Facebook’s Timeline – Are They Reverse Engineering Social Media?


I always said that social networking was nice, but after so many posts, your thoughts and ideas get lost. I guess someone was listening or had the same ideas, because yesterday at the F8 conference, Mark Zuckerberg announced Timeline – a new way to see your Facebook profile all the way to your birth.

This brings a new level to the social network. Not only does it give you a way of finding out what you did, where you went and what you said, but also turns it into a nice album so you – and others – can view. You can then organize your life online. And it works just as well in a mobile environment.

The feature is only in beta through the developers network (If you would like to get on Timeline, there is a little hack we’ll discuss later). I activated and started using it – featuring some of the pictures and posts that I created in the last four years I was on the social network.

Then I realized something. Not only can they catalog the posts you made, they also can catalog items from before 2007. Not MySpace posts or BBS entries, but pictures and information from your life before Facebook existed. It’s like they’re reverse engineering Facebook and Social Media all the way to your birth.

For some, they might find that concerning: Facebook has been under fire for privacy issues in the past. Now they want you to put your baby picture online? They want to get your life growing up, going to school, working, playing and more?

For others, this could turn into an opportunity. Facebook, by turning into your personal life journal or photo album, could mean new ideas in social networking. It’s even possible you would connect your timeline into others – like family – and create a full family tree.

How to get on Facebook Timeline during the Beta Period

To do this, you have to sign up for Developer and create a simple application. Not that hard. Here is how you do it.

  1. From Facebook, type in “Developer” in the search. The first result will be the application. Choose that.
  2. Apply to be a developer. If you run a website and have the widget on your page, you most likely have done this step already.
  3. Choose “Create New App” button on the top-right side.
  4. Give the app a name, check the “I agree” box and enter in the CAPTCHA
  5. Select “Open Graph”. You may have to fill in a couple boxes asking what the application does. Just put in something simple like Runs with scissors.
  6. When you close out, go back to Facebook. Within a few minutes, you will see the invite.
What do you think of Timeline? Does this make you more obsessed with Facebook? Let me know: Tweet me @geekazine