1. It shows everything
The timeline shows every embarrassing post you’ve ever made. Ever. From your most recent night of bad decisions to that photo of you from freshman year of high school, braces and all. With the old wall, anyone could find these gems with some dedicated scrolling — leave it to Facebook to make them instantly accessible, by year, to new friends, potential lovers, and future employers.
2. It has a “Born” entry
Did you want to immortalize your birth on Facebook with a picture and a list of family members? How about a photo album of your mother’s C-section? Great news, dummy — now you can. Somehow Facebook has managed to trivialize even the act of giving life itself. I wonder what Facebook will add to users’ timelines when they die.
3. It decides what’s important
Based, perhaps, on whose profiles you visit or visited the most, the Timeline features certain people more than others. In a list of friends you made in 2010, the biggest photo will be of the person tagged with you in the most photos, or the person who liked the most of your statuses, or whatever other contrived algorithm Facebook uses to evaluate personal worth. Underlying all of this is the assumption that everything important you did in your life ended up on Facebook. Or the goal that everything important you do in your life should end up on Facebook.
4. It organizes life by decades
When I signed up for Facebook in 2006, fresh off a failed attempt at a Myspace account, I didn’t know I would have it in 2011. But here I am in this new decade — and Facebook gives me a quick and easy way to access the “2010s” or the “2000s.” I’m more than a little ashamed that my narcissistic internet presence has bled over from one decade to the other, but what I’m most worried about is looking at those same links in the 2070’s and seeing more than just these two decades available to me.
5. You love it in a sick, sick way
Like every other change to Facebook’s interface, some people, like me, will gripe about it, and some people, like me, will attempt some kind of witty commentary. But this nostalgia, available through old posts, is so potent and so enticing. It’s like flipping through an old yearbook, only more painfully awkward. It makes Facebook creeping that much more exciting, and makes me that much more circumspect about what I post, now, in 2011 — and how I’ll look at it years in the future. Because I will be able to see it all — the boy whose friend request took my breath away, the photos with people I may have forgotten, and those numberless status updates, desperate calls for attention via song lyrics and YouTube videos.