At Facebook’s annual F8 conference, founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced a slew of changes to the ever-growing social network. Certain updates were anticipated, like the launch of a Facebook-supported music platform and a way to track what your friends are reading, watching, and listening to, but others were completely unexpected. The new Timeline feature was a much-welcomed surprise announcement.
Zuckerberg prepped the crowd: “Millions of people curate stories of their lives on Facebook every day and have no way to share them once they fall off [their] profile page” and Timelines is “the story of your life and completely new way to express yourself.”
The idea behind Timeline is that almost all of the stories you share disappear from your profile as you publish new posts. Perhaps, the most important things that have happened in your life, say a graduation, new job, or a first child, get pushed off your front page and are replaced by random wall posts and friends and descriptions of your recent activity. Before Timeline, the only way to find the important posts was to click on “Older Posts” at the bottom of the page over and over again.
Now with Timeline, all your favorite moments and most important stories are collected into one easy-to-use, visually-appealing place. At the very top of your timeline is a giant photo that acts like an album cover to introduce you. What you want your cover to show is completely up to you. Also at the top is brief description of your life on Facebook: your friends, tagged photos, check-in locations, what you like, and some personal information.
As your make your way down the page, you’ll see popular posts, photos, and events in reverse chronological fashion. So, your most recent activity will be at the top of the page; further down will be your first day on Facebook; and at the very bottom will be your birth. For some users, their Timeline will be very short due to being a new member or a low amount of Facebook activity. For others who have been using the service for a while, their Timeline will be much longer. Timeline is much wider than your profile in order to make it more visual for pictures and text display.
Timeline will pick which stories to share at the start, but you can look back in your private activity log, which displays every single thing you’ve done on Facebook, to add more of your favorite stories. You can also hide stories if you don’t want people to see them.
Timeline also lets you add information from Facebook apps. So, if you have connected Spotify to your Facebook profile, you can display the music you listen to. Many apps can be connected to show what you like to watch, what recipes you’ve tried, what books you’ve read, and your exercise routes. This is a tool for discovery and lets your friends click on your activity to listen to the same song too, for example.
When Timeline comes out in a couple of weeks, you will have the opportunity to add the feature and review and add to what is displayed in yours. Once it is ready, you can publish your Timeline.
In my opinion, I think Timeline is a great addition that can act be a unique way for friends to get together and reminisce about their past. Timeline also gives users an interesting opportunity to make a digital autobiography by filling in information and uploading photos dating back to their birth. This may sound creepy and laborious to others, but I think it’s a great way to document a life.
I’d like to see Timeline be able to connect to other users’ Timelines. For example, if I display when I became friends with someone, I’d like to be able to easily and directly click over to their Timeline to see what they were doing around that time. I can’t wait to explore the feature and see what surprises it has to offer.
This was a guest post by August Drilling who works in the marketing department at CliqStudios.com, the online supplier of kitchen cabinets including shaker kitchen cabinets, and is a blogger, avid social media user, and boy genius. You can follow him on Twitter @ardrilling.