On March 30th 2012 Facebook Timeline becomes live across the world - whether we like it or not.
As everyone knows, Facebook is the biggest social networking site but ever since it began, it has evolved, updated and altered its functions... which aren't always to everyone's liking. But hey it's a free tool, so what can we do (besides complain - we are British after all).
It can seem like an upward struggle keeping up with social media changes, as it is not just Facebook that has had to develop. Often, when I log onto Twitter, for example, the latest change is greeting me straight away, and I have to try and ingest this information sleepily over my morning coffee.
Facebook launched its Timeline function last September, and many users, including myself, have ignored its presence. But with it becoming compulsory at the end of the month, I dipped my toe in and reluctantly pressed the 'make live' button yesterday. Needless to say, I spent a great deal of time trying to navigate myself around the new-look page, before I got a bit stressed and moved onto something more productive.
Change can be unsettling, even the smallest of changes. But social networking is here to stay, and I like many people need to utilise it as part of my job and it is very effective.
So what is Facebook Timeline exactly?
Facebook Timeline is a radical new profile page design. It changes the default profile from a list of your most recent updates to a complete summary of your entire life since birth (sounds scary!).
It includes photos, videos, status updates and locations you have visited. The new Facebook profile is divided into two main columns, with a line down the middle representing the passage of time. Users are encouraged to add life events which were not captured by Facebook, particularly those that occurred before the person joined Facebook.
Timeline uses an algorithm to assess the most important moments of your life, which can then be edited to your satisfaction. Unwanted updates can be hidden from the Timeline.
The new profile pages constitute one of Facebook's most extreme redesigns so far, completely reimagining what a social networking profile can be. Timeline also means that Facebook now bears fewer similarities to Google+, a social network from Google which currently uses the standard format of showing the most recent updates first.
Goodbye to fancy landing pages?
According to this report, found by Shrewsbury web designers Verve, businesses won't be able to design their own landing pages either. As many business owners know, it is key to convert that first-time visitor into a 'Like', and a well-designed landing page can increase the odds. Now it is going to be more of a level playing field when non-fans first come to their page, with more of the onus on creating engaging and fresh content. You don't maintain it, the less 'Likes'.
The response to the new layout has naturally been mixed. Criticisms include claims that by asking users to "complete" their profiles, Facebook is seeking to capture even more customer data to make their service more appealing to advertisers.
Others have expressed concerns about Facebook Timeline's ability to surface information about a person that was previously hard to access, and that Facebook's encouragement to add your date of birth to your profile (among other incentives to add additional personal information) may encourage identity theft.
Positive comments include that it tells a better story for individuals and people will be encouraged to spend more time networking "properly".
If you are struggling with computer know-how there are plenty of experts in the Shrewsbury area to help you. From social media training to computer maintenance and repairs. But I'm predicting much frustration and spleen venting come March 30th....
Member since: 12th June 2012
I am a PR and copywriting specialist and handle much of this work for the bestof Shrewsbury. I am passionate about living and working in Shrewsbury promoting the people, businesses and services which operate...