User profiles 2.0: Facebook introduces Timeline

Ronny Kerr · September 22, 2011 · Short URL:

Scroll through a person's life with the social network's latest take on user profiles

Facebook announced Thursday a new product called Timeline, designed to be the next evolution of the user profile. Timeline highlights all the most important stories you’ve shared on Facebook about your life, from the beginning up to the present, in an elegant stream of content.

“Timeline is the story of your life,” said Zuckerberg today at f8. And it’ll look something like this.

At top, there’s the user’s name and profile picture lying underneath a large space for an image chosen by the user to express themselves. Listed underneath the profile picture and name is all the most basic information, like work, education, location and relationship status, with photos, likes and friends to the right.

Nothing too crazy yet.

Scrolling down further, however, reveals the actual timeline, split into two columns. Content-wise, it will feel very much like scrolling through a user’s profile today: you see photos they’ve added or been tagged in, status updates, things they’ve liked recently and more. If you’ve ever tried scrolling down on a profile today, however, you’d notice that it gets old quickly.

Facebook believes it has addressed this problem by, as you scroll further through time, limiting the amount of content to a few important stories. CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg says that, while you might see all the content from the past week or month, you may only see a few things from the past few months. You’ll see even less from earlier in the year and less and less as the years retreat.

The Timeline focuses on the most important stories and it presents them in the most media-favorable way.

And for anyone who thinks it silly to have a life timeline on Facebook, which has only been around for a few years now, the service has added a feature whereby one can add events and stories to any point on the timeline. You just click on any point of the middle divider and tell your story.

It’s an interesting evolution of the user profile, and it will be interesting to see how Facebook’s audience takes to it.

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