Facebook promotes Timeline heavily ahead of IPO with apps like Movie Maker

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By Brittany Darwell Comment

Facebook and marketing agency Definition 6 have released Timeline Movie Maker, an app that compiles users’ photos, videos and other Facebook activity to create a short personal video.

The app is another example of the unique tactics the social network is using to promote its redesigned profile and part of a new trend of collaboration. The company is showing maturity as it prepares to file for an initial public offering that could raise at least $5 billion for the company.

Timeline will be mandatory for all users within weeks, but users have been able to opt in since December. (Developers gained access in September.) During this period, Facebook has taken steps to lead users to discover the new profile through their friends rather than giving the impression the social network is forcing another unwanted change on them. The company has done significant outreach to get celebrities and other influencers using Timeline. It also partnered with Moo.com to let users create Timeline-inspired business cards. These efforts would have been uncharacteristic for the social network a year or two ago, but Facebook has shown a new willingness to work with other businesses and public figures. These diverse partnerships could help the company’s valuation when it files for an IPO. Recent reports suggest Facebook could seek to raise $5 billion, lower than the previously rumored $10 billion. By setting a low float, the company could debut above its initial price as Groupon did in November. Zynga, on the other hand, reached for a larger amount in December and only crossed its initial price on Monday.

Of course, the social network has to satisfy users in addition to investors. Apps like Timeline Movie Maker help users see how personal Facebook is to them. When users visit TimelineMovieMaker.com, they can connect the app with their Facebook account. If users do not have Timeline enabled, they will be prompted to do so. After a few minutes of processing, the app produces a video including photos, videos, check-ins and status updates in the same format as the promotional video Facebook used to debut Timeline at f8. Users can change the music or swap photos if they want, then share the video with friends. Unfortunately the video takes a long time to render and cannot be played in-line from News Feed. Making it easier for users to view their friends’ videos would have made a more compelling case for Timeline.

Facebook is expected to formally file for public offering on Wednesday.

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