It’s Time To Stop Worrying And Learn To Love Facebook Timeline

    July 31, 2012
    Josh Wolford

Your opinion of Facebook Timeline will soon be a moot point, as you’ll soon be forced to make the switch. Hate it? Loathe it? Wary of privacy implications? Soon, all of your protestations will be lost, like tears in the rain.

That’s because this fall, Facebook will officially force every single user to abandon the old profile in favor of the new Timeline format.

Facebook tells TechCrunch that the recent upgrade to the photo section inside Timeline is the beginning of the end for you holdouts out there. When that times comes, users still using the old profile will be greeted with a message when they login telling them that they have seven days to get their Timeline in order before it goes live.

Have you made the switch to Timeline? What are your impressions? Let us know in the comments.

One of the major complaints with Timeline since it went live is that it drudges up past Facebook activity, and puts it on display for all to see. Granted, that’s true – posts and events from years and years ago could see the light of day for the first time in quite some time due to Timeline. But those posts aren’t anything new, of course – you made them. They never ever truly went away, they were only made less visible by Facebook’s old profile format.

That’s why Facebook’s giving users the 7-day grace period. During that time, users can manage which posts from their Facebook history appear on the Timeline – as well as highlight certain events. That’s about all you can do to make sure that your Timeline shares only the information you want it to share, because the switch to the Timeline doesn’t actually come with any new privacy changes to manage.

The forced switch is a long time coming. Back in December of 2011, Facebook made the Timeline available to anyone who wanted it. And quite a few people made the switch voluntarily. About a month later, Facebook said that they would be pushing Timeline to every user “over the next few weeks.”

“Over the next few weeks, everyone will get timeline. When you get timeline, you’ll have 7 days to preview what’s there now. This gives you a chance to add or hide whatever you want before anyone else see’s it,” they said.

But the push never came. I can count a number of my friends who still sport the old school profile, and I’m sure you can too. However, they did end up making Timeline mandatory for pages in March.

But personal profiles remained unchanged. In the time between January and today, Facebook has been making subtle changes across the site in order to promote Timeline. Last month, a new feature displayed Timeline-inspired hovercards of users names as they appeared around the site (news feed and elsewhere). A few weeks after that, new icons within the chat list began directing users to their friends’ Timelines.

Still, some Facebook users are still wary of the Timeline. Apart from the less-common complaints about being less-than-pleased with its design and features, the biggest complaint concerns privacy. Like I said before, Timeline isn’t creating new content out of thin air. Anything that appears on a user’s Timelines was purposefully and deliberately put there at some point. I mean, you may have been really drunk when you posted that inappropriate picture back in 2009, but hey – that’s not really an excuse.

And if you’re concerned about the things that may pop up on your Timeline under the radar, like some sort of Open Graph activity (listened to a song on Spotify, read an article on Yahoo, etc.), just remember – you had to approve those apps at some point. If you happened to do so by accident, you can always manage your apps within your Facebook settings.

Plus there’s the Activity Log, which allows users to review and manage everything that happens on their Timeline.

“You can adjust the privacy or delete anything you post on Facebook. If the story came from someone else (like when a friend writes on your timeline or tags you in a photo), you’ll be able to review who can see it. You can also control whether stories show on your timeline. On some stories, like posts from apps, you can report the post as spam, turn off publishing from the app or remove the app from your timeline altogether,” says Facebook.

Despite all of this, a recent survey found that 88% of Timeline users were concerned about privacy. That’s a hefty figure – and one that should raise red flags for Facebook. Either they’re doing something wrong or people simply don’t understand everything about the Timeline (which could still be their fault, in a way).

Personally, I like Timeline. It’s not only great for users but for businesses as well. If you take the time to clean it up and make it presentable, it’s a wonderful way to display who you are to anyone browsing your social media presence. Plus, it’s an understatement to say that the cover photo + profile picture idea is rather fun.

But I get it, some people are still hesitant to switch to Timeline. I would suggest that you get over your initial fears and give it a try. But in reality, it doesn’t really matter in the end – come this fall you’re getting Timeline no matter how hard you protest.

What are your concerns with Facebook Timeline? Not thinking about privacy, what do you think of the design and functionality? Will the mandatory switch to Timeline make you reassess your entire Facebook membership? Let us know in the comments.


Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf