If you are a little bit creeped out as you trawl through your shiny new Timeline, I sympathise. There’s something unsettling about a chronology of your putative ‘life’ as a linear sequence of events, starting with a cheery event marking your birth, that is, your entry into this planet and your subsequent coalescence of consciousness. Thanks for reminding me, Mark.
The interesting thing about all this is that, more or less, all the information displayed in the timeline has already been collected about you. No-one has asked for anything additional, supplementary. Here we see a re-presentation of information in a more visually compelling/visceral manner, one that in its directness, will cause more users than ever to consider the implications of posting so much about themselves online. The problem is, that if you dislike the cut of your timeline - tough. Sure, you can hide ‘that awkward moment when…’ from the more sensitive souls on your friend roster; unfortunately you can’t unforget the fact that for nearly five or so years now you’ve sought to construct an online presence and the path of that artificial development is now indexable, by year, by month.
The move towards organising data in terms of ‘life events’ is at face value a humanising one but at a deeper level, it increases the resolution of the data that corporate entities collect en masse to a level that transcends previous attempts to do so. There is nothing less humanising than the faceless systematisation of births, deaths (yes, you can record the loss of a loved one – there’s a dropdown box for that now) and marriages (or divorces). Of course, no better way to be reminded that in many ways were all the same. We’re all being screwed with our pants on.