Features of the New Facebook Timeline

Written By: Jessica Mangiameli

While there are many mixed emotions toward the new Facebook Timeline feature, one thing is certain, everyone’s Facebook will soon be switched over to the new timeline whether one wants it or not.

It does take a while getting used to the new Facebook timeline which was launched on October 6, 2011.  Even if one hasn’t switched to the new timeline, they can still see the new timeline if their friends have it, which may scare and worry some Facebookers about what they’re getting themselves into.

The New Facebook Timeline

The New Facebook Timeline

The new design is laid out like an actual timeline with every year since the year you were born, displayed on the right hand side of the timeline.  One can click on any year and it will go back to that year on that person’s wall, bringing up previous posts from the past.  This feature worries many Facebookers because of old, embarrassing posts that might appear from when you were say, 16 years old. Some Facebookers say it is taking away any sort of privacy control there was for Facebook and ideally makes it easier for friends and family to “creep” through Facebook.

A new feature that some Facebookers like is the new cover photo displayed at the top of the timeline. It’s almost like a banner.  Facebookers can display their favorite pictures or a cool pattern or design that they found online as their cover photo.

If you’re ready for change and want to switch to the new timeline on Facebook it is very simple. Visit the facebook timeline page at http://www.facebook.com/about/timeline and click the “Get Timeline” link located at the bottom of the page.

Once a user decides they want the timeline, there is a seven day review period in which the user can edit their timeline and set it up the way they want before it goes public. During this seven day period, a user is able to launch their timeline so it goes live at any point. If the user waits, it will automatically go public in one week.

While this new change may have some users concerned, Facebook will always contain privacy settings where a user can set an option to “Only Me” meaning that you’re the only one who can see that specific content.

A lot of Facebookers really enjoy the new timeline and its organization. Facebook has come a long way since its debut in 2004. It’s mind boggling to try and think of what Mark Zuckerberg is going to change next.

 

Facebook’s Timeline Dissappoints

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.

Facebook Logo

The Facebook logo

What Does Facebook Timeline Mean for Facebook Stalking?

Facebook Timeline includes new customization features.

Facebook Timelines offers a new look-- and possibly less privacy.

 

Written by: Vanessa Formato

 

We’ve all done it: one minute, we’re looking at an acquaintance’s Facebook status, the next we’ve perused 500 photographs of said acquaintance dating back to the early 2000s. “Facebook stalking”—secretly viewing large amounts of a person’s online profile—is relatively common in this age of connectivity, but that isn’t to say it’s exactly desirable. With some major changes coming to Facebook in the form of Timeline, the biggest question on users’ minds may be how the new layout will effect stalking—and with good reason.

Facebook Timeline is a new kind of profile that not only displays personal information and mementos, but displays nearly all types of updates—from status to photographs to “likes”— chronologically on users’ main profiles. The idea is to create a profile that will allow you to “tell your life story” according to Timeline’s Facebook page.

As Sarah Love wrote for March Communications, Timeline is “complete repositioning of the purpose of Facebook,” which may be the most significant aspect of the change that could manage to fly under the radar at first. Love, like many users, starting using Facebook as a method to connect with her peers, but with Timeline the focus is shifted away from connection to observation: it turns profiles into “scrapbook[s],” more suited to online stalking than ever before.

The traditional Facebook set-up required potential stalkers to work for their information: photos and certain updates were hidden in separate tabs, but Timeline sets everything out in the open. One can click to view updates from certain time periods (even one labeled “born”) as well as access important “life events” and personal information with unprecedented ease, and this is what has some users concerned.

All things considered, Timeline so far seems almost less invasive than some of the other features Facebook rolled out late in 2011. The live news ticker that now appears on the homepage shows activity between one’s friends and non-mutual friends with surprising thoroughness. Couple the ability to see complete strangers’ activities at any time with the new profile set-up and you have a stage set perfectly for invading others’ privacy.

Thankfully, Timeline does include potential solutions to the Facebook stalking problem, the most important of which may be that it allows users to sift through their profiles before they go live. Currently, users are given seven days to edit their Timeline—more than enough time to delete drunken status updates or unflattering duck-faced photos from high school. Plus, privacy settings can always be altered to keep strangers and co-workers from knowing too much.

Timeline is a lesson in managing one’s online presence: will users be willing to take the time and suffer the potential embarrassment of engaging in enough navel-gazing to make their Timelines secure? Only time will tell.