Kieron O’Hara on Facebook’s Timeline
Posted on October 7, 2011 by Jeroen van Bree
In an earlier post I talked about Facebook’s Timeline and how it relates to the concept of lifelogging. I used an article by Kieron O’Hara as a source and today Kieron was kind enough to share his thoughts on the subject:
Comments on Timeline – well, the advantage is that it places stuff in a context (time and space being the two context-dimensions that really help make sense of data), so maybe it will help with the worry that many people have about stuff being taken out of context and used against you (the embarrassing photos found by possible employers).
It also depends on how much control the user has on the amount of content placed on the timeline. I’m not an expert on Facebook, but it looks like the user doesn’t have much control at all without making a great effort (please correct me if I am wrong). So the Timeline will re-present stuff to the outside world that the user might think has been forgotten/hidden.
In that case, the privacy disadvantages will outweigh the advantages (not an unusual position with Facebook). It will also make it easier to target particular types of information (what did my girlfriend do before she met me? how did my teacher behave when he was treated for depression?).
There is nothing wrong with lifelogging (and indeed this is an obvious lifelogging tool). But (as Gordon Bell points out) there is a big difference between logging your life, and sharing it. It is the public aspect of this that looks unattractive.