QUICK GUIDE: Facebook's f8 changes: Timelines, real-time serendipity and uh.. verbs

facebook timeline screenshot

There have been countless tweets, live blogs, live streams and video clips shared around the web already revealing the details of Facebook’s f8 developer conference this evening that it’s been really hard to make sense of everything that’s going on.

But don’t worry, Shiny Shiny were invited to attend a private screening of the conference (in London, not San Francisco unfortunately) and we’ve left out all of the jokes, “awesomes” and cringeworthy high-fives from the event to tell you what the new products and features ACTUALLY mean to the regular Facebook user.

Profiles replaced by timelines
Mark Zuckerberg began by explaining that Facebook users have an intense ownership over their profiles and feel proud of these spaces, BUT they fall short because really interesting things you did months or even years ago disappear into the ether rather quickly.

In response to this problem, Facebook will be introducing timelines.

Now a timeline is basically the new word for a profile, so don’t worry, your profile page won’t just be thrown away. Instead your timeline will act as a home for all of the really interesting things you share that you feel reflect you in a continuous chronological stream.

I hate to say it as I’m forever comparing things to Tumblr, but timelines do look a bit like Tumblogs in the way they consist of a grid-like layout and in each box there’s a piece of content relating to you.

The good thing about your timeline is you choose what goes on it, which photos, updates and links show up and which don’t and the Facebook team kept stressing all the way throughout their presentation that it’s to build a big picture of you and your life. Or at least the life you’d like people to think you have.

There’s even random stalker gold, like a big map of all of the places you’ve ever visited and checked-in to!? Please deactivate this aspect of your timeline ASAP.

Timelines aren’t just about keeping memories and making interesting things more accessible, they’re also designed to look good too. A big part of this is the addition of the cover photo, a big banner kinda thing along the top of your timeline where you can put anything you please. Mark Zuckerberg had a picture of his dog in his, hmm he’s one crazy character isn’t he?!

So that’s the basics of what a timeline is covered off, a different way of displaying loadsa stuff about you which looks like a Tumblog.

What’s next?

Apps can be added into your timeline
The idea behind the timeline is that it’ll paint a big, pretty picture of you and your life.

However, it’s not just about the photos you take or the updates you write, it’s about what you do day in and day out.

So, Facebook’s new Open Graph will allow you to share EVERY (and we mean every) aspect of your life on your timeline with a new revolution of social apps that tell people about what you’re up to and even let them join in, something which Zuckerberg called real-time serendipity.

Apps are now much more than things you “like” on Facebook then use elsewhere, they’ll play a big part in the way you use Facebook far beyond the boring like button.

Facebook wants you to use verbs to interact with these apps much more. So “Becca is listening to Jessie J on Spotify” would show up on my timeline or “Becca is running in Hyde Park on Nike+”. And for those who don’t know verbs are “doing” words. We’re KIDDING, but the way the Facebook team spoke about verbs at the conference you’d have thought they’d invented them or something.

There will be all kinds of apps available, like music and entertainment services with the likes of Spotify, Souncloud and Cinemur through to big media outlets like The Guardian and The Independent. Certain partnerships with these big companies will also mean that not only will you be able to see I’m listening to something on Spotify, or watching something on Cinemur but you’ll be able to do it with me too AT THE SAME TIME.

There are other interesting bits and pieces too, but we’ll have a look at those in more depth later. Too. Much. To. Take. In.

So what do you think? Excited? Angry? Or just confused? Us too.

Becca Caddy


  • Dear Facebook,
    Gusto kita nung simple ka. Bakit ngayon nagsisimula ka ng umarte at maging komplikado. Natatakot ako na dumating ang araw na baka magaya ka sa kapatid mung si Friendster na ngayon ay laos na at puro laro nalang ang alam sa buhay at sa pinsan mong si Multiply na kung ano-ano na ang binebenta. Mabuti pa ang kapatid mong si Twitter kahit puro daldal at chismis ay nananatiling simple. At ang pinsan mong si Tumblr, na bagamat may sariling mundo ay piniling maging payak at tahimik. Wag ka masyado maghangad ng pagbabago at baka ito ang ikasira mo. Nahihirapan na akong intindihin ang mga ginagawa mo. Magsilbi din sanang banta sayo ang pagdating ng iyong karibal na si Google+. Nagmamahal, pinaka adik mong user.


    Nung income you want simplicity. Why now starting an emote and be complicated. I fear the day when you might be imitated mung brother was Friendster is now obsolete and all play nalang know life and cousin to add today to what does the selling. Still good brother and Twitter even pure gibberish chismis remains simple. And your relative was Tumblr, which though have their own world has chosen to be simple and quiet. Do you seek too much change and it might be the cause of being spoiled you. I understand the difficulty of doing. Threat would also serve you the arrival of your rival Google +. Love, the most addictive to users.

  • Very good synopsis of what’s going on (and thanks for saving us from the high-fives and awesomeness ;)…it’s really a lot to take in for everyone working in the field of social media and trying to “do” Facebook marketing whilst the very basis of FB marketing shift and change everyday. Tricky but definitely not a boring job! Thanks for the nice post Becca!
    P.S. I hate Zuckerberg for using one of my favourite words (serendipity) and projecting it into mainstream and commercial use but I guess I’m not the only one

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