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WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?
What's the big deal about Facebook's new Timeline feature? Well, there's really no big deal other than it's yet another design change for Facebook.
BUT .. if you've not been playing nicely on the social networks, the timeline feature makes it easier for people to go back and dig through your past.
Here's Jimmy Kimmel explaining how it all works:
There's been much whining from the media about how this new timeline will lead to greater exposure of your past transgressions.
"Hey, dude, remember that time you got drunk and peed your pants?"
If you don't remember, because you were drunk, Facebook now will help you scroll back to October 2009 (via the itemized timeline), and voila - the pics.
Before you would have had to go through countless backpages to try and sort of find the time. Now, it's sorted, itemized and accessible without a Delorean.
SO WHAT'S THE LESSON?
Facebook won't expose embarrassing things if you don't put embarrassing things on Facebook. Yes, we're in an era of oversharing. Every button on every website is asking us to push content back and forth and to and fro - but you don't have to share it if you don't want to.
If that peeing your pants pic is embarassing, why did you let it go up in the first place?
The new timeline will make your entire life your resume. Employers will now easily be able to go back and see what you were like in university and high school even though you're 28. Remember how in high school your teachers would threaten you with your "permanent record?" Never mind the C- in math class THIS is the important stuff.
Over half of adult Canadians, according to a global survey conducted by Microsoft, do not think about the long-term impact of their online activities on their personal reputations. The same goes for children aged eight to 17 years old.
Further to that, only 37 per cent of adults and 41 per cent of children think about the long-term impact of their online activities on the reputations of others.
“It's something that a lot of people don't think is as important as it is,” said Blake McKim, communications officer at the Employment and Education Centre, who also holds workshops about making wise use of social media tools.
“The fact is, if you're able to be accessible online, chances are it can be a make-or-break thing.”
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or even commenting on sites can all reflect who you are as a person.
The new Facebook Timeline will be forced upon all users in a few weeks.
Over the next few weeks, everyone will get timeline. When you get timeline, you'll have 7 days to preview what's there now. This gives you a chance to add or hide whatever you want before anyone else sees it.
You can learn more about these new features by taking the quick tour available at the top of your timeline. If you want to get timeline now, go to the Introducing Timeline page and click "Get Timeline." Or you can wait until you see an announcement at the top of your home page.
It's a chance to start a new online path that is paved with some sense of responsibility to your reputation.
I'm lucky. I was in my late 30s when I started on Facebook and the most embarassing things I've posted in my profile are related to my weight more than anything. If you're younger, your level of angst may be a little higher.
I know many of you have dumped 4+ years of very good times in there, but if the stat that says 76% of Facebook pics involve drunks is true, I'd say you've all got some work to do.