Unfriend your family on Facebook now (and other Timeline observations)
OK, perhaps the title of this post is a little harsh. But it will make sense, as your Facebook profile will soon switch to the Timeline layout, if it hasn’t already.
That’s when you’ll see it: The Timeline, a rather beautifully designed summation of your entire digital life thus far, from your actual date of birth to the present — with a big, blank abyss between your birthday and your first Facebook account activity.
Considering Facebook opened to the public in 2006, and the average Facebook user is around 38 years old, big old timeline gaps will abound…gaps your family and friends will be tempted to fill with photos and videos from your childhood.
Go ahead, freeze in fear. We’ll wait.
Sufficiently snapped out of it? Now, take a deep breath, and listen carefully:
You can’t fully customize who is able to look up your timeline. “Friends,” “Friends of friends,” and “Everyone” are currently the only Timeline viewing options Facebook allows under
its privacy settings. But before you trim your friend list and likely alienate your mom in the process…
You do have some control over who posts to your Facebook timeline. But as of right now, it’s all or nothing: Either all of your friends, or only you may post to your timeline. So even if you wouldn’t mind some people posting, you’re out of luck. Or, you’re promptly unfriending your mom (think that one through carefully).
However, you can fully customize who is able to see what others post to your timeline. You can also add and remove posts at will. So, worst-case scenario, only certain people of your choosing will see those naked-baby-in-the-bathtub photos from your mom.
Before coming down with a case of the privacy rants, think about this: The privacy controls discussed above should sound familiar, because they’re essentially the same as before. It’s the presentation that’s different.
And what a presentation. Facebook has managed to take all of those random photos, statuses, and stupid vidoes and arrange them in a way that demands inner reflection. Watching the promotional video for Facebook Timeline is one thing — seeing it applied to your own online life, with all its milestones and memories, is downright visceral. Moments no longer disappear when there’s no more room on the wall; they are all there, year by year, for any friend (or just you) to see and think
Who wouldn’t feel protective of something like that? But do us a favor — before you start slashing family members from your Friends lists, at least cut your mom a little slack, OK?