The Upcoming Facebook “Timeline” (and why your organization needs to update its profile)

September 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last week at the Facebook F8 developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced the new makeover to facebook profiles dubbed “Timeline.” Currently, a facebook profile only shows some basic information and the last couple wall posts and status updates. To look at older information, you need to scroll to the bottom of a page and “see older posts” until you find that hilarious video about cats you posted three years ago. The “Timeline” profile aims to show your entire life on one page with large pictures and videos accompanying the events you found important (marriage, kids, or even getting your pet goldfish “sandy”). When you open the new Timeline profile, that most glaringly obvious change is the addition of a second picture for your profile. The “Cover Photo” is essentially a banner at the top of your profile taking up a large portion of your profile real estate. Your smaller profile picture will still be there, but the Cover Photo will paint a larger picture of each person’s individual interests. Status updates for the new profile can now be categorized as you enter them with buttons on the status update bar, so that when you update about making the finest mac ‘n cheese ever made you can classify it as an activity/cooking and throw a picture of your carbohydrated treat with the status for the world to see. Later, this activity can be seen in the story of your life on the slick Timeline as one of many from your past. What is even more interesting is the ability to “go back in time” and enter updates from your past. Say you “forgot” to announce to the world that you got married 15 years ago on your facebook profile. It’s ok, just enter a relationship update saying you got married and the date, and the timeline will be updated back in the 1990’s section of your life. It’s pretty cool, though I’m sure some will be turned off by it as they are whenever anything changes on the free social networking site (A fairly comprehensive demo of the new profile can be viewed here).

That being said, since the new Timeline is essentially a glorified digital scrapbook, it will only look as cool as the user wants it to be.  If you don’t want to add a cover page or go back into your personal history to add things that facebook doesn’t have, you don’t have to.  This isn’t really news, but one area that many arts organizations are lacking currently is social media.  Maybe it’s the lackluster profile pages, dwindling status posts/over-saturation of posts or unwillingness to respond quickly to other users, but most organizations just aren’t on the ball with facebook.

Well…it’s time to get on the ball with facebook.  The new changes to facebook are coming anywhere from tomorrow to sometime next month.  With these changes, everyone will have to put in the time to update not just “where they are now” but “where they were”.  The outcome can potentially be both an informative and dazzling history of your arts organization, even if that history is relatively short.  Granted, you will have to do a good deal of work into your profile to make it the “story of your life” that Zuckerberg intends it to be, but the payoffs of keeping up with the times could keep your organization relevant in what is proving to be a fast-paced social media landscape.



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