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How Facebook's Timeline Mode Is About to Impact Your Career

Facebook's new Timeline mode is the biggest change in Facebook's interface, well, ever. If you haven't seen it yet, here's the quick and dirty: Timeline reorganizes your Wall so that every post you've ever made is organized and displayed chronologically, from the most recent all the way back to your birth. And Timeline gives you a lot of power to arrange these posts aesthetically or even demote them from the view entirely. Not everyone has Timeline yet, but it's coming to everyone soon.

That's great, you're thinking, but what does that have to do with business? Especially if you use Facebook for personal stuff and LinkedIn for professional, you might think Facebook's latest changes are largely irrelevant. As the Harvard Business Review recently pointed out, you'd be wrong. Here's what the HBR says are some key things to consider about the impact of Facebook's Timeline on your professional profile:

  • Timeline makes it easy to overshare. Even people who have resisted putting much on Facebook in the past might be won over by the elegant and alluring Timeline mode. And since Timeline (by default) shows everything you've ever done in a single scrollable view, it puts your past indiscretions at risk in a way that you perhaps have never had to consider before. To mitigate this, you'll want to double check your privacy settings and take advantage of Timeline's ability to hide specific entries.
  • Timeline won't be used the way Facebook thinks it will. HBR contends that while Timeline appears to be intended as a way for people to look back on their own lives, it will really be used to review other people. To wit: " Each new way of sharing or curating our life experiences becomes another opportunity for self-narration, and we spend as much time investigating, critiquing, and engaging with other people's presences as we do in reviewing our own."
  • Timeline is a wonderful visual medium for presenting yourself. Due to the wonderful way that Timeline organizes your life, you might consider using it as a way to present your professional career. A few weeks ago, I told you about a tool that transforms your resume into a visual timeline infographic. Well, Facebook is now another way to do the same thing.
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