3.11.2010

What the heck is a Widget?

It's time to talk about widgets!  Widgets, for those who don't know, are small snippets of HTML code that you can embed in all kinds of places around the web.  Once the code is translated, they show up as small images and/or links.   For our 3 Day purposes, widgets allow us to tell the wide world of the internet all about the 3 Day and our fundraising efforts.  There are two types of widgets that are available for us 3 Dayers and I'm going to talk all about both of them here.

The Facebook Widget

The 3 Day Facebook widget has been the topic of much discussion over on the 3 Day message boards.  It was a new application last year and people were clamoring to get their hands on the new widget for this year.  Last week, their wishes were granted and the new 3 Day Facebook App was released.  This widget isn't really a widget at all.  It's actually an application that was designed by the 3 Day folks to work seamlessly with Facebook to help track fundraising.  This application does two things:

1.  It adds an interactive box to your Facebook Profile page directly underneath your profile picture.  This box has a fundraising thermometer of sorts to show how close you are to your fundraising goals for the 3 Day.  It also has a "donate" button that links directly to your personal page on the 3 Day website to make it really easy for your Facebook friends to make their donations.  This box looks like this:

 
 2.  It posts a notice on your wall and in your "Friend Feed" everytime you get another donation.  None of the specifics of the donation show up, it's just a short notice to your friends.  There is also a link back to your personal page on the 3 Day website in this post.  Notices look like this:


If you prefer to only have the profile box and not the notices, there is an option to turn the notices off.  I think you can select this during installation of the application (we'll get there in a minute).  If you can't or if you've since changed your mind and don't want the notices, it is very easy to turn them off.  Simply click on "Account" (top right hand corner of any Facebook page) and select "Application Settings" from the drop down menu.  That will bring you to a list of your current Facebook Apps.  Find "Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure" and click "Edit Settings".  From there you can edit the App however you want.  The box will look like this:


To turn off the notices, simply click on the "Additional Permissions" tab and deselect "Publish to streams". 

Now here's my advice:  Don't turn off the notices!  The more that you can remind people about the 3 Day and all the effort you're putting into it, the better.  If people don't want to see the notices, they can always hide them themselves.  But you deserve credit for all your hard work - show off your successes and be proud of yourself!

So how do you get the Facebook Application?  Again, the 3 Day folks have made this really simple.  First, sign in to your Participant Center.  Right there on the front page, you will see some notes titled "Next Steps".  At the bottom of the list, you'll see the information about installing the Facebook Application.  It'll look something like this:


From there, you just click the blue box and do what it says.  It will ask you to log in to Facebook and give the application permission to access your account.  All of this is standard for Facebook apps.  Once you finish, you're all set.  You don't have to do anything else - the application does all the work for you!

A few short notes on the Facebook App.  If you decide you don't like it, you can always uninstall it at anytime.  Unfortunately, only walkers and crew can install this application, so your husband or Mom or best friend can't add it to their pages.  And finally, if you are participating in more than one event, you can only use the Facebook App to fundraise for one event at a time.  Once you reach your goal for your first event, you will need to uninstall the first app and reinstall the app for your second event.  Kind of a pain in the butt, but if you're already putting in the work for multiple events, I'm guessing you're okay with it!

So that's the Facebook Application.  Install it, use it, love it!

The 3 Day Widget

So what if you don't use Facebook but still want to show off your fundraising around the web?  Well, there's a second widget just for that purpose!  This widget truly is a widget.  That is, using your personal fundraising goal, the 3 Day website will generate a short string of HTML code that you can then copy and paste anywhere you want that uses HTML.  You can use it in on your websites blogs (as I've done over there in the right hand sidebar), you can use it in email signatures or you can even embed it on your Facebook page if you prefer.  The possibilities really are endless. 

To get the widget from the 3 Day website, you first need to click over to the Widget page on your Participant Center.  You can find that link in the left hand menu on the top of your Participant Center main page.  It looks like this:


The link for the Widget page is second to last.  At the top of the page is the information about installing the Facebook Application.  Below that is all the information you need to generate to your HTML snippet.  Just follow the instructions that are listed there and you're set.  Very straightforward!

So now that you've got your snippet, how do you use it?  If you want to embed it in your email signature, you can find the information about doing that right there on that page.  Since it's all laid out there, I won't go into that.  If you want to add it to a Blogger blog like this one, start by clicking on the link to "Customize" your blog layout.  Then click "Add Gadget" and search for the HTML box.  Paste your HTML snippet in the box and click "Save".  From there, you just need to position it where you want on the page and save your changes.  Again, pretty easy.

What about Facebook?  Well, honestly, if you want something on Facebook, I recommend the Facebook Application.  However, you can use this widget on Facebook as well.  Since this widget seems to be available even when the Facebook App isn't, it might be worthwhile to walk through how I did this.  Since it's a little involved, I'm going to go step by step here.

Step 1: Install the "Profile HTML" application on Facebook.  You can find it by searching through the applications.  Don't confuse it with "Profile Box", that's something similar but different.

Step 2:  During installation of that application, paste your HTML snippet into the box.  You can adjust the size of the widget if you need to.  I think I made it slightly smaller, but I can't remember.

Step 3:  Publish as a "Profile Box".

Step 4:  On your main page, click on the "Account" menu (again,top right hand side) and select "Application Settings".  Find "Profile HTML" on the list of applications and select "Edit Settings".

Step 5:  Add "Box".  This will publish the widget to your "Boxes" tab.

Step 6:  Click back to your Profile page and select the Boxes tab to view the widget.  If you chose, you can relocate this box to your main profile page, under your profile picture.  To do this, click on the small "edit" pencil in the upper right hand corner of the widget box.  From there, select "Move to Wall Tab".  It'll look something like this (click to enlarge):


And that's it!  It should now be on your main profile page.  This widget isn't quite as informative as the box generated by the 3 Day Facebook App.  This box only lists your fundraising goal, not how much money you've raised to date.  There is a donate button though which your Facebook friends can use to make donations, which is the most important part.  The final box will look like this:


So now you know everything I know about using the 3 Day widgets.  I tried to be as thorough as I could be because I think when these widgets are used well, they can be incredibly useful fundraising tools.  I also think people tend to get intimidated when you start talking about HTML and things like that.  So that's my take away message here.  The 3 Day folks made these widgets as user friendly as possible.  Don't be afraid to take advantage of them and good luck!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love the facebook app. Your info is once again very helpful! Thanks!

katney said...

I like the Facebook app, too, but I'm more of a blogger that a Facebook fan. I'd love the look of the Facebook app on my blog widget. But my biggest problem with my blog widget is that it is narrower than my sidebar and looks odd.

Annie said...

Help! trying to embed in my email signature but all I can get to print is the snipet code...not the picture that is supposed to be generated by the code. Any advise?

Kristen Sager Cincotta said...

Katney - Have you tried changing the width of your sidebar in the Blogger layout? That might solve your problem. And I agree, I like the look of the FB widget better, but I'll take what I can get for my blog!

Annie - I haven't set up an email signature myself so I don't have any specific advice. On the Widget page on the Participant Center, there is a link that's supposed to walk you through setting that up. Did that not help? If you need more help, let me know. I can put you in touch with my teammate Melissa who I know has the widget in her email signature.

~ Kristen