Unless you were away for the past couple of weeks, you must have heard about Facebook launching its latest enhancement to the standard profile view, the Timeline. In short, Timeline, if you allow it, will be the new default view of your profile, allowing other users easy access to your past activity on Facebook. Once Facebook launches it to the public the only thing they will see when they navigate to your profile page is the Facebook Timeline view. There are a number of major changes that the new view brings to your profile. In this article, I will highlight some of them.
How To Activate Timeline Right Now
Facebook has stated that they intend to launch Timeline to the general public in a few weeks, however if you are eager, TechCrunch has outlined a (slightly complicated) method of activating Timeline right now. Although their method is not strictly a hack as it uses Facebook’s own developer tools, it is a risky process and bugs are expected. Having said that I have not experienced any issues after following their method.
Overview of Timeline – Top Half
Unlike the current profile, the Timeline view is separated into two distinct halves, top and bottom.
The top half features the following items:
- Your current profile picture which does not change
- A new “Cover image” which takes up the majority of the top half. This image is intended to serve as a sort of “cover” for the viewers of the your profile.
- The Timeline scrollbar allows you to jump to any point since you started using Facebook. As my scrollbar indicates, my earliest contact with Facebook was in 2006.
- The basic personal information remains the same.
- A collage of all your friends
- The most recent photo in which you have been tagged
- Your current location
- Your “likes”
The top half also features a customisable “favourite apps” section just below the items 5 to 8. Here you can dump whatever apps you wish to have quick access to.
Overview of Timeline – Bottom Half
The bottom half is a two-column interface dedicated to your activity on Facebook with top photos, status updates, wall posts from friends and basically everything you get up to on Facebook.
This half has the following sections:
1. The status update section has been revamped. In addition to adding a status, a photo, or a location, you can also identify the significance of the status itself by clicking on one of the five status indicators: work and education, family and relationships, living, health and wellness, and milestones and experiences. The idea is that in the future you can jump to significant milestones in your life if you indicate them. For example, when I originally set up my profile, I indicated that I had completed my high school in 2006. Scrolling down to 2006, there is a space for me to add a photo of my graduation.
Facebook has done a lot of work to ensure its algorithms pick up on these milestones. In fact, it looks like Facebook intends to become more like a scrapbook collecting your thoughts rather than simply a place for your friends to share wall posts and photos.
2. The recent activity feed shows what you have been up to by tracking everything that you do including the music you listen to, the articles you read, and the videos you watch.
3. Lastly, the main portion of your profile features all your status updates, your friends wall posts, links shared, and photos taken.
In addition to displaying all the content mentioned above the Timeline also groups together your most important updates.
Other Miscellaneous Features
In addition to the updated profile view, the new Timeline also brings with it a number of new features. These can all be accessed by clicking on one of the shortcuts (including items 5-8) in the top half of the page.
Clicking on the “View Activity” button on the main page takes you to the Activity Log page.
This page features a comprehensive list of everything you have done on Facebook. This list is completely private and not visible to the public or your Friends.
The main feature of the Activity Log, aside from being able to view all your activity, is the ability to tweak whether a particular item is viewable on the Timeline or not. To make this change simply select the drop-down arrow on the right of the corresponding activity.
You can either hide or allow the item or you can “feature” the item on the Timeline. When you “feature” an item on the Timeline it takes prominence by removing the two-column view and displaying only that item.
To change your personal information, simply hit “Update Info” on the main page.
Your information stays the same, however it is much easier to amend it as it is all viewable on one single page.
The friends’ list has been completely revamped to display a never-ending scrollable list of all your friends.
Photos and Videos
The photos and videos page functions the same as before but looks completely different. The extraneous whitespace from the earlier profile view has been removed and it is now much faster to scroll through all your photos and videos as it is all on one page.
The map is an interesting feature that displays a geographical history of all the places you have visited. So, whenever you tag a status or photo with a geographical indicator, it will show up on the map. If you use this feature a lot, the map will eventually fill up and show you all the places you have visited throughout your life (or at least since you started using Facebook).
Like the other updated pages, the new notes page is a single scrollable list of notes with an index of all your notes on the right side.
The “Likes” page displays icons of all the different pages you like, categorised according to the type of things they are (e.g. music, books, movies, television, games, etc).
The “Likes” page also displays the pages you have liked on a yearly basis:
The new Facebook subscribe feature allows an asynchronous method of following users who do not “friend you”. Essentially, your public posts are viewable by anyone who “subscribes” to them, there is no need for you to approve these subscribers.
Facebook has updated a lot of its features but two things really stand out. Firstly, the Timeline view is probably the biggest change to the profile since Facebook originally launched. The view is much more dynamic and it acts like a time capsule all the way back to when you first joined. The second major change is that a lot of the pages which were cumbersome to navigate have been streamlined into long scrollable lists making it much easier to view your content.
What’s your views on the Facebook’s Timeline?