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What You Need to Know About Facebook’s Timeline

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, by now you’ve probably seen most of (if not all of) your Facebook friends switching over to the new Timeline. Even if you yourself have already made the switch, there are some important features (including privacy and security) that you may need to address.

Timeline, in case you haven’t yet noticed, is a brand new layout for your Facebook page. Instead of a resume-style profile with one image in the left, you will now see a much more visually-styled profile with the opportunity for plenty of creative customization. The cover photo, a large open space perfect for expressing yourself, heads up the page and sets the tone for your entire profile. Then, your actual avatar (aka profile picture) takes second stage, tucked to the side but still quite visible. Your posts are now organized in a different, much more visual way (and you’ll notice that photos have a bit more emphasis now, which adds to the overall look). The links to your interests, likes, and photos are now large icons and more easily spotted by visitors.

Here’s where things get tricky: you’ll now see a MAP in that set of links. Any time you’ve posted to Facebook with location settings on, Facebook recorded where that post was made, and will now show you (and anyone else who visits your profile). Since joining Facebook (February 7, 2005 to be exact. Thanks Timeline!), I have made posts in  North Carolina, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and Jamaica! The map function places a dot where each post was made, and bigger dots for multiple posts. I can see that the majority of my Facebook posts were made in Boston (which makes sense, based on how long I lived there). The map also serves a secondary function: you can manually add places you’ve travelled or lived to document your adventures! Unfortunately, there is no way to disable the map. If you want to remove a location from your map, you must do so manually, and it’s a process.

In your profile, click on the “Activity Log” button (top right below your cover photo). Find the event/location, and unclick the radio button “Allow on Timeline.” Tedious, but guarantees it will not be seen. This is also the procedure to remove any other unwanted posts from your entire Facebook history.

Anything you have ever posted is now much more easily searchable, and additionally, your security settings for past posts need to be double-checked. Make sure that people are seeing only what you want them to by going to “Privacy Settings” and looking at what you have now, as well as “Limit the audience for past posts.”

This helpful link directly from Facebook explains additional privacy settings you may be concerned about. http://www.facebook.com/notes/facebook-and-privacy/controlling-what-you-share-on-timeline/271872722862617.

And remember, once you decide to switch to Timeline, you will have seven days to make, review, and test any changes before you make your Timeline visible to your friends (and future friends). Good luck, and I can’t wait to see all of your beautiful cover photos!

You can find Dana Dillehunt on facebook here: www.facebook.com/danadMA

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Andrew Bonner, Lead Social Media Writer

Andrew Bonner, Lead Social Media Writer