Your New Profile is Here: Time for Facebook Timeline
By Lynette T. Owens
Last September, Facebook announced that it would change the way your profile would be laid out and how you could share and manage your information. It is not uncommon for sites (social networking, websites, or any site) to update and improve themselves on a frequent basis, but this change is one of the biggest since Facebook’s launch and possibly the first change many new Facebook users have ever encountered.
It has taken some time since the announcement but these changes, called Facebook Timeline, are finally here.
What is Timeline?
According to Facebook, Timeline is “your collection of the photos, stories, and experiences that tell your story.” To be honest, I would argue that was the definition of Facebook even before Timeline. But the difference is in the way all that information is laid out to you and to anyone else you choose to share it with. The old version of the profile was minimalist, functional but boring. This change is much more elegant and when you see your life reflected back to you in this way, it’s hard not to stare and be narcissistic for a moment. It is not unlike the About.me service that allows you to create a beautiful profile page using photography in a way that is more aesthetically appealing than the typical website.
Beyond the obvious artistic changes, there is much more to pay attention to, especially if you’re someone who shares a lot of things with a lot of people. Here’s a list of the highlights of Timeline:
The first thing you’ll notice is an image area at the top consisting of 2 images: a large image spanning almost the entire width of your profile and a smaller image overlapping on the bottom left. This is your profile picture. The other image is a new feature and lets you choose something to set the tone and style of your profile. A few thoughts:
You’ll probably end up spending a lot of time figuring out the best photo to put in the new spot so do this when you have time.
If you upload an image that is too small it won’t allow you to do it. You need an image that is a minimum of 399 pixels wide (according to the message I got).
If you’re not an expert at understanding graphics quality for the web, you should know that the photo you choose should have a high resolution, otherwise when you expand it to this size, it looks awful and grainy. Some expert sites say that a minimum of 300 pixels per square inch is a good rule of thumb (better to take a huge photo and scale it down vs. a small photo and expand it to fit the space)
The ability to edit the image you choose is limited – you can only slide its placement around (like your profile picture) – you can’t resize it, zoom in on it, or edit in any other way like you can on many photo printing sites.
If you’re advising your kids on using this, I would also remind them that they should respect copyrights and not use an image that cannot legally be used.
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