It’s been a dream couple of months for social media enthusiasts like me. Google+ came, saw and conquered the hearts of people all over the world. Just as people were beginning to write Facebook off, the world’s largest social network struck back and in some style, counter punching Google+ with one killer blow after the other.
I’ve already written about how you can leverage Facebook’s newly introduced lists and the Subscribe button for your business. And it’s time now to turn our attention to the most talked about feature of Facebook these days – “The Timeline”. Though Facebook has kept the timeline under the wraps from a business perspective, I strongly believe it provides great insights into the future of social web.
What is the Timeline?
The current Facebook user profile design focuses mostly on a person’s recent updates. The timeline would change that for good – redesigning the interface so that it’s easy to surface not only recent updates but also years-old information. It is widely believed that the timeline would help branding companies, gaming and media companies to more tightly integrate their content and services with the world’s largest social network.
Simply put, the timeline feature will provide one-click access to a user’s complete past and present on Facebook, it will still feature recent updates, but it will also summarize past events and feature the most important ones in a single page people can scroll through.
As Mark Zuckerberg sums it up, the timeline would represent ‘the story of your life’.
Facebook is perhaps the best branding success story of recent times. I sincerely hope that Facebook brings the goodness of timelines to businesses and brands as well. I admit that it would be a challenge to organize statuses, promotions, customer interaction and advertising campaigns as the logical blocks in a timeline. None the less, I hope that Facebook lets brands and businesses use the timeline to tell their stories over time. When it comes to branding, it’s all about relevance and when it comes to relevance, it’s all about time.
I strongly believe that Facebook could reshape the future of social web by opening up the timeline feature to app developers. It would be really cool to have apps integrated with the timeline feature which can leverage not only ‘what are you doing now’ but also ‘what you were doing yesterday or one week back or even 5 years back’
Profiles and Pages
In an ideal world, Facebook profiles and pages should look exactly the same. This would promote consistency and coherency and give a level playing field for users as well as brands. I strongly believe that Facebook can set the record straight on this issue with timelines. In fact, timelines can ensure that a Facebook business page never gets copied.
One of the first things that struck me regarding the Facebook timeline was how valuable it could prove to be for hiring purposes. Facebook is increasingly being used for background checks as part of due diligence during the hiring process. Facebook Timeline can present a candidate’s accomplishments and achievements in a time-based chronological order, thereby saving employers from the hassle of picking data off prospect’s profile and Facebook wall.
The possibilities are endless. Who knows what Facebook would eventually do with the timeline? None the less, there’s no doubt that the future of social web looks promising and exciting to say the least. Please share your opinion by leaving a comment.