Facebook Brings Timeline To Brand Pages

By Greg Kumparak , written on February 29, 2012

From The News Desk

If you're the admin behind any Facebook Pages (like, say, a band, sports team, or your ridiculously wonderful tech blog)... surprise! You've got new toys to play with this morning. Pages are being transitioned over to Timeline, and there's a shiny (and considerably less kludgy) new admin panel tucked inside.

As part of our never-ending mission to not waste your time, I won't babble on for 1200 words about how every little nuance here is the most important thing to happen to Facebook since the invention of faces (and books.) You're smart, and this is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: Timeline... for Facebook Pages.

I'll just boil it down to the key points.

What You Should Know About the New Pages:

  • The new Facebook Pages with Timeline will launch today and should be rolled out to all pages by the end of the week.
  • Brands have up to 30 days to clean up their Timeline and flip the switch.
  • Page Timelines are pretty much identical to personal profile Timelines, save for a few bonus tricks (like being able to pin posts to the top of your timeline for up to seven days.)
  • Your friends' activity with regards to a Page is given some priority. If your friends really dig (or, you know, hate) a brand and have turned to Facebook to talk about it, it'll show up at the top.
The Pages admin panel has also been overhauled, finally killing the nasty mess that anyone who's ever ran a Page has learned all too well.

What You Should Know About the New Admin Panel:

  • Users can now message Pages privately, and Page admins can respond. Users have to initiate the conversation, presumably to combat spam.
  • Your most recent notifications, likes, messages, and insights have all been rolled into one view, as opposed to being spread across a bunch of tabs, as things were before.
  • A new activity log shows all the posts you've done, plus all the things that users across Facebook have said publicly about your brand.
With all that laid out, I want to touch on two bigger picture points that I find particularly interesting.

First, it's quite impressive how quickly Facebook moved in bringing Timeline to Pages. Facebook took three years to give brands any sort of official home on their site with the introduction of Fan Pages in 2007. Now those brands are getting Timeline just two months after the individual user base officially got it. This fact is telling of Facebook's strategy overall: users are still priority number one, but brands are a close, close second.

Second, think about what Facebook is really asking for here. By bringing Timeline to brands, Facebook is suggesting that the story behind a brand, much like the story of a person's life, is as important to that entity as any other defining characteristic. This, at a time when most brands are happy to stuff their history into 2 or 3 paragraphs on an "About" page and call it a day, leaving the in-depth storytelling up to the likes of Wikipedia. If the big brands actually embrace this idea — if they're willing to truly dive into their history, from their founding up through every pivotal milestone — it could mark a rather huge shift in how companies portray themselves, as well as how we in turn perceive them.

And on a slightly tangential note: Concerning the big brands that actually embrace the Timeline, how candid will they be? Would HP make mention of the Mark Hurd scandal, which lead to the market-cap-crushing catastrophe that was Leo Apotheker's 11 month run as CEO? Would Yahoo mention that one time its brand new CEO threatened to sue Facebook? Will Facebook's own timeline speak of the myriad controversies of its earliest days? Does any company want to tell its real story, or just tout its greatest hits?