This week, Facebook rolled out its biggest redesign to date. Aptly named, the new Timeline is just that, a timeline of your life. In the past, Facebookers have been relegated to scanning friends’ recent posts. Now, you’ll be able to scan a friends’ entire life.

Timeline allows you to add specific events and milestones in any part of your life. Did you graduate in 1998? You can now post that to your Facebook Timeline. Did you get married in 2001? You can add that to your Timeline, too. Have old pictures from soirees past? Find your date and add them!

Timeline was actually launched in September during Facebook’s F8 conference and was an opt-in feature for developers. Though not open to all 800 million Facebook users, most developers took advantage and began using it. The underground talks of it were actually pretty positive. Most people loved the new feature and began experimenting with it.

Key Features:

Layout:

Probably the biggest change to your new profile is the layout. A huge banner picture (or ‘Cover Photo’ as it’s becoming known) at the very top gives people a huge space to play with, an easel, if you will, for a painter. Inset within the banner pic is your profile picture. This is the picture that will still be used as your thumbnail when you post updates.

The Cover Photo has given way to artists, graphic designers, developers, etc., to have a little fun. Check out these really great Timeline banners from Mashable. This shows you what’s possible.

http://mashable.com/2011/09/28/facebook-timeline-cover-photo/comment-page-2/

Interface:

Immediately beneath your Cover & Profile pictures, you’ll get a brief bio – where you work, where you live, etc. You’ll also find a button to ‘Update Info’ & you’ll find your notifications – people who’ve liked or commented on your status, etc. All of your friends, Likes and photos are found in boxes underneath your notifications and you will also now see your recent status updates in two columns, organized by time.

On the right-hand side of your new profile, you will see a Timeline with years. If you’ve added some personal information, you might even see your Timeline venture all the way back to the day you were born! Click on a year, and you’ll be able to peruse all of your updates or added milestones for that year. The more you add to your Timeline, the more years you’ll see. It will be fun to see how many people fill in parts of their Timelines. Plus, it’s always fun to jaunt down memory lane to see what you were doing a couple years ago.

Another cool feature that’s been included is a ‘Map.’ When you go out to eat or when you travel the globe, have you ‘checked-in’ via Facebook Places? If you have, when people look at your map, they can see where you’ve been, who you’ve been with (if you’ve tagged anyone with you) and they can even check out your photos from there (if you’ve included photos and tagged those with your location.) It also tells people where you’ve lived (if you’ve included it in your timeline) and you can even search for certain locations and find people who’ve tagged those locations. Pretty neat!

Security:

As with any feature in Facebook, people are always concerned about their security. And as always, Facebook makes it very easy to be as social (or not) as you want to be. Any privacy settings you currently have in place will stay in place in your new Timeline. (For now.) But you can now go back and change settings on older posts. Posts that didn’t have the same security features in place – say 2-3 years ago. You will find your privacy settings in the same place as before – in the drop-down menu, in the top right-hand area next to ‘Home.’ It’s always a good idea to check (and recheck!) any privacy settings you have periodically. Facebook has been known to throw out new things that will affect some users’ settings.

Seeing as this is the first major redesign in the history of Facebook, all of this will take some time to get used to.

Although this feature is ‘opt-in’ at the moment, it will be a forced redesign to every single Facebooker in the world within the next week or so. If you haven’t already enabled Timeline on your page, go here: https://www.facebook.com/about/timeline. This will give you more insight into the new feature and allow you to get it for your page.

Share with us your ideas, thoughts, concerns, etc. We’re curious to know if you’re as excited about Timeline as we are!

Danita Maldonado
Director of Social Media
SDB Creative Group / SDB SocialLink
danita@sdbcreativegroup.com

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