Facebook recently made numerous modifications to its website. The newest addition to these changes is a completely new layout for the profile. As a way to differentiate from competitors like Google+, Facebook released Timeline, an all new way to share even more information with friends. Although the new layout may be aesthetically pleasing, it is overall confusing and includes many unnecessary and unwanted features.
Timeline is exactly what it sounds like: a timeline of everything users have documented on Facebook such as changed relationship updates, photo albums posted, and friends added. Users have seven days to perfect their timelines and organize everything on their page before displaying it to the public. This process takes time and requires users to work hard to design their page. Facebook is not meant to be so complex. Simplicity was one of the main reasons for Facebook’s sucess.
Timeline makes Facebook more complicated than it needs to be. What centrally makes Timeline so different from the older layout is a viewer’s ability to access all of someone’s old information, even things maybe they wanted to hide. That means embarrassing statuses and profile pictures from eighth grade can come back to haunt you. Timeline shows the permanence of everything we post on the Internet, even when it seems harmless. Literally every event in your life, including your birthday, is displayed as an event on your Timeline. Finding things is easier with the use of a small sidebar in order by years starting with “Born” and ending with “Now.” Friends can now find old information and one’s history on Facebook quickly and easily. The new design is an attempt on Facebook’s part to force people to reveal their entire life story onto their website and connect on an even more personal level with their Facebook friends. I find the attempt to be irritating and intrusive.
Gradually, everyone will be forced to switch over to the new upgrade. This is the the biggest nuisance of Timeline. Though some prefer the more open way of sharing information, I think Timeline is making people more attached to their Facebook. It is no longer a simple way to share photos and connect with friends. It is now like a blog or virtual scrapbook, more focused on highlighting the user’s pasts than sharing their present. I thought Facebook was a social network meant for keeping up with friends, not a way to stalk their pasts.
Additionally, the main two new features are the cover photos and apps. The cover photo serves almost as an additional profile picture and emphasizes the prominence of photos on Timeline. The cover photo is visually pleasing and resembles the banner on the old layout of a user’s newest photos at the top of their profile. The cover photo does not have a privacy setting and is open to the public, which adds to Timeline’s blog-like features. The cover photo also gives Facebook a scrapbook feeling, making it more photo heavy. This feature could possibly be Facebook’s way of incorporating aspects of their competitor’s sites. The idea to put more emphasis on photos could be influenced by sites like Tumblr, a blog in which the main focus is reblogging other’s photos.
Additionally, Facebook apps force users to share even more information such as the music they listen to, the movies they watch, the books they read, and the recipes that they use to make dinner. Personally, I like to keep some things private and find it unnecessary to display everything I do, and share everything I like.
Timeline is overall confusing and changes the entire purpose of Facebook. Rather than sharing new things with friends, users are forced and even encouraged to share their pasts with their Facebook friends. Timeline is a negative change to Facebook and is leaving many users unhappy and aggravated.