Facebook: Timeline or Time Warp?
Remember when profiles were “too boxy”? Well, the new Timeline kind of looks like it’s taking us back there.
The first thing you see is startlingly new: the “Cover.” It’s a large photo that stretches across the screen, overwhelming your existing profile photo (which is still there, just smaller).
Following that, you see a quick bullet-point summary of your personal info, along with photo arrays of your friends, photos, and pages you’ve “liked.” Below that, running down the center of the page, is an actual timeline–just like the one in history books–except that in this case, the boxes of information off to each side are about you, and not about the Hundred Years War or the Qing Dynasty. On the right is a shortcut to years and months (mine shows decades for recent years and then, oddly, “1974”–but I can’t figure out why, because nothing appears when I click on that year). And it scrolls on and on and on. And on. PCWorld has an article that provides more explanation of the structure; take a look.
My immediate thought is that it looks like a lot of blog templates I’ve rejected over the years–for being too boxy. The timeline down the center isn’t very obvious, and it took me a couple of looks to figure out how this thing is organized.
But I do think it’s interesting, and if Facebook is going to change, then I’d rather it changed in ways that are interesting. This is a very different way to display information than the previous versions of profiles, and I think it’ll take a bit of time to get used to. But it has the potential to be fun.
It also has the potential to be alarming. I think an awful lot of us are going to re-encounter things we posted long ago, and that we thought were buried and gone (which of course they weren’t, because here they are). But the plus side of that is that it may provide an opportunity to edit your profile in a substantive way. (Josh Catone suggests that this may be generational, and that younger users, who grew up with Facebook, may see it as an opportunity to fill in blanks.)
There are other changes beyond the look of the profile, and Mashable does a good job of introducing them.
Want to try out Timeline ahead of time? Mashable tells you how to do that, too.