Facebook Timelines are now available worldwide, allowing users to tell their entire life stories through the social network.
Facebook announced Timelines in September, but rolled the feature out slowly. If you're just getting Timelines now, or want to speed up the switch from your existing profile, here's what you need to know.
What are Timelines?
Timelines are Facebook's attempt to tell the story of your life, based on your social networking activity. Presented in reverse chronological order, your Timeline shows status updates, photos, life events and new friends.
Timelines also summarize your activity from Facebook apps. For instance, if you've allowed Spotify to automatically tell Facebook what songs you're listening to, a summary of your tastes in music will appear in the Timeline. Or if you've been using Nike+ GPS, your friends will be able to see where you've been running.
How to tweak Timeline information
Of course, some Facebook activity is best forgotten. To remove a status update, photo or other activity from your Timeline, float your cursor over the top-right corner of the update, click the pencil icon, then select "Hide from Timeline."
Adding information to the Timeline is also pretty simple. Just hover your cursor over the line down the center of the page, so it turns into a "+" icon, then click on the kind of update you want to add. You can add events all the way back to your birth, making for a complete life story.
[SEE RELATED STORY: Facebook's New Timeline Layout: A Getting-Started Guide]
If you really like something that's on your Timeline, you can blow it up into a feature-size post by hovering over the update and clicking the star icon.
Controlling who sees what
Your existing privacy settings will still apply in your Timeline. For example, if only friends can see photos in which you've been tagged, no one else will see those photos on your Timeline. And if you've hidden a status update from a specific user, that person won't see the update on your Timeline page. Use Facebook's privacy settings page to make adjustments. You can also adjust privacy for anything you've posted, such as status updates and photos, by clicking on the gear icon near the top of the update.
To see what your Timeline looks like to the public or to specific users, click the gear icon on the top-right side of the page (next to the "Activity Log" button), then select "View As."
How to get Timelines
Head to Facebook's "Introducing Timeline" page, and click "Get It Now" to activate the feature. Or, you can wait to see an announcement for Timelines at the top of your profile page.
Once you make the switch, Facebook will generate a Timeline on its own, but won't immediately publish it. You'll have seven days to make adjustments -- say, to remove references to jobs you hated or significant others you'd rather forget. After that, there's no going back to the old profile.