Unless you’ve been walking around with your fingers in your ears while humming “nah-nah-nah” you’ll be aware that Facebook recently announced a major new change to how profiles are viewed and managed.
My initial impression is that it’s technically very clever and it’s an impressive and immersive way of displaying your life and “fixes” many issues with social media in general. Social media is currently quite disposable. Twitter only keeps your last few thousand tweets as searchable and until recently it was almost impossible to view old Facebook updates.
The new timeline neatly overcomes this problem. I was able to go back to the 15th December 2006 when I joined Facebook and read all my updates. As an aside, it’s funny how things have changed. A lot of my updates were simple phrases “is enjoying Christmas”, “is working”. Ah, the heady days before lengthy COPY AND PASTE status updates.
A quick scan down the timeline reveals that Facebook has automatically added some events, such as my sister and sister-in-laws birth. It didn’t mention Luke’s birth even though he has a Facebook account and I’m down as his father. I assume this is because Facebook won’t add details of anyone under thirteen automatically.
Fortunately, you can add as many new events as you want. You can add the births of your children, anniversaries and you can even tell the world when you passed your driving test if so desired. There’s a neat little interface that allows you to do this near the top of the screen.
I manually added Luke’s birth here. Note that you can also add a description and if you enter a URL, it automatically links. Part of the fun is trying to find a relevant photograph!
There is much handwringing about Facebook and privacy. It’s worth noting that each event can be “Featured” and you can limit who can see each item if desired. If you’re not comfortable with Facebook or any website knowing that much information about you, then you can of course opt out and not fill in the missing details.
Personally, I’m quite enjoying filling in the details and finding pictures to go with them. It’s a genuinely novel idea that I’ve not seen before or at least not as well executed as this before. I found myself marvelling at just how much I’ve packed into my 35 years and cringing at old status updates and pictures.
It’s clear that Facebook want you to incorporate Facebook into your life beyond messaging friends. This is a good way to achieve that and it takes the social media platform into new territory.
Will you join them?