Facebook Timeline: An Overview

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Summary: Everything you thought you knew about Facebook has changed. Effective March 30th, 2012 everyone with a Facebook profile will be required (forced) to change to the new Timeline format.

Bottom Line: Like it or not, Facebook Timeline is coming to your profile. You can complain about it or you can get busy preparing yourself for these changes. I show you how to set up Facebook Timeline in this post.  If you need help, then keep reading…


Just recently Facebook announced that the layout you have come know so well will be changing, whether you like it or not.  Yep that’s right, the profile page, many of us have known for years, will be gone in a few weeks — It’s being replaced by Facebook Timeline.

What is Facebook Timeline?

Timeline is a new layout in Facebook (with lots of features), that replaces your old profile page. It shows the story of your life, as you choose to tell it or as Facebook has recorded it, in a visual, scrolling, ordered timeline.

This just means that Facebook Timeline allows you to share your profile with your Facebook friends in a chronological format. Once you have switched to the timeline, you will be able to view and manage everything you have shared on Facebook since you joined.  I liken it to a cross between a visual blog and sort of an online scrapbook.

Why is Facebook Doing This?

I’m sure that many of you are curious as to why Facebook is doing this. There are all sorts of rumors floating around out there.

One such rumor is that this will allow Facebook and advertisers to get a better look at each of the Facebook’s 845 million active user’s habits. This is of course, so they can better market to them and sell them. Some say that Facebook’s recent filing of its paperwork for an initial public offering (IPO), on February 1, 2012, is proof that money is driving this.

In any case, the Facebook crew, during the fall of 2011, Facebook first announced that it would begin changing its profile format.  They dubbed the new format “Facebook Timeline”.

Facebook claims that this new format is more along the lines of a virtual scrapbook which chronicles your life and that it will prove to be a much better user experience for it’s members.  With the implementation of Timeline, Facebook users will be better able to take advantage of Timeline’s new  innovative features and will also, be able to navigate (move around) Facebook much easier.

Facebook Timeline also, provides users with the ability to manage their privacy settings in a more efficient manner and to customize their pages to meet their own personal taste.  Although the majority of users find that the Timeline has been beneficial, some critics are stating that it has made the Facebook experience far more difficult.

What are the Changes?

Note: If you have not chosen to upgrade to the new timeline format yet, you will have no choice as of March 30, 2012.

Listed below are the primary changes associated with Facebook Timeline:

  1. Cover Image (Photo)
  2. Profile Picture
  3. About Section
  4. Apps (Display) Tabs
  5. Timeline (Navigation)
  6. Highlight (Feed for Business Pages Only)
  7. Composer
  8. Pinned Posts (Business Pages Only)
  9. Friend (Feed) Activity

There are other changes but I think have the greatest impact on your Facebook page.

Anatomy of a Facebook Timeline Page

Anatomy of Facebook timeline Page

Click to Enlarge

1. Cover Photo – Gone are the 5 small thumbnails that use to appear at the top. They have been replaced by a much larger photo that Facebook calls a “Cover Image”. The cover image will be displayed prominently at the top of every Facebook user’s page. Facebook allows the image dimensions for this Cover Image to be 851 x 315 pixels.

Bonus! –  Here are a list of websites that allow you to download and create Facebook Cover Images ===> Click Here!

2. Profile Picture – You will still have a profile image like before, but it will no longer be located on the left side bar of your Facebook page. Once, you turn on timeline, it will be located on the bottom left hand side of your Cover Image. It’s main purpose is to follow you everywhere on the web. Anywhere your page posts or comments are shown, this image will be displayed.  Note: Your profile picture is now restricted to just a tiny little 180×180 pixel image.

3. About Section – the About Section is displayed right below the cover and profile image, directly above the Composer Box (where you type in your comments, etc…). Its new position means that more users are actually going to see and read whatever you put there. You will also be able to include a URL (website address) in your about section.

4. Apps (Display) Tabs – To the right of the About Section is where the tabs have been moved. They are now more visible and have the added benefit of always showing above the fold (on the top half of the page without having to scroll). However, unlike their older counterparts, with the new Timeline layout, visitors can only see 4 listed without clicking the arrow (on the right) to view the rest. Of these four apps, by default the “Friends” tab is always in the first place and cannot be moved. Technically that means that you can only play around with 3 other options – choosing which of your other apps you’d like to highlight.

5. Timeline (Navigation) – Users can now navigate through your page by using the Timeline Bar located along the right side of your page. This allows users to quickly skip to specific months, years and milestones of your pages’ history (or your history as you have chosen to show it).

6. Highlight (Feed for Business Pages Only) – Highlights displays posts that you have selected and starred (considered important). It is a combination of your page’s stories, users stories, events or milestones. This shows users what page you, the owner considers important and wants to share. This will normally appear above the Friend/Activity feed.

7. Composer – Facebook’s Composer is the section where people are able to write status updates, post photos, videos or leave questions. This feature has only changed slightly. Users will see only 2 options – Post and Photos. When Photos is selected 2 more options appear. Upload Photos or Videos; and Use a Webcam.

8. Pinned Posts (For Business Pages Only) – You can also take an interesting story and “pin to top” by clicking on this option in the top right corner of posts. This will “pin” the story to the top of the feed for 7 days. Anything you pin such as photos, events, or status updates, will be positioned to draw the attention of other Facebook users visiting your page.

9. Friend (Feed) Activity – To the right of the activity feed is the new friend feed. This section displays any of the visiting users friends who have also liked your page.  This section focuses on highlighting the users friends interaction with your page.  If a fan or friend has commented or mentioned your page in a post or on their own personal profile, that action will be seen here.  This new feature helps to increase your page’s social popularity and entices users who have friends that are also fans or who have interacted with your page in the past, to spend more time on your page.

Is Facebook Time Line Safe?

Short answer: YES Facebook Timeline is safe.

Long answer: There are some real issues about privacy and safety that you really need to understand. With the implementation of Timeline, Facebook is placing the responsibility of safe-guarding your privacy back on you, the user. In an article that appeared on Web Pro News, Josh Wolford discusses the privacy concerns with Facebook Timeline. Listed below are a few snippets, but I would encourage you to read the full article.

“The new Facebook Timeline is not the most popular feature that Facebook has ever introduced. Granted, it’s well documented that Facebook users are often super-resistant to change, but for some the new Timeline goes beyond minor annoyances like crowded layouts and superfluous features. For many users, it’s a real issue of privacy.”

“The main concern is that Facebook seems to have adopted an “opt-out” strategy when it comes to information sharing. The Timeline puts everything out there by default, and it’s the user’s job to clean it up and make sure that they aren’t publicly sharing something that they want to remain private.”

 How Do I Turn On Facebook Timeline?

Step 1 – Log into your account. You must be logged into your Facebook account in order to turn on this new feature.

Step 2 – Click on the “Your Name” link, which is to the right of your profile picture (top left of screen).

Step 3 – Click the “Get Timeline Now” button at the top of the screen. That’s it! You have just activated Facebook Timeline. Now the next thing you need to do is to edit the other features. Check out our videos on how to set up Facebook Timeline.

Note: If there is no green or blue “Get Timeline” button at the top, then type in www.facebook.com/about/timeline. Then click the “Get Timeline” Button located on the bottom right of the screen.  This will take you to your “Preview Timeline” page. There should be a button that allows you to “Take a Tour” or “Publish Now” your Facebook Timeline page. Also for a more Detailed Video about using Facebook Timeline ==> Click Here!

More About Facebook and Setting up Facebook Timeline

Facebook Videos

Facebook Articles and Blog Posts



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