Facebook Timeline Launches
Facebook members have only seven days to accustom themselves to the new profile design, known as “Timeline”, before a full-on cyber-sweep takes effect on Thursday, December 23rd. Announced just three months ago at the company’s annual developers conference, Timeline seeks to improve the current design by chronicling the totality of members’ life events, instead of just emphasizing the here and now. Past photos, posts, and updates tend to disappear once bumped out of position by more current ones.
Members can switch now at Facebook.com/about/Timeline or wait for the Timeline notification message to pop up on their Facebook page, at which time they have seven days to trim down or beef up their profile before the new default look arranges posts, photos, and important events in two columns of information, with a blue line marked by dates running vertically down the middle. Seven days after Timeline activation, Facebook automatically publishes the profile page, making it viewable according to account privacy settings.
On the right, advertisements fill the bottom of the page while visitors can easily skip to certain months or years of a person’s life. In addition to a standard profile picture, users can set a “scrapbook” cover photo, a large shot that appears at the top of each Timeline profile. People can choose to “feature” major life events, such as engagements or injuries, or hide more embarrassing ones. A new activity page has been added so users can navigate information and posts more easily.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during the September announcement, “We’re more than what we did just recently. We want to design a place that feels like your home.” Yet, analysts fear that Facebook’s newest innovation could become a carrot for marketers and advertisers to target consumers based on their “likes” and devotion to certain brands, a popular tactic for Facebook, Google+, and other social networks that wrestle for advertising dollars.
R. “Ray” Wang, CEO at Constellation Research warns, “There’s a growing concern among individuals that Facebook is driving individuals to trade their privacy for convenience without understanding the risks. Can individuals turn it off forever if Facebook still owns the data? What do you do to take yourself out of a Timeline? Is this the beginning of digital extortion?”
Facebook users, who have been historically quick to blanch at new features and fret over the security of their personal data, have set up camps on two different ends of the Timeline: those who love the “new” look and those who love the “old” look.