Opinion | Timeline Revisited

From a social media perspective, for every implementation of a new -and I use the word loosely- “feature,” there is widespread ensuing clusterfuckage on the website. 

A case in point:  Timeline. 

March 31st is the official forced usage date, but I’ve been using it for the past few weeks.  And while my original opinion has not changed substantively, I have, however, noticed that Timeline essentially neuters cause-inspired networking. While it is fine for individual pages, if you are using Facebook to publicize a web page such as POB, then you will quickly determine that it is not only decidedly visually unfriendly, but also essentially smothers communication. I previously wrote about my initial impressions of same here

Gone are the days when you could return to a previous post and adding additional commentary would “bump” it to the top of the page to initiate further discussion.  Now, if you wish to revisit the subject matter and have it noticed by your audience, then not only will you have to repost it, but you better include an image to entice eyeballing because Timeline is so cluttered and busy that most text based posts are obscured. And it isn’t just me who has noticed.  I’ve seen this very matter discussed on various pages with a large following of actively engaged adherents. Timeline is definitely diluting the ability to network.

It is this writer’s opinion that in its zeal to maximize revenue and to otherwise provide on a silver platter to marketers a comprehensive member dossier, Facebook Timeline has basically reduced social networking to image based dumbassery.  As evidenced by the proliferation of pages with vaguely witty titles that specialize in posting moronic sayings superimposed over cutesy, largely infringed images, I like to refer to this phenomenon as the Blunt Cardification of Facebook. 

Nevermind that the owners of these pages are a scourge unto themselves. It is apparent that any time a page receives over 1,000 likes something apparently happens to the owner sufficient to twist his mind into that of a mini feudal lord. I’ve un-liked numerous pages for heavy-handed moderation, as well as the demonstration, in no uncertain terms, of an overall plantation owner mentality. Another case in point: I used to follow a page that posted retro porn images, and, when said posts received comments of a prurient nature, the owner then backpedaled into a sanctimonious bloviation about keeping it clean. 

Common sense would dictate that if you create a page featuring porn  -retro or otherwise- then you’re bound to generate some colorful remarks. But this is an axiom that was evidently lost on the page owner in question, the same guy, who, upon having discovered that a female friend of mine who had also un-liked his page, and, left a parting comment as to why, then proceeded to stalk her with repeated friending requests. She had to block the guy to make him go away.

But returning to the issue at hand – Not that there is anything inherently wrong with humor as I happen to find Blunt Card quite amusing.  It’s just that the me-too clones seem to crop up like so much electronic STD. Meanwhile, anyone with a web page featuring content above a kindergarten reading comprehension level is left in the dust.

Contemporary American society is already so dumbed down it is positively staggering, and, now the biggest social network on the planet is contributing to the demise of critical thought in a big way. The mind fairly boggles.  Or is that just me?

Subscribe Feature

A second issue I’ve noticed with Timeline is technical in scope and involves the subscribing feature. While it is convenient that one need not accept a friending request in order for one’s public posts to be seen by a wider audience, I’ve determined that once you subscribe to an individual or page, you won’t be able to unsubscribe very easily. 

The way unsubscribe is supposed to work is by clicking on the Activity Log, selecting Subscriptions, then hovering the mouse over the subscribed button and waiting for unsubscribe to appear in the drop down box. Once the page is reloaded, you should be unsubscribed, but it doesn’t work.  You have to go out to the actual home page, click the icon of the cog, then select report/block. 

Once you do that, a box pops up with unsubscribe as an option.  When you select unsubscribe in this manner, and, click continue, then, and only then will you be unsubscribed.  By the way, attempting to report any kind of bug to Facebook results in a comedy of errors. You’d have better luck winning the Mega Millions lottery.

All in all, I don’t care very much for Timeline.  It should have been optional, not mandatory.  But then again, time and time again, Facebook has demonstrated that it does not give too much of a damn about user preferences.

©2012 Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo™.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.  Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar and Prattle On, Boyo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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