When they say “Timeline”, they don’t mean it in the Twitter sense that it’s only as long as you’re willing to scroll. No. Facebook makes it easy to go through everyone’s archives by making a nice neat list by month and year. So, if you’d like to know what your newest
stalking victim friend did in September 2007, there it is. Productivity around the world is going down by 10% because the amount of sheer time one could spend stalking a person is unprecedented.
It’s somewhat nostalgic to see the entire progression of your life so neatly organized. The very first post ever made on my wall. The 25th birthday parties of my friends. Trips I took. Graduations. The day I became a Professor. Even the birth of my brother (way back in 1990, mind you) is noted. Like I said, that shit cray! It’s like a scrapbook of your entire existence. The beginning point of the “timeline” is NOT the day you joined Facebook. It’s the day you were BORN. Zuckerberg got your LIFE out there man.
A lot of people have privacy concerns, which are warranted. But one thing to note is that upgrading does not change existing privacy settings. If strangers couldn’t see the information before, they can’t see it now. The only difference is it is organized in such a way that they wouldn’t have to search as hard. Also, the new design makes it clear & obvious exactly who can see each post, and allows you to edit it retroactively. So, if you don’t want your new boo to see that post from your old boo in 2008, or your boss to see you wasted back in college, change the privacy setting. Privacy controls are more up-front than ever. When I upgraded it gave me the option to play with it and update settings before I “published” to the masses, so you do have opportunity to clean up your act beforehand if you upgrade early. I’m not sure if that will be available once it rolls out to the masses.
The thing I really do like is the “cover” feature. Your cover is basically a big header banner that goes across the top of your page and it actually larger than your profile pic. This will allow people to make their profile a little more expressive. It could be used for art, branding, or just a big ass photo. What I would LOVE is if I could create a different “cover” for different groups of friends, but alas, the cover is one-size-fits all. Like your profile picture, it can’t really be made private. But it seems everything else CAN.
The other interesting thing I found in scrolling through the years is that there has been a clear change in Facebook culture. It’s a sociological landmine. We’re basically viewing archives. The posts when it was a private network of college-educated folks are a lot different than the ones now. In the early days, people made those my-spacey posts to the “Top 10 True Homies” or “Fourteen Favorite Girls”. Then it gets classier as it becomes the “anti-My Space”and everyone shares their first memories of meeting people on campus and uses proper English. And then all hell breaks loose because they open it up to EVERYONE. The MySpacers invade and started posting bathroom pics in their underwears! Your little cousin and Auntie Sheila join simultaneously. Your little cousin makes posts with language you cannot decipher and Auntie Sheila fills your feed with Mafia Wars updates. Nonsense I tell you!! Now I’m reminded how sad I was the day that Facebook was no longer a private little place for college students and the freshly degreed. Facebook snobs with 5+ years history feel me.
The new timeline makes me feel a bit exposed, but I’m not having a major freakout because I don’t share things I don’t want people to know anyway. I share a LOT, but nothing that could A) get me arrested, B) deem me unmarryable by anyone I’d actually want to marry, C) allow a stalker to find my house or D) get me fired. So I’m good. One thing I am very happy about is that I have refrained from having a relationship status ever. Seeing the ups and downs of the heart over my entire adult life could get depressing, and that’s coming from a person who seems to have been luckier than most. But then the thought of having everyone else be able go through my relationship chronicles? Yikes. I feel for folks who change that relationship status frequently. They are gonna be outed in the worst way. Damn girl, 7 breakups this year? You sure they were “relationships”? Relations do not a relationship make. I’m just saying….
All in all, I don’t think that this should make people flee Facebook it fear. But everyone should take the time to go though their timeline and delete any parts of their “story” that they don’t want out there.