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Facebook Timeline Becoming Mandatory For All Users

Facebook Timeline

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 01/24/12 03:21 PM ET Updated: 01/25/12 02:43 PM ET

The winds of change are blowing across Facebook's international network of over 800 million profiles.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced in an updated blog post that its radically revamped profile design, called "Timeline," will become the mandatory format for all users "over the next few weeks."

The social network first unveiled the Timeline, a media-rich profile page designed to tell the story of the user's life in reverse chronological order from present day to the user's date of birth, at the company's f8 conference in September. Since the feature debuted, users could upgrade their profile by "liking" the Facebook Developer app and accessing the platform as a developer. The Timeline officially became available for all users to try out on December 15.

But the changes will soon become permanent. If you haven't tried out the new Timeline yet, you'd better get acquainted with it.

According to the Facebook Blog, users will have a weeklong grace period to try the new layout, which has the potential to make your online life more public.

"Over the next few weeks, everyone will get timeline," reads the Facebook Blog. "When you get timeline, you'll have 7 days to preview what's there now. This gives you a chance to add or hide whatever you want before anyone else sees it."

Last week Facebook announced the rollout of 60 new "frictionless" apps (plus more to come), developed to publicize more of users' activities to their friends. To quote my colleague Jason Gilbert,"'Frictionless' apps are so named because they do not require the user to take any action in order for the app to share its information to Facebook -- the sharing occurs automatically and instantaneously after you give the app permission to do so." For example, if the user reads a story via the Washington Post's social app, and has granted that app access to the Timeline, that story will appear in the user's news ticker and will be posted to his or her Timeline for friends to see.

There are, however, a number of new privacy settings that users can enable to restrict the amount of sharing by these new apps. Check out Jason Gilbert's run-down of the new settings (here).

"We want to design a place that feels like your home. Where you tell story online is very personal. You spend a lot of time curating it. We want to make timeline a place you're proud to call your home," Zuckerberg said of the Timeline at the f8 conference. "It's a completely new aesthetic for Facebook. It gives you the ability to curate all your stories so you can express who you really are."

If you don't have the new Timeline-style profile yet, you can visit Facebook's Timeline introductory page to learn about the new features and convert your profile now. Or, you can wait until you see Facebook's announcement appear at the top of your personal profile.

For an overview of the Timeline, check out the slideshow (below).

New 'Cover' Photo
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While past iterations of the Facebook profile have featured a customizable photo that sat near the upper left of the page, users can now top their profile with a large "Cover" photo that stretches across the user's Timeline. This will be in addition to the Profile Picture, which will act as an avatar of sorts for News Feed updates and posting on others' walls.