Making your Facebook beautiful: Timeline.
Ahhh the Facebook Timeline. Arguably the most hated, but most used and enjoying while saying your hating, digital change that social networking users have had to “deal” with since… Myspace. Remember that?
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I even remember “back in the day” when Myspace Profile editing was the “in” thing and virtually everyone had a lot of fun tweaking their profiles and filling them with their own personal interests.
As almost everyone now knows, the Facebook Timeline is Facebooks own attempt at going in a much more personalized direction, and in tweaking Facebook from a social wall of never-ending comments, to a real profile-driven website like so many other websites and services where your profile is the one-stop shop when signing in. Although some users have not yet switched to Timeline, ALL of Facebook will be forced to switch to the new Timeline format by March 30th, 2011. At which point Timeline will be the new Facebook design.
The Timeline additionally adds tons of really cool and new features to the table, while also offering Facebook users the ability to much more easily find, read, digest, share and discover what people have posted in their facebook history or the posts of Facebook past of their Facebook friends. It literally offers an actual, browseable timeline, with dates on the timeline going all the way back to their bday and the day you were born, that is fully explorable. Click anywhere on the timeline and see posts that were made on Facebook at that time.
Thankfully, you can fully edit and, in some ways, “revise” your history, in particular by hiding certain posts and making others available, while also inserting new posts into sections of your timeline that originally contained nothing. Of course, Facebook was only avaiable to the mass public going back to 2006, so very few people have their “timelines” filled with anything before that date.
Life Event – How to Add a Timeline Life Event Update To Your Profile
To that end, the Facebook Timeline allows users to add all manner of “Life Events”. On the right of the Timeline you’ll see the years and months you’ve been active on Facebook, and you can select any year, month or day going back to when you were born! You can then add a “Life Event”, such as getting married, overcoming an illness, the death of a family member or friend, etc. This helps you fill out your Timeline as a history of you and your life experiences.
Here are the different Life Event categories that Facebook offers.
When you choose “Life Event” on any year or month in your Timeline, five different headings should show up. Each of them let you edit specific story events of your life.
Work & Education: Fill in what jobs you’ve worked, schools you’ve attended, military service you’ve had, or volunteer work you’ve done and the like.
Family & Relationships: Edit your engagement date and wedding events. If you want, you can even add the birth date of your children or pets. “Lost a Loved One” is for those who wish the share their feelings on the passing of close friend or family member.
Home & Living: Add all your living arrangements and events including relocation, purchasing a new home or moving in with a new roommate. You can even create events for your brand new car or even your motorcycle in the vehicles section.
Health & Wellness: If you have any specific health concerns you want people to know about, you can report health events like surgeries, broken bones or overcoming certain illnesses.
Travel & Experiences: This section is for all the miscellaneous stuff that doesn’t fit in any of the other categories. Add new hobbies, musical instruments, languages learned, tattoos, piercings, travel events and more.
Other Life Event: For anything else you’d like to add, you can create a completely customized life event by pressing the “Other Life Event” option.
Time Line – How to Add a Top Banner
Of course one of the coolest main customization features that immediately pops out regarding your Timeline profile is the very large banner, billboard-style image that you can add to the to of your profile called a “Timeline Cover”. This alone reminds people of myspace and makes it a much more attractive personalized space. You can easily add a photo to your timeline by going to your profile and clicking “Add a cover”, you can then select from previously uploaded photos or upload a new picture. Remember that your Timeline photo space is 850×315 pixels (That’s 850 wide, 315 tall) so be sure the pic you choose is not smaller than 850 wide or it will appear stretched and bad quality. As you’d expect, stylized images make great Covers, as does some type of artwork you think best represents you, or a recent or important photo from your life. Anything that interests you, like a pic from a videogame, favorite movie scene, favorite band pic, promo art from your favorite TV show, animal pics (puppies, penguins… giraffes, etc.) make great Timeline Covers. Remember that your Timeline Cover is public to everyone, anyone who visits your Timeline page, friend or not can see the Timeline Cover. You’ll want to keep this in mind.
You can do a lot of fun things with your Timeline Cover. Use a photo-editing program like GIMP, Photoshop, Photoplus, etc. and use that software to make fun edits to your Timeline Cover. For example if you just got engaged, you can add “ENGAGED!” text to a photo of the event. Try lowering the opacity before adding text (In Photoshop, right-click the photo layer and select “Blending options” to lower the opacity. In GIMP, the opacity can be lowered by selecting the layer and using the sliding scale in the same window). You could also add text pointing to your website or other social-networking profiles, etc. or add icons for Twitter, Myspace, DeviantArt, etc. to your Timeline Cover image. Alternatively you can add text to your Timeline Cover as a message to anyone who views your page. You’ll also want to make sure your Timeline Cover photo is high-definition if possible. Another option is to pic a photo you think looks awesome or is a favorite from another website like Flickr, Photobucket, WeHeartIt, Pinterest, or Piccsy (note the creator and link to them if possible in your About section). Some websites will even create a Timeline Cover for you, or assist you in creating one, check out MyFBCovers or Facebook Timeline Banner. There’s even a Facebook Covers App that will essentially do it for you; the website links to your Facebook account, and gives you a number of different Timeline Covers to choose from!
Timeline Apps – Share What You Do With the World/Facebook
One of the coolest new features that comes with Timeline are the myriad slate of Timeline Apps. Like apps for other platforms, and the Facebook Apps you are used to, these install just like previous Apps, however they now let your Facebook friends, family and followers see what you are doing in certain non-Facebook services like Netflix (People can see what you just watched), Spotify (people can see what you just listened to), Pinterest (people can see what photo you just shared), etc. It can be anything, from books you’ve read with Goodreads, movies you’ve rated at Rotten Tomatoes, news articles you’ve read online, etc.! The possibilities are endless and will really get you engaged and sharing what you do with your friends in whole new ways.
Keep in mind however that you only need to allow initial permission to your profile from an App (known as “frictionless sharing”) before it can post what you’re doing to the world. Or rather, to your Facebook Ticker, News Feed and Profile. Although some Apps will give you greater control over things (like Spotify has a “Private Listening” option that will keep what you’re listening to from being shared with everyone); although most Timeline Apps allow you to select the friends you allow to see your Timeline App updates. These Timeline Apps use the new Frictionless Sharing permissions protocol and a new Open Graph algorithm that determines the “importance” of posts on your Timeline profile. Essentially, this means that some things you do using these Timeline Apps will take precedent over other activities you do on your Timeline, so don’t be surprised if the latest song you listened to appears on your Timeline above your latest status update, even if the update came first. How this is determined is not up to you, but rather up to a number of factors, like how popular that Timeline App is to people who visit your profile, or whether what you are doing is actually bringing more people to Facebook and thus helping to earn Facebook money (by promoting these Apps and therefore the brands, services, etc. that the App developers have created).
One of the first things you should do, and should have already done (but many people still haven’t with their Facebook pages) is go to your Friends section and group ALL of your Facebook friends into different groups. Why? Because this will allow you to more easily set preferences for which groups of friends are given permission to view what content you post on your Facebook Timeline. For example, each Timeline App that you install has permission settings when you install it, asking you to select who can view it. If you already have your Friends divided into groups (Like Close Friends, Best Friends, Immediate Family, Extended Family, Acquaintances, etc.) then you can just go to “Custom” and set up exactly who can see what. To get rid of an App and take away its permissions go to “App Settings” by clicking the little down arrow at the upper right, and go to Account Settings and then Apps. You can then click the X to get rid of the App entirely and remove it, or click on Edit to change its privacy settings and such. You can even hide the Apps activity, while still keeping it active.
You’ll also want to head into your Privacy Settings (Click the down arrow at the upper-right of your Facebook>Privacy Settings) and review the “How Tags Work” and “How You Connect” options, be sure that you are connecting and giving permission to the right people and not to that dude that hates your guts and gossips about you with reckless abandon. Be sure to activate the “Tag Reviews” option, this makes is so that you must approve Tags that people have made of you in a photo they have posted, before it will publish to your Facebook Timeline for all your Facebook peeps to see. If you don’t agree with it you can disapprove the tag. Tag Reviews also controls tags for when your Facebook friends tag you in photos, places or posts. So for example maybe you don’t want SUZIE knowing you are with hanging out at the pool in your bathing suit (or lack of one, wink wink) with Kim (triple wink). Wellll… if you don’t have Tag Review enabled, then that info might just get out when Kim posts a photo of your skinny dipping adventure at her house in her pool on her Facebook Timeline and TAGS you in it. Had you enabled Tag Review, NONE OF THIS WOULD’VE GOT OUT!
Another big thing you’ll want to consider is how everything you do on Facebook is immediately posted to your the “Recent Activity” section of your friends. So for example, if you friend Kim, Suzie’s “Recent Activity” box will alert her to this fact. To hide these posts, go to your Facebook Timeline as soon as you’ve done them, hover over the post and click the “x” (or the little pencil icon) in the corner and select “Hide all”. Do the reverse and select the “x” under “Hidden Activity” to unhide them. Also be sure to change the privacy settings from “Public” to include only the people you want to see it before posting something. Be sure to check your Timeline frequently by clicking your name in the upper right hand corner and checking out your Timeline profile so nothing gets missed.
You also may want to change who can view your Friends List, you can hide that as well by clicking the “Friends” section on your actual Timeline profile, and then clicking “Edit” at the top of your Friends List. Additionally, you can change the settings of each “module” (section) on your Facebook TImeline by selecting the privacy settings from the drop down menus in the corners. You’ll also want to set privacy settings for your personal info that appears below your Timeline Cover, do so by clicking the Edit button in the section. For photos, click to go to the Photo section from your actual Timeline profile, and select the privacy settings you desire from their respective drop down menus.
Last but not least, you may want to hide the Timeline Profile “Ticker”, which shows EVERYTHING your friends are doing and not just the “important” stuff like your news feed. To hide it simply grab the top of your Chat window and drag it upward until the Ticker is no more (or you can make it very small or very big). Additionally, you can hid both the Chat and Friends list by clicking on the arrow at the bottom that says “Hide Sidebar” when you hover over it. This will make the whole sidebar disappear. If you want to make it reappear simply click on the “chat” box.
Of course, the age old adage still applies, if you really don’t want someone to know about things you’ve done, said, etc., then don’t post it on Facebook AT ALL. Use discretion when posting. Discretion is your friend. :D
Facebook Timeline Life Events Movie
Once you have gone through your Timeline and filled it out with the Life Events that you have experienced, you can turn all of these event notes, photos and videos into a heartwarming movie of your life! Visit Timeline Movie Maker, a free service provided for Timeline specifically for turning your life’s highlights into a neat little film; click on Make Your Movie and log into your Facebook account (granting them access to your posts) and ta-da! You can even change the music and info used to make your movie. Check it out and give it a shot, it’s a unique little feature!