What I Like About the New Facebook Timeline Profile, Privacy Settings, and News Feed

Facebook has updated the timeline design for 2013. Click here to read about the newest Facebook timeline design.

By now, you’ve probably read your fair share of “What I Hate About the New Facebook Updates” to the point that you’re pretty comfortable with the fact that you hate the changes. So, as a change of pace, here are some gems that have come about from the latest updates that are actually pretty cool from the news feed to the new Facebook Timeline Profile.

The Best Facebook News Feed Setting

By far, of all things they have done to the news feed, I love this!

Hide Updates by Third Party Applications

Don’t want to see what music people are listening to? Tired of people who feed their tweets in as Facebook updates? If you are viewing your newsfeed and see that an update is from an app (this includes HootSuite, Spotify, Tweetdeck, NetworkedBlogs, or anything with an icon), you can click on the dropdown arrow next to the update and select the Hide All by ____. Talk about almost instantly decluttering some of the noise!

New Facebook News Feed Updates - Hide All By Application Setting

As a side note, this is why I love Google+. No updates from other apps or feeding updates from other networks. Almost every update happens within Google+ itself meaning if you comment on something, the person might actually be there to answer you vs. someone who just auto updates to update and not to engage. This is why I’m happy to remove 3rd party updates from my News Feed and just interact with people actually on Facebook. It’s all a matter of personal preference.

If you change your mind and want to see those app updates, scroll to the bottom of your News Feed (all the way down after the feed stops adding new updates) and click on Edit Options. You can see any updates you have hid from the feed, including those from app, games, pages, and people so you can add them back in again.

UPDATE #1 Change Subscription or Friendship

Ever seen an update from someone, think “I really don’t care about your ___” and wish you would never see those types of updates again from that person in your News Feed. Now you can control it, right from the News Feed.

New Facebook News Feed Subscription Options

So if you only want to see their photos and status updates, just leave those checked. If you decide you’ve had enough of them altogether, you can unsubscribe completely or just unfriend them immediately!

The above example is my hubby’s Facebook, so I won’t be doing either of those things to him! Especially since I love seeing his photography.

UPDATE #2 This is only if you hover over the friend’s name. If you hover over the dropdown arrow by the update, you can change your subscription options for the person first, then it confirms the change and asks if you want to unfriend as well. All on the News Feed!

Honorable Mention – The Chrome’s Facebook News Ticker Remover

Ok, this isn’t by Facebook, but you probably will want it. If you’re a Google Chrome user like me and not a fan of the scrolling ticker updates on your News Feed, no problem. Add this extension to your browser and say goodbye to the crazy scroller!

Getting Use Out of the Facebook Friends and Smart Lists

Even though you don’t see them initially, don’t freak out like I did and assume your friend’s lists (now called Custom Lists) have disappeared. Here’s how to find them and really get some good out of them.

Add Custom Lists to Favorites for Easy Access

If you just want to see updates by people you have put into your Custom Lists and the smart lists, you can click on the More link next to Lists, then click on the Friends Lists you want. When you see it popup under Lists, hover over it, click on the pencil, and Add to Favorites.

New Facebook Updates - Add Custom Lists to Favorites

Now you can have your lists easily accessible for your News Feed.

Choose Update Types for Custom Lists

This really should be available for the News Feed, but for now it seems to only work within lists. When you’re viewing updates within one of your Custom Lists or Smart Lists (those auto created by Facebook based on location, employers, schools, etc.), there is a Manage List dropdown in the top right of the page. Click on this and then click on Choose Update Types. Then click on Manage List again to check different types of updates you want to see by people in this list.

New Facebook Updates - Manage Custom List Update Types

It’s definitely one to play with because of its odd behavoir. For example, I unchecked Games on one of my lists, and the updates of “So and So is now friends with Them and Them plus 3 million other people” vanished from the feed. Good stuff!

A Longed For New Privacy Settings

Facebook must have heard me (and probably thousands of others) as well on this one – even MySpace had this option from the very start!

Review All Tags

If you haven’t checked this out already, you should. Head over to your Privacy Settings, and Edit Settings for How Tags Work. Turn on Profile Review and Tag Review.

New Facebook Privacy Settings - How Tags Work & Profile Review

To review your tags, visit your main profile page and, under Wall, you will see an option for Needs Review. Click on this to see any posts, photos, and other requests that need your approval.

New Facebook Updates - Review Profile Content & Tags for Your Profile

Now you can say goodbye to those applications that tag you in photos you don’t want to be in and to people who tag you in photos, updates, and other things you don’t want visible on your profile without having to turn off tags altogether.

Once the new Timeline Profile is available to everyone, the review area will follow under Activity.

New Facebook Timeline Profile Activity Review

You’ll see how that falls into place in just a moment. Also, when you do see it, don’t freak out – it’s private. (For now at least.)

Introducing the New Facebook Timeline Profile

And now we come down to the big one. The brand new Facebook profile design featuring the timeline layout. The following is how mine looked when I converted it.

New Facebook Profile Timeline Design Complete

And this is the complete version shown on Facebook’s official timeline page that includes more apps than I usually get into using while on Facebook.

New Facebook Profile Timeline Design Complete

You can learn more about it here and even sign up to be first on board for the changes! Or, if you can’t wait like I couldn’t, you can follow the steps on how to enable the Facebook Timeline Profile now. (Huge thanks to Francisco Rosales for pointing this out to me on Twitter.) If you do this, you’ll get the following message at the top of your profile that says:

Welcome to Your Timeline – Developer Release

Your timeline currently features your top photos and posts. Right now, only you can see what’s here. Take a tour and star, hide or add whatever you want. Then click Publish Now or wait until your timeline goes live on Friday, September 30, 2011.

So your options are to avoid it until the very last moment, or to embrace it and start tweaking it while you can keep it private before publishing.

Some things of note that I found during the first little while of playing with the profiles include:

The Cover

You can hover over that large image at the top of your timeline and change it to any image you choose. For photographers, you can showcase your best piece of photography.

New Facebook Personal Profile Timeline Cover

For personal branding, you can showcase your best “cover” shot. There are a ton of different ways you can use this for branding, and they’re probably a lot easier than cutting one image into five for the previous photo strip.

Apps Making a Resurgence

Beneath your cover, you have your basic info pulled from your latest employer, location, school, and relationship status. You also have little boxes for your friends, page likes, notes, subscriptions, and other items that were previously in the left sidebar under your photo.

New Facebook Timeline Profile Boxes

I like the option to switch the main four boxes as the Notes start out in the first four. If you don’t have notes, it looks pretty bleak. And if you click on the plus sign above the blank boxes, you can add your apps here. I don’t have many at all, but if you do, you might have a good one to feature in the main four.

Life Events

If you had a major life events you can highlight it on your timeline.

New Facebook Personal Profile Timeline Life Events

Other examples include:

  • Add a Job
  • Graduated
  • Military Service
  • Moved
  • Bought a Home
  • Add a Roommate
  • Add a Vehicle
  • Broke a Bone
  • Had Surgery
  • Overcame an Illness
  • Learned a Language
  • Got a License
  • Traveled
  • Achievement or Award

And if none of those fit, there’s always the Other Life Event selection to choose.

New Facebook Personal Profile Timeline Life Events

This part strikes me as a bit interesting. Like it’s Facebook’s way of tracking things you say and do a little more closely in their database. Imagine the potential if any automobile parts company know what kind of vehicle everyone has – they could make a lot of custom little Facebook ads for you that said “Get a new stereo for your Kia Soul.” Pharmaceutical companies could have a field day with publicly available health information in a timeline format. The possibilities for advertising and other creepy activities based on this information – priceless! That said, I’m going to see if I can up the ads I see for pet products by adding my cats in. :)

Featured Updates on the Timeline

Have an update that you want to draw attention to? Just click on the star and make it a Feature on Your Timeline. This will make it expand across the wall instead of being side by side with something else.

New Facebook Personal Profile Feature on Timeline

Actually, if you’re not a fan of the side by side updates in general, you could just click the star and expand them all. This only works on wall posts (ones you’ve made, ones friends have made on your wall, and tagged items. The expanding across the page doesn’t work on the apps or summary boxes at the end of each month which in of themselves are neat, but you can remove them by hovering over, clicking on the pencil, and hiding them from the timeline.

New Facebook Timeline Summaries

And That’s About That…

For now at least. I’m sure there will be much more to discover as everything rolls out and everyone has had their profiles switched to the new layout. What are your thoughts? Love it, hate it, or other? What other interesting finds have you seen so far?

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes     Synthesis Managed WordPress Hosting


  1. says

    Wow Kristi!

    This is such an awesome tutorial! I was just about wondering how to switch over to the new timeline- if it was worth it or not, and had read a few posts yesterday about it also, but didn’t know what it would look like or the right way to go about it. You explained it so well :)

    Am glad about the changes they have made to the privacy setting and the fact that now we can hide third party updates, somethings that I was fed up of as well!

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post and clarifying so many things :)
    Harleena Singh just posted How Freelance Writers can Use Google+

    • says

      Thanks Harleena! I think it’s worth it to try to switch now so you can play with it a bit before you get forced to migrate next week. :)

      • says

        Or I could just have a life outside Facebook instead of endlessly *having* to tweak stuff that FB forces me to because it keeps changing everything!

    • says

      Thanks Brankica! I like the fact that you can jump around to different parts of the profile easily. No more 10 minutes of scrolling to get to something a month or two ago. :)

  2. says

    Thanks Kristi. I used the header in my timeline to plug in the logo for my personal blog on top of one of my pictures from my vacation over the summer. I used my personal blog, where I share random personal stuff, and occassionally a review or link to one of my business blogs that are more monetized, since most of the people on my actual profile are more personal connections than business oriented.

    These are some really great tips. I knew about a lot of them, but I didn’t know about the chrome extension. thanks for that.
    James just posted 5 Ways I am Using CurationSoft to Build My Business

  3. says

    I really adore this new timeline profile and I think that Facebook even looks better with it. In general recently Facebook has introduced so many nice and exciting features. Facebook is for sure on the right way.

  4. says

    Some of my FB contacts have changed their timeline and loved it while other can’t be bothered. LOL! I haven’t tried it too and maybe not very soon. While it looks organized and “cool”, I can’t be bothered with their changes and what-not at the moment.
    Abby just posted How to calculate your BMI

  5. says

    They’re competing with Google+ of course. 😉 I was a hater of the last time they changed, so I figured this time I’d take the opposite approach. It’s coming regardless, might as well find a way to like it. :)

  6. says

    Two comments to add to your great review, Kristi:

    First, you neglected to mention the differences between smart lists, default lists, and custom lists. Elaborated at http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=196729973725708 you can see that custom list recipients now see everyone else on that list. If you’re like me, you created that list specifically for recipients to not know who else is on it. If you want to maintain a Google Plus Circle-sort-of model, then use the smart lists.

    …and if you want to hide groups of friends from your news feed, add them to default lists. It’s amazing friends of mine who I now see, hidden by the clutter of former classmates and work colleagues.

    Second, for a unique slant on the cover photo, take a look at http://www.facebook.com/cgreen2 — which is partially against the terms of service but as long as she’s not pitching her business, it should be fine.
    Ari Herzog just posted Explore My Brand New Facebook Timeline

  7. says

    The timeline indeed is some major improvements.. but heard from a few of my peers that it do have some bugs though.. Hope they are able to fix it coz i think everyone is loving this new feature from Facebook,

  8. says

    All these changes all the time are getting difficult to keep up with. All these sites seem to change things so often. We just get used to thinks and boom they change it up. Some like it, some don’t. I am kind of in the middle. I can live with or without the changes. Leaning towards without. Part of the reason why I like twitter more it is much easier to keep up with and understand.
    Ray just posted Website ads on the rise

  9. says

    I tried the Facebook Timeline Profile and I didn’t like it. I feel like when I visit a friend’s page right now I go there to see the most recent things they did. The timeline tries to show everything and it just gets in my way. It would be nice if I was looking at someone famous so I could get a lot of information quickly, but I don’t need to know (and I don’t need people knowing about me) all the little things that were done a long time ago. I don’t have a good way to put it into words, but I liked the simplicity we had before, and now after September 30th everything will change so it just “looks cool”.
    Techie just posted Switch to a Better DNS

  10. Kay Wilson says

    Great post, Kristi and huge help to all of us. Changes are not easy for most of us so this definitely has great value! I am going to follow it step by step.

  11. says

    Yeap, definitely heard the “what I hate about Facebook changes!” Nice to see a post about what’s cool about them. I was actually thinking about that Spotify thing. Didn’t know you could hide it. (didn’t spend much time checking out new features) Thank God for the tagging thing! Don’t want all of those photos from bachelor parties ending up on the net with my name all over them!

    HA! JK.

    Sweet post.

  12. says

    Great post Kristi! You really took your time to go through the bits and pieces!
    Thanks especially for the tag approval update, didn’t know about that but definitely fixed that now! It was becoming a real pain when people just tagged you on all kinds of pictures and posts!

    Well done!
    Tola just posted What have I really been doing?

  13. says

    My Facebook is yet to update to this new layout – I think it’s pretty cool but I’m sure we’re gonna get a whole raft of people that are unhappy with it. Understandably somewhat, there are some HUGE changes all in one go. Perhaps it would have been better if they phased these in…
    Sandip just posted Site Built It

  14. says

    I wasn’t too thrilled with the facebook changes, but I guess I have to deal with it if I want to keep using it. This is the only positive article/post I’ve read about it so far. There’s some really good info here and you explained some things I wasn’t aware of. Maybe with time and patience I’ll get used to it and like it, but probably just in time for them to change things again.
    Carl just posted What is Worship? – Beyond the Music

  15. says

    I have to say that I agree with a lot of your feedback – and honestly, I get tired of people complaining about the changes without taking time to really investigate them and discover that they are in most cases, improvements and not just changes.

    I did activate the new profile/timeline and I LOVE it. I have wanted the ability to get to archived posts and information for a long time because it is something of a journal of life (of sorts) and now that it’s available I’m hooked.

    I was not aware of the nifty chrome extension that you listed. The ticker doesn’t bother me, but it seems to bother a lot of people so this is a handy little extension to have in your toolbox.

    Thanks for doing such a great job summing up all the changes.
    Tracy just posted Credit Consolidation Services – Do I Need Them?

  16. says

    Facebook is really trying to step up its game now that Google+ has joined the social network battle. I like the updates for the news feed. Anything that will unclutter the feed gets my vote. The timeline scares me. That’s something I don’t plan to use. I fear for those who are going to try and put their entire life on the timeline. That’s just too much personal information out on the web for me. Thanks for the updates.

  17. says

    Yeah I think the updates are actually pretty awesome, the site looks a lot nicer. People just love to complain every time anything they’re used to looking at every day decides to make any kind of real change. As the internet evolves and data transfer speeds increase, the internet will continue to change into snazzier and more visually-appealing forms a la facebook’s expansive graphic interface.
    freddy k just posted FinallyFast – Safe Software and Easy To Install

  18. says

    Hey Kristi,

    First off – Thanks for a well written, informative post. I love the fact that you followed everything you talked about with pictures and screen shoots.

    I watched the F8 Keynote speech that covered this and why they did things, but this really helped out with the “how” to do things. I really like the new changes, except for that ticker. I am a web designer, so I find myself using all 4 of the top browsers. I guess I will have to wait for Facebook to wise up and give us the option to turn it off.

    Do you know if this is going to affect “Fan pages” or whatever they call the business pages these days? I am curious if there will be any signifigant changes to that portion of Facebook.

    Thanks again for a great post.