Thursday, September 22, 2011

Facebook Timeline and the Implications for Millennials

Facebook Timeline preview from

Welcome to Timeline.  Mark Zuckerberg, at the f8 Developer conference, said “We’re more than what we did recently” as he went on to announce timeline profile pages.

If you want the idea in under 2 minutes, watch the official Facebook video.  Facebook has created what appears to be a beautiful mosaic that really takes a profile and focuses it into three areas: applications, self expression, and a users story. And they do this, all on one page. The idea, according to Zuckerberg was to more or less move from telling the story of your life in the last 15 minutes and actually captures the whole of your life. Audacious? Yes. Intriguing? Most certainly.

On one hand are the obvious privacy concerns. Many say privacy is dead and we should get over it, but I think I’m of a unique age group that has comfortably lived adult lives pre-facebook and after Facebook burst onto the scene. Privacy, in several aspects, still means something to us even if at times it’s difficult to see just how.

On the other hand, I am fascinated by the potential this has for changing the way we interact through social media. Whether privacy is dead or not I hope is a topic of debate for sometime to come, but there is no denying social media, in one form or another, is here to stay.

So what should tech savy (and career savy) millennials do in response to this roll out by Facebook?

Think about your biography
Because more or less, that's what this is. A biography.  No one likes a story where at the end, you knew there was so much more to it. If you decide to utilize this feature, go all in. Make it interesting. Make it uniquely you so that when friends go to your page, they do feel as though they've entered your virtual home. That doesn’t mean make stuff up, but work with what you’ve got- photos, interests, and everything else to really be strategic about how you present yourself in the world of social media.

About those friends of yours...
They're really the only people who should be able to see what you're up to Facebook. It never ceases to amaze me how many people don’t have some sort of privacy settings on their Facebook profile. In this day and age, there’s no excuse. Protect your profile.

Clean up your act 
There’s the old “don’t have anything on your profile you wouldn’t want your mom to see. Go a step further and think of your  (future) son or daughter.  An even easier rule: if you have to pause to think about whether or not something should stay a part of your profile, it’s time to take it down.

Talk to your friends
If there’s photos floating out there, tagged or not, that you feel could cause you embarrassment, talk to your friends and see if they’ll take them down.  Have one friend always posting things you rather not be a part of your Facebook story- it’s time to have that conversation or cut off their posting privileges.

Face to face is never bad
I don’t know which is more awkward, grandparents on Facebook or teens who don’t know how to interact in person. As we grow more accustomed to communication through social media, the true value of your abilities to connect with people face to face increases. Platforms like Facebook can and should more fully enable our online conversations to serve as an impetus for more meaningful interactions offline. As we communicate more and more over status updates and texts, your ability to communicate in more traditional formats will help you stand out.

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