Facebook announced this week that the Facebook Timeline feature will be mandatory for all accounts soon, inspiring excitement, concern and a Jeffrey Koterba cartoon.
Check it out: “Over the next few weeks, everyone will get timeline. 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.”
After editing our own Timeline page last year, we’ve included six steps that writers and publishers can follow to make sure they have a satisfying Timeline page before the program launches.
Facebook’s journalism program manager Vadim Lavrusik outlined how the program can help writers with this post: “Today we launched Timeline for users worldwide. Here are some examples of journalists’ Timelines who are using it to highlight their journalistic careers, big stories they’ve covered and to showcase photos and videos. Among my favorites: Nick Kristof, Ann Curry and Don Lemon.”
Facebook Timeline Tips for Writers
1. Go to your Facebook page and type “Timeline” in the search box at the top of the page. Click the top result, “Introducing Timeline by Facebook.” This takes you to a special Timeline editing page. You can customize every aspect of the page, so do it carefully–this is how people will explore your page on December 22.
2. Pick a cover image. Facebook will add this cover image to the top of your timeline in a big picture. Choose this photo wisely–it is the first thing readers will see.
3. The timeline includes a sprawling mix of all your old posts, embarrassing, dull or important. Read through them and pick the most important posts.
4. Now edit your timeline. Simply click on a particular story to start editing dates and locations or delete or hide particular posts (see the edit icons in the image below). Here’s more from Facebook: “Hover over a story and click the star icon to expand it to widescreen. Or click the pencil icon to hide or delete the post.”
5. Add your life events. Simply click on the “Life Event” tab on the page, taking you to a new menu where you can add things that range from births, relationships, jobs, books, life milestones, hobbies and any number of extra material from your life.
6. Add your books and writing as an “Other Life Event.” This is is a great place to include your articles, publications and other material you want to share with readers. This box will appear where you can load photos and the story.
Editor’s Note: This post was updated as the story evolved.