Finally, in fourth place, we reach my most recent status update. If you’re visiting my Timeline to see, oh I dunno, my freakin’ Timeline, you’ve had to zip all over the page to find it. And I hope you don’t want to see more than one item, because you’re not going to be able to do so without scrolling the page.
And when you do scroll, the Timeline isn’t a line at all. It’s boxes of info to the either side of a line you practically need to squint to see. At a casual glance — and we’re talking Facebook here, not Britannica — it’s just a mess of boxes. You have to look, really look, to figure out the chronology.
Oh, except the second box isn’t a status update after all. It’s a box of eight of my friends, chosen seemingly at random.
All this is an improvement how?
You might complain that it’s not like Facebook’s old profile pages were set up like the famous newspaper Z. True enough. But they were set up like a sensible web page, in three columns. The lefthand column was skinny, and filled with static data. The righthand column was skinny, too, and featured your waiting requests and a tasteful vertical banner ad. The big fat center column, the thing your visitors’ eyeballs were sucked right into, was all of your updates, arranged in one nice vertical stack. You scrolled down to get to the oldest stuff, always easily aware of the chronology.
I’m sure Facebook spent a lot of time and money developing the Timeline. They don’t seem to have spent any time with any actual users.
UPDATE: I’ve just discovered, quite accidentally, another reason Timeline sucks. If you post a picture cropped in a landscape orientation, Facebook will thoughtfully re-crop it to a portrait orientation. Half of your photos have never looked worse!