Be prepared to decide whether or not you’re going to put your entire existence on Facebook. Facebook profiles will under go some major changes in the next few weeks. Today at F8 Mark Zuckerberg announced Timeline, a new version of the Facebook profile that will be rolling out in the next few weeks. Think of Timeline as the story of your life year by year.
“Instead of having to go to the bottom of your wall and clicking more. Imagine expressing the story of your life where you have all the recent stuff that you’ve done, and then all the most important and meaningful things from you’re life are highlighted and called out for you to see right there.” Zuckerberg explained.
My first reaction was this is a cool idea, but do people really want to see all that. Then it hit me, what if you build this Timeline of yourself, a scrapbook of your entire life on Facebook if you will, and it stayed there even after you died. What if my great great grandfather or a historical figure had something like this available to them, a virtual diary/scrapbook and I was able to somehow view it now? That would be pretty powerful. It would be our online autobiographies, and a way for all of us to live on forever in the virtual world. A history of our existance, a record of who we are, and who we were.
But will people really take the time to curate their lives on their Facebook profile? Do we really want to be an open “book” in that way. Yes we can control what we share and who can see it, but the whole point of the new changes to Facebook is to share our life past and present. I guess with a new generation this will eventually become second nature. Won’t more and more generations just share their lives from an early age online? But we have to admit at this point it still gives all of us a bit of an uneasy feeling. Who do we limit this information to. What could people do with this information? Not to mention where do you draw the line from spending time sharing and interacting online, with actually living and interacting in the real world?
The other thought that came to mind was in the context of the Social Networking battle between Facebook and Google+, this really is a genius move on Facebook’s part. If people take the time and energy and invest it in curating their entire history of existence on Facebook, they will be even less likely to quit using Facebook and switch over to Google+ or any other service that comes along. I mean, we are already overloaded with social networking, we aren’t going to take the time to redo the story of our life on every site that comes along.
I know I’m torn, and it will be extremely interesting to see how users react to these major changes. Are we ready to invest even more of our lives and go all in and put our entire history of existence on Facebook? If so, I guess then years from now our kids, kids, kids could find out directly from us what our taste in music, art, and food was like. Well that, or they could at least see what our high score on Angry Birds was in 2011. Guess it depends on how seriously we take ourselves online and off.