Friday Four: Four Reasons Facebook Timeline is Less Annoying and More Fun Than You Think */?> Friday Four: Four Reasons Facebook Timeline is Less Annoying and More Fun Than You Think

Posted by · December 16, 2011 12:08 pm

Well, it’s finally here.  Facebook Timeline, a virtual scrapbook that displays your Facebook activity starting with the present and working backwards, has made its way to a profile near you.  Unlike so many of Facebook’s other changes, this one has yet to be met with an onslaught of complaints.  Then again, the profile changes have not yet been forced upon Facebook users.  We’ve discussed Facebook Timeline on the EE Tech News Podcast (you can take a listen here and here), but we’ve barely mentioned it on the blog.

I’ve been using Timeline for a few months now and have not been overly impressed.  Personally, I don’t think anyone cares when I broke a bone, started wearing glasses or got a new roommate. However, once people get over their blind rage that a service they are using for free would have the audacity to make improvements without consulting them, Timeline is sure to be something that most Facebook users will embrace.  So, in an effort to help all of you better understand the upcoming changes to your Facebook profile, I did some experimenting with my own Timeline.  What I found is that once you dive into Timeline, it’s actually quite fun to use and much less annoying than you might think.  Here are four reasons why:

You get to re-live memories you probably forgot about

For some, Facebook’s list of Life Events you can post about on your Timeline will undoubtedly be perceived as a negative.  Not only will people reticent to share personal information but we as Facebook consumers dread information overload from our over-sharing friends. Plus, we all have bad memories that we’d rather just stifle, and Facebook clearly wants to dredge them up.  (Under the macro category of Family and Relationships, for instance, Facebook lists “End of Relationship” and “Loss of Loved One” as two of the life events you can potentially post about.)

That being said, there are some lighthearted category suggestions on Facebook Life Events that might send you down a happier memory spiral.  For me, it was the “Glasses, Contacts, Other” category under Health and Wellness.  I started having flashbacks of sporting teal-framed, coke- bottle thick lenses in middle school and how traumatic the news that I would be a “four eyed freak” was back then.  I doubt I’ll document the date I got my first pair of glasses, but I might share a photo of me wearing them.  After all, who doesn’t enjoy an awkward middle-school photo?  Which leads me to my second point about Facebook Timeline…

Facebook Timeline is very visual

Not only does the addition of the cover photo let you add a banner image to your Facebook profile that is uniquely you, but somehow Facebook just seems to know the most important photos you’ve uploaded or been tagged in over the years and gives them prominent placement on your timeline.  For instance, out of all the pictures I uploaded and was tagged in during 2009, Facebook only showed the ones from my wedding.

Adding photos that Facebook did not choose to feature is a bit less intuitive, but can be done: click on the “Activity Log” link towards the top right side of your Timeline and then filter activity (under the drop down next to “All”) by Photos. This will give you a list of all the photos you uploaded or were tagged in since joining Facebook and using the icons to the right of the photo, you can choose to feature that photo more prominently on your Timeline.  (And by “more prominently,” I mean that Facebook will stretch that particular photo out over the entire width of your timeline.)  In addition, you can feature photos or other posts directly from your Facebook profile by clicking on the star icon in the upper right corner of that post.

Fortunately, hiding posts that you don’t want Facebook to feature on your Timeline is much easier.  Which leads me to point number three…

You can hide old (read: embarrassing or inappropriate) posts easily

In the top right corner of every post, status update, article or photo on your Facebook Timeline, you will see a pencil icon.  Clicking on this icon will allow you to edit the post, photo, update, etc; hide it from your Timeline or delete it altogether.  Hiding or deleting a post will keep it from being found by your boss, significant other or mom.  (FYI- the “Activity Log” will also let you edit who can see featured posts or parts of your Timeline.)

But wait! Just because Timeline isn’t featuring an inappropriate or embarrassing post, doesn’t mean it’s not there.  If you don’t see a post that you know you made but would rather forget on your Timeline, you can click on the aforementioned “Activity Log” and filter by month, year, type of post, etc to dig up and delete stuff you don’t want to come back to haunt you.  For a few more details about privacy control on Facebook Timeline, check out this article on PC World.

Facebook Timeline is much cheaper than scrapbooking

Timeline really is an online scrapbook and an amazing way to immortalize memorable moments. While scrapbooking itself is a traditionally female hobby, the truth is that we all have an inner narcissist who likes to relive the highlights of his/her own life.  Now, rather than spending a fortune at your local craft store for a passel of decoupage-worthy paper products, you can simply click a few buttons and create a stream of noteworthy life events.

If you don’t have Facebook Timeline on your profile yet, you can activate it by visiting Facebook’s Timeline page.  If you’ve already got Timeline, let me know what you like most or least about it.  And above all, here’s to a steady stream of status updates, photos and posts that display a life well lived.