September 24, 2011 Firebelly Marketing

Facebook Timeline: First Impressions

Developers got first access to the new Facebook Timeline profiles, and even non-developers are trying to get in on the action. Since I’ve already had a developer account and app made through Facebook, I noticed a pop-up inviting me to be one of the first to try it out.

When I first opened my new profile, I was very thrown off. I’m usually quick to defend Facebook’s changes and the new profiles have spawned a lot of hype, but I didn’t feel a rush of excitement about it by any means. I was sure of one thing – I love how it looks above the fold. The cover page is great to give everyone a little room to customize their page, and I’ll be taking full advantage. However, I can also see the comparisons to MySpace. Once everyone uploads flashy pictures or lolcats, it might just get annoying to open profiles.

But everything below that is, well, a mess. My biggest complaint comes with the two-column format. The design forces your eyes to stop reading linearly, and start jumping from column to column. I’m not sure the non-tech-savvy users will even figure out that it’s supposed to represent points on a timeline. I tried reading through my wall posts and just found a sea of posts and updates, and I wasn’t sure where I should even start reading.

You can “star” a post (because Facebook doesn’t have enough jargon-esque terms) and it takes over both columns.

Oversharing will reach new heights.

You can now add anything in to your timeline. From “broke a bone,” or “lost a loved one,” (and yes, you can tag an existing user as the deceased,) you’ll quickly find out things you really didn’t even want to.

It may allow for greater stabilizability, but the format is taking away from what brought a huge crowd to Facebook in the first place – the simplicity. What was a simple list of postings and events on a “wall,” is now a cluttered mess of boxes scattered in to a “timeline,” and to be honest… it’s a great feature on paper, but terrible as a replacement profile. I like my existing wall, and would find this to be much more cool if it were supplemental, and not making the wall obsolete.

So. Much. Clutter. And my friends say some very weird things.

Maybe I’m looking at things too critically. I’m sure a lot of people will find the change fascinating. Over time, I’m sure it’ll grow on me just like every other Facebook feature. But the backlash of the last change combined with this may cause users migrating in drones to Google.

What do you think? Have you had a chance to use the new profiles yet?

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