Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Facebook Timeline

I did it. I embraced Facebook timeline.

I know what you're thinking. I was thinking it too. It's pointless. It's confusing. It just takes something that works and makes it different enough to be a hassle. Every time I Facebook stalked my way onto a profile with Facebook timeline, I was overcome with mixed feelings. And by "mixed feelings" I mainly mean rage and confusion. Why is this picture so big? Where is the wall? Why can't I just click on "info" and "photos" on the left? What is the world coming to? I usually gave up within 7 seconds and clicked back to the old Facebook. It was such a relief to navigate back to a familiar profile page with the large profile picture solidly on the top left and the wall of posts cleanly in one place. All was right with the world again.

So last night when I signed onto Facebook and the top section of my screen had the option to switch to Facebook timeline, I almost immediately clicked on the "x" to close the window. But in attempts to adopt an embrace-change-even-if-it's-meaningless attitude, I daringly clicked on the switch-to-timeline-now button. I shuddered as my very own profile appeared and transformed into this foreign monster. My profile picture was there. My posts were still there. My info was still there. But everything had moved, and it wanted me to upload an absurd "cover" picture to loom at the top of it all. But I couldn't go back. There was nothing for me to do but embrace it.

This isn't the first time that Facebook has changed. Remember when profiles didn't have the reel of photos at the top? And there were tabs for wall, info, and photos? And when status updates directly followed your name so you would post things like "Kristin Lowe likes rainy days" instead of "I like rainy days"? When changes first happen, I always feel outraged. How dare they think they can change how I do things. Do they really think they can make it better? And it is a minor inconvenience, and sometimes new designs have flaws. But within 24 hours, I always seamlessly adapt to the new and settle back into a Facebook routine.

So, I uploaded a "cover" and wandered around my new profile. Within about three minutes it all made perfect sense. Oh that's where all my information is. Oh that's why the wall is organized like this. Oh that's where my TV interests have been hiding. Some things seem like improvements like the way that photos, friends and likes are organized at the top, and some things take some getting used to like the way the wall is organized, and some things feel silly like the "cover" at the top of the profile. But overall, it feels like a fresh new Facebook.

And as I wandered a little more, I clicked on "maps" and found the coolest thing I have ever seen in my life. Well, maybe not the coolest. But probably somewhere between Double Stuf Golden Oreos and informal/impromptu dance parties on TV shows. It's a map of the world: you can add pins for places you've been, lived and traveled to. And then these events show up in your timeline on your profile. So, my timeline now shows "Moved to Provo" in 2004, and "Camp Vega" in 2005, and "Traveled to Shanghai, China" in 2006. When you upload photos, you can select a location, and a new pin is automatically added to your map, and when you click the pin you can see the photos. Given my obsession with documenting my life (and with traveling), the simplicity and thoroughness of this timeline made me want to immediately pin every single city I've ever been to. It's a little bit pointless, sure. But I like the option of using Facebook as a way to keep track of where I've been.


Kim said...

I'm still not convinced.

Elisa said...

I see that you switched back.

Kristin Lowe said...

Me switched back or Kim switched back?? I would never!