Facebook users who have been holding out and not switching over to the Facebook Timeline page can run, but they can't hide.
The social networking site made it known months ago that Timeline eventually would be mandatory for all Facebook users. That time is now. By fall, everyone still using their old Facebook page will be switched over to Timeline.
Timeline launched in September 2011 and was made available to all users by the end of the year. It's designed to let people tell their stories through words and pictures, documenting everything from major life milestones to how many miles they ran that day. It replaces the user's Profile and Wall message pages, but the news feed page remains the same.
Many who adopted Timeline like it because of its improved design, ability to make better use of graphics, and ease of navigation. Timeline makes it easy to travel back in time and see posts from the past, divided by year. Many have used it to create a detailed, visually rich online portrait of themselves.
But some Facebook users have held back because it was easier to stay with the old profile page or because of privacy concerns: Timeline displays everything ever posted on the site. It was there before anyway, but Timeline makes it easier to search and find things. It's an issue for many people in an era when potential employers scour social media sites for information about job candidates.
For those concerned about privacy or unwanted photos and information preserved online, there are ways to control what appears on their timeline. When a Facebook account is migrated to Timeline, the user will see an announcement when they log in. They have seven days to edit or delete items before it goes public and becomes their new profile. If someone wants to hide a post, they can do so directly from Timeline or by going to the activity log. The activity log -- which is private and can only be seen by the person it belongs to -- contains everything a person or their friends have ever posted on their profile. Posts can be filtered out or the user can decide what to highlight or hide. After they start using Timeline, they can continue to make changes anytime.
The first step for new Timeline users is to pick a cover photo that will appear at the top of their page. It can be changed or updated with new photos.
Timeline incorporates information from Facebook apps. For example, the Pinterest app lets others see what kinds of things people are pinning on their Pinterest account, while the Spotify app posts updates on what music they're listening to. People who don't want to share this information can manage what their apps publish -- or delete them -- in the settings menu.
Facebook has been adding other enhancements designed to complement Timeline over the summer. In July, it introduced improved graphics features -- including a stand-alone photo section, where users can enlarge photos and highlight the ones they want to stand out. Hovercards on the newsfeed display information on Facebook friends and their activities, and can re-direct the reader quickly to their pages.
Last Wednesday, it launched a redesigned messages page. The new layout will let users click on a recent message on the left and view the entire conversation on the right, and post multiple photos with a message.
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