The new timeline feature that is gradually being implemented across Facebook gives users a chance to delve back into their past and easily have a look at what they – and you – were doing in years gone by. It’s a pretty slick feature (even if we thought of it first!), but as people are rapidly realising, it might well open the door to a past that could come back to haunt you.
Most people who were at university or college during Facebook’s fledgling years would have enjoyed a rather comfortable isolation, given that for first phase of its existence it was only open to certain educational institutions – your parents and later bosses wouldn’t be able to see what was going on in your own little debauched world. But now Facebook is completely open to members, people from all areas of your life are adding you as a friend… And with the help of the timeline they can now take a voyeuristic look back in time at what you used to get up to when you only had six hours of lectures per week, a student loan burning a hole in your pocket and a raging libido – long before you were the respectable citizen you are now.
Picture the scenario: Your parents are now on Facebook – what a buzz-kill. And thanks to the new timeline, all of the exchanges you may have had with friends years ago at university that were safely buried underneath years or ‘normal’ activity are easy to locate. Now your parents, dear old auntie or your impressionable young nephew can now see what a depraved creature you were a few years ago. No one want’s to sit through the family lunch when someone brings up the topic of you in fish net stockings, a school-girl uniform and make-up… which was delicately applied around your BEARD. Yes, I sat through that one staring intently at my yorkshire pudding, cursing my older brother for ‘accidentally’ leaving his computer open on that particular photo.
Disclaimer: it was a stockings and suspenders/uniforms party and I’d foolishly asked my housemates to grab me a costume as I was in the lab all day. Never again will I trust those guys.
But panic not!! In Stephanie Buck‘s article on Mashable she outlines a couple more potentially problematic situations that may arise from the looking-glass that is the new Facebook timeline and more importantly, she tells you what to do to preserve marital harmony, keep yourself employed and remain on the family Christmas card list!
As much as I’ve said that the timeline is a disaster for anyone who likes to have a bit of fun, we also think it’s a pretty cool feature. If however you do have things on Facebook that you now feel compelled to get rid of, you might want to look for a way to back up your Facebook profile so that you can still reminisce behind closed doors, or with the appropriate audience.