The first thing I’ve really been excited about in facebook for some time – the timeline. I’ve always been interested in showing my data in more interesting ways, and as the owner of much of my data, facebook is ripe to take advantage of it. While others have been trying to visualize parts your life, you really won’t need to look much further any longer. Let’s take a look at what my data looks like in the new timeline.
When you first hit a profile you see a “half view” of the new cover, along with the start of your timeline:
This makes you wonder some of the more interesting things people will do with an image that “folds up” as you scroll back up to the top.
You get all the basics – timelines (with month or year segments to jump to), about, friends, photos, maps, and likes.
Maps do something like I’ve always wanted Gowalla to do – show visited spots, and let you segment them by time:
As you start to scroll down the timeline you get a sticky header, with the profile name, and a “+” to add events to the timeline.
Some events now are very specific:
And it looks like facebook is going to allow others to build on this to create custom modules. I could imagine – a gaming module that asks: Just played… Just bought… Just won… – here what travel looks like:
There are automatic modules – like photos:
Friends you’ve made in a specific timeframe:
Places you’ve been:
And major life events, like marriage:
Overall, polished, slick, useful – and just fun.
There are others that do very simular things – memolane – my lane: http://memolane.com/jeremyjohnson does a great job – just quickly enter a couple of your social media hangouts, and instant timeline!
Dustin Curtis had lifepath.me – and just wrote about some of the similarities here: http://blog.dustincurtis.com/facebook-timelines-and-lifepathme
Or something like vizualize.me that takes your linkedin data and makes it more visual, and useful.
There are more and more tools out there that take your data and give you something more useful in return. As well as sites dedicated to visualization like: http://flowingdata.com/ and http://infosthetics.com/.
While I think this is a very useful display of the data facebook collects from me, I do wonder about people who will be growing up with facebook – and have a couple years they would rather forget, or maybe dated throughout – will you be able to “hide” specific years/months? Do you really want to have all your past a very quick and visalbe click away? I’m lucky facebook didn’t really take off until I was a “professional” and married – so I don’t mind everything being exposed to my friends or even the public. As always with facebook, privacy is key – and very granular options are needed.
Looks like everyone will be getting this view on the 29th, so get ready to have your life laid out for all to see!