UPDATE on Tuesday, December 6, 2011: Beginning Timeline Rollout in New Zealand
We announced Timeline in September and made it available to developers building apps on our platform. Since then, over a million people have signed up for the developer beta to access Timeline. The feedback we've received so far has been invaluable. Starting today, we are making Timeline more widely available as we measure speed and other types of performance. We'll begin by making it available to people in New Zealand and then roll it out more broadly in the near future.
Originally Published on Thursday, September 22, 2011:
Since the beginning of Facebook, your profile has been the place where you tell your story. People use it to share everything from the small stuff, like their thoughts on an article, to the most important events of their lives, like the photos of their wedding or the birth of their child.
The evolution of your profile
Back in the early days of Facebook, your profile was pretty basic – just your name, a photo, where you went to school…stuff you'd cover in the first five minutes you met someone.
Over time, your profile evolved to better reflect how you actually communicate with your friends. Now you can can share photos of what you did last weekend, and updates about how you feel today.
But since the focus is on the most recent things you posted, more important stuff slips off the page. The photos of your graduation get replaced by updates about what you had for breakfast.
Say you're catching up with an old friend – would you rather find out that they had eggs this morning, or hear about their new dream job?
The way your profile works today, 99% of the stories you share vanish. The only way to find the posts that matter is to click "Older Posts" at the bottom of the page. Again. And again.
Imagine if there was an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect all your best moments in a single place.
Introducing timeline – a new kind of profile
With timeline, now you have a home for all the great stories you've already shared. They don't just vanish as you add new stuff.
Timeline is wider than your old profile, and it's a lot more visual. The first thing you'll notice is the giant photo right at the top. This is your cover, and it's completely up to you which of your photos you put here.
As you scroll down past your cover, you'll see your posts, photos and life events as they happened in time. You choose what's featured on your timeline. You can star your favorites to double their size or hide things altogether.
Filling in the blanks
If important parts of your story aren't included on your timeline, you can go back to when they happened and add them.
Or go to your private activity log. This is where you'll find everything you shared since you joined Facebook. Click on any post to feature it on your timeline so your friends can see it, too.
Add apps to your timeline
Introducing a new kind of social app that lets you show the things you like to do on your timeline – the music you listen to, the recipes you try, the runs you take and more.
These apps also help you discover what your friends are up to. You can even join in if you want: play the song they're listening to, or watch the same TV show.
You can start adding some of these new apps today, but timeline won't be available for a few weeks.
When you get your timeline, you can choose to publish it immediately or take a few days to review what's there and add anything that's missing.
Now, you and your friends will finally be able to tell all the different parts of your story – from the small things you do each day to your biggest moments. What will you create? We can't wait to find out.
Sam Lessin, a product manager at Facebook, is looking forward to adding the photo of his elephant-powered wedding to his timeline.