Facebook Timeline currently is rolling out to all users worldwide, and--whether you like it or not--the new default profile layout will be hitting your Facebook account in the coming weeks.
Timeline allows you and your friends to easily view your past Facebook activity, including old photos, comments, posts, videos, notes, and group activity.
The layout is arranged in reverse chronological order and also features some pertinent information about you at the top of the page such as your Friends list, photos, a map with geotagging information from your profile, your likes, basic information, and a large photo called your cover photo.
Once you're up and running, or if you already have Timeline, here are five tweaks to get the most out of your new profile.
Tag Your Map
Timeline features a new map app in your profile that shows all kinds of location-based information including where you've lived, trips you've taken, where important events or moments in your life happened (if you add them to Facebook), and photos with a tagged location. Most of that information you add from the main Timeline page, but you can also include photo location data right from the map.
To get started and show your friends where you've been on your travels, visit your Timeline profile and click on the map below your cover photo. On the next page, click on Add Photos to Map in the upper right-hand corner. A filmstrip will appear with a selection of your photos.
You can then begin tagging the photos Facebook presents you with, or you can use the slider that appears above the images to scroll through your photos. To add a location, just click on a photo and type the photo's location into the drop-down box.
Go Cover Photo Crazy
You can use Timeline's Cover Photo, the large photo canvas at the top of your new profile layout, with your profile photo in the bottom left corner to create a unique look to your new page. Ivan Marino did a good job on his photo canvas.
Example: Facebook user Ivan Marino
Users have used this new layout to insert themselves into famous historical scenes or create a scene between the two photos. Giuseppe Draicchio wasn't in that movie, was he?
Example: Facebook user Giuseppe Draicchio
You can create your own personalized image using Photoshop and this template. You'll really have to work to match Draicchio's, though.
Feature a Video
If you've got a great video that you've been thinking of uploading to Facebook or one you've already shared, why not feature it on Timeline?
To do so, go to your Timeline and hover over the video you want to feature and click the star icon in the upper right corner. The box containing your video should now be larger and centered so that everyone scrolling past will be sure to see it.
Hide the Embarrassing Items
The good part about Timeline is that it's an easy way for you to access all your past Facebook posts, photos, and comments. The bad part about Timeline is that it's an easy way for everyone else to access all your past Facebook posts, photos, and comments.
If you haven't done so already, you should review your Timeline and make sure that all the embarrassing stuff is hidden. The easiest way to get rid of something is to click on the Activity Log button underneath your cover photo. Activity Log is a granular tool listing every single post and action you've taken on Facebook.
To the right of your Activity Log is a column that lets you navigate by year, and then breaks down each year by month. You can also click on the drop-down menu in the top right and select your activity by type: Photos, videos, comments, posts, groups, and notes. When you find something you want to hide, click on the round circle to the far right of the post and select Hidden from Timeline.
Add a Life Event
If you want your Timeline to reflect your past as well as your present, you can add life events to your profile. As the name implies, Life Events are important past moments from your life.
The number of different life events you can add is lengthy and includes past jobs, schooling, retirement, engagement and marriage, new children and pets, end of a relationship, deaths of loved ones, buying a new house or car, getting a new roommate, breaking a bone, undergoing surgery, overcoming illness, getting glasses, learning a language, picking up a new hobby, getting your driver's license, receiving an award, or traveling to a new destination. Just keep in mind that some things are better left offline.
To enter a life event, simply click on Life Event in the status update box on your Timeline.
Bonus: Kill Your Timeline
So, you've read through this guide, and Timeline just hasn't impressed and you want to go back to the old profile layout. While you can't stop your Timeline from being displayed to others, you can, at the very least, hide it from yourself whenever you're using a PC.
Facebook's Timeline feature does not support older browsers including Internet Explorer 7. So whenever Facebook sees IE 7, it automatically reverts back to the old profile layout.
To live your life in Timeline denial, all you have to do is change your browser's user agent string--a little snippet of code that tells websites which browser you're using--to IE 7's. Here's the code: "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0)." How you change your user agent varies widely based on your browser, so I've put together some links that show you how to do it: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and IE 9.
If your new user agent is working, Facebook will warn you that you're using an outdated browser and advise you to upgrade to a more modern version.
The only problem with spoofing your user agent is that Facebook's old layout usually displays your news feed starting halfway down the page. To fix this problem, you can use F.B. Purity, an extension for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera that can fix the layout issues. This extension also lets you hide other annoying parts of Facebook including game notifications and other spam-like updates.
Spoofing your user agent may also make it hard to view other websites that rely on modern Web browsers and can also break add-ons or extensions. So remember to switch your user agent back to its default after your Facebook sessions or use a dedicated browser just for your Facebook visits.