Facebook Timeline: Exciting Users or Making Them Unhappy?

October 4th, 2011

Andrea Corbo*

Facebook has described it’s new timeline as a way to “tell your life story.” If you have any presence on social media sites, you’ve surely been hearing the hype from friends and online articles alike.

Users will now be able to display their likes, photos, apps, and more from the beginning to the end in timeline format rather than a traditional profile. This leaves many users wondering if the site will display things from the start of their account or if they’ll be asked to fill in the blanks from earlier moments in life. Of course there are other questions:

  • Will there still be a newsfeed?
  • Will there still be status updates?
  • How does this new type of profile influence the way we connect with friends and fans?

The company itself seems pretty confident in the new layout and timeline. They’ve even released a promotional video in anticipation of its launch.

With the countless changes to Facebook in the past, the most recent being the addition of a ticker of real-time updates from connections, I can’t recall a video for any of those new features.

With all this hype over timelines, I’m left wondering, what is the damage verses the gain when changing a social media site? Each time Facebook makes even a small layout change, users post angry statuses complaining about what they don’t like. When Facebook first added the newsfeed back in 2006 it seemed that everyone was outraged. Now, users are comfortable with the newsfeed (despite the latest updates that change the way posts are displayed in a feed) and expect to see it. So, do users just want to keep things the same for the sake of comfort? Or are these new projected changes really a negative thing?

With the new timeline, some current users fear threats to privacy, dislike the open display of too much information, and dread adjusting to the differences. Yet, others seem excited to relive moments with friends and embrace a new approach to display their info. I can guess that once the timeline is launched to all users, people will reject the change at first and then eventually learn to love it.

But for now, we will have to wait and see as Facebook Timeline Has One Week Time-Out and has delayed beta testing in order to sort out issues over possible trademark infringement.


After receiving a B.A. in communications, and briefly working at a TV production studio, Andrea began volunteering abroad. This lead her to work in the non-profit world, where she was fortunate enough to learn about international education, women’s empowerment and social issues for the elderly, while traveling to over a dozen countries.  Since joining BurrellesLuce in 2011, Andrea is excited to share her thoughts and views on branding, social media, and communications with the growing Fresh Ideas audience, as well as her passion for cultural awareness, volunteerism, and sustainable efforts. Twitter: @AndreaCorbo; Facebook: BurrellesLuce; LinkedIn: BurrellesLuce

2 Responses to “Facebook Timeline: Exciting Users or Making Them Unhappy?”

  1. […] in the near future. (If you are unfamiliar with the Timeline layout, please check out my colleague Andrea Corbo’s blog post for a detailed explanation of this new debatable feature.) Other headlines have focused […]

  2. […] Timelines have replaced profiles, changing your settings to display the email address of your choice and […]

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