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Personalizing Facebook’s New Profile Page and Timeline

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Facebook is changing its users’ Profile pages, to display a chronological Timeline of all their activity on the site (and beyond). In this article, Facebook for Grown-Ups author Michael Miller shows you what this new Profile page looks like, and describes how you can personalize it.
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Like it or not, Facebook keeps changing things. The latest change involves your Profile page, where all your personal information is displayed. Facebook’s new Profile page is completely redesigned, displaying all your Facebook activity in a chronological Timeline. Not only does it look different, but it displays a lot more information than did the old Profile page.

Most of what you see on this new Profile page is set in stone by Facebook. That said, Facebook lets you remove items from your Timeline, promote items to featured status, update your personal information, and even change the look and feel of the Profile page (to some degree). So you have some small amount of control over what people see on your Profile page, as you’ll soon learn.

Understanding Facebook’s Profile Timeline

Facebook’s new Profile page looks a lot different from the Profile page you’re used to. In the past, a Profile page displayed a bit of personal information, and that’s about it. The new Profile page, with its new Timeline view, displays a lot more information in a much different format.

(By the way, if you don’t yet see the new Profile page in your Facebook account, just hang on; Facebook is in the process of rolling out the Profile and Timeline across all accounts.)

The intent of the new Timeline display is to tell the “story of your life” on a single page. (Well, as much of your life as Facebook knows about, anyway.) That might sound like a great thing to you, or it may sound like an incredible invasion of your privacy. I’m probably somewhere in the middle—I appreciate having everything in one place, but not sure I want everyone I know to be able to figure out that much about my life that easily.

The new Profile page (see Figure 1) puts your key personal information, including your profile picture, at the top of the page. Note that only a handful of personal information is displayed here; to view all your personal information, users have to click the About link.

Figure 1 Facebook’s new Profile page and Timeline view.

This information section at the top of the Profile includes graphics that link to your friends, photos, maps, and so forth. Click the Friends graphic, for example, to view your entire friends list; click the Photos graphic to view all your uploaded photo albums.

Beneath the information section is the meat of the Profile page—your timeline. That is, a listing of all your Facebook activity, in reverse chronological order, including status updates, photo and video uploads, events, you name it.

You can jump to any specific point on the timeline by clicking a point on the literal timeline at the far right side of the page. Facebook lists all your activities by date, including things like when you born, when you graduated from high school, when you worked at a particular company—everything you’ve entered in your profile information, displayed on the Timeline.

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