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Turning Profiles Into Lives

'Timeline' is the glue which Zuckerberg hopes will finally bind together its monumental house of cards. Timeline tracks your entire life. It won't go live for a week, but there is an easy hack.

Timeline abandons the concept of a rolling set of updates that are quickly lost into the ether by assigning them to a timeline which stretches back to your declared date of birth. This can be filled in with 'Life Events', namely everything from work (add a job, graduation) and love (got engaged/married, add a child/pet, lost a loved one) to property (moved, bought a home, add a roommate or vehicle), health (broke a bone, had surgery, overcame an illness) and achievements (learned a language, got a license, travelled, achieved an award) and more. In one go Facebook just gave users the tools to paint a truly vivid picture of their lives. Once complete who would want to delete that?

The genius here is Facebook's recently simplified privacy settings mean Timeline can be a completely private endeavour should you desire and work solely as the world's most powerful profile building tool. In fact is 'profile' even the right word anymore? Given Facebook can memorialize users when they pass it could fast become the definitive record for the human race.

But let's not get too carried away. There are plenty of caveats. Facebook users are notoriously reactionary, greeting most minor updates with a torrent of abuse. The sweeping consequences of F8 extend way beyond layout alterations – and even these are extreme. There is a chance Zuckerberg is pushing too far too soon and features such as Timeline may well scare away the fickle users it is attempting to retain.

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Similarly, for all the hype, the media integration is currently a half measure. Facebook offers no true streaming functionality rather it communicates with externally installed clients. If you don't have Spotify on your desktop then all its new Facebook functionality won't work. If more companies hop on this bandwagon it will become impractical to keep installing every possible client. At some stage Facebook may opt to buy a service such as Spotify and enter the area itself. The two have long been linked and Facebook certainly has the capital, but it would put the company in the firing line.

Ultimately however we can't help but be impressed. The bigger a company gets the less radical it tends to become, but here Facebook is defiantly breaking that habit, daring to alienate users and fighting to become something more substantial. It is pure innovation and while we have reservations and see limitations we champion progress and we think this is it…

Lantic

September 26, 2011, 9:34 am

Changed the internet? Not for me ... the problem with Facebook is if we aren't paying for it, we aren't the customer, we are the product being sold. And I'd rather keep my life to myself.

stranded

September 26, 2011, 2:42 pm

The problem with Facebook is that it's completely despicable. The whole concept is sick.
The garbage became a better garbage?
Same (maybe worse) for Google+ too.
I never needed them.

raytr

September 26, 2011, 6:51 pm

1. "Changed the internet? Not for me ... the problem with Facebook is if we aren't paying for it, we aren't the customer, we are the product being sold."

That's a great quote.

2. Affect or Effect?

Gordon394

September 27, 2011, 12:02 am

This comes from a position of wilful ignorance. Facebook is not completely despicable, what nonsense. It has a number of faults, but the service has worth and is hugely influential - arguably the most powerful site on the Internet in shaping mainstream user behaviour. This is the most significant change this it launched. I find comments such as this disappointing. I am curious whether you read the article before posting your hatred or whether it came after fully digesting what was said. The former would be sad, the latter more so.

Gordon394

September 27, 2011, 12:03 am

You are getting a free service. It has to pay for itself somehow. Of course we are being sold a product, that doesn't mean it doesn't have worth.

Clearly you are not the intended audience, but increasingly you are in a minority (not necessarily a bad thing).

Gordon394

September 27, 2011, 12:04 am

Definitely affect... on going implications.

It's an awful quote - see my reply below.

I think Facebook gets a lot of bad press simply for being Facebook. This is an incredibly bold me though and I think it will have far reaching consequences. The service is attempting to become less inane and I think this is an extremely clear way to do it. With its huge user base this will likely have repercussions for the whole Internet.

Lantic

September 27, 2011, 3:19 pm

If Facebook disappeared tomorrow, would mankind come to a screeching halt? Perhaps not. And while I may be in a minority, I don't feel I am missing out on anything - I have a phone and email and I often leave the house to meet people face to face. that works fine for me. Do I care that my cousin is heading out to watch a film? Or a work colleague has lost her phone? While I don't hate Facebook nor their users, to me it is social spam and I can do without it. And the accompanying hyperbole.

Gordon394

September 27, 2011, 5:10 pm

Nice! The affects will be far reaching though. As the central social hub of the entire Web these days, that's inevitable.

Gordon394

September 27, 2011, 5:11 pm

Quite possibly. Either stop complaining or try and do something about it - is the only answer.

Gordon394

September 27, 2011, 5:14 pm

If many aspects of technology disappeared tomorrow life would go on. It doesn't mean that they don't add significant value to many people. I suspect before you had a (mobile) phone and email you didn't especially consider yourself to be "missing out" either.

Facebook will hit 1bn members soon. Discard those too young or old to have interest and those sadly not in a position to have Internet access and its penetration is stunning. It is by far and away the biggest online social platform ever seen. What it does the rest of the Web will follow. Until someone does it better...

stranded

September 27, 2011, 7:31 pm

@Gordon394
Of course i didn't read the article. The main ingredient of internet is anonymity. If you lose this you have nothing. Facebook and similar craps have a huge influence and they are destroying internet. I don't need a world that every random 95 years old lady in Pakistan laughing knowing that i (real name, address, telephone numbers and bank accounts) am recently divorced, i like pink curtains at walls, i hate Bon Jovi, i was horrible last night in Call Of Duty and i am very ugly. I don't need it. I don't use internet to make friends or be glorified. I want my privacy intact to do whatever i want.
I want my freedom to do everything. No restrictions. Facebook destroys my life. I gain nothing from this. The main purpose of life is the huge profit. I want to take and take and take. Facebook gives me nothing.
I think things are plain and simple now. Thought it was from the beginning ...

Gordon394

September 28, 2011, 3:46 pm

It's an opinion, a blinkered one which fails to see more than one side of the story, but you are entitled to it.

I can't say more if you feel in a position to comment without actually reading the article.

stranded

September 28, 2011, 6:27 pm

@Gordon394
You don't need to read anything in depth about Mr. Zuckerberg, because all about him are in the surface. 5 seconds of reading is enough to have the complete picture. You can read about him in every internet site you visit or magazine you browse or TV program you watch too, he has the bad habit to pop up constantly without your permission.
Is it a crime that i want to live my life as a human being and not be wasted between 1 billion Facebook zombies? Oh yeah, i know it's a big crime and i should be a Facebook member for an eternity to pay for my sins.

Gordon394

October 1, 2011, 1:05 am

Dumb. Purely because you assume my article is 100% supportive and without reservations.

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