Facebook: Timeline

Facebook revealed a new way to archive your life today during Facebook F8. You can read about it here from USA Today.

The basics are that soon you’ll be able to share your life from birth archived by years in what Facebook calls a Timeline. The years will highlight what Facebook deems important events from that year. Which means there is no longer a time before Facebook and the age 13 consent goes out the window, which according to this article in Science Daily, it may already be irrelevant because about 7.5 million users are younger than 13.

Is the next step parents transferring the content about their child’s birth, first steps, etc. to the child’s profile?

While the theory is you will have control over your timeline, if you are really adding things since birth and your friends are adding content items of you since birth, how much control do you really have?

” You can feature items in your Timeline, and add or remove items,” states this Gizmodo article on Facebook F8 announcements. “Control of who sees an item in your timeline is also available. This is an important step to assure that Facebook’s recent subscription feature doesn’t expose a users private photos with total strangers. So expect to start spending hours fine tuning your Facebook life which is exactly what Facebook wants. You spending hours and hours adjusting your online history for your friends.”

I don’t have hours and hours to add more than 20 years of content, nor do I want others adding that content for me. I already approve photos and posts before they’re public. However, my concern isn’t so much about me as it is those who have had Facebook since they were 13.

All of those high school photos, college photos, poor choices, bad taste status updates are archived forever. How will that affect their future?

4 thoughts on “Facebook: Timeline

  1. That’s a great question, but to be fair, I don’t think that Facebook or this particular change is what can be blamed (or credited?) with archiving our history online. We do it ourselves. We put it all out there. I heard recently that like 90% of all the photos taken in the history of the time were taken in the last ten years (no source for that, so it could be totally wrong, sorry). Every holiday – Halloween, New Years – Facebook keeps topping itself for the most photos ever uploaded to the site.

    These kids are growing up in a different world. It won’t take much to uncover the past of our nation’s future politicians, CEOs, movie stars…. It is all out there, it always will be. Right now, you can edit somewhat. You remind yourself not to use the word ‘shit’ in your status update or post that picture of you cheersing to tequila shots…. and when you forget to check yourself, you get into trouble. I think eventually people will stop caring about that stuff… admit that it’s normal…. people will be themselves and not an edited version of themselves… It will become a fact of life.

    1. Danielle,
      I apologize for not getting back to you quickly. I took a much needed technology break over the weekend. If you haven’t had one of those in awhile, I highly recommend it! I am in no way blaming Facebook, in fact, as so aptly pointed out in the F8 conference, if they choose not to continue evolving and make changes based on their largest demographic, they would cease to exist a la MySpace. I lay the responsibility on the users, many of who aren’t considered adults in any other area of their lives.
      As I regularly tell college and high school students archiving your life online is your choice. Online archives are very different from the scrap books and photo albums of the past and if you choose to archive your life online you must be prepared for the consequences. Unfortunately, just like generations before, the 13 to 25 year olds aren’t thinking about the future consequences, only the immediate ones. I don’t want these people to be judged or bullied on incidents from their past. They deserve the right to have mistakes and learning experiences that aren’t documented forever.
      I agree, the world is different, and this issue will continue to evolve and may in the future be a non-issue completely. Until then, there are serious real life issues (everything form bullying to bad date reminders) from what you put online.
      I appreciate your thoughts and perspective and hope you’ll continue to share them with me.

  2. Oh, totally agree. Education is key.

    I feel like our generation (you know, the age group that got on Facebook when it was only for colleges) has had all of this shoved down our throats. We (or at least most of us) know to check our privacy settings, be careful what we post online, know that potential or current employers may be looking at it, etc.

    It’s the younger generations- as you poin out, 13-25 – that need to be educated on the implications. And for that matter – the OLDER generation needs a lesson too! I feel like my mom and her friends who all JUST got on Facebook don’t know or understand the privacy settings at all.

    And this is all online activity, I’m just referencing FB because it started the conversation.

    Your tech-free weekend sounds wonderful! I rarely FB, tweet or blog on weekends too!


    1. Absolutely! You cannot be a passive user anymore. You have to be proactive, on top of changes and take time to understand the social norms of a space. Did you read the attached article? It provides research to back up your theory. It states, “Adults were actually less conscious of the consequences of sharing personal information on Facebook, the study revealed.” It’s easy to make all social media Facebook centric, but you are correct, it isn’t just about Facebook.

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