Facebook is becoming more layered and much more interactive—yes, it’s still possible. It rang a little MySpace-y to me at first, but I’ve totally indulged. Users can choose a “cover photo” for their profiles (because one profile pic just isn’t enough). Think of it like those tagged photo banners that some people have, just stretched out across the top of your page. You can navigate the timeline through a sidebar on the right side of your profile, starting with “Now” and moving all the way down to “Born.”
I click “Born,” and the page streams down to the bottom of this chronological map of my existence, according to Facebook, and there sits “me”, a little blue baby figure, above words that say “Born Oct. 18th, 1989 in Sumter, S.C.” My friends get to ‘like’ my birth now. I can even add a photo! I guarantee you when my mom finds out about this she is going to have some comment to contribute.
This information has always been available to us, but it’s never been set up like this before, where it’s just so easy and everything looks like the wall. Except it’s not the wall anymore, really. With these new changes also comes the option to “View My Activity,” which is exactly that: all of your Facebook activity, EVER. Don’t worry—only you can see that part.
And who hasn’t thought, at some point, how awesome it would be to go back and dive in to your silly, entertaining teenage brain? Now you can do so with ease. And it is pretty awesome.
On this timeline, you can document any life experience, big or small. Facebook makes it easy for you with categories like “milestones and experiences,” “health and wellness,” “living,” “family and relationships” and “work and education.” Get more detailed if you like by adding a place, photo or status. Status no longer merely serves as an update of your present activity. It curates what you were up to at any given point, which is one goal of Facebook’s new design: to let users curate memories and experiences.
I’m a sucker for the sentimental, the messages about Sequoyah Prep School concerts and comments about my shameless Sims gaming. Scrolling so leisurely into the depths of my sophomore year of high school was quite an experience. This timeline deal even tells you how many people wished you a “happy birthday” in any given year, for God’s sake. Can you blame me for my re-developing addiction to the Facebook world?
Somewhere, probably sandwiched between my vain and nostalgic tendencies, is this sensible, socially concerned part of me, thinking, “This is too much!” It sets the stage to begin documenting your life through Facebook at like 12 years old—or younger, who knows? People will put their medical histories on this! What does it mean to have that much information about virtually everyone on one website? Will people riot?
There’s always opposition to new Facebook designs (enter groups like “If 1 MILLION people join this group then the old Facebook will CoMe BaCk!” along with boundless statuses of dissent). None of that ever sticks, though. Facebook makes its changes and the masses cope, as I often feel like we should.
But this is pretty drastic. It’s got me wondering what’s going to happen next. Will all of those disgruntled status writers and group joiners finally walk their talk and actually leave Facebook? Should I leave Facebook? It’s a lot to consider.
Keep your eyes peeled for the new update—you can’t miss it. For now, I think I’ll just reminisce on all my status updates from summer ‘05.