By: Sari Feingold
Change is good, right? Well, not always in the Facebook world. Many users keep their arms tightly crossed when faced with embracing the changes that seem to come to the Facebook layout more and more often. The biggest change yet is the looming implement of Timeline, a new Zuckerberg vision capable of transforming the way people show and tell their stories.
Eight-hundred million users worldwide gained access to the new format in mid-December 2011, though not all of them have been switched over—yet. Facebook is set to automatically reconfigure profiles in rounds, so if you are still holding on tight to the old, prepare yourself for the new; it will happen when you least expect it.
While the inevitable change will not keep tweens, college students, and parents off Facebook, the new aesthetic has already raised questions that demand answers.
“We wanted to make Timeline a place you were proud to call your home,” said Zuckerberg, in an article written by Jeremy C. Owens. Harvard classmate and current company executive Sam Lessin commented, “We would talk about storytelling and profiles…and about what it means to express yourself in a digital future, where you have an unlimited amount of data storage.”
What it means is that users now have to think differently about how to view others online. A tagged photo is no longer a moment in time, but a page in a continuous scrapbook. A status update from eight years ago now becomes a part of somebody’s life story, and ultimately, leaves privacy at the doorstep with the door wide open.
Nevertheless, Timeline is a timely change for two reasons. First, analysts claim that the revamped social-network will help Facebook gain higher profits and distinguish itself from Google+, its biggest current competitor. Second, a story-based format enables brands, not just people, to share their stories—and what company wouldn’t want to take advantage of a new means for marketing?
So go start your story. If you are ready to let go of the past (or organize it with Facebook) and want to keep up with the present times, switch to Timeline by visiting www.facebook.com/about/timeline before your profile changes unexpectedly and alters your Facebook future.
For a deeper look into the purpose behind Timeline, details of the new format, and other implications of this change, please see the following references:
http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_19554002 http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2393464,00.asp http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2011/09/25/facebooks-eerie-goal-why-timeline-changes-everything/