President Obama made the switch to Facebook Timeline on Thursday, and no page might better illustrate how well Timeline helps individuals control all aspects of their life story.
Timeline was announced last September at the f8 conference, and it is one of the most ambitious features Facebook has introduced since its signature News Feed. The feature exchanges your profile page for a scrapbook-inspired list of your history on Facebook, telling the story of your life in a collection of photos, status updates, and more. You can also add highlights from your life throughout the timeline.
Obama’s team has taken great care to pepper the Timeline with notable events from the President’s life before and during his stay at the White House. One of my favorite entries is “Obama gets his first job working the counter at Baskin-Robbins” in 1978. I also had my first job working at Baskin-Robbins, so it creates a sense that I understand his life story a little bit better. This sense of connection is calculated and intentional, and Obama’s social media managers probably hope that I relate more than I did before.
Interestingly enough, Obama’s personal history and life story was routinely questioned during the 2008 presidential campaign, with some claiming Obama wasn’t born in the United States and not eligible for the presidency. The Facebook Timeline pokes fun at the “birthers” with the first entry linking to a coffee mug with Obama’s birth certificate on it.
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