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Timeline: Looking Into the Past, and Screaming Into the Future

Facebook timeline is not your usual Facebook update.

Not by a long shot.

Usually an update will consist of moving around the profile
button, introducing a “ribbon” or photos or changing the way you update your
status. Timeline though, completely changes your profile. It lets you see your
past posts, organized by month and year, and puts what used to be in your info
right on the front page.

It has an Apple-ish tint to it. It’s smoothly organized and
is laid out nicely. A neutral and very light blue background is offset by the
classic Facebook blue and white that shows your friends, relationship info,  and work experience to the viewer.

Most prominent, though, is the “the cover photo” feature—an enormous
photo of your choice that consumes the top part of the page. As Amir Blumenfeld
of College Humor put it, “[I] switched over to Facebook Timeline. Loving it so
far. The best part is choosing a “cover photo” that misrepresents how
reckless and cool I am.” He chose a photo of himself skydiving.

The difference between Timeline and every other previous
update is the fact that it is so major and smooth looking. People who
ordinarily would have been outraged by a change, as is usually the case, stared
at it in awe. “How do I get this?” they asked, and Facebook delivered with a
small bar above the cover photo.

When I first witnessed it, I admit I was struck by how
effortless the design was. I looked at it for a while, studying the initially
confusing way it was set up. After a while though, I got the hang of it and
could zip around my friend’s wall at a breakneck speed.

Timeline also features a space that shows your apps and
other websites you can hook up to Facebook such as Netflix. I found this
enlightening. I didn’t know that Facebook collected that kind of information on
me. It kind of made the ads, targeted at me, seem somewhat inoffensive.

It also kind of seems like they missed the boat with the
“timeline” part of timeline. I didn’t like that I and everyone else could see
my “highlights” from past years. It seemed kind of against what Facebook is
about. I see Facebook as a social networking tool that you can use to connect with
your friends and plan events with them. An enhanced form of e-mail, if you
will. I do not, though, see it as a time capsule to show everything I’ve done
over the past few years.

As I’m sure every junior and senior looking at colleges
knows, past Facebook statuses and pictures can be damningly immature. Downright
dumb, even. I don’t want an immature joke from 2008 to get as much precedence
on my page as that hilarious status I posted about the NBA lockout a little
while ago. I’d rather see Facebook focus on “the now,” as faux Zen and cliché
as that might sound.

I like the cover photo, actually I love it. I like the
banner that displays basic information just under the cover photo. I even like
the layout of it. But I don’t want the “timeline,” and I don’t want all of my
info out on the front page of Facebook.

So, for now, and
until they make me change it, I’m going to keep the old Facebook layout. I’ll
be keeping it OF (Old Facebook), for as long as Facebook will allow it.

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About the Contributor
Chris Ramey
Chris Ramey, Staff Writer
From joining the water polo team to becoming web features editor, Chris Ramey ’14 has his high school career pretty laid out. Next on the agenda? An admirable ambition—he wants to be a Navy Seal. It was his dad’s involvement in the Marine Corps—more specifically Force Recon—that originally sparked his interest in becoming a Navy Seal. Ramey expects that a lot of the skills he gains from his Inklings experience will carry over to his practices later in life, and help him to model himself after his dad: tough, determined, and intelligent. “The training is arguably the hardest on the planet, and I like that as a challenge,” he says. “I’d like to be able to say I went in and came out with my head held high.” Ramey joined Inklings this year after having Ms. McNamee as an English teacher freshman year, and so far he has nothing but grand plans. He wants to make full use of the web capabilities, including videos—perhaps even partnering with STN.

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