Written by: Michael Arnold
In late September of 2011, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the website’s most significant change since its inception – the Timeline. In a press release Zuckerberg defined Facebook’s new layout as “the story of your life, and it has three pieces, all your stories, all your apps, in a new way to express who you are.”
Sounds intriguing. However, Facebook’s new layout has received some terrible reviews by users. On a Mashable Social Media Poll posted in mid-December, roughly half of the 3,000 Facebook users polled expressed their discontentment with the Timeline. Many users are resisting the change from the original profile all together after seeing the confusing and cumbersome Timeline page.
So what’s with all of the feet dragging?
The Los Angeles Times likens the Timeline to “an obsessive compulsive’s digital scrapbook, collecting every detail, no matter how trivial, in chronological order.” Sound creepy? That’s because it is.
Timeline tracks your “birth” – or rather your first time using Facebook – to the present moment. It incessantly surfaces photos, likes, tags, places you’ve been and notes to effectively capture the essence of any given Facebook user on one page.
Zuckerberg’s move to Timeline drifts from the website’s initial purpose: to help people connect and share with the people in their lives. Instead, the focus of Facebook will become the chronological “life story” of the person whose page it is.
Not only are Timeline pages revealing more about people’s pasts, they’re promoting constant moment-by-moment updates every day. Facebook’s new partnerships with Spotify and Hulu have already begun allowing users to bombard news feeds with interminable and automatic updates on songs that they’re listening to and shows that they’re watching. Clearly this change is much less about communication, and more about voyeurism.
Timeline makes it easier than ever to get complete access to a person’s photos and interests. And with the page’s built-in archive, it is simple and easy to see what a person was doing at any particular point in her life on Facebook.
Since the change took effect Facebook has been encouraging users, in a multitude of ways, to add more information to their profile’s. Zuckerberg has not shied away from this. In fact, upon unveiling the Timeline at Facebook’s F8 Conference, he concluded that “life’s biggest moments” should be made more public since this is the overall purpose of the new layout.
Perhaps Facebook’s dramatic changes will deter some of its 800 million members from using the site as often. As this is unlikely, Facebook users should prepare to get to know a whole lot more about their “friends” in the coming months.