This time I can say, change is good. Coming October 1st, Facebook gives us the new Facebook Timeline feature for our profile pages. For the few of us who did our research, we have already switched over. And so far, I love it.
As I stated last week, it does raise some concerns for privacy. However I think most of the users will want to jump in and play. I have had it for less than 24 hours and I am nowhere near done exploring.
The first thing you will notice is the beauty of the new layout. It really is customizable and stylish. It is simple and there is not a lot of room to individualize like other sites, which is good. We saw what that freedom did to MySpace. Most of my friends pages were garish! With strange fonts, sparkles and crazy backgrounds, it was hard to see what was going on.
The top of your page is called The Cover. A heads up for everyone who is good at cropping and resizing pictures, the size of the Cover is 850 pixels wide by 315 pixels high. Adjust your cover accordingly. Your Profile Pic is on the left side overlapping the Cover. Below that is your name and a bar with general information. It shows the information you share on Facebook: work, school, relationship status, your friends, maps, likes and photos in small blocks. This is basically the header for your page.
Below that is the Timeline. A straight line running down the middle of your page representing the timestream you have created. It has all of your wall posts, photos, videos, notices, and other information in little windows that look like speech bubbles called Stories. Facebook has saved every interaction you ever made here, including all of the likes and comments on each story. They alternate left to right on the Timeline. While many are easily visable, some of them just exist as tiny dots on the line. As you mouse over them, they expand.
The sidebar with current news ticker and chat, still exists on your right. It suddenly makes more sense why they added it. They were only testing it on the old Facebook. It’s more relevant and useful with this new layout. As for their new Apps, I can’t give you much info yet. I have seen little of it, except for my own experimenting,and it seems to work much more seamlessly. I tested it with other websites that allow you to share your day to day experiences on Facebook. From Foursquare and Pandora, the posts came on clean. When I post this we shall see how it works with WordPress! Now let’s look at my Timeline.
As I explored, I was suprised by the amount of things that were already present. My marraige date, as well as the birth of my relatives were present. I noticed that some of my family were missing fom the list and did a little digging. If a relative didn’t have thier birthday as public knowledge, they weren’t on my Timeline.
As a curiosity, I experimented with removing a post or event. I could easily hide or edit them by mousing over the right edge of any Story and clicking on the little pencil graphic. Some Stories allow either on or off style actions, while others have more options. In the same location as the editing tools is a star which allows you to Feature the event on your Timeline. This is for a major event in your life that should stand out. This makes the item spread out across the front of the line, taking up both sides.
I personally enjoyed finding out who my first friends were, way back in October of 2006. Those early posts were entertaining as well.
After browsing my Timeline I started playing. First off, I added my first baby picture to the first entry on my Timeline. It was easy. Once that was done, I decided to add some new events. The first way to do it is move your mouse over the line in the center and watch for a little plus sign to appear as you move between the dots or pips on the Timeline itself and click on the proper spot in the Timeline. The other way is just as easy. As you scroll down a small white bar appears with the year you are viewing and your name. On the right is a “+” that opens all the items you can add to the Timeline as you mouse over it. You can add a status, photo, place or a Life Event here.
- Work & Education
- Family & Relationships
- Health & Wellness
- Milestones & Experiences
Once in the editor for these Life Events, you can set dates and locations as well as descriptions and photos. You have the option to use a phot you already have on Facebook or upload a new one. A nice touch is when you add a loss of a loved one Facebook posts it with the title, “In Loving Memory of.”
All in all, I love the new Facebook. It is now a great scrapbook of your life as well as a way to connect and share. The Timeline is simplistic and elegant. It’s where you will spend massive amounts of time ignoring your farms and games, while you update your life history on Facebook. Before you do that however, let me caution you on two things.
First, as I stated earlier, some people don’t share their birthdays. Don’t add them to your Timeline if they are not sharing it themselves. They WILL blame you for the two hundred and fifty wall posts they get because someone found their birthday on your page!
If you have not done so, I recommend you set the basic default setting to Friends instead of public. After that, browse the different settings and make sure all this new information is safe. There are a bunch of things to consider. Subscriber Settings, Mobile Settings, etc.
You can also now select what kind of friendship you have with someone and it is pretty cool and possibly a little scary. They have three preset lists and you can create others.
Here are the basic three.
I wan to start with Acquaintances. This let’s you narrow down those annoying friends who post all those “like this or we won’t be friends” posts or whatever drives you crazy. By turning a friend into an acquaintance, you reduce the amount of mundane posts that you see.
On the flip side of that is Close Friends. Making someone your “Close Friend” is basically getting an update about EVERY interaction they make on Facebook. It’s almost stalking them. This can be a scary thought. However, it is also a great way to keep up with your really entertaining or interesting friends.
Finally there is Restricted. Now you can block someone you have on your Friends List from seeing any posts except those you have made public.
Remember, your friends won’t get notified when you add them to these lists. So on the good side, you can keep Uncle Leo as a friend and he will never know you have restricted him from your wall posts. Your girlfriends friends can all be turned to Acquaintances so you don’t have to read about all that shoe shopping and see all the pictures of half naked male models, but your significant other will still think your a great guy. But the Close Friends option is truly scary. While I understand that I don’t want to offend a friend by making them an acquaintance or worse restricting them, not notifying me that someone has made me a Close Friend seems invasive. Do you want your family stalking your Facebook page? Do you really want Alex Forrest to ‘Close Friend” you?
I will make another suggestion. If you ranted about family, friends or coworkers five years ago when you had ten friends, remember, you now have a lot more friends. Some of those are possibly the coworkers, friends and family you tore into years ago. Not only are they on Facebook and probably your friends but, they are also going to have access to all those old posts!!! There is one option I feel you should definitely choose. Limit The Audience for Past Posts.
This option will turn ALL of your past posts to be viewed by Friends Only! It’s worth the look.
So take the time to review your life on Facebook because, if you don’t you know your friends and family will.
Remember, you can also posts things on Facebook that only you can see. This is where Facebook Timeline is cool. It is just that, a Timeline.
From now on, you can go back and see anything you have added to Facebook. When a family member was born, your first kiss, the death of a loved one, where you were when something happened in history and what you thought about any or all of those instances in your life. This is really cool.
When a friend asks you, where were you when……….
You were on Facebook.