Much like your diary when you were younger, your Facebook profile is a record of the things that have shaped your life over the past few years – at least the parts you divulged online. Unlike your diary though, you can’t just flick through this information at your leisure. Depending on how active you’ve been on Facebook you’d need to spend hours scrolling back through your many updates to find what you were looking for. All of that is about to change when Facebook introduces its new Timeline.
The new Facebook Timeline will transform your profile page into a virtual flipbook, complete with a ‘cover’, where you can click through to a particular time and take a trip down memory lane. Your Timeline will let you find out exactly what you were up to, who you became friends with, what you thought about things going on in the world, what you looked like at the time and what big events took place. It even lets you click back to when you were born, though you’ll need to add that information yourself. You can get your hands on the new Facebook Timeline early if you’re happy to jump through a few hoops (see below for instructions), but here’s a sneak peak for those who are happy to wait.
I gave my profile this new facelift a few days ago and have been fairly impressed so far. Instead of a selection of your latest photos taking pride of place along the top of your profile you have just the one (gigantic!) photo, known as your profile ‘cover’. Your original profile photo is dwarfed in comparison and sits to the left with the rest of your information. I was a little nonplussed by this at first, until I realised what the developers were aiming for. Instead of having a profile picture depicting your car, your child or some cartoon you like, the new design encourages you to make that photo your ‘cover’ instead and use your profile picture space for something useful, like a photo of yourself for example.
Your status updates no longer run single file down the page. Instead they are dotted down your Timeline. It takes a little getting used to because the updates flit from one side of the page to the other as you update, but ultimately it’s easier to navigate. There have been a few other tweaks to the way your ‘Friends’, ‘Photos’ and ‘Likes’ are now laid out, but nothing ground breaking.
The biggest addition to your Facebook applications is the ‘Maps’ feature which showcases all of your check-ins on an interactive map. Zoom in on highlighted areas to find out where you were, when you were there, how many times you’ve been there, who you were there with and any photos that might be attached to the check-in.
The new Timeline seems to be the most successful attempt yet at creating some order among the chaos of your online activity. Perhaps the growing threat of other social networks has encouraged Facebook to get their act together. Either way, it’s something new and shiny to look forward to. Head to this webpage to get your Timeline (and a healthy dose of nostalgia) before everyone else. You’ll be amazed at what you rediscover about yourself.