So after extended legal battles, Facebook's Timeline is now here. So what do we need to know?
First of all, what does this mean for business branding? So far Facebook has neither confirmed nor denied whether brand pages will get a layout similar to Timeline. We can observe however that Facebook is trying hard to tap into the "personal branding" scene, using subscriptions. Time will tell whether this takes off as Facebook has long been seen as a very personal network. So is it time to start personal-branding on Facebook the way we do with LinkedIn? One very important point to consider in that discussion is privacy.
Because Timeline makes past events very visible, it may display things you wish certain people didn't see. In my opinion however, this is a major plus. All of this information was already out there, available to snooping people and indexable by search engines. People are now being forced to confront what they had preferred to ignore. If you choose to market your own personal profile as representative of your business or brand, you will probably wish to hide most of your past from the public and your subscribers. Luckily Facebook has provided an option to do just that. If you want to restrict everything you have ever shared to be viewable only to your friends, go to the Privacy Settings page (http://www.facebook.com/settings/?tab=privacy) and click "Manage Past Post Visibility". You can then go back through all of your posts and choose individually which of them you want to share with the public. For each item you can also hide it from your timeline or share it with only a certain person or list of people. To check what it is looking like, use the "View As..." tool. You can find in-depth information about these privacy options here: http://www.facebook.com/about/control
One of the most noticeable differences in the new layout is the massive cover photo that you can now add above your profile picture. We are predicting a mini-industry will spring up around this, similar to the myriad of "MySpace Layouts" providers that were around several years ago. So far, people have begun using their cover photos in some very creative ways. Here are a few of our favourites.
- A Filmstrip
- Some Fake 3D
- Some Real 3D! (Apparently it works if you have the glasses)
- The Simpsons
- The Brady Bunch
- Mobile Apps
- Personal Branding
If you have been inspired, download our Photoshop Template and get to work! Post a link to your creative cover photo in the comments below.