Facebook Harness the Power of Nostalgia: New Profile
The Facebook timeline profile is coming out. Soon it will be rolled out to everyone on Facebook. With all the recent changes many people are screaming their dislikes to the world. The new profile might change that.
I was honestly concerned when I heard about the new layout for profiles. I was worried that Facebook was making themselves more like the ousted MySpace.
Originally one of the big differentiators between MySpace and Facebook was how your information was presented. MySpace was all about you. Your profile featured pictures and diatribes about you. Your graphics, your music, you likes and interests. Then there was a tiny space that showed your online relationships and interactions. Facebook had always been about your relationships. Your profile featured your interactions with your friends first and then your personal information second. The new "timeline" profile is more about you.
The concern lay in the shift from a friend relationship focus to a "you" focus. Would the value of relationships be lost in a narcissistic profile? Simply, the answer is no. Facebook has managed to harness the power of nostalgia in creating a profile that is you-centric without losing its focus on your relationships.
The new profile is simply beautiful. It is a chronicling of your life, even before your started on Facebook. The timeline features photos and life events starting at birth. You can add information, photos, videos and posts into any time period. Have a prom photo from 20 years ago, add it in to the year 1976.
The beautiful layout, featuring photos and comments from your friends, has a deep emotional resonance. You are able to go throw the years and see your pictures. The things your friends wrote on your wall. The posts you shared and were shared with you. You not only get a glimpse of your history on Facebook, but a glimpse of your life history. It is like watching an old home movie on an old reel-to-reel.
Reminiscing has always been a social activity. Facebook has found a way to harness that.
Here is a wonderful video by Eric Leist that really captures the emotional impact of the new profile with the flair of Mad Men.