By now, most of you who are reading this article already have heard about Facebook’s new Timeline, which was recently released worldwide. Many of you are presumably “sitting on the fence” with activating this new feature from the leading social networking platform and for holding back for good reason. User privacy and unfair and deceptive trade practices has long been the source of scrutiny of Facebook from both its members and privacy groups such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Consumer Watchdog. Furthermore with some of the past Facebook “updates” members have been generally opposed some of its past attempts for improvements.
While many are taking the “wait and see” approach with Timeline, I decided to take the plunge, despite the worries of millions of members that their personal information will continue to be breached. So if you’re still hesitant with Timeline, give me a week or two to further review it and see if I have any regrets. In other words, let me be the proverbial guinea pig and later I can give an “all clear signal” that it’s OK.
Yet based upon what I have reviewed with Timeline, it appears to represent a significant improvement to what I have been accustomed to since I signed up with Facebook a few years ago. One of the caveats I must alert readers to is that once you sign up with Timeline, there appears to be no way to revert back to the former profile page you’re currently comfortable with. Another BIG caveat is that if you go to the Timeline link and you click on “get it now”, you’re automatically tied into the new feature and as I said, there’s no turning back. If you do decide to take on Timeline, Facebook allows you one full week to refine your newly designed profile page to your liking and this can be critical for some members. For example, if you have written something in the past on your wall that may affect you today, either professionally or personally, it’s important for you to review your history and remove those posts before Timeline goes “live” seven days later. I continue to recommend being cautious about adding new apps on Facebook and being selective on what you click on.
What you can expect upon first inspection seems to be a more organized layout to the current profile page; well at least it does for me. The new layout is easy to navigate through and you can view your older posts much more efficiently. I must admit I still have to get adjusted to the new look but I like what I have seen thus far. In fact you can view archived pages back from when you first signed up as a member of Facebook! Some of it may embarrass you today so remember that you are allowed to remove unwanted photos, videos, and comments for one week. Granted it means you have to stay on their website that much longer if you choose to review your history, but how many of you can honestly say that you’re not on Facebook for hours and multiple times each day?
Many Facebook members will continue to be satisfied with their current profile page and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But according to recent articles from CNET, USA Today, and other media sources, it appears that all of Facebook’s 800 million+ members will eventually be converted to the Timeline view as opposed to the traditional view. So even if you aren’t ready to jump on the Timeline bandwagon, you may not have a choice. This could lead to a lot of backlash, similar to the Netflix debacle during the summer and more recently with Go Daddy’s support of the SOPA bill. I am not aware of when the conversion is to be complete but chances are it’s quite a ways away so in the meantime, I’ll keep plugging away on Timeline and keep you posted.