Facebook Starts To Force Timeline Format

NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook will start requiring people to switch to a new profile format known as Timeline, making photos, links and personal musings from the past much easier to find.

Timeline is essentially a scrapbook of your whole life on Facebook, compared with a snapshot of you today found on Facebook's traditional profile page. Once activated, Timeline replaces the current profile.

Although some people have already voluntarily switched to Timeline, Facebook hadn't made that mandatory. Beginning Tuesday, Facebook is telling some users that they have seven days to clean up their profiles before Timeline gets automatically activated. Facebook is rolling out the requirement to others over the next few weeks.

At some point, even those who haven't logged on to Facebook in a while will be automatically switched.

Timeline doesn't expose anything that wasn't available for sharing in the past. Many of those older posts had always been available. People could get to them by continually hitting "Older Posts," although most wouldn't have bothered. Timeline allows people to jump to the older material more quickly.

Timeline also doesn't necessarily reflect the fact that your circle of friends has likely expanded in recent years. A party photo you posted in 2008 to a small group of friends would be more visible to relatives, bosses and others you may have added as friends since then.

You'll have a week to curate the Timeline by moving stuff around, hiding photos or featuring them more prominently on your page.

Some things to consider:

- You can change privacy settings on individual items to control who has access. You might want to narrow embarrassing photos to your closest friends or delete some posts completely, or at least hide them so only you can see them.

- You can change the date on a post. For example, if you took a few months to post photos from a trip to Portugal, you can move them to appear with other posts from the time you took that trip. You can also add where you were, retroactively using a location feature that Facebook hadn't offered until recently.

- For major events in your life, you can click on a star to feature them more prominently. You can hide the posts you'd rather not showcase.

- Besides your traditional profile photo - your headshot - you can add what Facebook calls a cover photo. It's the image that will splash across the top and can be a dog, a hobby or anything else that reflects who you are. Keep in mind the dimensions are more like a movie screen than a traditional photo, so a close-up portrait of your face won't work well, but one of you lying horizontally will. But you don't even have to be in it.

- You can add things before you joined Facebook, back to when you were born. Life events can include when you broke your arm and whom you were with then, or when you spoke your first word or got a tattoo. You can add photos from childhood or high school as well.

- If you feel overwhelmed with so many posts to go through, start with your older ones. Those are the ones you'd need to be most careful about because you had reason to believe only a few friends would see them.

- Click on Activity Log to see all of your posts at a glance and make changes to them one by one. Open Facebook in a new browser tab first, though. That way, you can have one tab for the log and the other for the main Timeline.

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  • by Anonymous on Jan 26, 2012 at 07:48 AM
    Stop making all these changes. Bring back the original facebook. You know the one for college students, the one where a .edu email account was required. This social networking thing via FB is going way too far. If they keep making these changes, its just a matter of time before it ends up dead. Like MySpace.
  • by I Just Quit on Jan 26, 2012 at 01:25 AM
    Deactivated my account, that is....I did find things out about some long lost old friends, but the best moment was seeing my ex-wife (from 20 years ago) and seeing what a good decition I made to split from her selfish ways. She screwed her life up more than I imagined (and heard). All the things she said she DIDN'T want to happen to her, happened! LOL
  • by Formerly O.L.I. Location: ENC on Jan 25, 2012 at 03:24 PM
    So glad I didn't get pulled into the quagmire of social networking, though people tried their darndest to get me to. Your my friend/family, you get my email or phone number; period. People should take this very seriously too. Even if you think you have deleted something from this website, it may still be 'out there'.
  • by just me on Jan 25, 2012 at 02:02 PM
    OOHHH EEEMMM GEEEEE...... I must run home and arrange my FB timeline before it's too late!!
  • by Dave on Jan 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM
    It won't be long before Facebook is obsolete.
  • by Shine Location: NE NC on Jan 25, 2012 at 03:55 AM
    This is about as socialistic as 'beeeeeeeeppppp!!!!' Face book is not the only book on the internet.
    • reply
      by Yeah on Jan 25, 2012 at 06:57 AM in reply to Shine
      Shine you speak as if "YOU" may be one of "those" that may have gotten a nasty gram from FB. I have been pluggin non stop with not notices. Odd how dat happens huh?
  • by none ya Location: none ya on Jan 25, 2012 at 03:29 AM
    none of these or any other social sites are allowed in my house; mainly for privacy, not to mention that the socialistic direction that this country has taken showing it is becoming a police state,these sites are nothing more than a way for our so called "BIG BROTHER," to keep an eye on us all. plus in my opinion these sites breed a lot of temptation for bad things. I just do not believe that it is a good thing to put your business out there in the cyberworld.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jan 25, 2012 at 06:30 AM in reply to none ya
      Well tighten your tin foil hat and get on reading the bible.
      • reply
        by c-had on Jan 25, 2012 at 07:20 AM in reply to
        The need to belong is sooo strong with some folks.I am a privacy advocate as well and I think it is sad that some people are so easy to manipulate, such as yourself.Yes, the bible is true,get with it or get over it.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Jan 25, 2012 at 08:03 PM in reply to c-had
          Bible: Facebook for the computer illiterate. How is going to church with the rest of the "flock" not akin to social networking. Geez, give me a break!
  • by Anonymous on Jan 24, 2012 at 11:29 PM
    Great story WITN. Really? How about some real news.

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