I am seeing all sorts of grumbling in and out of Facebook and across the Web about the new Timeline view. I opted into the view a few months back because, well, why not? I like to try out new things. Although it was a bit confusing for me at first, I have grown to love the look of it and the improved organization it brings to your Facebook life.
Since billions and billions of people use Facebook, making a major interface tweak like Timeline is no small step. It will dramatically affect how you interact vis a vis your Profile. But, if you step back and take a few deep breaths, and do a little reading, you can get the basics down enough to manage your information flow effectively and maybe even show off some slickness.
I find it very nice to be able to scroll up and down to see my Facebook “life” in a visual, chronological order. You can easily navigate all the way back to when you joined Facebook and chuckle at your newbie ways. This seems a far more intuitive way to view the information, once you get used to it.
If you don’t already have Timeline, you will see a prompt when you view your Facebook Profile to check Timeline out. Follow the instructions to enable. If you don’t like it, you can go back to the old style, but remember that Facebook is going to foreclose that option very soon, so it makes sense to get comfortable with the new layout sooner rather than later.
Now, for the slickness. Look toward the top of your profile page and you will see a button that says “add a cover.” This “cover” is a nearly page wide image that can serve as a static visual for your page. Click on it, then select an image from your Facebook photos or load up a new one, make any adjustments you might want and you are good to go. If you are unhappy with your image, never fear. Simply hover over the right side and a button will appear offering you the ability to change that cover. Click on it and follow the same process as above. Looking good!
Change the covers of albums by hovering over the album and clicking the pencil to edit by selecting the “change primary photo” option. Or you can even highlight a particular post on your page – just click on the star at the upper right and it will give you the option to increase the post’s size vis a vis other posts.
You can mess around with your Favorites boxes too. These are the little images with titles just below you Cover photo. Friends and Photos have to stay where they are, but the remaining boxes can be shuffled around for maximum effect. Hover over them, click on the pencil and adjust accordingly.
If privacy is important to you and you are interested in hiding unwanted information / posts from your timeline, you can do so by clicking the Pencil icon at the top right of the post, right next to the star icon showing above. That will give you the option to hide from the timeline. But maybe you still want to be able to see everything – that can be done too. Simply click on the Activity Log button just to the lower right of your cover photo. Then you will see a complete action history broken down by date. This log is only visible to you and it will show stuff you chose to hide from your Timeline view. Filter from the “all” drop down menu at the top right – you can limit activity to certain types for a better look. You can adjust the visibility of individual posts from within the Timeline as well.
Click that little cog to the right of Activity Log and you can switch your view of your own timeline to that of someone else – so you can make sure that you are truly hiding / showing what you want others to not see or see. Maybe you want to share something directly into your Timeline other than the usual stuff of status, photos, etc. There is a way now to insert important or interesting information directly into your Timeline to flesh it out, as it were. You may have notice a line with dots running down the center of your profile page. Simple hover over that line, click on the plus sign that appears at any point in time and up will pop a box allowing you to enter a Status, Photo, Place or Life Event. It’s like going back and editing your past with the stuff you forgot to include the first time around. Not a bad idea if you want to point out some significant achievement or cool happening that you were too busy to post about while you were actually experiencing it.
Dislike ads as much as I do? Then you might like the ability to “x” out an ad you don’t like. It won’t remove ads entirely, but it will get rid of the particularly annoying ones. Just hover over the ad and click the “x” and say Sayonara. If you want to tailor the content you are seeing from friends, head on over to their profile, click on the Subscribe button and select just what you want to see from them.
This should get you well on your way to a Timeline experience you can live with. I daresay you may even enjoy it eventually. It really offers a comprehensive, easy-to-navigate view of your activity on the most popular social network in the world. Spend a few moments learning the ins and outs, tweaking it and kicking the tires, and you will be a Timeline pro in no time.