Guest Author - Violette DeSantis
There is no turning back now. Many users have turned on their Facebook Timeline or had it turned on for them. Even if you were one of the few who hit publish instead of waiting out the seven day preview, you may still be struggling with the idiosyncrasies of the newest Facebook update.
The Facebook Timeline is a vertical timeline display of your life. Your images, status posts, public comments, likes and more are juxtaposed on either side of a chronological timeline.
The Timeline replaces the Facebook Wall, but does not replace the news feed (what a user sees when they visit the Facebook.com logo in the upper left-hand corner of their dashboard). Although the Timeline does not represent the news feed, the Timeline itself is an individualís news feed of their posts in a news fashion for others to see. A user gets to add a cover (header image) and in a snap shot others can see an abbreviated view of what the user or page is about immediately below the cover. They personalize what objects are seen below the header area and on their Timeline.
The Facebook Timeline Pros
The immediate difference in the look between the news feed and what was previously the wall is a plus. The Timeline allows users to personalize a visitorís experience. The biggest improvement though is being able to scroll through a timeline by date. If you want to check in on someone or find something you posted a year or two back, you can jump back much easier than waiting for older posts to load when previously displayed as a wall.
Another plus is the ability to back date life events to appear on your Timeline. Perfect if you want to highlight some important milestone you didnít post.
There is also a new tool called the Activity Log private to the user to see everything they did across each year and month.
The status box dropdown displays seem more preferable to me than before. There is the addition of the Highlight feature. Selecting the star icon near the edit pencil icon in the right-hand corner of any post displays it horizontally across the timeline to stand out as featured content.
For individuals managing Facebook fan pages, they may become an immediate fan of the new Facebook Timeline for the way it displays posts and the ability to feature content. It is also easy to see which content could be hidden or deleted.
The Facebook Timeline Cons
Images are probably the biggest con Iíve found in this scenario. Some display awkwardly in the new status boxes. Then there's the problem of setting up new profile and cover pages. It is a mystery to find what a perfect cover and profile picture size should be.
If a user loads an image the system canít easily display to crop they get a message telling them the maximum width. Personally most users want to know what size would look good in the cover area. The perfect size for a Facebook cover is 850 pixels x 315 pixels if you plan to customize something before importing into Facebook.
The other image mystery of course is getting the profile picture just right. This is a userís avatar as well. Unfortunately importing the image at the recommended 180 pixels x 180 pixels only places a perfect image on the cover overlay. In most other places of Facebook the image is not resized where the avatar is represented smaller.
Users are not aware of how their images look on the friendís page listing either. Many have become mid-drifts of individuals, not very becoming in quite a few instances.
The other con outside of images that I can see is if you are not happy with the Timeline, you are stuck with it. This is a con for a lot of people. How many millions of people can be made happy at the same time?
The Timeline is Now
Face it, the Facebook Timeline is here to stayÖfor now. With a little work and finesse a user can correct the immediate problems with the important cover and profile images. Hopefully this update will harken an age of Facebook users who are finally happy with a Facebook update.