This past Thursday, September 23, Facebook held its f8 Conference where the CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, announced new updates and changes for the Facebook platform. This year marked the biggest announcements and changes that we have ever seen from Facebook. One of these are the new profile design that has been called Timeline, which will be rolled out to all users in the coming weeks. However, Facebook developers gained access to Timeline immediately. This morning I made the switch on my profile, which is only visible to other developers until the official launch. Today I’m going to give you a tour of the Timeline so that you will know what to expect. Let’s start from the top!
Profile Picture, Cover and About Information
The first thing you see on the new profile is a large image that spans the entire width of your profile. This image is called Cover. It’s similar to your Profile Picture in that you set it to be whatever you want and can change it as often as you’d like. The purpose of the Cover image is to introduce yourself in one quick hit. Example: You might set your profile picture as just an image of yourself and use your cover image to show off your latest family portrait. The Cover image is only seen when someone is looking at your profile. The profile picture has had some updates as well. You’ll notice that it overlays your Cover image, which gives a pretty nice effect. Your profile picture’s thumbnail is still what you’re known by around Facebook when you send out posts and comments. However, the profile picture as it shows up on your profile is now a 2″ x 2″ square.
Your basic “About” information (i.e. your job, school, location and relationship status) is now located directly under your profile picture and name. The same information is displayed as before but now it just looks much cleaner. Clicking the “About” link under your basic information takes you to a page that is the equivalent of the “Info” tab that we had before. The same information is displayed as before, only in a much cleaner format that resembles the Timeline. All of your other links that were in the left sidebar on the old profile are now directly under the Cover image and each link includes image thumbnails. By default, “Friends” and “Photos” are the first two listed. Next you see “Map” (see below for information about the Map) and “Likes”. After the first four images you see a button with a number and an arrow. When this is clicked you see all other applications that you use such as Spotify or Nike +. Your featured applications can moved around but your “Friends” link and “Photos” link must stay in the first two spots.
The Map application is a brand new addition to the Facebook profile. You can see the Map thumbnail and link as one of my featured applications under the Cover image. When clicked you see a large map full of dots. These dots represent everywhere that you have told Facebook you’ve been. Included on the map are check-ins, life events that you have added to your Timeline and everywhere that you have lived. This is a pretty cool feature, especially if you travel a lot.When others are looking at your map they have the ability to filter the map by month and year by using the navigation links that you see to the right of the map.
Goodbye Wall, Hello Timeline
Say goodbye to your old Wall and hello to your Timeline. Your Timeline is the biggest overhaul to profiles. Rather than showing a long list of your most recent posts and activity your Timeline is divided into two columns and each post or piece of activity has its own box. At the top of your Timeline is the dialog box where you make posts and where others write on your Timeline just they like they did on the Wall.
Life events can also be added to your Timeline from the same place that you post status updates. These life events can be anything that you have ever done such as taking a vacation, getting a new pet or buying a home. These Life Events are then placed into your Timeline on the date that you specify. When adding a Life Event you can include a photo, the story, and who you were with. Timeline essentially allows you to create your own autobiography from the day you were born through the present day. In fact, when someone scrolls to the very bottom of your Timeline they see your birthday along with a baby picture and where you were born, if you choose to include those items.
To the right of your profile is a navigation bar that includes months and years. This is how you filter through your timeline. If your friend wants to look at what you were up to in 2008 then all they have to do is click “2008” in the navigation and they will be taken to that year of your life.
Please note that this is simply an overview of the new Facebook profiles and Timeline. There is so much more to say about all of the updates and changes coming, which we will talk about in later blog posts. For now I hope that you at least have a better understanding of what to expect in the coming weeks. This new format will no doubt take time for users to adapt to.
What are your thoughts about the new Facebook profile design and Timeline? Let us know in the comments below.