The new Facebook Timeline might breathe life into the network

The new Facebook Timeline

My Timeline - a snapshot of my life through the Facebook lens

Facebook has just announced a slew of new features which will be coming to a screen near you over the next few weeks.

For my money, the jewels in the crown are the new Ticker boxes and the Timeline.

The Ticker box, you might have noticed already, appears in the top right of your screen and updates frenetically (if you have a lot of active friends) showing you that John has just liked a business Page, Julie needs hay for Farmville and Sue is now married to Garry.

What this lightweight fluff channel can do is move all those annoying and largely meaningless notifications off your main screen and to the side.

From a marketer’s point of view, moving that fluff leaves room in your main Wall for interesting and more substantial updates from friends and business Pages.

But the second change I think has potential for moving Facebook into our living rooms. Here’s why.

The Timeline

The new Timeline transforms your older style profile which was largely a bland pile of odds and ends, and crafts a representation of your life into a timeline that allows you to work your way back from today to your birth.

Of course, Facebook was not around when you were born, so it is spooky to see the rich tapestry of your life start from the time you joined Facebook, leaving your pre-Facebook life barren and empty.

However, from this point on, I can see Facebook becoming the Family Photo Album and Journal.

As I looked through my new timeline last night, it provided me with many warm memories as I scrolled back to 2007, as attractive mini photo albums from previous months and years cropped up between memorable Facebook utterances and exchanges.

I have already been using Facebook to ‘journal’ interesting highlights of family life, charting funny moments as two little babies grow into children, but now this more attractively crafted linear family tree could replace those old photo albums and scraps of newspaper clippings in family room drawers.

With Facebook revealing that they now have 800 million users and on one day last week they cracked the record of 500 million users logging on in one day, this Timeline could see the engagement time grow.

It could also, by making strolls down memory lane easier, bridge the gap between those last, staunch family members refusing to get drawn in: you want to see some family pictures, here, leaf through the Timeline on my iPad.

If you are visual, you might like to see this short video of the Timeline from Facebook.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzPEPfJHfKU[/youtube]

And if you cannot wait a few weeks to have the new Timeline offered to you, here is a link to a tutorial for getting on board now.

If you were holding back from marketing through Facebook, it might be worth having a play and judging for yourself whether this latest offering might draw more of your potential customers around this large, virtual watering hole.

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