Think big. Be different.

Seeing Your Story – A Walking Tour of Mark Zuckerberg’s New Facebook Timeline

By Garrett Moon on September 23, 2011 in News.

By now you have most likely heard about the changes that the CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg announced at the f8 conference in San Francisco. If you haven’t, the long and short of it is that the new Facebook is very different from the one that we all know and love.

Zuck announcing the new Facebook Timeline. Photo credit: Mashable

And, that probably isn’t a bad thing either.

Yesterday’s outline of Facebook’s future made it absolutely clear that the goal of Facebook is to become THE social layer that we all use to communicate and document our lives online. Their goals may sound lofty, but if any company was able to do such a thing, it would be Facebook.

Today, I want to introduce you to one of the most significant change of all – the new Facebook Timeline.

The new Timeline is scheduled to eventually replace the current personal profile that we all have now. Rather than just being a glimpse of the things that we are currently doing and saying, the Timeline’s goal is to showcase the entire story of our lives as understood by Facebook.

Quit literally, the new Timeline goes from birth until the current date in time, summarizing your entire documented life within the Facebook system. Every post, every picture, and every major event will be included in the new Timeline. Prepare to be amazed at how much Facebook knows about you!

A Tour of the Timeline

Using the method outlined on Techcrunch I was able to convert my personal profile to the new Timeline. At this time, I am the only one that will be able to see it until it goes live on September 29th, but you can try it for yourself. For those of you that aren’t quite ready to make the jump, here is a preview of what you can expect.

Start With The Cover

The first thing that you will notice about the new Timeline is the large “cover” image that is at the top of the page. This, of course, is an optional feature that you can completely control. It definitely adds a punch to the page, and I can see brands loving it. No word on if this layout will make its way to those fan pages though.

Everything In One Place

For some, this will be the most creepy feature of the new Timeline. Facebook really reveals that it knows a lot more about you than you even thought. All of your friends, Places check-ins, and photos are visible to one and all. Technically, all of this information was out there before – now it is just easier to get to.

All of your Facebook location check-ins are collected right up front on your profile.

View All Your Activity

So, you know all of those little activity statuses that Facebook tracks every time you changed your profile picture or added a new friend? Well, now they are all visible (only to you) under the activity tab at the top of your profile. This is a pretty amazing feature. Keep it mind, that this log is visible only to you.

Don't let yourself think that Facebook hasn't been paying attention.

Rediscover Your Top Stories

So, this is really where the name Timeline comes from. All of your Facebook posts, past and present, will now be ordered in a timeline view that dates all the way back to your birth. You can navigate your personal timeline by scrolling or by navigating the timeline menu in the upper right hand corner. This is definitely the most interesting feature of the entire update and some pretty new ground for social networking in general. This essentially becomes a museum of yourself. Facebook is definitely very proud of the fact that they know more about you then just about anyone!

Another view of the running timeline. Believe me, it goes ALL the way back.

Facebook’s new Timeline even made an effort to highlight key events in my life, such as my wedding date (it was way off btw..). Job changes are also given significant billing within the Timeline view.

Highlight What’s Important

As part of the Timeline features, you are able to edit some of the details and major events that are included. You can even star certain timeline events to make them fill the entire column, giving them more attention than other items. This feature allowed me to add a company logo to a recent job change, but it still didn’t allow me to change the date of my wedding.

I suppose it is still a work in progress.

Final Verdict

Overall, this is a VERY significant overhaul to the Facebook profile page, and really the entire social web. Facebook has made a significant jump in the documentation and organization of our entire social lives. I foresee a lot of debate in the future over the privacy ramifications that Facebook’s users will question. It appears that Facebook is really attempting to move past that, though. They want your data to be as public as possible and are doing their best to push us all forward.

So, what do you think? Are you excited for your new profile page?

I have to admit for myself, I was pretty intrigued by the history lesson. If you care to take a spin even further down memory lane, here is The Evolution of the Facebook Profile as curated by the folks over at Mashable.