Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past couple of months, you’ve probably heard about Facebook’s latest major change to the social network. Facebook’s Timeline is gradually replacing profile pages with a digital scrapbook, chronicling your entire life on Facebook.
A general consensus has not yet been reached on Timeline’s value, as users seem to have very mixed feelings regarding this major change to the fundamental appearance and functionality of Facebook. I’ve seen proclamations that Facebook Timeline will result in a termination of users’ presence on the social network, while others were so eager to get a taste of the Timeline that they implemented it the first chance they could through the developer program.
Creativity: The ‘X’ Factor on Facebook
As of this blog post, Facebook has not yet made Timelines available to brand pages. Therefore, we can only speculate as to whether or not Timeline for brands would help or hinder brand pages. On the one hand, Facebook Timelines are sexy. Regardless of whether or not you think it’s a good idea to chronicle your brand’s entire existence on Facebook, you can’t deny the visual appeal of the Timeline. If brand pages were given the opportunity to employ Timeline, a whole new window of creativity would open up for them. Some brands have even experimented with potential Timeline designs already.
We are currently focused on Timeline for individuals and will consider how to make consistent experiences for Pages, but we have nothing to announce at this time. – Facebook Rep
Skeletons in the Closet
Does your company have a dark period that you’re trying to run from or at least erase from people’s memories? Well, Timeline isn’t going to do you any favors in that department. While Facebook does allow you to review the content that will be chronicled in your Timeline and approve or disapprove as you wish, users will likely notice glaring gaps in your Timeline if you choose to erase blocks of content from your Timeline. This is one of the major arguments against Timeline for brand pages. It’s pretty common that companies go through rough patches, and the last thing they want to do is reminisce about bad times they worked so hard to get past.
More User Data for You
For users who don’t jump ship the moment the clock strikes midnight and their profile turns into a Timeline, it’s expected that user participation will increase substantially. The improved aesthetics of users’ profiles is expected to serve as motivation to update it more frequently and customize Timelines to more closely reflect users’ real lives. More user participation and customization means more data for creating better targeted ad campaigns on Facebook. It will be quite some time before we can draw a conclusion about whether or not Timelines actually help with targeted advertising.
Given Facebook’s desire to keep usability consistent between individual profiles and brand pages, it’s likely that Timelines aren’t too far off for brand pages. Until then, it doesn’t hurt to get the gears turning and think about how your brand can use Facebook’s Timeline in a unique, creative way when (or if) it becomes available to brand pages. Have you thought of any benefits or hindrances that Facebook Timeline will bring about for brands on Facebook?