Since Facebook Timeline came out a couple months or so ago, it’s been one of those things I kept planning to get around to “next week.” When they made Timeline available for branded pages last week, I decided I’d better finally add it to my personal page. When you have “social media” in your job title, being busy working on social media doesn’t work very long as an excuse for looking outdated on a social platform.
So I did my Facebook Timeline last night. Here’s what I like:
- The 2007 photo of me at Bryce Canyon works well for my cover photo. The cover slot is quite severely horizontal, and that was the best horizontal shot of me. I used it in my blog header for quite a while, and I’m pleased to find a new place for it. Beyond the fact that Bryce Canyon is one of my favorite places (as is Cox Beach, where the sun is setting in the photo I use now in the blog header), I like that the hoodoos there were created by tectonic shifting. I have used the canyon as a metaphor for what is happening in the news business, and that tectonic upheaval is what I write about most often on the blog and Facebook. So the photo fits in a lot of ways. Plus, the hat and sunglasses shade my face, and that’s a good look for me.
- I like the opportunity to add life events before you were on Facebook. I added our wedding and the births of my sons (granddaughters’ births were already chronicled on my Facebook updates). Facebook pulled in job changes I had added when creating my profile, and I added photos to them.
- I like the ability to go to a particular year to find your updates from that period. This combines a helpful archive of your Facebook updates with the biographical stuff you add.
What I don’t like:
- I didn’t realize at first that Facebook was pulling in my job history (I think it did so slowly), so I added the Omaha World-Herald before I realized it was already there. I added a second World-Herald photo, because I couldn’t figure out initially how to delete one of the jobs. I’ll probably do that eventually, but I’d like both photos, one by Kent Savery of me interviewing Mikhail Gorbachev and one by the late Bill Batson of me at Wall Drug with some Afghan teachers and a statue of a prospector. I can’t find a way to include two photos in one job (one to display in the Timeline when you start and one when you finish). If someone can tell me how to include both photos in the same job, I’ll do that and delete one job.
- I really don’t like that Facebook automatically posts to my news feed each “life event” I add to the Timeline, as though it were a new event. (One friend asked if I was changing jobs.) I wish Facebook gave you an option to check that you don’t want a posting to go into your news feed, or that it would specifically say that you’ve added a job (or wedding or birth or whatever) to your Timeline, or an option to clump several together in a simple line saying you’ve updated your Timeline. I stopped adding life events just because I was annoyed at the stream of updates I was adding to my news feed. I could (and should and will sometime, I suppose) flesh out several of my life events by telling more about it, but I’m not sure I want each of those moves to clutter my news feed (and my friends’).
On balance, I guess I like Timeline. I’m glad I took the time to add it. I think Intersect might actually have a better Timeline tool. I’ve thought Intersect had great potential for storytelling, so a few months ago, I created a career timeline there to experiment. If it were to create an embed, like Storify does, I think that would make Intersect more valuable to journalists and news organizations. Now, you can’t create content for your website using Intersect; the timeline lives on the Intersect website and you link to it. Nonetheless, I think it would make a great tool for archiving content in a continuing story, or for telling a story that unfolds over time in multiple places. You can embed the Intersect map on a different site, but I think the real value is in the timeline.
What do you think? Which timeline tells my story better? Or which one did I use better? I haven’t tried Dipity yet. Is that a better timeline tool than either of these.