CC works.