Facebook's New Niche24 Sep 2011
Note: This is a repost of a post from my old blog. It was originally published on September 24, 2011.
In the midst of Facebook’s widly-discussed UI changes this week, one new feature fell through the cracks: the Timeline (currently only in developer beta, but you can be involved by following these steps).
This new Timeline feature solves a major UI problem that Facebook has been plagued by – the disorganization of each user’s content. The previously-separate Wall, Info, Photos, and so on have all been combined into a single, centralized profile page. But the timeline goes beyond that. In displaying your entire Facebook activity over time, it also allows you to add “life events”, from achievements to medical events to anything, really.
By now, you’ve probably realized that these features don’t just show your entire Facebook activity – they’re meant to show your entire life.
(Note: Sure, this situation is interesting in terms of privacy, but let’s just assume that people will be willing to share the events of their lives. So far, they have been pretty willing.)
The main thing going for Facebook here is how much information they have. Besides sharing information, users give Facebook a ton of personal data. They’ve finally started using this data for more than just targeted advertising; for example, the timeline has a map page that tracks your activity, intersecting place information with status updates and more.
Hopefully, this timeline feature won’t be treated as just another annoying Facebook redesign. It has the potential to change the way we approach the Internet and collect our online identities. Facebook has been making dumb moves lately – but this might be their killer app.