Whether you want it or not, Facebook is once again forcing another “upgrade” on business pages. Instead of something useful, like the Facebook Places feature, all pages, regardless of type of page, will feature the new Facebook Timeline format that all profiles currently have. In case you haven’t seen this new format for displaying user status updates, photos, and posts, examine the image below. Seeing it is really the best way to understand it.
As you can see, it splits up the posts into two columns. The first post on the right groups together the users friends–of which I have blurred out to protect my boss’s privacy–and then after that, the posts alternate sides. The dividing line between the columns acts as the official “Timeline.” If you look then at the upper right corner, you will see a timeline listed by year and previous months that goes all the way back until the year you were born. Why? I honestly don’t know, as it’s not like you can add events in your early years. But really, why would you want to?
For businesses, this is not only entirely unnecessary, but it also hinders the effectiveness of your page. Now when users visit your page, your posts can get a little lost in the shuffle. Your most recent post will sit at the top, so there are no worries in that regard, but for any other entries, they will kind of clutter up the screen. In addition, if you have similar posts, such as blog entries that are auto-posted from a service, these will be grouped together as one post. For example, for one of my pages, all of my blog posts posted by Networked Blogs have been meshed together as “Networked Blogs posts” in the timeline. These posts weren’t even published on the same day, but they’ve been lumped together anyway.
The only real positive that comes from the new Facebook Timeline for business pages is the profile information at the top. I don’t know about you, but I was never a fan of the rotating five pictures at the top of pages, especially since some businesses really have no photos to share. At least with the Timeline, businesses can select one large image that encompasses the whole of their business outside of their profile image, which is usually their logo. This looks much sharper than the giant profile images many sites were using and the rotating photos at the top.
Just below that, all of the business’ information is neatly displayed, similarly to how Louellen’s About information is shown above. To the right of the row, all of the businesses likes and current apps will be laid out. If you have nothing but a couple of photos and likes, you won’t have empty boxes just sitting at the top of the page as you do with the rotating images.
If you don’t like this new look that is coming, better get out your grumblings now and start your preparation. You can keep your current layout for now, but come March 30th, all pages will be converted with or without your permission.