How to Use Timeline

Facebook Timeline is a visually appealing social networking shift. Timeline takes the old profile, with its straightforward layout and basic design, and turns the whole thing on its head. The timeline profile is an easily searched, colorful chronology of your entire life, even before you joined Facebook, if you want it to be.

Timeline focuses on telling your life story visually, so once you’ve got the profile, the first thing you’ll be prompted to do is choose a cover photo—the panoramic image that is now the first thing all your profile visitors see. You can pick any picture you want: add something from the Facebook albums you already have online or download a new photo like the Destination360 panoramas. You can change the cover photoany time you like too, so it’s always the most up-to-date image of what you’d like your Facebook friends to know about you.

Once you’ve picked a cover picture, you can start personalizing your profile. The old Facebook profiles really only showed what you'd been up to in the past day, week, or five minutes—depending on how often you posted updates. The Timeline navigation highlights whatever you’d like it to. At the right edge of the cover image is a scroll bar that lets you go back as far as the year you were born and add any photographs and information you like about graduating, buying a house, or getting a new job. A great feature is the option to “star” things your profile and emphasize them for your friends to see. Star a photo in your status update, and it becomes a panorama instead of a thumbnail.

The status updates themselves are more detailed, and they let you pick what type of “life event” you’re posting about: Work and Education, Family and Relationships, Living, Health and Wellness, or Milestones and Experiences. You can fill in a few fields to let your friends know about a recent vacation you took, and it’s easier to upload photos from your trip right to the main page of your profile, without having to go to the separate Photos tab like you did before. All the pictures make the Timeline profile more colorful and eye-catching.

Most important for many users are the privacy settings. The View Activity link, which is private to you, shows all of your recent activities and allows you to specifically update what parts of your profile and recent posts are public and to whom.