On February 14th, Facebook Timeline will go live for ALL users, signaling a final departure from the traditional Facebook profile. Timeline is a visual aggregation of your Facebook History. From the book you read in 2005 to the movie you watched last month to the song you’re listening to right now, Timeline shares all.
Users need to recognize the risks involved with Timeline. Once you have Timeline, it reveals pictures, status updates and events chronologically from when you first started Facebooking to the present time. This means that people will be able to scroll through your history, potentially discovering posts or pictures you’d rather leave in the past.
Here are four simple steps to help you “clean” your Timeline—so you can continue to convey a positive Facebook image:
1. Make your profile private: Go to Privacy Settings > “How You Connect”. Switch “Who can post on your Timeline” and “Who can see posts by others on your Timeline?” from “Public” to “Friends”.
Go to Privacy Settings > “How Tags Work”. Switch the settings for “Maximum Timeline Visibility” from “Public” to “Friends.”
2. Limit your audience for past posts: Go to “Limit the Audience for Past Posts”. Click “Manage Past Post Visibility”, then “Limit Old Post”. Now, your past posts are visible to your Friends only, even if you initially made them public.
3. Hide or delete posts: Click on the edit button at the top of the content item and choose “Hide from Timeline” or “Delete Post”. You’ll need to click on each month and hide or delete all of those posts individually.
4. Delete posts from other Timelines: Go to “Activity Log”, click on “All” to see all of your posts, comments, likes and events, organized by date. Click on “Your Posts” to see all your posts and comments on other people’s Wall, and delete anything that could be considered inappropriate
5. Monitor your profile: Use a monitoring service like Reppler to ensure that your profile always projects the “you” that everyone from your parents to your buddies to a potential employer should see. Set up your Reppler account so that you will be notified as soon as flagged content shows up on your profile.
If you’ve been on Facebook for a long time, “cleaning” your Timeline can be time consuming. But it’s well worth the effort!