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Friday, January 27, 2012

Is Facebook’s Timeline Digital Storytelling Or TMI?

Any day now, your entire Facebook life will become an open book.

That includes those late night status updates, any photos you were tagged in, job history, relationship status changes, even comments on friends’ walls.

That information was available before, but now Facebook’s Timeline format is displaying it more prominently and making it easier to navigate.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says Timeline promotes storytelling. And Facebook is giving users a seven-day period to preview the new layout and delete any embarrassing information before the Timeline page goes live.

But privacy advocates are worried that users will inadvertently over share.

Adam Clark Estes, who writes about media and technology for the Atlantic Wire, says that it can be time consuming to manage the information that’s pulled into your Facebook Timeline.

“Easy is not a word I’d use to describe control on Facebook. The Timeline can require a lot of work,” he said.

But Clark Estes ads, “you do have control over it.”

What do you think about Facebook’s Timeline Feature? Have you over-shared on Facebook unintentionally? Tell us on Facebook, in the comments section or on Twitter.


  • Adam Clark Estes, writes about media and technology for the Atlantic Wire

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • notsomuch

    For me FB is a way to keep up with scattered friends.  Period.  I don’t use any outside apps, don’t link to outside sites except to post occasional stories found in the web.  I rarely post personal photos.  All because of privacy concerns.

    A friend has voluntarily chosen Timeline format already.  I don’t like the appearance of it at all – makes his profile page look crowded, harder to follow.  But it does look more like the currently popular busy graphic style that one sees in much print media and in broadcast media that runs more and more advertising and other information over top of whatever the central broadcast show is.  To me, this appearance is noisy, unattractive, and simply looks highly commercialized.

    Timeline, if it retains the current appearance, may finally drive me off FB.  Clearly, I am not the target FB user.

  • Seraphaeme

    Mr. Estes caught listening to Justin Bieber at home alone?  Ooooh, that’s not only TMI, but a touch creepy too.
    Anyway, as my 26 y.o. nephew who works at Facebook once said to me about my online privacy concerns:” There is NO privacy. Get used to it.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YWL5ORQJW6LVL2O5Y2SWFFWYWQ Peece to the Peeps

    Looking forward progressively is fine up to a point, but the last company that tried to dictate exactly what changes they would make while dissing the consumers’ options and desires, was Netflix.  If FB is popular, it’s because it had what consumers wanted.  If and when that ceases to be the case, “Natural Selection” will take its toll.

  • BHA in Vermont

    There are those of us who are not concerned with Facebook privacy. We don’t use Facebook.  These “cloud” applications have too much “back room” control which the purveyor keeps hidden from the users. They can store anything they like (which exists essentially FOREVER!!) , look at anything they like, sell anything they like but they don’t have to tell you they are doing it until they get caught.

  • Alikev

    I’ve been editing my FB timeline before the publishing date, and my biggest complaint is . . . how amazingly SLOW the page loads with the scant data since 2009.  Apparently everything needs to be loaded into your computer before you can start editing, too; I scroll down to view before the load finishes and get shunted back to the top with frequent regularity.  I could eat a meal plus dessert in the time it takes to load my timeline.  This will not help my opinion of FB. 

  • http://www.ohioken.com Ken Palosi

    I am not sure what all the fuss is about. Many people say that they are going to cancel their Facebook accounts if they are forced to use Timeline. If you have managed your account in a prudent manner you shoudln’t have anything to worry about. However I as many others don’t like being told what to do, especially when someone is making money off of me, albeit indirectly. I for one am getting a little tired of all this social networking anyhow and am on the cusp of abandoning Facebook and Linkedin.

  • http://thawus.com/ Bennet Ratcliff

    Sharing doesn’t have to be scary — it can be magic.

    An old friend living in New York saw me listening to Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife” when it came up on Facebook via Spotfiy. He messaged me that this was the first song he recalled hearing at age 6 while sitting in the front seat of his parents’ car listening to the radio.  Ironically, my 6 year old son and I had returned home to California from a trip to New Orleans.  We were listening to “Mack the Knife” on Spotify which a jazz band had played for him at Sunday brunch the day before. 

    I was touched that this memory and song could travel across time and space and be shared by my old friend and my young son.

  • Christina

    I don’t like that the profile picture and cover are public with no options to limit the audience. As a parent, most of my pictures include my kids, but I don’t want their pictures available to the general public. I also haven’t been able to figure out how to (or if I can) limit access to the map that plots my check ins. I don’t want to provide some nut with the tools they need to stalk me or more so, to find and track my kid.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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