Social networking software

Master Facebook's Timeline With This Handy Guide

Timeline Basics

When you first arrive on Timeline. you will be given the option to publish your new profile right away or wait until you finish editing before making the project go live. As mentioned earlier, you will only have seven days to keep your Timeline private, but that should be plenty of time to get your profile in order.

At the top of Timeline sits a large photo--Facebook calls it the cover photo--along with an inset of your profile photo. You get to select the cover photo. Below the right side of the cover photo, you will see three menu items: Update Info, Activity Log, and a settings cog.

"Update Info" takes you to a new page where you can edit your basic profile information including employment and education history, contact information, favorite quotes, places you've lived, and a list of your family members and relationships. The amount of data you see on this page will depend on how much information you've added to your Facebook profile.

Facebook also includes a drop down menu from the "Update Info" page allowing you to view and manage your Friends list, Photos, and Likes. You can also view the new map app from this page showing you all your Facebook check-ins, the places you've lived, trips you've added to your profile, locations of life events and location metadata from your photos.

In my tests, the "Update Info" page was a little buggy and the drop down menu would often stop working or limit your menu options. It's not clear if Facebook plans to rethink this menu item or not.

Activity Log

Selecting the "Activity Log" option from Timeline shows you a list view of all your Facebook activity organized by year since the date you joined Facebook. It includes information such as comments you've written on your friends' Timelines (formerly know as "the wall"), when someone wrote on your Timeline, when you became Facebook friends with someone, photos and links you've shared, and photos you've been tagged in. There is also an option on the far right that lets you filter this information so you can see only your posts, only posts with location data, photos, videos, questions and so on.

Activity log also has two columns to the far right of each post where you can adjust privacy settings for individual posts. The first column lets you decide who can see a specific post on your Timeline. You could decide, for example, to only let certain friends see a post or perhaps restrict it to just yourself. While this feature is handy, it is also limited. You can only restrict who can see posts if an item is posted to your Timeline. If, for example, you write a comment on a friend's Timeline that comment falls under the privacy settings of your friend, not you. However, you always have the option to permanently delete any comments you've posted on someone else's Timeline.

The second column to the right of the privacy cog lets you decide whether you want an item to appear on your Timeline.

Timeline Settings Cog

The settings cog shows what your Timeline will look like to specific Facebook friends or people on Facebook who are not your friends. The settings feature also allows you to add a Facebook badge to your own website.

Looking Beyond The Cover


A little further down from your cover photo, you'll see a summary of your basic information such as where you live, where you studied, where you work, or other information that you may have included in your profile. You will also see a series of boxes including a photo montage representing your Friends list; another photo showing the number of photos you've been tagged in; the new map application showing where you've lived and other location data you've shared on Facebook; and finally, a list of all the Facebook pages you've Liked.

There is also a down arrow that, when you click on it, will show you any new Open Graph Facebook apps you've added to your Timeline, such as the new The Wall Street Journal app. Here's an example:

Apps open in Timeline

TIP: You can't move your friends list or photo boxes, but you can feature an Open Graph app instead of the Map or your Likes. Hover over the box you'd like to swap and click on the pencil icon then select the app you'd rather feature.

Next Up: New Status Box Adds Life Events

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