January 28, 2012, 7:47 AM — Facebook announced yesterday that Timeline--its redesigned profile page--is becoming mandatory for all users. If you don't switch to Timeline on your own, Facebook will do so for you within "the next few weeks."
Facebook has been rolling out Timeline slowly since December, after first introducing it at its F8 developer conference in September. The project is one of Facebook's most ambitious and significant redesigns to date, as it seeks to become your digital scrapbook with the capability to document your life from birth to present day, and revisit old posts more easily.
While not everyone is on board with Timeline, the switch is inevitable. Here's our complete guide to Facebook Timeline, from making the switch to adjusting your privacy settings, in order to make the transition easier.
Getting Started: Facebook Timeline Basics
To switch your profile to Timeline on your own, visit facebook.com/timeline and click the "Get It Now" button.
After you make the switch, Facebook will immediately send you to your new Timeline page. At this point, only you can see your new Timeline--all your Facebook friends will still see your old profile design.
From the day you choose to up update to Timeline (or from the day that Facebook switches you), you'll have one week to make any changes you want--including deleting old posts, adding life events and more--before your new profile goes live for your friends to see. Or, if you're ready to debut Timeline before the one-week period, you can click "Publish Now" to push it live.
Facebook Timeline: New Features
There are a number of new features and components that you'll discover once you switch to Timeline. Here are a few of the important ones:
Inline privacy controls: When you update your status, you'll notice a drop-down menu that shows exactly who you're sharing a post with: Public, Friends, Only Me or Custom. When you change this setting, it will stay how you set it for future posts until you change it again. You can also designate a status for certain lists.
Navigating Timeline: There are two easy ways you can revisit your past posts. First, you can choose a year by clicking it on the Timeline slider on the right side of your screen, then drill down by month. Or, you can start by clicking the option beside your name and next to the "Update Info," called "Activity Log."