Facebook Timeline Apps - How to Share Activities with Friends Online
Facebook has unveiled a set of 60 new applications to allow users to automatically share what they are doing and their music, travel, photos and fashion through Timeline on their Facebook profiles. This feature was first announced in late 2011, but has been re-launched with many improvements. Facebook devotees can seamlessly share news articles that they are reading, video that they are watching or music they are listening to and mow lots more activities.
The latest development increases the number of apps significantly and challenges developers to get on board and to develop a host of new apps. The new way of sharing has been described "frictionless sharing" or "sharing on the go" because once a user sign up for the apps, their activities will be automatically shared through Facebook. Timeline transforms personal profiles into virtual scrapbooks that can catalogue various aspects of a user's activities, experiences, lifestyle, happenings, events - everything from travel, food reviews, entertainment, fitness to favourite books, music, films and videos. This is Your Life - Exposed!
The vision for Timeline is 'whatever story you want to tell', 'whatever you love or hate', 'what you are doing or about to do'. It is added to your Timeline and your friends can now know about it, instantly as it happens. There are various security settings available so that users can limit who will be able to follow their activities and which activities will be shared and to whom. Users also can opt to not sharing anything via a given app, and can simply use it privately.
The latest release is a call to action by developers to expand the 60 apps currently available to hundreds and thousands. Facebook pledged to work in partnership with developers who wanted to make new and exciting app submissions. Facebook already has a backlog of submitted apps that it was working through and releasing. Currently users can share stories about movies they've reviewed via Rotten Tomatoes, dishes they cooked and ate using Foodily and Foodspotting, and places they've visited with Gogobot and TripAdvisor.
Current partners include app vendors in the entertainment, travel, food, music and fitness arenas, plus others such as Chegg or Ford. The existing partners include Digg, Pinterest, Causes, Tripadvisor, Airbnb, Gogobot, Foodspotting, and another 50 or so. Ticketing partners include Eventbrite, ScoreBig, StubHub, TicketFly and Ticketmaster.
How Timeline apps Work
As an example, timeline interfaces with popular music and video applications such as Netflix and Spotify, so users can automatically and easily share their movie-watching and music-listening activities with all their friends on the Internet. When a user watched a TV episode or movie on Netflix, for example, a 'storyline' about each activity, would publish in the news "ticker" or the user's activity stream. The idea is that this happens automatically. Users no longer have to manually share things by posting every time they listen to a tune, read a good news story or watch a video or movie.
Every new Ticker event is triggered by a certain verb: "Bill is playing FarmVille," for example. When a user is playing the game, Ticker posts will highlight game play to friends who can also share their activities. Ticker events get posted after a user signs up for an apps for FarmVille, for example, or for a music service like Rdio. Action notes to a user's Ticker are published from these apps, announcing that "Bill," for example, "just purchased" tickets to the Giants-49ers playoff game, or that "Anne nommed" an exciting new meal she found on Foodspotting.
Each app has its own dedicated module on a user's Timeline. This ensures the related activities, such as music or movies, to be grouped together.
At the end each month, quarter or a year, the app provides a summary of the most interesting content.
Timeline is Mark Zuckerberg's vision that places, people, activities and events define a user's life and can be captured as a snapshot on Facebook. All the interesting things that user is doing - what game the user is playing, what songs the user is listening to, what e-books the user is reading - can be posted to Facebook Ticker and published. This can provide a real-time commentary and story-book of events that showcases what your friends are doing now. Facebook has promised to control spam-like apps that would post updates in a continuous and annoying stream every time a user took a breath. Also the Ticker allows filtered to only report on activities deemed to be relevant and useful for the user. Also it allows ranking of posts so that if several of a users' friends are doing similar things, that activity will be elevated to Top News. The the OpenGraph algorithm decides what is relevant and what is not to minimize the garbage.
© 2012 Dr. John Anderson
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