Facebook Timeline exposes your entire social identity

Facebook has just launched a new tool that aims to present a clearer and more complete picture of someone based on their years of social activity.

As it stands now, if you make a new friend and connect on Facebook, they’ll get to see basic profile information about you as well as a general idea of your wit and interests based on recent Wall posts.

But what they’re very unlikely to see is the moment you got that promotion, or the frequency with which your relationship status has changed, or the fact that you appeared on American Idol.

Those kinds of nuggets, which show a more complete picture of who you are, are lost in the way Facebook is presented now. That is, unless someone takes the time to scroll down through your Wall, waiting every few seconds for new stories to load.

With Timeline, there’s “an easy way to rediscover the things you shared, and collect your most important moments,” according to an official blog post from Facebook’s Paul McDonald.

The way Timeline works is by giving users a list of historical links to go back to past months and years, rather than only being able to navigate by most recent to oldest.

As is to be expected, the new feature is drawing mixed reaction. Some love the fact that they can go back and check out early posts they haven’t seen for 4 – 5 years. Others think it’s dangerous to have a much more “trackable” history of your entire life.

The resounding opinion, though, is positive. The new feature is meant to be like a digital scrapbook, allowing users to relive the past and see how much they’ve matured. It is the 21st century equivalent of a diary or photo albums – until now, you could only easily see the most recent diary or album page but now you can flip through the whole thing.

For those who are sensitive about the content on their account, Facebook’s growing set of privacy controls is expanding into Timeline as well, allowing users to filter out what content appears and to whom.

The feature is now live for everyone. Once you set up Timeline, you’ll have 7 days to make adjustments to content filtering before it becomes published to the entire world.