Facebook Timeline: Opinions From Across the Web

by Eric Melin on September 26, 2011

Charlene Li from the Altimeter group calls it “the future of sharing.”

David Armano says, “I have to wonder of the developers and designers at Facebook had [a Google Super Bowl ad] in mind as they worked on Timeline in their effort to beat Google on Web domination.”

Greg Kumparack from TechCrunch calls it “a crazy (and kind of creepy) omnibus look at everything that has ever happened in your Facebook lifespan.  It’s like a story book of your life — or at least the online, documented parts.”

It’s Facebook Timeline. If you haven’t yet enabled some of the individual apps that will work with it by going in through the developer’s side of Facebook, Timeline will roll out automatically in a couple of weeks.

Here’s what Facebook says about it:

The way your profile works today, 99% of the stories you share vanish. The only way to find the posts that matter is to click “Older Posts” at the bottom of the page. Again. And again. With Timeline, now you have a home for all the great stories you’ve already shared. They don’t just vanish as you add new stuff. You choose what’s featured on your timeline. You can star your favorites to double their size or hide things altogether.

Brian Solis had some insight to how this timeline will be populated:

At f8, Facebook announced that it is giving apps a voice, your voice, to contribute contextual activity to the Timeline automatically through action verbs. Yes, you read that right. Facebook apps will populate your storybook, based on the permissions you set of course, further pushing (or inspiring…you choose) to live more and more in public. Smart apps are another product of the company’s news machine at f8 and are the latest incarnation of Facebook’s Open Graph development platform.

For users, it’s the chance to curate your entire life online. For brands, this should make it way easier to figure out taste and buying patterns of Facebook users. (The amount of information the site encourages users to share keeps increasing while the only way for businesses to access it will be through Facebook.)

What do you think of these changes? Are you eager to get a hold of it right now?

I’m thinking, like any change, this will take some getting used to, but if it truly makes sharing easier to do as Facebook claims, ultimately it can’t fail. (Not to mention the fact that nobody reads the fine print when enabling an app, and privacy settings can still be tricky.)

Charlene Li‘s point about what we are willing to share struck a chord:

How far are we willing to share our information and activities? Look no further than to our real lives because we do it all the time. Our credit card transactions are captured and resold to direct marketers. Our Caller IDs – which used to be private – are shared.

From a graphics standpoint, Timeline looks like a Tumblr blog, which is clean and visually-oriented. Good move on Facebook’s part, I believe.

Timeline will also encourage oversharing, and make it very easy to do so. Everything you’ve ever shared will be accessible. It doesn’t just disappear like before. The possibilities for what the company will do with all this personal information are enormous.

If you can’t wait, sign up for the beta test at the Timeline Facebook page. Or CNET tells you How to turn on your Facebook Timeline right now.


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