Facebook Timeline: An Illustrated Field Guide (Plus a Few Survival Tips)

The big deal day has come. 

As Facebook rolls out its new Timeline feature and all your friends hastily update their profiles, there are a few things worth noting. 

We've drawn out the basics in the field guide above and added a few must-knows after the jump ... 

5. Yep, it looks a lot like Myspace. 
Facebook now offers an endless amount of customized details, privacy levels, featured posts, and ways to spend hours attempting to put your best social media foot forward. While users still can't customize their own cursors or backgrounds or choose songs that automatically play upon opening the profile page, we're placing bets.

4. Unless you update your privacy settings, your past posts (dating back to the day you joined Facebook) can be seen by your network. 
If you want to fix this, and limit your past posts -- including those slip-and-slide-down-the-dormitory-hallway and pink-panty-dropper-chugging photos -- click on Privacy Settings, then Manage Past Post Visibility. 

Note: content on your timeline that you've shared with "public" (don't know why you'd do this) or "friends of friends" (again, why?) will be changed to just viewable by the people we're sure you've carefully curated into your "friend" category. 

3. Look for the pencils and stars.
At the top right corner of each post, notice the pencil and star. Here's where you get to hide/delete the things you haven't already been screening from your boss/boyfriend/mom/roommate/future friend and feature (star) the boring stuff that will be marked as "important" and be viewable on your timeline.  

2. Yeah, you got glasses in 2008. Who cares?
With the new "Life Event" tool in the update box, you can publish TMI details about your life that can be categorized as: surgeries, weight loss, new tattoos, new eating habits, broken bones, home improvements, new cars, new roommates, changed beliefs, your first kiss, and new hobbies (to name a few). 

In case you've already been using Facebook to notify all 1000 people you've added to your network that you've fixed your sink, you can now slap a little label on there. Note: Spare us. 

1. Timeline is not mandatory (yet).
But once you click that shiny button that says "learn more" and "get timeline", you'll have seven days to quickly clean up your life before your friends and family can check out just how emo you were in 2007. 

Time to grab a glue stick and buckle up. Your Facebook life is about to get scrapbooked. 

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton