When Facebook first launched in 2004, every subscriber had a profile. This was a basic description of who you were, the first 5 minutes of a conversation with a stranger. The profile evolved in 2008 to be the next 15 minutes of your conversation, to include the most recent events in your life. The problem that Facebook encountered was that to catch up with everyone or checkout your own profile, you have to scroll down to the bottom of the screen over and over and over again. We have all spent years curating our stories but there is no quick way to share this or view it, which is where TIMELINE comes in.
This is a new way of expressing the story of your life, which is the engaging conversation you would have after those initial 20 minutes, as Mark Zuckerberg put it at the F8 Developers Conference, this is the rest of the evening’s conversation.
Timeline is a stream of information about you, it includes your stories, apps, photos you’ve posted, status updates, places you have visited on a world map, it is more visual and is a new way to express the story of you from birth to now. You have a home for all your stories and they don’t disappear as you add new information.
The exciting part of this development is that years from now the next generation can view what their grandparents and parents were up to, when they were born, where they were born and their life story. Imagine viewing baby photos of your parents and figuring who your children look like in the family or setting out to follow in the footsteps of a relative who traipsed through the Amazon. The stories, not only of your own life, but also those of your family and friends will be written into their own pockets of history. As Zuckerberg aptly put it, “Timeline is the story of your life.”
At the third F8 Conference for Developers he expressed his excitement about the new offering that they have been working on all year, “It’s the heart of your Facebook experience, completely rethought from the ground up.” “Timeline is for you to express who you are, you have complete control over it, what you show there, how you display it and who can see it.”
Fortunately for me enabling Timeline a little bit earlier than launch was not too difficult, if you are a developer, techno savvy or just nosey like me, you can enable the new Timeline, otherwise wait with baited breadth for the much anticipated user launch which has been publicized for anytime after 4 October due to the delay from the timeline.com lawsuit.
The result on enabling Timeline on my own personal profile was visually striking, it is more comprehensive and graphic, it allows you to fill in the missing pieces of your life where they have been left out, choose what is featured on your timeline, star your favorites to double their size or hide things altogether.
As you scroll down through your life, you’ll see all your posts, photos and life events through the years until birth, if there are blanks you can go back to these dates and fill them in.
The first objective when using Timeline is to add in a Cover photo, this is easy to achieve and creates a Facebook page that is visually exciting. As you scroll down the timeline, the effect is phenomenal and it makes for an eye catching viewing experience.
Timeline allows you quick and easy access to change and view all your information, update your Personal Details, view your Activity Log, Friends, Photos, Subscribers, etc and any Apps you have assigned to your account.
Your private Activity Log is where you will find everything you have shared since you joined Facebook. You can share this with your friends by clicking on any post to feature it. You can also add Apps to your timeline which allows you to show the things you like to do or listen to such as music, videos, travel experiences, recipes you try, etc. They help you to discover what your friends are up to and give your friends a good idea of what your interests are. If you are keen to see a new video, hear a new song, read a new news article and keep up to date, this is the place to broaden your horizons.
To fill in blanks is as easy as rolling the mouse over the timeline in the middle of the screen and clicking to create a new gray dot, this will then prompt the user to include a new event with a photo, video, place, status, etc, information. The only downfall is that it takes time to update your status through the years especially if you were born before Facebook launched in 2004, which is most of us.
The fundamental idea is that every individual, location, item and action can be connected to your timeline. It is therefore important that users acquaint themselves with the site’s Privacy Settings before posting something that they do not want out in the public domain. If you love the social networking domain, you will be captivated by the new Timeline.
For some great Timeline video and images go here
Timeline and other changes can all be viewed at F8 Keynote Video.
Is it getting too complicated? Well, the 800 million users on Facebook may be even more tempted to stay online, the likelihood is that we will get used to these changes, eventually accept them and come to love being able to view everyone’s “new” Timelines. Love it or hate it, let us know what your thoughts are?
Could this make Facebook an even more powerful player in the media than what it already is?