October 12, 2011

New Facebook app maps users’ profile lives

By Chris Hatfield–

For what may seem like centuries ago, Facebook has been a place where parents and kids alike could share “their story.” Whether it was the fact that they just got up and ate their cereal, or they just caught their boyfriend in a lie, their story was being portrayed to the rest of the world- whether you cared or not. Since 2004, Facebook has been the ultimate source for “creeping,” and now it has made its most monumental change.

Mark Zuckerberg, inventor of Facebook, released a timeline feature on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. As the makers of Facebook started putting together the design for “timeline,” they looked at scrapbooks rather than new web development. “We looked at a lot of print, and we did entire studies on scrapbooks,” Facebook product Chief Sam Lessin said in an interview with the press.

The new “timeline” design was meant to archive major things that have occurred in your lifetime such as the birth of a child, the purchase of a pet or maybe even a surgery. However, it’s not limited to the major things either. Maybe you want to tell people about a brand new song that came out, or you want to document the wonderful dinner you had with your family; timeline does all of this. But does this really sound new? After all, you could do all of this with the original Facebook. “It helps people to much more richly tell their story,” Carl Sjogreen, product manager at Facebook said. Now you can include pictures to go along with life’s milestones and they can be documented all the way back to your birth.

Imagine going to someone’s profile and finding out who they were ten years ago and what they have become over those years. Timeline allows you post a picture, tell about what happened that day and then that picture will be uniquely placed on the year it was taken, on your timeline. Finally you can reminisce about that first 8th grade dance you had or the great times with your high school friends. The new Facebook is not as much about the present as it is about reinventing your past.

The American public has always been fascinated with the idea that everyone’s life story deserved to live on the internet and now it can.

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Illustration courtesy of Facebook

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