Personally, I kind of like the Timeline. I think that it’s a much-needed upgrade of a fairly stale profile page. But then again, I’m not that private of a person and I don’t really care about the skeletons from 2005 that the timeline allow people to dig up if they so choose.
Having said that, here’s some news for Facebook users that have yet to switch to Timeline: it is quite overwhelming at first. I joined Facebook on Halloween, 2004 – and since then have amassed a shocking number of wall posts, status updates, photos, and shared links. And while I wouldn’t call any of it embarrassing, there are some things that if they went away, it wouldn’t bother me. A drunken photo here, an over-zealous political status update there – eight years of living publicly through Facebook is bound to reveal minor indiscretions.
But I know that I’m abnormal in the fact that I don’t really care about all of that. For a large percentage of Facebook users, the company is crossing some lines with Timeline. The main concern is that Facebook seems to have adopted an “opt-out” strategy when it comes to information sharing. The Timeline puts everything out there by default, and it’s the user’s job to clean it up and make sure that they aren’t publicly sharing something that they want to remain private.
Of course, this discussion of “private information” doesn’t just include old, unearthed photos and statuses – but the series of “frictionless” apps that are going to be an integral part of the Timeline. These apps, like “social readers” and music apps like Spotify automatically share your activities with friends. Although Facebook has stressed that the Timeline doesn’t disclose any more private information than the old profile and that all of the apps are voluntary, online privacy groups have voiced concerns.