Why the New Facebook Will Blow You Away

People are funny.  They get all bent out of shape when Facebook or Twitter or some other service that they don't pay for changes some little thing.  The outrage is palpable.  "You moved my Events from the right to the left!  How dare you!   I'm never coming back to Facebook!!"  

Of course, they always come back.  The "outrage" is funny, as people feel that their favorite social media site is not taking care of its customers. Guess what: if you don't pay for it, you're not the customer; you're the product.  Facebook monetizes you the same way it monetizes me.

With that out of the way, prepare for real outrage.  This week's little tweaks are nothing compared to what's coming down the pike.  I've been previewing the new Facebook Timeline, the new way that the site will display information about you. Goodbye, Profiles!

Basically, Facebook has boiled your life (such as it is) down to a one-page collage of awesome!  The mystical algorithms churning away in a basement in Palo Alto (or a datacenter in Prineville, OR) decide which of the bajillion things you've posted on the site since you created your profile really tell the story of who you are, and adds them to your timeline.   And it works amazingly well.

My new Facebook Timeline
Your profile page will be divided into two columns, containing updates from your friends, maps of your favorite Places, batches of photos you've uploaded, A timeline on the right highlights significant dates... the last few years, when you graduated high school - all the way back to when you were born.  Select a year, and you see what was significant then.  And it's uncanny how well the Facebook servers can sift through the data of your life, and pull out key things to put out there, like a scrapbook of your life.

Now, of course, the privacy folks will have a field day, but all this stuff is in your profile anyway!   You don't like it, hide it! But for your friends and others who you want to share your life with, this is the most intuitive, human-memory-like way to do it.

I'm not sure how long until Zuckerberg and the boys roll out the changes on a grand scale.  It should be in the coming weeks.  But I can't wait.

The new Facebook Timeline is available to anyone now on their Developer page, which is part of every Facebook account.  By enabling it, you will be able to see what your Timeline will look like, and see anyone else's who has done it.  Only those who have enabled it can see others' Timelines; everyone else will see your old Profile.  Mashable has posted instructions here. 


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