Facebook’s highly anticipated Timeline feature has just been released to the masses–It is now available to all individuals, and business pages will eventually see related changes. As Facebook developers, we at Digital Air Strike were able to enable Timeline several months ago, and we have since delved deep into its features and functionality. We are impressed, and we think you will be too.
You can easily enable timeline by going to Facebook’s official timeline page and clicking on the green button at bottom of the screen, on the right. But before you do, it’s not a bad idea to be prepared, especially since Facebook has in the past made changes that have left people wondering if they even know what the word privacy means. Once you enable Timeline you will have a week to make changes before it goes live. So what can you expect?
Your Timeline will replace the Info tab on your old Facebook page.
As you might guess from its name, Facebook creates a timeline of your entire life–from the day you were born to your most recent status update. This is essentially a detailed scrapbook, and the effect is breathtaking–especially if you are a longtime and avid Facebook user who has posted lots of photos and videos–but most anyone will be impressed by their timeline (and those of others).
Facebook makes it easy to add life events to your Timeline.
Major milestones and other important life events such as marriage, children, new jobs, and places you’ve lived are more readily apparent than ever before. Facebook automatically decides what else is included in your timeline, typically including status updates, photos, videos, and other stories that have attracted comments and “likes” from other Facebook users in your network–the important stuff, in Facebook’s opinion. We have found that Facebook has done a good job deciding what’s worthy of appearing in our timelines.
Starting with a panoramic headlining photograph, you can customize your timeline to your liking, including highlighting specific events so that they are placed in a more prominent position. You also get to decide who sees what, and some Facebook users will find it beneficial to put a bit of thought into this, because with timeline being so comprehensive, Facebook stalkers will rejoice (not that we would ever do that, of course!).
Remember that photo album from your best friend’s bachelor party 5 years ago that attracted so many comments and likes? Chances are that it, along with all associated comments, will show up in your timeline–so consider for yourself whether you want it to be visible to everyone, no one, or a custom group you create that is composed of only the guys who were in Vegas with you that night. To edit what appears in your timeline, click on the Activity Log tab highlighted in the image below, it will take you to a separate page that is visible only to you.
Every fan page you’ve “liked” can be found in your Timeline.
In addition to business pages that a user has “liked”, information from third-party apps such as Pandora and Netflix also appear in your timeline for your friends to see, so Timeline brings new opportunities for brand marketing as well. If you’re not familiar with using apps on Facebook, they provide significantly increased functionality for Facebook user while enabling brands to insinuate themselves more deeply into social networks.
Need movie ideas? Check out a friend’s Timeline.
One of Facebook’s most significant competitive advantages is that it has more data on its users than any other social site. In leveraging the massive data repository (including data from every app you’ve ever used) that makes Timeline possible, Facebook is reinforcing its position as the leading social network. How will Google+ respond? Only time will tell, but we suspect that Google+ will increasingly differentiate itself by integrating social media with search (SEO), where Google has its own competitive advantage. As these two internet giants battle it out, social media marketers will need to become increasingly SEO savvy.
What about Facebook timeline for businesses? Facebook has released very little information about this, but we suspect it will be very similar to what we are seeing on individual accounts, and we believe that is a very good thing! So, if your business has a Facebook page with plenty of highly engaged fans, you can be sure that your business will look good when timeline becomes available to business.
To see Timeline in action, watch Facebook’s official video.