Timeline and the new world that awaits it.

“This is the first day of my life
I swear I was born right in the doorway”
– Bright Eyes

It’s impossible not to acknowledge how quickly social media changed overnight. The reveal of the new Facebook profile page moved social media in a direction no other social network on the web could offer – an opportunity to start from the beginning.

Think about it. Social Media is a very “in the now” activity. Content to date has been a disposable commodity; a conversational info-snack. Yet at F8, Zuckerberg unveils a revolutionary feature that offers its 750,000,000 users three things. A place for:

  1. All your stories
  2. All your apps
  3. A new way to express who you are.

Facebook is giving you a reason to fill in the blanks in your life, all the way back to birth. There has been a lot of attention on Lifestreaming being a feature that targets youth – growing up with Facebook as a pervasive utility similar to Google. However I think manifest destiny is with Gen Y and X. Sixty-One percent of Facebook users are 35 or older. The pendulum shifts constantly as Gens X/Y actively recruit parents and grandparents to come aboard and join the conversation. In fact in a list of dominant age groups across the world’s most popular social networks:

  • 0 – 17: Tops 4 out of 19 sites (21%)
  • 18 – 24: Tops no site
  • 25 – 34: Tops 1 out of 19 sites (5%)
  • 35 – 44: Tops 11 out of 19 sites (58%)
  • 45 – 54: Tops 3 out of 19 sites (16%)
  • 55 – 64: Tops no site
  • 65 or older: Tops no site

They have years of content and theoretically have much deeper connections given age and family extensions. If Zuckerberg can convince Gens Y & X to maintain Facebook as a platform to share not just textually but through images and video, as they go through rights of passage (engagement, marriage, children), then it’s game-over. Want to see the grandchildren? Get a Facebook account. Kids are turning to teens? Share those albums on their pages so they can start their own timelines properly.

And I’m not even going to go into detail on the ticker. My initial reaction was negative but the more I acclimate to it, the more power I see for brands seeking ways to build stronger connections with their fans. Couple this with verbs and the potential to “dislike” and you now have an emotive, expressive social network with a thriving community of content sharing and update consumption.

It’s an exciting time for social media. Facebook, arguably the most binary look and feel of all the social networks, suddenly came to life through profiles and timelines. I’ve been a harsh critic through the years but after synthesizing both timeline and the ticker, this update has left me impressed.

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