To claim I’m on the cutting edge of social media would be a stretch. Sure, I have an iPhone with too many apps. I check Facebook daily, if not compulsively throughout the day. And safe to say I know my way around and often contribute to sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
But what separates those of us who are active on social media from those who are “cutting edge” is the time and/or desire to try new features, functionalities and platforms. I’m a social media follower, not a trail-blazer, and I’m perfectly fine with that … or at least I was until Facebook unveiled its latest offering, Timeline.
By loose definition, Timeline is Facebook’s new profile design that compiles a user’s history (i.e., status updates, photos, etc.) and displays it in a collage-esque page layout.
For ex-Myspacers, the ability to have greater control of page design isn’t that impressive, however, the “smarts” behind Facebook Timeline and the fact Facebook is catering to approximately 800 million users, makes this new initiative just shy of revolutionarily.
Based on my assessment, here are five FYIs that might help you on your Timeline journey.
1) You’ll be asked to choose a “cover” photo. Facebook will take this photo and blow it up banner size and place it at the top of your profile page. It will be the first thing people see (certainly can’t miss it) when they click on your profile. Because the image is so enlarged, pick a photo you’re really comfortable with. Or, opt for shots of pets and/or kids since they don’t seem to have – or mind having – bad hair days.
2) The whole point of Timeline (besides improved integration with apps such as location-based, entertainment, etc.), is the ability to scroll back and see at a glance your activity from previous years. I joined in Jan. 2005, so all the good, bad and ugly during those years is readily viewable. Consider this your warning to delete any content that might not reflect you to your best advantage.
3) When logged in to your account, the Timeline preview site will show you how many of your friends are trying Timeline. (Note: 55 of my 350+ friends had already tried Timeline before I did. Guess I’m not cutting edge even when I try.) The fact of the matter is Facebook is going to roll-out Timeline to everyone eventually. There’s really no point in holding out. Might as well get a jumpstart on customizing your profile to weed out any memories you don’t want to relive.
4) Facebook is offering a 7-day preview period of Timeline where only you can see your Timeline-d profile until you click “Publish.” This allows you to get comfortable with Timeline, make any required changes and customize to your preferences before your friends see your new, revamped profile.
5) The Browser Question – When I was testing out Timeline on 12/21, it wasn’t displaying quite right on Internet Explorer (IE). I reached out to a few of my social media guru friends, including a Social Media Editor for NBC, and after scolding me for using IE in the first place, he recommended I try Firefox instead. Another friend recommended Chrome. Case in point, be willing to try different browsers during the Timeline discovery process.