Facebook have finally launched their much-anticipated "Facebook Timeline" feature, a feature that was unveiled at the Facebook annual conference this past September. This is a major change to the Facebook user's profile and offers the chance for other users to see a history of all the user's previous status updates, messages from other users, photographs, and important events (from relationship changes to job changes). Users can also add events to their own timelines, such as holiday photographs (to an interactive map) and other events before Facebook was a part of their lives.
I started to use "Facebook Timeline" a week ago, and while I do welcome some of the new features that it has to offer, there are some other features that I greatly dislike. For example, I was unaware that all old status updates were stored by Facebook. I know that past status updates could be viewed up to a point, but after that point, the past Facebook profile would not let you go further, so I had wrongly assumed that this data was not stored beyond a certain capacity. Unfortunately, I was wrong. In "Facebook Timeline", you can see all posts that you and your friends have ever posted on your profile. Cringe.
Seeing these past in my "Facebook Timeline" resurfaced bad memories that I would rather forget. This includes (for the past few years for me) bad experiences - such as being made to feel worthless for a couple of years due to a physically/mentally-abusive ex-boyfriend who kept weaselling his way into my life just as I was about to move on and suffering depression and anger after my position in a company (in a job that I enjoyed) was made redundant. I would rather that I could just hide all of my past posts from everyone.
For the moment, Facebook allows you to activate your "Facebook Timeline" profile and gives you the option to make changes for up to seven days. In this time, you can go through and delete old posts, but we're talking about sifting through a lot of old posts here, and the feature is slow to load. Unfortunately, security settings cannot be changed to hide all past stories; you would have to change one at a time. This would be a long process, as I have been a member of Facebook since the middle of 2007.
I do wish Facebook would allow me to control my privacy settings; I'd like some information (such as past updates) to only be shown to close friends. This also means that I will be more carefully considering what I post on Facebook in the future, as it will never 'go away'. It's a little bit unfortunate because I have treated Facebook as my social and casual hub were I can freely speak to friends and get back into touch with people and exchange friendly banter, unlike LinkedIn and Twitter, which I consider my professional hubs. Most of my friends are on Facebook, and this is our main method of communication, and I find that I speak more to my friends that I ever did in the past few years; this isn't due to me being anti-social, but it's mainly due to my busy life and the fact that I live in a different country to some of my closest and oldest friends.
"Facebook Timeline" will be ruled out to all users, so I would advise everyone to go through and delete old posts or photographs that they would rather not be reminded of. Enjoy this long task, unless you're only a casual user of the social networking website.