Facebook introduced a boat load of new features at f8 today, including Timeline, which the Zuck is calling a virtual scrapbook that will show off who you are, what you do and where you’ve been. Along with this announcement came this nifty little video of who I am now referring to as “Timeline dude.”
“Timeline dude” not only has a well populated Facebook page, but he has a kickass life. He was born to a loving family who spent summers in the valley. He graduated from high school and went on to meet pretty lady #1. After a few more years, Timeline dude married pretty lady #1, honeymooned, got her preggers, had a healthy baby and lived happily ever after. Oh, and he documented this all clearly and succinctly on his favorite social network (and probably where he gets his paycheck from) Facebook.
So my question is – what if you don’t have a life like Timeline dude? What if you don’t meet pretty lady #1 or it doesn’t work out and you end up miserable while Facebook stalking her with her new husband and kids until you’re a crotchety old man with lots of birds?
Or what if you don’t want everyone to remember everything you did in your life? It’s pretty clear to me that Timeline dude has never got “naked wasted” (not that I have…) or had his friends take a photo of him breaking into the Rec Pool at 2am wearing a ninja mask (haven’t done that either, I swear). He also probably didn’t live at home for 6 months after graduating from college while trying to find himself. And I’ll admit, I did that one.
I don’t want everyone to know every thing about my past. And I don’t want to have to worry about what people think of every thing that I do in my life. I don’t want to feel pressure to make my Facebook Timeline perfect.
Facebook may have plans to make the Timeline manageable for users in terms of choosing what does and what does not appear. We could have the ability to curate what people see. But who wants to or has the time to spend doing that? I don’t. I love the simplicity of using Facebook. Logging in, seeing what my friends and favorite brands are up to and moving on. I’m worried nothing about Facebook will be simple anymore.
Along with this loss of simplicity may come a loss of users. One of the craziest things to me about Facebook users is that they aren’t all young, early tech adopters. They are moms, dads and grandparents. They’re middle class, working class and every other class in between. Are these users going to feel overwhelmed by these changes and leave? Google+ is open to everyone now…
So will I stand by my annoyance and only migrate over to the new Facebook kicking and screaming? No. I’ll sign-up early, edit my Timeline and upload my damn baby pictures. Why? Because Mark Zuckerberg is smarter than me. And I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. But add me to your circles on Google+, just in case.