Last night I went in search of an answer to a question that has vexed this industry for weeks: When will Facebook Timeline officially launch to the masses? The world’s most popular social network was holding a tiny gathering in downtown NYC, where I’d get to rub elbows with Timeline’s architects. I went, figuring one of them had to know the truth.
The small club atop a trendy hotel in lower Manhattan was crowded and dark. It offered amazing vistas of the city skyline and doted around the periphery of the room were stations where designers would talk about how they came up with some of the ideas in Timeline. Eventually, I found a bespectacled guy talking excitedly to another reporter. I began to listen in:
“One of the things we learned is that you can’t just walk in and rearrange the furniture.” It was Sam Lessin, product Manager for Facebook Timeline, explaining why Facebook was taking its time rolling out Timeline. The update radically rearranges users profile pages into, essentially, a timeline of their lives on Facebook and — if they fill in more details — even before they got on the social networking service.
Those who really want Timeline right now can, Lessin reminded me, get it. This is true; I jumped through a few simple developer hoops to get mine and told Lessin how I marveled at the things Timeline automatically surfaced about my time online. When your Facebook world is random and disorganized, you can forget about certain photos and comments—even the ones that generated more Likes and comments. Timeline reminds you by automatically finding the important ones and putting them in chronological order.
I inched closer to Lessin, who sounds a lot like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He was warming to his subject and explained the early access enterprising people like me have enjoyed is part of Facebook’s Timeline roll-out strategy. The social networking giant is giving those more skilled in technology and social network tools time to learn the new platform. In essence, it’s building an army of Timeline foot soldiers—not Facebook employees, but regular people who have gone out of their way to access and build their own Timelines. These early adopters are already embedded with their own often less technically adept family members and friends. The Timeline soldiers can help when friends and family are confronted by the sweeping changes found in Timeline. It’s also clear that, with events like this one, Facebook is trying to educate the media on the fundamentals and benefits of Timeline, which I’m sure Facebook execs figure could help buffet back a public outcry when the changes go live for everyone.
Changing things and then trying to explain won’t work, Lessin told us. “We can write all the FAQs in the world and they won’t read them,” said Lessin.
Facebook Timeline can’t stay in this beta form forever. Lessin agreed and said eventually Facebook will take that next step and make Timeline opt-in for all. I pressed and asked when that next “step” would come. Lessing would only smile and say “soon.”
Will there ever come a time when Facebook will, in fact, “rearrange the furniture” for all of its users? Lessin said that “someday” Facebook will do the global switchover, but would offer no details of when that might actually happen. So for now, the couch stays where it is; that ottoman is fine over there and your favorite easy chair has not moved an inch. You can move one if you like, but it might be even better if you visited your technophobe parent’s house and helped them move the furniture—and, yes, I am still talking about Facebook.
Is Facebook taking the right approach or should it just take the leap and turn Timeline on for everyone–right now? Let us know your opinion in the comments.
Facebook’s mysterious algorithm decides which stories will showcase on your Timeline.
However, it also includes half-hidden posts. Posts that are marked on your Timeline, but not displayed, are noted by a blue dot on the central line. You can view these posts by clicking on the individual blue dots.
A quicker method is to click on the three blue dots underneath each year. This gives you the option to view all stories within that year.
As we’ve pointed out, the Timeline gives friends the ability to view your entire Facebook history.
For this reason, we imagine the first thing most people will want to do is to “sanitize” their Timeline. The good news is, it’s simple to hide what you don’t want showing.
When you see a post you’d like to nix, just hit the pencil icon at the top of the post and select “Hide from Timeline.” This doesn’t delete the content from your account, but it will keep it safe from prying eyes.
Next up is the ability to customize the boxes that appear under your cover photo. The “Friends” and “Photos” boxes are fixed, but you can play around with the others.
To edit the boxes, click on the small arrow icon on their right. All boxes that can be moved or removed will have a pencil edit icon appear as you hover.
Hitting on the pencil brings up edit options to remove or swap boxes. To add a Facebook app, or one of the new social apps, click on the plus sign on an empty box.
You can make Timeline look even less cluttered by hiding the sidebar.
To do this, click on the arrow icon at the very bottom right of your screen. The sidebar will collapse, but leave the adverts to bug you — although, we’ve got a tip for those too…
If a specific ad is really bothering you, simply adios it from your display.
Hover over the advert and click the “X” that appears at the top right. This gives you the option to hide it or hide all ads from that advertiser.
If you choose to hide the ad, Facebook gives you the further option to tailor what kind of ads appear on your account.
Albums you’ve created will show up in your Timeline. However, you can change the large, or “primary” image.
Click the pencil edit icon to select a different image from the album that will appear in the big window.
Make certain posts appear larger on your Timeline so they take up a double column space.
To do this, click the star icon in the top right corner of the post. You can minimize large posts the same way.
When you subscribe to someone’s public updates, Facebook defaults to “Most updates.” You can change this.
Either go to the person’s profile and click the “Subscribed” drop down menu or, more efficiently, go click your “Subscriptions” favorites box (under your cover photo). This gives you a bird’s-eye view of the people you’ve subscribed to.
Now, if you hit the “Subscribed” box for each person you can tailor exact updates.
If you’ve hidden items from your Timeline, but still want to review all of your Facebook content, look to your private Activity Log. Click on the “View Activity” box under your cover photo.
Now, by selecting a type of content from the “All” drop down menu, you can browse all your past Facebook activities, organized by date.
As with the former version of Facebook, you can view how others see your Timeline.
Click the cog icon under your cover photo; then select “View as…”
You can now enter a friend’s name or click on the “public” hyperlink to see how stranger’s view your Timeline.
As we’ve addressed, Facebook has downgraded the famous “poke” in the new Timeline design.
If you still want to “poke” your Facebook buddies, you have to head directly to their profiles. Under a friend’s cover photo, next to the “Message” box, there’s a cog menu. Click this and you’ll see the option to poke. As always, use wisely.
Via Mashable: http://www.mashable.com