Musings of Captain Justice a/k/a Gil Jones

Facebook Timeline – what is it? Dangers?


Zuckerberg introducing Facebook Timeline. Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The critical info about Facebook Timeline:  Once you get Facebook Timeline, you’ll have 7 days before anyone else can see it. This gives you a chance to get your timeline looking the way you want before other people see it. That is also a very short period of time to clean things up if you need to. See the official announcement at

The quick advice about Facebook Timeline

Pay attention and get ready for it. While it is likely to be very “interesting” for most people, it could also, I think, be way TOO interesting ABOUT some folks. Will you be one of those whose Facebook Timeline presents a part of your Facebook life that you had forgotten about — and hoped others had as well? Need examples perhaps close to home?

If there is a photo album of you drinking in college that was posted several years ago, which you assumed no one would find, now is the time to go back and un-tag yourself. If you posted status updates ranting about a bad boss or said something controversial about a political issue, go back and delete it or select the option to remove it from Timeline. It’s easier now than ever before to unearth these details.

via Facebook Timeline: What You Need to Know – TheStreet. (accessed 17 DEC 2011)

I present some brief “must do” steps but mainly, I hope that this post can represent a good compendium of some great resources. I share some excellent portions from (all accessed 17 DEC 2011):

Facebook’s new Timeline is rolling out to the public, offering users the chance to upgrade to “a new kind of profile.” The new profile was revealed at Facebook’s f8 developer conference on September 22. The rollout began in New Zealand on December 6, and it’s now spreading worldwide.

Timeline turns the profile into an illustrated, browsable history of a user’s entire life, with major milestones and little moments smartly chosen by Facebook’s algorithm. The recent history is specific and full of activity, but Facebook automatically focuses older stories on life’s big moments.

via Facebook Timeline: What You Need To Know.

The most important new Facebook Timeline changes

Whether you call these simply changes, features, or problems will depend on your point of view. Here is a significant checklist that bears study:

Here’s a quick summary of what’s changed (emphasis added –  my comments in () ):

  • A new Subscribe button, allowing you to follow people you aren’t friends with, plus filter the amount of information you get from current friends. (This means people can follow you whom you’ve not friended)
  • Improved friends lists – easier way to group people into lists, including via semi-automated “smart lists.”
  • News Ticker that streams a constant flow of user updates in a sidebar (on top of your chat bar).
  • newspaper-like relevancy filter for your Facebook homepage.
  • Instant sharing of what you read, listen to and watch. (Focus on that word instant).
  • new Timeline profile a colorful history of you and your “life events”. (if you don’t do the cleanup ahead of time, your history may be more colorful than you intended!)

via The New Facebook: 3 Major Implications.

The features of Facebook Timeline I’m worried about


Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Followers I’ve not friended. Supposedly non-friends can only subscribe to your public items. I rarely post as public, usually only for friends, but what about friends of friends? Can they subscribe?

What about the Facebook Timeline instant sharing? According to this article it is an opt-in feature but you can bet that you’d better keep track of that setting even if you don’t opt into that sharing — recall all the “secret” changes Facebook has made in the past. And if you do opt into it, consider this:

This new feature will send an instant update to your Facebook News Feed every time you click through to a news story of a Facebook media partner (Washington Post and The Guardian are two early examples, but many more media companies will follow). It will also update your News Feed every time you listen to a song on a partner app, such as Spotify, Rdio and MOG. The ‘watch’ partners include Hulu and Netflix. Update: a commenter pointed out that this is opt-in. Yes, you do have to allow the media app to automatically share on your behalf.

The implications for you, the user, are clear: watch out that you’re not accidentally sharing things you’d rather not. For example, maybe you don’t want your social network to know that you like reading stories about Glenn Beck. Or that you listen to WHAM!’s Greatest Hits every Friday.

via The New Facebook: 3 Major Implications.

And finally:

Facebook Now Knows a Heck of a Lot More About YOU.
You probably don’t want more noise in Facebook or the risk of over-sharing. Tough cookies, because for Facebook all of that data is a gold mine. As Chris Saad noted, “the more information you have the more ability you have to find patterns and surface them in relevant places.”

Make no mistake, this is extremely valuable data to Facebook. They will be able to use it to sell highly targeted ads and maybe even sell anonymized data to corporations and governments. There are plenty of privacy measures in place to protect you, but as a user perhaps a more relevant question is: do I want a single corporation to know so much about me? Or, as John Battelle put it, do I want the “story of my life” under the control of Facebook?

via The New Facebook: 3 Major Implications.

Cool links I found on the web about Facebook Timeline

I have tried to comb through the many posts about the timeline business and present you with the most useful.


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