With The Launch of "Timeline" Feature, Facebook Brings Back the Past As It Looks to the Future
This month, Facebook began rolling out one of its largest redesigns yet with the introduction of Timeline, a feature that overhauls user profiles with the aim of providing a snapshot of that person’s activity over time. While the social media giant is known for regularly introducing new features and designs, the Timeline stands apart as what may, someday, stand as a watershed moment in social media.
The traditional Facebook profile gives precedence to those updates that have occurred most recently. Whether its statuses, wall posts, or picture albums, the most recent items show up at the top of each user’s profile and wall. Anything that took place in the past, then, gets buried under a pile of new data, thereby forcing profile viewers to scroll through pages and pages of wall posts if they seek to find a comment that was posted in, say, 2008.
Timeline stands to change all this by making it easy for viewers to access historical data. On each user’s Timeline, a sidebar to the right will list off months and years during which activity on the account has occurred. If your Facebook profile includes your birthday, this sidebar will go back all the way to the year of your birth. A viewer only has to click on a year to see the wall posts, photographs, and personal statuses that were uploaded during that time.
Early reaction to the Timeline has been mixed. While most commentators find the design easy to use and visually appealing, and although many enjoyed having the chance to easily reminisce over their Facebook activities from past year, reviews found the amount of immediately-obtainable personal data to be somewhat disconcerting. Few people, it turns out, fail to appreciate the volume of virtual bread crumbs they have left on the internet over the past decade. For those who have grown up alongside Facebook, having an employer view photos of your high school days – or learn that you were once in an alcohol rehab program – may be less than desirable.Continued on the next page