Because I’m a Facebook developer (I know, the irony), I’ve had access to the timeline for a few days now, or basically before everyone read posts like this and enabled it for themselves.
And I hate to admit it, but I really enjoy it. I’ve already pimped mine out with my cat.
The basis of the social network is two things. the user profile, and messages between those users. That’s something simple to make, and we’ve seen it evolve into an endless stream of news feeds and updates across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, MySpace, and any other social network.
But people don’t live their lives as a never ending stream of messages in a news feed. We don’t think of our lives as each individual observation and photo. That’s why the timeline works.
Some of it is weird for sure. Previously wall posts from friends show up all over the timeline. This could be cool if they were posts like, “You’re getting married!?!” but they’re not. They’re much more trivial. In my case, they include a whole series from a guy who was desperately trying to get into my pants. While I know some people will have posts that are awesome, my experience has mostly been a rehashing of every crazy message from college, including what may be my very first wall post which says “SHOW ME YOUR BOOBS.”
We were classy in 2004 when we thought none of this would be public and we’d probably never use Facebook after college.
But some of it is touching in a funny and weird sort of way. Another messages from an ex in 2005 tells me “You’re such a Facebook whore.”
Damn he knew me well.
If there are downsides to the timeline, it’s not with the timeline itself, but rather how we use Facebook and the timeline. The awkward wall posts and statuses that you thought were dead and buried come back to haunt you, prominently posted and arranged. They’re easy enough to hide, but it can be pretty awkward the first time on your timeline. Also, personal branding will be taken to an even crazier extreme. Now you can brand your birth, your wedding, when you overcame cancer. But I’ll get into that at a later time.
For now, maybe, just maybe, one part of social networking just got a bit better with a profile that isn’t just lists of interests, but rather reflects who a person is and how the events of their life shaped who they are. And you can finally add that you got a pet. So no more crazy pet profiles (though Miss Chibi is keeping hers).
What do you think of the timeline? Is it genius? Evil genius? Or just another crappy web profile? And are you keeping your pet’s profile? Leave a comment and let me know what you think of all these changes.