Saturday, December 17, 2011

Facebook's New Timeline and Why I Love It!

As of December 22nd, everyone's Facebook page will look a lot like a blog. It's the new Timeline layout and it's quite a big change compared to the last round we endured.

My Reaction
I will say right off that I LOVE the new layout. The "Cover" image at the top and the scrolling Timeline is much like the banner images and blog posts we see on people's blogs. As a photographer, I'm especially excited about this new design. As a writer, the new layout also comes in quite handy for promotional purposes.

So many people use Facebook for posting images and videos. I've been on people's walls where that's all they have - shared images and videos from other people's walls. There are days when it seems that the News Feed is filled with them. This new layout is conducive to a very visual environment, which is why I think it works so well. Posts are now side-by-side one another, unless you make a certain post a Highlighted one (see below), much like a column in a newspaper or a magazine. If you want to see a great example, check out Ann Curry's.

Here are my three top fav features for the new Timeline.

Cool Features: 

Cover Image
The new cover image, as I said above, is much like a banner picture. SO much better than the 5 thumbnails across the top that were there before and that we had no control over. With the new banner size image, there are limitless possibilities. As you can see with mine, I PhotoShopped in three pictures and added text in the upper left corner to my website...it's subtle. When visitors click on the image, I've added a short bio and a link to my website. This is just one way authors, photographers, and many other people can utilize the new features to their advantage. By the way, the perfect dimensions for a cover photo are 850x315 pixels. If your image is that size, there will be no cropping or adjusting it. Remember that your profile picture will take up a portion of the bottom left corner, too.
 
This image is the Cover for my photography buddy, Marcel Pepin. He and I have been chatting quite a bit about the advantages of a landscaped image at the top of your page and all the different things you can do with it. From making it a collage of pictures as I did (easy to do in a program like Photoshop), to including a directional link in your photo description as both Marcel and I have done, there can be subtle and even not-so-subtle uses for the banner image. Choosing your image is a personal statement, and we all know a picture says a thousand words...sometimes even more.

Life Events

I chose to update and publish my own page before the December 22nd deadline so that I'd have time to be sure the posts from 2009 that I didn't want to be reminded of were deleted. The new Timeline goes back to the beginning of your Facebook time...including highlighted posts. You can add your own "Life Events" to years going back to when you were born. Most people might add their wedding day, when they had their children, etc. but there are great possibilities for authors, too. For example, I added when both WHISPERS FROM THE HEART and WRITE FROM THE HEART were published to my Life Events (as "Other"). One thing I noticed is that the default for Life Events seemed to be "Public" so I changed mine to "Friends."

Highlight Feature
One feature I really like is the "Highlight" feature. The "Highlight" feature is the Star next to the Edit (pencil) icon in the upper right corner of a post. When you click on the Star, it makes the post spread across both sides of the Timeline - looks cool for pictures and photo albums.

Fewer Ads
Another thing I noticed that's a big plus, is that with the Timeline layout, you actually have a Timeline bar on the right side of the screen - that's where ads use to be! So, now there are fewer ads on the right.

Birthday Wishes
We all love getting Birthday Wishes, but with the new Timeline, the hundreds or thousands of Birthday Wishes you get will now be contained in one Timeline box that lets you scroll through to read them. No more will all those posts dominate your entire page!

When people start posting Happy Birthday Wishes on your wall, Facebook's Timeline bulks them all together into one Timeline box. You'll get to see the first several, and can scroll through them until you get a notice to view additional comments...As you click on, for example "78 Additional Comments" (or close to that!), it will display the next bunch - you'll have to scroll down within that box until you reach yet another notice to click to view more additional comments (however many that may be). Keep clicking and scrolling through until you eventually hit the end of all your wishes. Note that you will see the gray bar on the right side of the box (within the window) and it will scroll down as you go through the list of comments until you reach the end.
Happy Birthday!


My Christmas Wish
My only wish for Facebook is that they do the same type of layout for Fan Pages, which they seem to never change.

Ready to change your Facebook layout? Click Here to learn how.


*****
Heather Hummel is a celebrity ghostwriter and an award-winning, best-selling author. Her published works include:

Journals from the Heart Series:
Whispers from the Heart (2011)
Write from the Heart (2011)
Nonfiction
GO BIKE & Other Signs from the Universe (2011)
Gracefully: Looking and Being Your Best at Any Age (McGraw-Hill, 2008),
 Essays:
Messages of Hope and Healing ( Sunpiper Media, 2006)
Blue Ridge Anthology (Cedar Creek, 2007) with David Baldacci and Rita Mae Brown
Awards:
2009 Mature Media Awards, Merit Award
2009 New York Book Festival, Honorable Mention

Visit Heather’s website at http://www.heatherhummel.net/
Follow Heather on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#!/HeatherHummel
"Like" Heather's Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/HeatherHummelFanPage

Visit Marcel's Photography at RedBubble 

2 comments:

Viviane Brentanos said...

I am with you. I like timeline. As for the author pages - you can make yourself a nice landing page or facebook website using wix.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Viviane-Brentanos-Author-of-Womens-Contemporary-Fiction/72889240497

Heather Hummel said...

Hi Viviane,

Happy to hear someone else loves the Timeline!

I created a landing page on my fan page a while ago: http://www.facebook.com/HeatherHummelFanPage?sk=app_190322544333196
I just wished the fan page Walls were as aesthetically pleasing as the new Timeline...i.e. being able to have a cover image, especially since the landing page is only seen by non-fans.