Facebook Timeline: An Opportunity


Facebook just keeps changing.

Last week, after the #F8 announcement, I was one of the many people disgusted by what I had heard presented. You mean to tell me that Facebook is once again trying to know every detail of my life with the new Timeline, not only the present, but now also the past? Right away, I was on the defensive, and I admit I was one of the many people seriously considering abandoning ship and going strictly Google+. Then, after seeing a few Spotify posts appear in my new ticker, I started to warm up to the idea. Sharing music with my friends is something I’ve always loved to do, so I figured maybe checking out the Timeline before bashing it might be a good idea.

Boy, was I pleasantly surprised.

In the week or so I’ve had Facebook Timeline, I’ve almost been unable to stop going back into my Facebook past. Inside jokes long since forgotten about relived through old wall posts and statuses, photos of memories I haven’t thought about in years, even seeing old friends I haven’t spoken to in a while featured in videos previously drowned away by time. One thing I realized is that even though people may complain about the privacy issues that come about, there’s one thing that every one of us loves about the idea of the Timeline: nostalgia.

The opportunity to relive the past is not only a brilliant move by Facebook to become a staple to our society for years by serving as a “yearbook” of the last few years (or even further back, depending on how much you decide to add to your Timeline), but also a brilliant move for brands to join in and secure brand loyalty. Nostalgia is a huge part of the human psyche. Even this year, my generation finally had our prayers answered when Nickelodeon decided to bring back classic 90’s television that many of us were raised on. Though my generation loves to relive the good old days of Adidas shoes, Saturday morning cartoons, and all things 90’s culture, we’re definitely not alone. Generations before us love going back in time just as much as we do.

So what can this love for nostalgia, partnered with the new Facebook Timeline, do for brands? As previously mentioned, one thing that turned me onto Timeline was the Spotify application, which keeps track of songs you listen to through the program, shares them with your friends, and provides a report of the playlists, albums, and songs you’ve listened to the most in a specified amount of time. These applications, which give users an opportunity to tell their friends what they are doing as opposed to just what’s on their mind, open the doors to tying an emotional connection with consumers and the brands they love.

Facebook applications can be a godsend for brands.

Think of current trendy clothing brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Banana Republic, and Ed Hardy. A clothing application could be created for people who really enjoy fashion or expressing their style for them to express what they’re wearing today. “On September 29, Danny Goodwin Jr. wore Hollister Co. and Clarks.” Over the years, someone with an appreciation for clothes and fashion might find longing, or laughter, in what they wore ten years ago. It sounds silly on paper, but you can’t tell me you don’t laugh a little when you think of how red jeans and fanny packs used to be so cool only a couple of decades ago.

Think, also, of major media outlets like CNN and MTV News. For breaking news like the March 2011 Japan hurricane, or the Kanye West/Taylor Swift altercation from last year’s VMAs, the CNN or MTV News application could gather your statuses or conversations about various topics and place them right in your timeline. Then, in a few years, you could go back in time and see what you had to say about major breaking news at the very moment it happened. Imagine, if Facebook Timeline had been around 10 years ago, you wouldn’t have to just remember where you were when 9/11 took place — you’d have your thoughts right there in front of you, ready to look back on every year.

There are so many opportunities for brands to incorporate themselves into the new Facebook Timeline. I’ve gone from being a naysayer to an advocate in less than a week. All it takes is a little imagination, and when the ideas start to grow right before your eyes, the possibilities are truly endless. Everyone enjoys a flashback then and again, and thanks to Facebook, knowing what you were doing at 3:52 p.m. on a late September Thursday is now only a click away.

What do you think? Will the Facebook Timeline keep you on Facebook more than ever? Or are you ready to deactivate your count and head out?

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