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Facebook goes on timeline trip

The centerpiece of the new Facebook is the redesigned profile, called Timeline. With it, you may easily scroll back through the years of your time on the site and see photos and status updates.
The centerpiece of the new Facebook is the redesigned profile, called Timeline. With it, you may easily scroll back through the years of your time on the site and see photos and status updates. MCT

SAN FRANCISCO — Set aside some time for Timeline. Especially if you have been actively using Facebook for years. This is going to take a while.

Fresh off its global debut in New Zealand, Facebook is rolling out its new profile design to all of its more than 800 million users. For the first time, they are getting a look at how their lives are about to appear to all of their friends.

Facebook said in a blog post last week that users could wait for a notification to pop up on their screen or go to Facebook.com/about/timeline to get Timeline right away. No point in foot dragging: Eventually all profiles will switch to the new look.

That means all of those forgotten memories won't be lining the dust bins of users' personal histories for long. The new design has a way of bringing even the most mundane status updates rushing back.

It used to be that profiles surfaced only the most recent stuff. But Timeline is like an obsessive-compulsive's digital scrapbook, collecting every detail, no matter how trivial, in chronological order.

It might get people to think twice about what they do and say on Facebook. Or not. It's likely that a lot of people will look at the new profile, throw up their hands and just keep on doing what they've been doing. For now, it probably means everyone with a Facebook profile is going to spend a lot of time perusing, pruning and doing a whole lot of adding.

It goes without saying that some people will love the new design and some will hate it; even the smallest changes on Facebook tend to upset users.

Users who make the switch now have seven days to preview the changes, highlight or hide items, and adjust privacy settings before Timeline becomes an official Facebook profile.

To see how a Facebook profile appears to other people, click the gear menu at the top of Timeline and click on "View As."

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