Will You Put Your Whole Life on Facebook With the Timeline Feature?

    September 25, 2011
    Chris Crum

The Timeline feature Facebook announced at f8 is blowing a lot of people’s minds. “Tell the whole story of your life on a single page,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said as he announced the feature.

Would you share your whole life on your Facebook wall? Let us know in the comments.

That, in a nutshell, is what the timeline is all about. Sure, it will feature your recent Facebook activity, classic “wall” material, and app-related content. There’s a lot of cool stuff happening there, but the timeline itself goes back to when you were born, containing as much information as you want to share.

It looks like you can add content extending even before your birth (notice the +. You can drag that down and add more things, entering when something happened):

Facebook timeline feature  

However, if you try to enter something for a date before your birthday, it doesn’t let you. It just tells you you weren’t born yet, which apparently eliminates pictures of your mom’s pregnancy, and any pictures of you as a fetus. Maybe they’ll enable this later.

Post birth, you pretty much have free reign.

You can add health-related events:

Facebook timeline feature

Facebook timeline feature 

Other life events:

Facebook timeline feature 
Facebook timeline feature
Facebook timeline feature  
Facebook timeline 

You can add content about when you lose a loved one:

Facebook timeline feature

The point is, you can pretty much add anything from your life starting with birth, which means a lot of people are going to be spending a whole lot of time adding things from their lives. Or at least that appears to be Facebook’s goal.

I have no reason to believe that tons of people won’t be adding everything they can think of to make their lives look more interesting than the next guy’s. You’re going to look pretty lame if you only have a few things and everyone else is climbing mountains, sky diving and meeting presidents.

Imagine the data. Imagine the ad targeting possibilities.

Imagine that Facebook is around for the long haul, and new people are born into the world where this is just the norm. It is a pretty interesting time indeed.

All of that said, some things you might be thinking include: I wonder how many people will get fired from their jobs. I wonder how many more divorces will get blamed on Facebook. I wonder how many lives will this ruin.

Don’t worry. “You have complete control over everything on your timeline. You have control of what’s there and you also control who can see everything,” said Zuckerberg during the keynote.

Well, users have had a lot of control over what they share on Facebook in the past, but that hasn’t stopped all of those things from happening. Tread carefully. By carefully, I mean with common sense. It may not be a good idea to post about the first time you used an illegal narcotic or the affair you had a few years ago. Not that you’ve done either of those things.

If you want to sign up for the timeline feature, you can do so at the bottom of this page. It’s supposed to be rolling out over the next few weeks anyway. Greg Kumparak has a nice walkthrough on how to go about getting the timeline early if you’re a developer.

How much of your life will you share with the world? Let us know.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.