This is it. This is what your invite to Facebook Timeline will look like. In New Zealand, and possibly other parts of the world, Facebook members are waking up to this new reality: Timeline is officially transitioning from beta to all-out feature. Eventually, Facebook Timeline may be the default view for all Facebook users.
As you can see, the invite is relatively small and the explanation — at least on your Facebook homepage — is succinct. “Timeline is a collection of the photos, posts and experiences that help you tell your story.” It’s a little sentence, though packed with meaning. While photos and posts are fairly well-defined entities, “experiences” is much looser, and it’s really the magic of Timeline. As skeletal as your Facebook Timeline may appear when you first see it, it is intended to be a linear biography, a map of your life. You can fill it up and you can let others do so as well.
When Facebook announced Timeline in September, I was somewhat ambivalent. Timeline is not simply a hand-built diary of social activity. Between Facebook’s existing algorithms, the new Open Graph and frictionless sharing, a whole world of activity could naturally flow to the chronological stream. Facebook will even decide what’s important enough to show. It’s a lot of power for something that lives solely on a computer screen.
Mashable showed us all how to build our Timelines early, ahead of Facebook’s broader rollout schedule. As a result, I, and millions of others, have had the opportunity to build and play with our Timelines. The fact that we could do so is, I believe, no accident on Facebook’s part. Last month, Facebook executives told me they wanted to seed savvier users with the feature to help guide newbies. Essentially, to prepare them for this day when average people would be confronted with this simple choice. Once they opt into Timeline, their profile page will never be the same, and they will look to those who have been using Timeline for more than two months for help.
My time in Timeline has guided me to a better place. I actually like these profile pages and am endlessly fascinated about what I can discover as I dig back to my first year on Facebook: 2007. I realize that this is how people think and how they walk back through their memories. It’s not random — jumping from one decade to another. Instead, it’s a series of connections that lead them back through time. They remember one friend and that leads them back to another, and then a party they all attended in 2005, and that further connects them to someone they hung out with in 2003 but have all but forgotten about in 2011.