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Well, I triggered my new Facebook Timeline via the Developer route... an hour and a half later, and I'm not hugely happy with it so far, specifically around privacy. My head is spinning!! I'm not digging the two-column layout. And, I'm certainly not digging that every single piece of content I ever posted/shared/liked, place I checked in to, event I attended, group I joined etc. etc. is all displayed. Now, I'm drilling deep to triple check privacy settings... and am deleting old stuff, old pics, before publishing my Timeline. Dangit, this is work!!

I want to delete some old rubbish from 2007 but am concerned that'll trigger an activity into my current feed?! Probably not, but still. I can see that I will be revising (yet again) my approach to using my Facebook profile for personal activity. I know this latest mega round of changes is designed to almost subconsciously entice users to share more and more and more... from birth onwards, adding in milestones and life events along the way. Well, much as I certainly like the idea of having my own interactive autobiography - even if I had much of my historical data set to be visible by only me - I'm just not hugely eager to dish it all up to Facebook. Yes, I love the platform and always will. I'm just saying, these changes are causing me to be even more cautious about what I post, how I engage on the site, and what apps I use.

Plus, since I decided to turn on my Subscribe button the other week, I notice this has drawn a lot of attention to my profile that wasn't there before. So, all Public content is fair game for anyone to surf through and comment/like.

For example, I'm seeing an increase in foreign guys liking a whole bunch of my photos at a time... which clogs up my notifications. So, I thought I'd go through and adjust the privacy settings of my photos/albums. I see that I had my default for all mobile photo uploads and all wall photos set to Public. You can't change the privacy of these two albums en masse, it has to be individual photos. And, if I change the privacy from Public to only Friends or even Only Me, can any non-friend who made a comment on the photo still see (and interact with) the photo?

Aha, from Facebook help: "Anyone who can see a post can see comments made on that post." I take that to mean if the audience is changed from Public to Friends, any non-friend cannot see the photo/post, even if they made a comment? But, this answer seems to contradict: "if you change the audience after you publish something this can’t prevent someone who already saw it from sharing it." https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=233739099984085

Facebook does warn you that any tagged friend will always be able to view a photo, regardless of how you set the privacy for that photo. Oh, except for Only Me: https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=240051956039320

Granted, there is the privacy option to "Limit the Audience for Past Posts" - which automatically changes ALL previous posts shared with more than friends (e.g. Public) to Friends. But, "people who are tagged and their friends may see those posts as well." Hmm, so then how does this Limit feature affect the new Subscribe option? If I were to convert all Public posts to Friends only, do all Subscribers (non-friends) suddenly not see anything?! :)

Phew - plenty fodder for my free Facebook webinar coming up on Friday, September 30th at 11am PST / 2pm EST - save the date, details to follow later today/tomorrow!! :)

Meantime, I enjoyed this article on TheNextWeb this morning: http://thenextweb.com/facebook/2011/09/25/facebooks-eerie-goal-why-timeline-changes-everything/ -- recommended reading.

And, I've shared several tips on my Facebook Page in the past 24hrs pertaining to unsubscribe, Ticker and privacy: https://www.facebook.com/marismith?sk=wall&filter=2 Blog posts coming...!

Btw, if you want to upgrade to the Timeline early, this is the easiest tutorial I've found: http://www.businessinsider.com/get-facebook-timeline-2011-9#go-to-your-facebook-homepage-and-add-the-developer-app-by-typing-developer-into-the-search-bar-click-on-the-first-result-1
cc +Beth Kanter (re privacy - much more to this than meets the eye, eh?!)
For those out of the loop, Facebook just introduced the Timeline at its recent F8 Conference. Besides the obvious changes in aesthetics thanks to the Sofa acquisition, Timeline alters ...
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76 comments
 
Whew! Glad there are folks like you to learn from Mari. Thank you for sharing with all of us. 
 
+Jay Zalowitz - my profile is http://fb.com/maris -- I haven't published my Timeline yet so it should still show my regular profile even if you've upgraded. Only people who have upgraded can see other Timelines so far.
 
Thanks for the review. I desperately want in to the timeline, but am forcing myself to stall until it really is open to the public. I want to record the setup process.
 
If you delete old posts and pictures from say, 2007, will that affect the continuity of other more recent posts that connect to the old posts? You know, like time travel ... going back in time to kill your grandfather???
 
Isn't it a great marketing intern? not. It is intrusive, and I found in a test last night that I saw a lit more than I should see in the timeline of someone I do not connect with.
 
For some reason, I've not received the update with the Subscribe feature on my wall. I'm actually fine with this, as I don't want to open the same door you mentioned, Mari, for weird, creepy and stalker-ish stuff to start happening. I feel the same about the Timeline option - I don't plan on using it if I can avoid it. I don't tend to post a boatload of photos of my personal life on my FB page anyway, and the ones I do have, I prefer to not blast them on this new Timeline feature. I'm hoping the Timeline thing won't be forced on us, but it's FB....they always force new things on us, rather than giving an option to choose. sigh

Thanks for all the information, Mari. You confirmed a lot of what I had predicted and suspected about Timeline. More privacy invasion that is iffy as to whether we can efficiently control with settings.
 
This is exactly why I am leaving FB. It's ridiculous.
 
+Mari Smith So do you think Facebook shot themselves on the foot with this or do you thing they dug there own grave?
 
Exactly why I'm not an FB fan and never will be.
 
Thanks for the review, Mari. Customer choice is obviously not a Facebook value - especially when it comes to customer privacy.
 
This whole timeline thing is going to be much bigger than what you can imagine, now....I just know it. People/companies will analyze your historical data to make judgments for all sorts of things (job/college applications to membership inclusion, etc.).

Can you imagine the advertising possiblities here??? +Mari Smith
 
I start out with very closed privacy settings on fb, looks like I will be going back that way. Thanks for all your help Mari!
 
+Mari Smith It's way too much to be displayed - I don't even remember the specific things I liked, mentioned, etc let alone the rest of the world seeing it. Right now the only thing I do like is the header.
 
I like it, I actually went in and put in events in my life and was a ble to grab photos I had already uploaded to FB and move them to the correct place in my timeline.
 
I like that I can go back in time a lot easier. I sometimes want to find an item I posted a few weeks before and it has always been a challenge. It will take some getting used to. I wonder how many people will rewrite their history to make it more esthetically pleasing...
 
Mine just disappeared as of this morning, I am glad too because I did not like it that much.
 
Mari- all of this info and posts were on your profile anyway. And could be seen by whoever you allowed in the past. Nothing changes the content, just organized better. Before I turned on the subscribe I made sure nothing from the past was public that way I knew moving forward they would only see public posts.

You do have to go set the settings on each photo album I think. 
 
I was also surprised that someone who is not in my contacts made a comment in one of my post. I just realized that it was set on "public" post. Facebook should have warned its users first before they made changes so that we are not placed in this situation.
 
Yes, it is pretty amazing. However, isn't it a stalker magnet? It pulls up every bit of information from the 1800s! I saw my 1st post when I joined. Are there privacy buttons? Haven't found those yet. Not sure what to think. It makes my mind think of ten thousand things at once :D
 
+Tina Vale Again.. All of this info was already on your profile.. I don't see why people are weirded out by this. It's just organized 1000% better. Whatever settings you had before you have now. And if you want to change it for all posts in the past you can now.. I think FB honestly gave us much more control with this change.
 
Thanks for the link. I just updated to Timeline as well. My first reactions? Too much going on, and I'm considering deleting a lot of things from my profile.
 
Wow Thanks Robert! That really helps. Since Facebook has never posted any update tutorial for their changes, this post has been very helpful. Thanks!
 
is there such thing as "privacy" now? :) nahh!!
 
+Scott Ayres I agree. I guess you think once you type it..*POOF* it's gone..Not realizing that it goes into a facebook cookie jar and gets dragged back up again when you have a sweet tooth. It also makes me rethink how much personal information I should put out there..Fun is one thing..however, tracking is another. Safe if you know it is in the right hands. Unsafe in the wrong. *yes* it's beautiful, organized, grand. However, not sure if it is information overload. I will soon find out once it launches. I do love the look. I sat there speechless, not knowing where to start :-)
 
+Mari Smith thanks for your thoughts here. On the one hand, there is creepy implications. But +Jeff Jarvis argues in his new book, Public Parts, that there are benefits to privacy. I'm rethinking the way I'm framing workshops where I cover privacy settings ... look forward to your webinar .. hope I'm not already scheduled for something - or that it will be recorded.
 
+Mari Smith You're a well informed user that understands a lot about FB, and you seem overwhelmed with the process, imagine how the average user is going to feel.
 
No such thing as privacy in a way BUT maybe controlled information.
 
Really do appreciate you sharing about the changes on FB.. Have been looking into more privacy setting myself, been cleaning house there for the past couple of days..:)
 
+Mari Smith thank you so much for this! As a fellow social media person I am glad I'm not the only one fretting over the timeline. I have been a Facebook member since 2007. That's a ton of data to mine through and adjust. It's been 3 days and I'm still not done. Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone and look forward to any tips and insight you can share.
 
I like the two column layout and after you get used to it I think you might change your mind. I've been using the new layout for a couple days and now when I view someone else's old style Wall it almost seems plain and antique looking.
 
How do you turn off all of your information posted in your stream?
 
I used to go to my profile very few months and delete all posts, comments, and all activity, keeping only about 2 or 3 months of stuff. Now I go to do the same, and the delete option is gone. All I can do is "hide" posts etc. If I hide them then they can be unhid.
 
+Scott Ayres yep, true enough re all the data visible to public over the years - nothing changed there. However, I highly, highly doubt anyone would sit there and trawl through years and years of data on anyone's profile by clicking that See more button at the foot... far too laborious. With the new zippy timeline, it's a data-mining dream for whoever wants the data. I have always shared rather openly over the years, but as my life and business have evolved and I have grown as a person - and undergone transitions - I just don't want all that historical stuff "on show." It's my own fault for ramping up my friends close to the max, really. Then there's all their friends in the mix too, depending on privacy settings. I do know a lot of people, but out of 4,500 Facebook friends, I probably personally know 1,200 of them. Otherwise, it'd be real easy to just set default visibility to friends only and be done with it. Then from here on post specific open content to Public and the rest to friends only. So, as I say, I'm reassessing how I'm using Facebook for personal sharing... and with whom. Could be a big unfriending coming up, I'm not sure yet. Though labor intensive also, this could be an easy solution given the new Subscribe function for non-friends.
 
+Darryl Cotton True re the hide vs. delete. I have an uber old event I want to dump from 2007, and there is no delete option. ;(
 
+Michael Richard Murphy Woa - thanks for that link re the European laws. Phew. Yep, I was speaking with an attorney friend recently who mentioned that all Facebook data can be subpoenaed in court, specifically in divorce cases. :(
 
@George Orwell - are you here?!! ;)
 
It was somewhat overwhelming once I upgraded to browse through my Facebook life since 2004 when I first joined as a student at Penn.

I don't post things that are overly personal, but I wish the new profile had an option to exclude all things in a certain category. For example, maybe I only want to include things I've posted and not things people have written on my wall for the last 7 years. As far as I can tell, the only way to get rid of things is to go back and hide them all manually.

I also agree with +Mari Smith on the 2-column layout. Not the best display.
 
I took advantage of the "Limit Audience of Past Posts" setting as soon as I saw it. I imagine most people who are concerned about privacy or their online image will be going back through years of postings to clean up. What a time suck.
 
Well my default setting excludes 2 lists I have so they don't see any posts or pictures unless I post yo them.

So I went in and made my custom posting setting to friends and excluding these lists and then had it change it for all historical posts. Seemed to work great when viewing my profile as someone in the lists.

But +Mari Smith I think now there is no real reason to be friends with people you don't know now. Only advantage from a marketing standpoint is being able to message them all. But then you risk them seeing all your stuff and them being able to tag you all the time. The subscribe thing changes things.
 
+Mari Smith and +Scott Ayres I don't believe anything has happened to Groups. Right? You could put all your close personal friends into a closed group and those posts would be essentially hidden from any view. And if you really wanted to -- make it a Secret group and then there is no question about who can see post/images/docs etc..
 
Yeah groups are still the same 
 
I have started testing out the new Timeline format. I am losing my beauty sleep testing tonight. :)
 
+Phyllis Khare exactly - I love my secret groups!!! I'm in a whole bunch, five of them very active. :)
 
Im leaving crapbook myself I am having a HARD time to delete all that crap I posted just having fun and it will not let me delete a photo album at a time either its photo by photo no they cant take over the whole internet they are just ONE small tool and I plan to join the migration to google+ to show them they are not going to own my internet use in the way they have in mind.
 
don't use any apps in FB, just sharing info from other sources.....now I am careful with likes and comments, privacy is a joke, waiting to see the new changes..:)
 
Mari, I am trying to resist being one of those 'I liked it better the old way', but I am fairly au fait with facebook, I think it is going to cause some problems for those who are quite casual users. I see real issues for parents trying to moderate their teenagers facebook pages. I also see issues for those perhaps in their early 20's who joined FB in their university or college days and who are now making their way in the corporate world. They will have some work to do over the next period of time perhaps to ensure that some of their 'University party photos' are now not surfacing! Time will tell, the teenagers will be the first to jump off if they don't like it. I am willing to give it some more time, but my goodness Google+ just became much easier :)
 
Great post!

Is it just me but when you add an event to the timeline (such as the birth of a child) it seems to default to public despite my privacy settings set to friends only. I noticed this and was able to change but I expect not everyone is going to realise.
 
they don't seem to understand how the eye works, it's weird to dart left to right and back to follow the timeline, although that does save space.
 
+Will Kriski I agree with you Will....it's very choppy, and while it's stylistically "interesting" I'm not sure what it accomplishes other than saving space, as you said.
 
I'm not happy with mine either! I have so many questions/concerns. example: Boom! There goes the entire 55+ audience, a substantial piece of the pie, so where will they go? How will retail and service providers now engage this audience? I teach Social Media classes to many Winter Texan's each year and privacy is the number one concern. ...not to mention your eyes are drawn in too many directions with the new layout!
 
I don't get the moaning about old posts. If you didn't want people to see a post you shouldn't have posted it in the first place. Don't blame Facebook for you posting pictures of you drunk at a party. 
 
Time line for business.. (hopefully they enable for Fan Pages) is awesome. But it does open EVERYTHING up you've ever done on FB which is good and bad. I agree with both Mari & Scott. Time to lock down privacy, but if you didn't want it to be seen, don't post it in the first place...
 
I was thinking about trying it out, but then I saw all the hoops you had to go through just to get it started and decided that I didn't want it that much. Glad to hear about your experience though. I guess I won't take the plunge then. Sorry to hear that it isn't as cool as we hoped.
 
Its cool, just digs everything up. I agree with +Don Mulligan , it only took a few mins. But its only visible to you. So its really just a wow, look at this type of thing. I think they're going to start rolling it out beginning of october I believe to everyone.
 
Thanks for sharing your thoughts/challenges, Mari. The new terrain of social media! In general: the simpler, the better, to me.
 
Yeah there isn't anything to it really. It's not like you have to go back into time and set it all up..
 
I like G+ for business! FB is a copycat! Just merge and give us a break! Only 1 Main Social Media platform!
 
After reading all the posts here, and the other articles I've read about the timeline, I'm seriously considering dumping FB altogether. I hardly post personal stuff there, yet I still find all of their new changes creepy.
 
Hey +Scott Ayres - you know I love ya, but I think you're being insensitive with this comment: "I don't get the moaning about old posts. If you didn't want people to see a post you shouldn't have posted it in the first place. Don't blame Facebook for you posting pictures of you drunk at a party." I'm not sure to whom you're referring. Drunk at a party? Maybe if you're a teen/twenty-something.

In my case, I was married when I joined Facebook in 2007, and got divorced in 2009. I don't particularly wish to have updates/photos made public from a phase of my life that is complete now. I had been diligent about deleting my own albums/pics or at least setting privacy to only me. However, the new Timeline instantly surfaced an array of content and photos in which I'd been tagged that I had overlooked. Prior to Timeline, I wasn't exactly about to sit there and scroll back four years to delete updates. In addition, I'm rigorous about protecting the privacy of my own family members -- I want to make sure all my activity with family is locked down before publishing my Timeline. And, I'm rigorous about preserving my own safety. I don't want a potential stalker trawling through my Timeline to track my patterns of daily/weekly/monthly behavior.

What the Timeline has surfaced for me is a need to drastically overhaul my friending strategy and - more than likely - choose to use Facebook the way all the hundreds of millions of users do and the way the site is designed to be used: that is, to only add people you know as friends and lock down privacy.

There's a reason the average user only has 130 friends... and not 4,000+. Yes, that's not Facebook's fault, of course. And those of us with thousands of friends are the anomaly; probably only a fraction of a percent. When I joined Facebook, fan pages didn't even exist so many of us chose to max out our profiles. It can be laborious and challenging to decide who to unfriend... but I can see it's a necessary next step, given the subscribe option now as you point out.
 
+Mari Smith I was just saying that in general terms. But my point is all of this stuff and photos was there already. So if someone wanted to poke around and find it they could. The photos were already pretty easy to see if someone wanted depending on your settings. The posts were harder of course to find but they were there.

I see so many freaking out about this, but it was all already there before this Timeline thing was announced. Whatever setting you had on photos and etc is the before and after you implement the Timeline profile.

For me I just went in and set all of my privacy settings to include only my friends and actually excluded 1 list that was people I was just networking with. And then had it apply to all posts from the past as well. That way I basically started over in a sense and didn't have to worry about someone seeing pictures of my kids and etc.

But, I do think now with the Subscribe button there isn't any big advantage for marketers to become friends with people they don't know. Especially if you're like me and put these "friends" in a list and only show them public posts. They might as well be subscribers. You only lose the ability to message the masses I suppose. But that's about it IMHO.

I'm dumping all of the "friends" I have that I don't know this week and telling them to subscribe to me.
 
Mari, thanks for the info. Gotta say, that one thing I've been cautious over on FB is allowing the world to see my posts. If someone is a friend, or part of that friend's network, that's fine. As far as new friend requests, I'll always see who the person knows. If I've seen that person postong on a board that I'm on - great! That's a commonality. But if I get friend requests from someone I don't know in China that doesn't speak English - kinda dampers the point of accepting it.

In the past few years, I've learned to keep my public FB comments constructive. If I have a bad day or a difficult moment, I won't outright post that. That's like verbally saying "I'm having a bad =&*#$!% day because....." So I'll write or say "its a challenging day today - something to learn from".

Thas my perspective. :)
-James

PS Facebook has "upgraded" "revised" or "changed" their pages too often, and most times people are frustrated by it. I get that. As the phrase says "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". It was fine, they fixed it, now its broke.
 
+Mari Smith +Scott Ayres I am working with parents of the 13-17 year olds and many of these teens have absolutely no idea what constitutes 'privacy'... for these kids (and Facebook's future audience) the word is as archaic to them as dial up phones and vinyl records! and they do add photos of themselves in various stages of 'not appropriate', only because in their eyes (and in their brains) their view of appropriate is very different from an adult's perspective. As Mari said, it changes over time and many of them have hundreds of friends. Yes any past photo or comment was still there with the old platform, but it was more difficult to find, the new timeline makes everything more real and tangible. While Facebook remains free and optional we can all exercise our rights to walk away from it, but social media has become so intrinsically entwined with both Gen Y and Gen Z - the connected generation. They have no concerns about sharing anything. I think this next stage of Facebook will certainly be challenging for the adults who are trying to teach children how to use this great platform wisely. I agree with +Kenda Morrison I think FB may lose the 55+'s - the ones by the way with the spending money! It will be interesting to watch how the teenagers react to this, I don't think we need to be like 'Henny Penny - concerned about the sky falling in' - but there will certainly be a period of major adjustment and for many parents, many concerns.
 
+Mari Smith I know you have a lot of Friends,but didn't Mark Zuckerberg merge his Profile and his Page before the Timeline? Was that to restrict who has access to his Timeline? I haven't had access to the new Timeline yet even though I followed a step-by-step guide, so I am waiting in the wings to find out. One thing that struck me when he announced the Timeline was: Does it show the year you were born? Wouldn't that compromise your personal security?
 
Dealing with the repercussions of the general user base having easy access to your online history pales in comparison to the influence of the newsfeed changes.

Top stories does not replace the overall content promotion algorithm, power users don't even get to see top stories. It's quite seriously a step backwards in human social development, I'm seriously upset about it and I don't know what to do. I still can't believe its true I feel like I must be missing something.
 
Thanks Mari. This is more in line with my thinking after the initial excitement of the announcement.
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