Social media consultant Kathryn Rose shows you how to use Facebook’s new “Timeline”, including highlights and pitfalls…
Facebook has started to roll out the mandatory redesign called “Timeline” across the platform. In the new updated version of my book The Parent’s Guide to Facebook: Tips and Strategies to Protect Your Children on the World’s Largest Social Network, I cover the new Timeline and the privacy and interactions associated with this new design.
The Facebook Timeline essentially aims to turn your Facebook profile into a kind of online scrapbook. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook describes it as: “Timeline is the story of your life … a new way to express who you are.”
Once you are notified that your profile has changed to the new timeline, you will have seven days to review your settings and information before it is published to the public. You can decide at any time to publish it yourself. There is no way to revert back to the old design as it will be completely phased out. There are many phishing and virus laden links floating around the Internet promising to change your profile back. These are not real and you should not try and click on any of them.
One of the main differences is the visual design of the new platform.
Facebook now allows a “cover photo” which you can customize to feature anything you would like. Some folks upload an image of a favorite quote or a favorite family photo, etc. You can do an Internet search for free Facebook cover designs and see some options that sites are making available for you to customize this area.
Of course, unfortunately, as with all of the redesigns, this one offers some privacy challenges that users should be aware of. The first thing you will notice is that unlike in the past, if someone wanted to see your old posts on the network from the beginning when you joined Facebook, they would have to scroll to the bottom of your wall and click “see older posts” over and over again until they found the post they wanted. Now, with the new redesign, old posts, photos and videos are easily accessible to whomever you allow access to your profile by simply clicking a year on the right side. This may expose some older posts that you may not want visible.
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Imagine you joined Facebook while you were in college and some of the older posts contain embarrassing or borderline inappropriate content; this can be a concern.
I suggest once you have the new design, you take some time to go through your old posts and either remove them completely from the site, or hide them from your Timeline if you do not feel they represent you in a good light. Or perhaps there was a personal post you made that you’d rather not have new friends see or easily access.
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If you have been on Facebook for many years, like I have, this can be an arduous task, to be sure. It takes a lot of time to sort through each post and decide not only if you want it to be shown, but to whom. Many times, Facebook has changed the setting on old posts to ‘public’ meaning anyone who comes to your profile or timeline page can see the post.
To easily view your old posts you will need to click on the “Activity Log” area. This will bring up a screen ONLY YOU can see that is a complete list of everything you’ve shared from today back to when you joined Facebook. You can go through each and every post, photo, etc. and decide if you want it displayed on the Timeline and change the security of the post.
You can click on the circle next to the post and decide whether or not this can be allowed on your Timeline. An open circle means that it is visible on the Timeline. A circle with a line through it means it is not. You can ‘star’ a piece of content and let it be featured on the Timeline.You can also click on the symbol next to the post and decide the privacy setting of who can view it.
In the prior design, all of your personal information, birthdate, interests, education and work history etc. were housed under the “info” tab. In the redesign, you will need to locate these under the “Update Info” on the right side of the screen. In here you will also be able to control the privacy of each piece of information.
Options are also now available to choose the privacy level of every post you share. When you type something into the status update bar, you can choose from a drop down box a level of privacy.
The one thing I really want to caution people on is that Facebook wants you to feel comfortable sharing all the details of your life, including where you were born and many other pieces of information – that is great information for identity thieves to have. Also, remember, all the information you share on Facebook is possibly being shared to advertisers and other data collection sites. This may or may not be a concern of yours but it is worth mentioning.
There is, of course, controversy surrounding this new redesign as there has been with each iteration of the platform. Be sure to take the time to navigate the new design and re-check your privacy settings so you can feel comfortable and enjoy your Facebook experience with privacy and safety in mind.
For more from Kathryn on genConnect: Pinterest: 6 Ways New Social Media Tool Can Boost Business
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