Facebook’s new Timeline profiles are pretty awesome, and they freak me the hell out

Dagan's Facebook profile in Timeline viewIf my brother-in-law (who’s awesome) wanted to take a tour of my past (he doesn’t), I wouldn’t be bothered by it a bit. Dig in, Don. However, if my new professional¬†acquaintance wants the same, no thank you!

Context is everything

To be clear, the new feature doesn’t seem to be sharing any content I hadn’t already made public, but it presents it in a different context.

Before Timeline, my Facebook friends would see a scattering of content of various types. Over time, they may learn more about my personal life (as a co-worker might as you spend more time together on the job), but they’d have to make a pretty sincere effort to put together a story anything like what Facebook has managed to assemble automagically.

Personally, I don’t get it

What really confuses me about this move is that it comes just days after Facebook launched the Subscribe button, which aims to provide users a way to share things in a less personal manner.

So on the one hand, Facebook is giving users a deeply personal method to share their personal stories (Timeline), while on the other hand they’re giving them a method to be rather public (Subscribe). For me, this is one of those cases where I just want those two worlds to be more clearly separated.

Still, I’m not jumping ship

Still, I won’t be leaving Facebook. I will, however, be making some serious changes. For starters, I’ll be shoring up my Facebook Business Person Page¬†and using that for professional connections instead.

Update ( 10:43 PDT) :¬†After spending some more time playing with Timeline, I do think it offers some cool ways to display content and interact with connections (friends, fans, followers, etc.). But it’s too damn complicated. Not only did I have to reconfigure how I list my friends to better fit with Facebook’s new configuration, I’m not confident I won’t have to do that all over again in the future when they change again.

I’m wondering, though, if this isn’t the beginning of the end for Facebook. What do you think? Does telling a seriously compelling story of your life automagically make you excited about using Facebook? Or, like me, does it just freak you the hell out?

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