To be or not to be on Facebook TimelinePosted: January 31, 2012
According to Facebook statistics, there are over 800 million people on Facebook. The average user is “connected to 80 community pages, groups, and events” and “on average, more than 250 million photos are uploaded per day.”
To say that Facebook is a social phenomenon is an understatement, and yet Facebook strives to get people more and more involved with its ever-webbing social network.
Facebook Timeline is the latest endeavor to fuse real with online as users’ life stories are told though the network they spend so much time on. According to PCMAG.com’s Jill Duffy, Facebook Timeline “is a section of a Facebook user’s account that replaces the Profile and Wall pages, and merges them together.” It’s like a blog in that as you scroll down, you get older Facebook actions and posts. It also groups your apps together, so that it automatically posts in Timeline any activities you do with your apps. The aim is to make all Facebook-associated actions into a chronological timeline that essentially is the user’s life story.
Facebook’s understanding behind this move is to improve upon its already extensive interaction with its users. Timeline does this by rewarding people who are more active on Facebook. The more active users are the ones who post more frequently, and since active users have more active news feeds, it’s difficult to access older posts that may be buried under hundreds of other posts. According to Facebook, Timeline solves this problem by letting active users “rediscover the things you shared, and collect all your best moments in a single place.”
Now, while Facebook may see Timeline as a reward to its users, not everyone is happy. While users can access Timeline now, it will soon be mandatory for all Facebook users to have it. News organizations like NPR point out that many don’t want “to experience the joy of oversharing.” Opening your all past actions on Facebook to the world draws warranted privacy concerns that all Facebook users will be subjected to.
In an effort to address these concerns, Facebook has instituted a seven-day trial period, from the day the user gets Timeline to the day the user’s Timeline goes public, to review and edit their timeline and privacy settings to their liking. After the seven-day trial period, the user cannot opt out of Facebook Timeline, and a timeline cannot be unpublished. The Timeline will replace a user’s wall, but the newsfeed will remain as it was before. At any point in time, users can delete or edit their timeline in addition to adding new events.
Facebook has not said at what date Timeline will become mandatory, but it is rumored to be February or early March 2012. At that time, Facebook users will have to decide whether to accept the mandatory feature or discontinue their relationship with Facebook.