Change is a funny thing. Sometimes good, often daunting, but usually necessary. So as times progress and the “Google +’s” of the world start vamping up their services and sites, it’s none too surprising that Facebook, too, would ebb and flow to stay with the tides of time. The idea of Timeline really is quite fascinating – – a virtual autobiography, and still the best way to stay in contact with your close and far friends.
If you spend a few moments exploring this newest layout, you can see that there is now the option to add life events. Personally, I got a kick out of adding them; it was great to take a walk down memory lane and add in my adventures from the past years. Graduating from university, my first time moving out, my first nephew joining the family. I loved rebuilding, recreating and reminiscing. However, after adding my latest life event (moving to Richmond, VA), I noticed that a couple of my friends were ‘liking’ my life events. I appreciate that they noticed it, of course. Who doesn’t like their achievements applauded? But what irked me was that I was laying out every minute detail of my life for people to learn about.
My mom, my best friend and my boss all know where and when I went to college. But what about the newest friend I added a month ago? Sure, right now I like them and don’t mind sharing that I went to Starlite (again!) last night. But do I want them knowing every itty-bitty detail of my life, at the click of a button? Of course, all of this information was available on Facebook before Timeline; they could have just scrolled to the bottom of my profile and hit “Show Older Posts”… 475 times. Now, all they need to do is click to 2006 and see when I graduated, click to 2002 and see an 18 year-old Anna, click to 1995 and see an Angelina Ballerina birthday cake. (I realize the irony that I am sharing these details in a public blog right now). But, I think, and hope, that my point is being made. That much more information about your life is becoming that much more readily available to relative-ish strangers.
So what can you do?
-If you haven’t already, start by exercising great discretion over who you allow to see your profile.
-Secondly, be aware of the fact that when you post an item to your Timeline, you have the option of choosing who sees it. In the right hand bottom of the new post is a box in which you can choose who can see what. This defaults to public – make sure you click on “Friends” or “Custom”.
-Take the seven days you have before your Timeline goes live to edit out what you don’t want the whole wide world of Facebook friends to see. By going to your profile, someone can easily click on your profile from two-thousand-something and see things you might’ve been ok with at 22 but don’t want to be seen now. (Remember potential employers, possible significant others and brand new friends can see that you loved to take tequila shots once upon a time if you’re not vigilant!)
-And lastly, go to your Privacy Settings and carefully go through your them. There you can control your default settings and then you can choose what past posts are seen in present. Meaning, Facebook is giving you the ability to control the aforementioned problems of hiding past events that might be best kept private.
The long and short? Timeline is an awesome and new step forward for Facebook. Yes, change is scary, but social networking is the way forward, so instead of being apprehensive, know how to keep your personal things personal and enjoy reacquainting yourself with old memories and good friends.