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Facebook Timeline: The Real Reason for this Irreversible Change
Facebook Timeline is a nice concept
Facebook timeline is another unnecessary change by the Facebook developers. The rumor has it that it looks more like Myspace. Why would Facebook want to copy a social networking website that they destroyed? I can not answer that for you; maybe the programmers at Facebook can tell you why they switched to timeline. I'm sure that the developers will come up with a rosy story about how polling data shows that Facebook's users like the idea of a timeline to easily navigate their wall. As the website ages finding older posts becomes harder and harder so it would be a great idea to present an option that will take users back to the beginning. When presented this way, Facebook Timeline would come off asa very powerful and interesting idea. That maybe true, but why is timeline mandatory for every user on Facebook? It probably just makes the formatting easier.
Facebook Timeline is a money play for Facebook
The real reason for Facebook Timeline is money, in case you didn't know. It increases ad revenue for Facebook by focusing on your interests and ranking them with Graph Rank rather than chronological order. I like to play some of the online games on Facebook, but guess what, my posts do not always appear on my timeline. I guess that they are there in cyberspace somewhere, but not where I would like them to be. I can't ask someone to come and click a post off of my wall, because I don't have a wall anymore, I have a Facebook Timeline now because I didn't know that it was irreversible.
What is Graph Rank?
Graph Rank is a algorithm that determines what events are important to advertisers at any particular time. Post a song, bam, it is on the front page and it will stay there. So will your pictures and maybe your status, but probably not too many of them. Facebook timeline needs to make room for your interests. Not just any interests, but those special interests that appeal to advertisers. Your interactions with your friends are now a means to an end for Facebook. Don't worry though because there will be a Facebook industry of apps coming soon. Facebook says that if you like cooking then they have an app for that. If you like running then there is an app for that. You better believe that they have targeted advertising for those apps too. Targeted to users interests at a rate of 90% accuracy.
You are Facebook's product
Facebook has basically sold out it's users in an attempt to boost it's Initial public offering (IPO) on the stock market. Users are going to have to weigh the cost to benefit ratio when using Facebook Timeline. You are Facebook's product. They track your internet activity. They know your likes. They know your friends. They know your interests. They know what kind of music you like. They know everything that you allow them to know and probably a lot of information that you don't think that they know. Now they are leaking out more and more of that information to advertisers. It is a troubling trend in my opinion. First it was through the tattle tale bar on the right side of the screen that tells everyone when you are on and what you are doing. Now it is through algorithms that know your interests so that advertisers can target you more effectively.
Pros and Cons of Timeline
In closing, timeline might be beneficial to some people that are casual Facebook users. For me personally, I do not like people looking back and seeing what I did years ago. Facebook lets you block friends from going back in time, so you can enact that option to control what your friends will see. Once that option is enabled your friends will only be able to see back a very short period of time; probably a month or so. Another problem that I have with Facebook Timeline is that I can go back in time, but I can only see what Timeline wants me to see. This equates to about 10 posts that they claim are important for an entire year. I can't go back and see some of the posts that I think were important because Facebook Timeline disagrees with me. Some conversations that I would like to revisit are seemingly gone forever. Some of my recent posts will never be seen. But Facebook Timeline thinks that they know us better than we know ourselves, so we will have to suffer through it.
I do like the big banner at the top, but be careful because if you put a picture in the banner it becomes public unless you delete it-- another little surprise for you from Facebook timeline. Hopefully this timeline will adapt over time and fix some of these issues and the ones that I haven't learned about yet. Facebook Timeline has been around for months now and these annoyances are still present, so I'm not holding my breath waiting for changes. I am a fan of Facebook, but so far I am not a fan of the Timeline. Hopefully it will grow on me. So far it is just an indication of how creepy Facebook might become now that it is a publicly traded company that will constantly be seeking new sources of Revenue.
More info on Timeline
Poll: Tell us what you think
Do you like Facebook Timeline
UPDATE: Facebook changed the layout, now you can see everything that you post. When you go back in time you can see a lot more of your posts now by clicking see more. Timeline is starting to grow on me more now, but I still don't like facebook's record on privacy.