Most people will have noticed quite a few changes to Facebook recently, there have also been lots of other changes happening which you might not have noticed. Personally I think the launch of Google Plus may have quite a lot to do with this and I hope that these are not knee jerk reactions from Facebook where they have launched changes early to compete with their rival.
People are prone to resist large changes which affect their daily routine or alter a system that they felt they understood to a point where it is no longer a familiar tool and I think the new Timeline may be one of those times for lots of current users.
If you don’t have a developer account you probably haven’t seen the new timeline yet, however as far as I am aware this change is planned to roll out to all accounts in the near future. Here is a screenshot of what my page looks like now, however it will only display like this to fellow developer accounts, everyone else will still see my old wall (for now).
The usual stuff is still there, new friendships, status updates, foursquare notices, mentions. The summary information from the top of the page is now underneath the photo along with links to four key content areas – Friends (which includes a little ribbon showing the number of mutual friends), Photos, Map and Likes. There is also an option to ‘Add a Cover’ at the top of the page, this is a bit like a banner heading on a website and will span across the page so you need to pick your image carefully. If you click the little settings button next to ‘View Activity’ you can also see what the page looks like when viewed by a particular contact.
The new layout is OK, however I would prefer to be able to control which columns show which bits of content so that I can determine clear roles for the left and right hand streams rather than this being randomly determined by the order of posting. It is easier top navigate around, however the one thing that seems to be concerning users is the fact that in the past it was not easy to view content older than the last few days without scrolling through lots of previous posts. With the new timeline it is easier to jump back and see what you were doing months or even years ago. As you can see from the image above, my timeline goes right back to when I joined Facebook 5 years ago. In fact the timeline goes back to when you were born and then moves through the dated items that Facebook knows about which happened before you created your profile, such as your school dates and starting new jobs.
Along with the recent changes to the general news feed, timeline and the introduction of the ticker I have been wondering if this new profile page change might be too much for many and even cause some to switch to other Social Media sites such as Google Plus.
Some of you may be considering ‘defriending’ business contacts in order to avoid them accessing too much of your personal history, however if you have attended one of my full day workshops on Social Media you may have already seen my tips for restricting content with friend lists. I am now looking in to how these rules will affect the new timeline and will post more on this soon.