Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Facebook Improving for Genealogists

Picture it: The year is 2031 and your child/grandchild/etc. is visiting Randomtown, USA on a road trip with some friends.  The decided to visit because you had often spoken of how much you liked visiting there back in the day.  Upon checking in to Randomtown on Facebook, they then find your Facebook page and see that 20 years ago you checked in there as well and see who you were there with, comments you left and photos you took.  They then go and take a photo in front of that same building you stood in front of decades earlier.

Facebook is not quite there yet, but on October 4th a major renovation to users profile pages will take us one step closer.  No longer will profiles be just long lists of status updates, comments from friends and random game applications; now they will document a person's life from the big to the minute, complete with linking to others involved and photos, in timeline format.  Basically, it is like a blog, but easier and more likely to be updated.

For genealogists, this will be amazing!  After all, what genealogist doesn't love a timeline?  Imagine being able read about the day to day life of your great-grandmother.  Most of us do not have that ability, as finding diaries from our ancestors is difficult, if not impossible.  I would love to have something like this just for me parents even, to see what they thought, felt and did when they first started dating or when I was born.  It also gives an easy way to see what current generations are doing.  Find out about a new cousin?  You can learn all about their life in an easy-to-view format.

Obviously, there is no guarantee that Facebook, or even the internet, will still be around in 100 years.  But if pieces of it are saved, such as with the Wayback Machine, it will be fantastic for our descendants.

Want more info?  Check out these posts by Katy Widrick and CNN.  Mashable also offers the process to get the Timeline turned on early.  I changed mine and already love it and can't wait to play around with it more today.   What do you think of the changes?


  1. Amanda, I don't think others are going to be able to see your updated Facebook Timeline profile unless they go through the process to get Timeline turned on early themselves. :)

  2. @Amanda, That's too bad. I'll edit the post. Thanks for letting me know!

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