Facebook is making big changes to the way the world sees you.
Facebook Timeline was introduced recently to replace your Profile Page and present your information in a more creative and organized way. With traditional Profile Pages, your older posts were difficult, if not impossible to find. Timeline arranges your posts in a linear fashion so people can look back over the years to see what you’ve been doing.
Timeline is optional for now; Facebook is rolling it out slowly by making people sign up to add it to their accounts. But eventually everyone will have a Timeline so you should get to know what it is, what it can do for you and how your Facebook experience is destined to change.
What is Timeline?
Timeline is a new feature that arranges your posts, Likes, photos, videos, apps and other information in a way that makes your life seem like a magazine or digital scrapbook. Everything you’ve ever done on Facebook is organized chronologically, indexed to the year it was posted. No additional information is added by Timeline, but the new format makes it much easier for others to see what you’ve posted.
How Can You Get Timeline?
Facebook will eventually bring Timeline to all of its members, but if you want to get it now, you don’t have to wait. Go to www.facebook.com/about/timeline and enable the feature by clicking on the Get Timeline button.
After you sign up you have seven days to preview your Timeline before it’s published. You can go back to your old Profile Page during those seven days. If you don’t want to wait, you can publish it right away.
What Can You Do with Timeline?
You can have fun with Timelime by making the most of its features.
Cover – You can add a cover photo to your Timeline by clicking on the Add a Cover button at the top of the Timeline. The photo will be the first thing people see when they look at your Timeline so choose it carefully. The photo can be of your recent travels, family members, your beloved pet or other subjects that tell the world who you are. This photo is different from your profile picture which remains on the lower left corner of the cover. You can change the cover picture later by hovering your cursor over the photo and a Change Cover button will appear.
About – This tells your friends (or the world, depending on your privacy settings) all about you: education, friends, employment history, family members, contact information, and any other information you’d like to share.
Featured Posts – Information shared on Timeline is spread over two columns, but if you want a post to get attention, click on the star button in the upper right corner of the post. This will make it a Feature Post and spread it across both columns of your Timeline, making it easier for visitors to see.
Go Back in Time - Don’t let the day you joined Facebook be the start of your Timeline. You can add photos from earlier days (your first baby picture, perhaps?) to chronicle your life from the beginning.
What About Privacy?
Timeline doesn’t change your Privacy settings on Facebook, but there are some privacy options you should review.
First, you can adjust your privacy settings so that any posts before your Timeline was published can only be viewed by your friends. You can access this through the drop-down menu in the upper right corner of your screen:
Privacy Settings => Limit the Audience for Past Posts => Manage Post Visibility => Limit Old Posts
Second, you can review your old posts and change the privacy setting for each one individually.
What If You Don’t Like Timeline?
If you prefer Profile Pages you can keep yours as is, for a while. At some point, Facebook will be switching everyone over to the Timeline format. When that happens (the date has not yet been announced) you’ll have two choices:
- Live with it or
- Quit Facebook
Assuming you’re going to choose Option 1, consider activating Timeline before Facebook does it for you. Since visitors to your Timeline will be able to navigate easily through all of your posts, you may just want to take a second look at them to see if there are some you would rather not have others re-visit.
Embrace the Inevitable
Even if you dread the day when Facebook will impose this change upon you, learn to love the new design. Here‘s a link to 40 creative Facebook covers that may change your mind: Creative Facebook Timeline Covers.
Use the tools listed at Internet and Blogging Resources to help you design your own creative Facebook Cover so your Timeline can be the envy of all your friends: Best Facebook Timeline Profile Cover Creators.
Have you switched over to Facebook Timeline? Are you excited about the change? Are you dreading people finding your old Facebook photos and posts? Are you making Timeline a scrapbook of your life? Let us know in the Comments section below!
Check out The Wonder of Tech in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
* Embrace image by Aaron