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

Useful links: gender, AccessWorks

We were talking a while back about Google+ allowing for an “other” option among the gender checkbox choices. Now a group called All Out is trying to get Facebook to do a similar thing. Their PR on the petition drive for Facebook linked to this two spirits map, which is quite interesting.

Knowbility and Loop11 have created AccessWorks Testing Portal. Marketers and developers can see pages as people with disabilities do and can get access to users with disabilities for tests. And users with disabilities can get paid to participate in remote accessibility testing. Congratulations to Knowbility and Loop11 for creating and developing this valuable testing portal.

Useful Links: Document Outlines, Google+ Gender, #Dell Listens

Great explanation of Document Outlines at HTML5 Doctor. Perfect resource link if you’re teaching an HTML5 class.

Google is listening to the feedback on Google+.

Google isn’t the only company listening to what users want. Sarah Kimmel is on her way to Austin to talk with Dell. If there’s something you want Dell to know, get word to Sarah.

Google+ makes a lot of ripples

Google+ has been more popular as a topic of discussion this week than cute cat tricks. And that’s saying a lot. Most people are writing enthusiastic blog posts about how much they like Google+. See Bloggers React to Google Plus. A few folks are trying to point out the good and the bad.

And, of course, there has been a lot of talk about what this means to Facebook: Facebook Announces Video Calling, Why Mark Zuckerberg’s First Public Response to Google+ is the Right One, and many more.

I’m drawn to the parts of the story that are getting less attention right now. EXCLUSIVE: Google To Retire Blogger & Picasa Brands in Google+ Push being one. Blogger will be rebranded Google Blogs and Picasa will be rebranded Google Photos, according to Mashable. This brings Google’s blogging and the photo sharing services under Google+ social media control.

Mashable also reports that Google To Retire Private Google+ Profiles On July 31. Or as The Register puts it, Google: Go public on Profiles or we’ll delete you.

This prompted Shelley Powers to tweet:

This is so unsurprising of Google – make your profiles public or they’ll get deleted. And why expose a person’s gender?Thu Jul 07 15:29:56 via web

The initial reaction of many bloggers was that they like Google+ Circles because it allowed more privacy choices than Facebook. But having your Google profile made public whether you want it that way or not isn’t in keeping with that early reaction. Granted, most people have a public profile already, but some do not.

Shelley’s comment about gender was interesting too. We had a bit of back and forth about that on Twitter.  @epersonae joined in to say that “other” was an option on gender in a Google Profile.

@shelleypowers @vdebolt @Oakwright went & checked; yes, “other” is an option. (wish it were free-form box like on @mefi!)Thu Jul 07 15:42:26 via web

The gender issue may not interest you, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while: Have you thought about the gender choices on web forms? The mere fact that all-powerful Google includes ‘other’ as a gender option could have far-reaching implications in the world outside Google.

Developers are busy responding to Google+ with browser add-ons. Google has changed the Google bar. Google+ apps may proliferate the way Twitter apps have.

The point I’m trying to make is that something as significant as Google+ carries with it many ripple effects. Right now, people just want to get an invitation so they can try it out. But what will it mean in 6 months or a year? That’s what I’m wondering.