Much like moments in our real life, posts on your Facebook profile are quite ephemeral. They seem to disappear with the passage of time and fall out of sight and mind. Addressing this, at an event for Facebook developers this week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “All of the stories you’ve shared over time just fall off a cliff at the bottom of your (Facebook) wall and effectively disappear.”
The Introduction of Facebook Timeline
Facebook wants to change this problem with the introduction of Facebook timeline, which is as Mark calls it, “the story of your life.” He goes on to explain it as, “Where you tell your story online is really personal. You invest a lot of time in it and you curate it. You link to it and you tell all your friends to find you there. So we wanted to make Timeline a place you’re proud to call your home. So Timeline is a completely new aesthetic from Facebook … so you can express who you really are.”
Facebook is already where a lot of people devote a huge portion of their web time. In many cases, the current timeline of Facebook is where they get most of their social interactions from people that they care about. With the introduction of Facebook Timeline, Facebook wants to be more than a fleeting representation of your life mixed with your Facebook friends’ lives. It wants to be your life.
To represent your entire personal history on a single Facebook page, Facebook is going under the knife, so to speak. In the next few weeks, Facebook profiles will undergo a dramatic transformation. The new Facebook profiles will look more like blogs, with customization options, better graphical control, and more options for personalization. The new Facebook profiles will be designed to accommodate an entire life history and timeline, not just the fleeting social media moments that captures today so well.
What will Facebook Timeline mean?
Will Facebook Timeline be the glue to hold our Facebook history timeline together? Will it convey the whole person behind our endless, rather meaningless updates? Will people still love to update their profile with “I just found a penny on the ground – woot!” if that history and profile means something “more” than a social network. If your Facebook profile not only is the you that uses Facebook, but is you, will people still feel as free?
If Facebook Timeline succeeds, it could usher in the next generation of web community and deliver what blogs failed to do – the combination of personal history and quick moments with introspective and meaningful thoughts. If it becomes too complex for Facebook users, however, the new timeline feature could dissuade users away from their constant updates. Facebook Timeline could be reaching too high and trying to accomplish too much.
Watch for the updates to your Facebook profile in the coming weeks. The changes are meaningful, but Facebook’s goals are dramatic. Capturing an entire human life on a single webpage is a pretty daunting task, as you might imagine. Google Plus engineers will, no doubt, be drinking a lot of coffee over the next year.