Last week we shared news of the upcoming release of Facebook Timeline—a major update to the site that promises to summarize your entire life since birth. Instead of the old layout that stacks your profile updates, burying old but important news, the redesign staggers your Facebook activity in more of a scrapbook style, encouraging users to explore and share momentous occasions of their life. It’s a major change and one that has caused much uproar on Facebook–as all Facebook changes tend to do. Many users are threatening to close their Facebook accounts or–worse, yet (sarcasm noted?)–to defect to Google+.
Being marketers, our immediate questions here at envisionit media had more to do with the impact on business and brand pages (the specifics of which are yet to be released by Facebook). But before we can thoroughly explore those possibilities, I thought it best to experience Facebook Timeline for myself and figure out just how many Facebook users we might be losing.
The pure aesthetic changes are enough to draw you right in–you can now choose a strong main image that appears at the top of the page, behind your profile picture. This is called the “cover” and I already see myself swapping that out a lot based on my mood, recent events or trips I’m excited about, important occasions, or just to add some humor to my page. I think I’ll now also keep my profile picture pretty consistent–that is my personal brand, after all.
As I navigated through my timeline, I was taken on a trip through my own life and all of my Facebook activity since I joined. Old status updates, photos I posted, who I became friends with, what brands I liked–they’re all there, grouped by the year and even month when they occurred. I was able to mark any item to not be displayed on my timeline once this goes public (which it automatically will 1 week after the date I enabled it). So that old “Which 80s Movie Are You?” quiz that I took when first exploring Facebook? Hidden. I can also star certain items as “featured” to increase the size of that item to the full width of the page. So the album I have of photos from a charity walk I participate in every year with my family? That’s a very special cause for us and something I’m proud to highlight. Starred.
Browsing my own history was really kind of fun, and I didn’t see anything about this change that would scare me away from Facebook. Mostly, I’m just excited for my Facebook friends to be able to enable their Timelines! The fun of the new look, of the walk through memory lane, and the capability to re-sculpt your Facebook presence will no doubt keep them all engaged, loyal members of the site. In the coming weeks, we hope to look closer at the marketing impact of this change and how businesses may need to start evolving their engagement tactics on Facebook (and how they’ll be able to take advantage of the other aspect of the Facebook Timeline change–the integration of new apps).
Meanwhile, some other immediate thoughts I had after exploring my new profile:
- Time flies!
- Man, am I glad I never document my relationship statuses
- Oh, that’s right–we all used to begin our status updates with “is” or “wants”
- Wait, I can display a huge photo of my homemade sloppy joes up here at the top of my page? In!