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Just when you thought you had finally figured out Facebook once and for all, here comes a whole new way to spend all your time tinkering with it. Over the next few weeks, every one of Facebook's nearly one billion members will have their profile pages forcibly updated to an ambitious new layout that Facebook calls Timeline.
If you are a Facebook user, your page may not have Timeline yet. But once you have been upgraded, which will be soon, there will be no going back. So you might as well learn how it works.
Previously, Facebook's profiles consisted of a single page of recent status updates. Now, your Timeline will present a navigable index of every single update and post you have ever made, should you wish to allow it. (If you don't have Timeline yet and want to turn it on, you can do so facebook.com/timeline.)
Moreover, you can extend your Timeline to stretch back in time, adding additional posts dating to your birth, or even before. An interactive map plots the locations to which your posts are pegged. The company's goal is simple: Get people to use Facebook to tell their life stories, and to mix real-world events -- photos, videos, personal stories -- with automated updates posted by apps.
If you're eager to fashion the ultimate Timeline, there are a few tricks you should know.
Start by putting an oversize photo atop your Timeline. Facebook calls it the "cover photo." There is a button to add it near the upper right corner of your Timeline page. You can choose from your previously uploaded photos on Facebook, or upload a new one.
Your profile picture will be superimposed over the lower left corner of the cover photo, so it is best not to choose another close-up of your face -- at full page width, you'll seem vain. Instead, consider a photo that will say something about your life -- a view of your neighborhood, a photogenic moment with your family, or a still life that sets the tone for newcomers to your page. After you have chosen an image, you can drag it around within its assigned area to find the best cropping.
First Published 2012-03-07 23:01:11