4 Reasons I Hate Facebook’s New Timeline View [Opinion]

timelinethumb   4 Reasons I Hate Facebook’s New Timeline View [Opinion]Change is hard for me. I find it very difficult to decide on a new brand of socks to wear if an old one I like isn’t available at the store. It’s a long and painful process that usually doesn’t impact anything at all, since most socks feel about the same after a few weeks.

Imagine what happened when I saw Facebook’s new Timeline feature. I’m still freaking out. I think it is annoying and unnecessary. Here’s why.

I Don’t Need It

facebooktimelin1   4 Reasons I Hate Facebook’s New Timeline View [Opinion]

One of the most interesting things to watch is what happens when a business embarks on a project that isn’t built with the customer (or user) in mind. Usually the company in question tries to justify it by making grand statements about how the new feature will enhance the life of its customers.

Take it away, Mr. Zuckerberg.

“Timeline is the story of your life.”

That’s great! I mean, wait. What? I thought this was Facebook. The place I go to check up on my friends and see who is dating who and sometimes check up on people I knew in high school. Now Facebook is the story of my life?

“All your stories. All your apps. In a new way to express who you are.”

Huh? I guess Facebook is about expression, in the same way as any other form of communication is about expression. But I don’t have any stories on Facebook. I don’t use many apps. And the apps I use certainly aren’t meant to be an expression of who I am.

“Here are all the years of my life, right here.” (made in reference to his timeline).

Uh-oh. I wish I could see the advertising data they’ll take from that. Which is, let’s face it, the most important feature of Timeline.

Look, seeing people’s lives throughout time is kind of nifty. But is it why I’m on Facebook? No. I don’t want this to be my profile. It doesn’t do anything for me. Do. Not. Want.

I Don’t Like The Dueling Walls

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Here’s my biggest design issue with Timeline.

Ever since I was a kid I’ve been taught, like almost everyone else in the western world, that items to be read are scanned from left to right and from top to bottom.

Timeline starts out with one big column that has a lot of information, and that’s fine. But below that are two columns of information that at first seem to be spat out almost at random. Soon you’ll realize that there are very small arrows on each area of information pointing to a dot on the timeline, and you’re supposed to parse information by jumping box to box in a sort of diagonal zig-zag pattern. Also, the two upper most boxes of information on the right side – well, they’re not actually part of the timeline. The designers just couldn’t figure out where else they could put them.

What I find strangest about this is the fact that it’s entirely unnecessary. A list of single items can be chronological. Wall posts are already organized in that way, more or less. The only reason for this annoying two-column format, so far as I can tell, is so that you can see it’s a timeline. Ooooooh. Fancy.

Fortunately, some intrepid developers are already making extensions that reformat the page so that there is just one column. But really – Facebook? What are you thinking?

I Don’t Like The Privacy Concerns

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Timeline is yet again asking users to put in more information about themselves. Ostensibly it helps users express themselves – but it certainly doesn’t hurt Facebook’s bottom line. In doing so, the company is also asking people to provide more information to strangers and friends. That is information users may not want to have visible.

Yes, there are tools that can be used to make sure information remains private. There are ways to remove content. The burden of privacy is, however, consistently placed on the user. In the eyes of Facebook, there doesn’t seem to be any assumption of privacy. It’s all out there – unless you say otherwise.

I’m not sure why we should trust Facebook, either. They’re a company that is on the verge of an IPO (it may have happened by the time you read this) and despite the success of the site, they are as a business still young and still unproven. What happens when someone else is in charge? What happens if the IPO flops and Facebook’s investors start asking for them to make big bucks, no matter what? The pressure for profit has time and time again caused companies to take actions that were unsafe, immoral and sometimes illegal. We shouldn’t expect Facebook to be any different.

I Don’t Have A Choice

Timeline is out there.  You may have already noticed it lurking on the pages of friends. Perhaps you’ve been taken by it already. But even if you run – you can’t hide. Timeline is coming, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Why? Why can’t I stop it?

That’s a hypothetical question, of course. I know why. It’s because Timeline is designed from the ground up as a way to make Facebook money. Increased app integration and increased data collection translates to more opportunities for profit. Making it optional doesn’t make sense – at least not to the accounting department.

I get that, but it doesn’t make the change any easier for me.

Conclusion

The new Timeline feature may be what turns me off from Facebook. Though I have a Google+ account, I don’t use it as my primary social networking tool. That may soon change.

What say you? Am I off the reservation, or are you feeling the pain of change as well? Let us know in the comments.

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21 Comments -

Alek Davis

Man, this is exactly how I feel. It looks like Facebook is switching to a totally new use case, which does not fit my needs. I suspect that there are people who will (or do) like Timeline, but to me it’s totally against of what I use Facebook for. Once my profile gets migrated to Timeline, I’ll most likely switch to Google+. 

Water Well

Same here guys, i have deactivated my facebook account to after using G +, G + is very nice design as well as it has lot of options those to my needs. In real G + deserves + sign.

Madis Otenurm

Hated it until it came available for everyone… Got it mainly because my friends did and the top part looks cool. Umm… get it and get used to it, best recommendation if you want to be on always-changing Facebook.

Dave Parrack

I’ve learned to roll with the punches when it comes to Facebook. If you want to be a part of it you have to accept the changes as and when they occur. I don’t actually mind the Timeline. And if you’re worried about privacy then best to get off Facebook altogether. Not that Google+ is any better on that score…

Jack Cola

I quite like the timeline – I don’t worry about Facebook because 1) I don’t write many status updates and 2, when I did write them, I delete them all in about one month – so I have nothing on Facebook

Sam Harvey

nothing ever leaves facebook .. anything you put on the site stays there.. if you remove it, it simply removes from your view.

Jack Cola

Even though that’s the case (which I think your exactly right, even though Facebook says they delete it) – it doesn’t matter – because no one else can view it anyway.

Anamariablom

lol! Nothing gets deleted from facebook! Just hidden! You can’t see it but it’s there!

flippertie

G+ is still a dead zone for me – 20contacts vs 250+on facebook. I’ve been using FB less and less recently, and the Time Line will accelerate that. I’m not against change per se – but this is just ugly..

M.S. Smith

Most of my non-techie friends aren’t on G+ yet. Which is a bummer.

flippertie

 When I first went on G+ it seemed top be populated by a self-referential swam of tech bloggers and journo’s telling each other how to use it and a bunch of the rest of us going “Now what?”.. Not much has changed except there are fewer of us bothering to post…

Debbie Gray

Totally  agree with you on this. I absolutely hate it!!! Facebook is not at all for the user anymore, if it ever was. We the user are the product and we are being sold bit by bit. Every piece of information that is printed in our timeline is up for sale to the Facebook consumer which is not us but the advertising and marketing medium. Sadly, Mr. Zuckerberg’s, Facebook’s ONLY concern is how much he, the company can make off of his users. They do not care one iota what Facebook users want or like. I understand that this is a business and like any other business they are out to make money, but i hate the fact that I feel like there is no respect for us as people and we are just cattle being sold on the open market. I have yet to have seen even one survey, poll done where the majority of users like Timeline. I sincerely hope Timeline ends up backfiring and becomes one giant flop!!!!!!

Gagan Kaushal

Apart from the privacy issues, the one fact which I like about timeline is the option to go back in time easily without going the tedious way of scrolling down again and again. Just used this yesterday to confirm the birthday of a friend (who hasn’t included it in his profile) by looking up my post on his wall a year ago which clinched the date for me.

James Bruce

Agree totally. But, gotta say, it doesn’t really affect me. I mean, do you ever actually look at your own wall? I look at a stream of status updates, that’s it. Rarely do I ever look at someone elses wall / timeline, and I think I’ve only ever looked at mine once when it first came out to developers to see what the fuss was, and never again. 

To be honest, I’m seeing so much more interesting stuff from my curated list of contacts on Google Plus now. That’s in sharp contrast to Facebook, which is basically a bunch of people I knew at some point but more likely couldnt care less about now. Hope they dont read that ;)

M.S. Smith

It is not a disaster or anything, but is an annoyance. I don’t see why they would make a feature (profiles) more confusing, even if I do only view a profile on its own once every few days, at most.

DreamingWolf

Matt, I agree completely with you on all 4 reasons. You have my support and sympathy. Well done, man.

hatesfb

I hate facebook because alot of people think its ok to hide stuff from there bf or gf on fb. If you can’t be honest you shouldnt even be in a relationship in the first place. Thats what happened to me my bf was talking to other girls on his fb and blocking me from seeing anything on his page. So i deleted my fb and say goodbye to that loser. I hate facebook and i wish it would go down and away it sucks. People try and pretend they have lives when in all reality there on the asses typing on fb hello you don’t have a life you just want people to think you do which is lame. 

James T

Fuck Facebook. I’ve disliked it’s lack of control from the start. Switching to AnyBeat and Google+.

John-David Hughes

My concerns are addressed in the four reasons. Since Facebook is “free” I wonder what the real cost is going to be? With Google getting weird, one wonders if the the bloom is off the rose and everyone involved has been ‘zuckered’ once again.

lex

David

The dueling walls is my biggest gripe; it makes looking at my own story feed a jumbled mess, zig-zagging left and right, up and down, depending on the content length of each item. Oh look, it’s a vertical time-line… that’s real fancy, now make it less of a pain in the ass to browse.