Social Media Quick Tip: Understand the New Facebook Timeline

(iStock Photo)

Facebook has been rolling out the new Timeline for the past several weeks. It will become mandatory by the end of the month. As with all social media, with the new Timeline comes new opportunities, new challenges and new threats (to officer safety).

But first, let's look at the opportunity. Probably the sweetest thing about the new Timeline is the opportunity to visually portray historical information. What a great and incredibly easy way for you to educate citizens about your agency’s history and show off all those cool cop photos gathering dust somewhere.

I haven’t been able to find a police department making great use of the Timeline in this way yet, but Old Spice has nailed it. Check out the Old Spice Facebook Timeline for a great example that is not only informative but entertaining as well.

There are two ways to add items to your Timeline, here are the instructions direct from Facebook.

1. From the top of your timeline:

  • Pick the type of story you want to add (example: photo, life event)
  • Add any details you want to add
  • Use the menu at the bottom of the box to tag friends, pick a date for the story, and add a location
  • Select an audience for your post (Note: By default, life events start off as public)

2. From anywhere on your Timeline: Scroll to a spot on your timeline and click +  to post a story to a specific date.

To see the + symbol, place your cursor over the vertical line running through the time in the center of the page. When it turns into a + , click it.

Note: At the risk of stating the obvious, please take note that people who want to make it look like they were in a different place at a particular day and time, might utilize the new Timeline to do that. It’s important that investigators take note.

Stay tuned for more tips about the new Timeline.

Want More? 
The next SMILE (Social Media Internet Law Enforcement) Conference will be held March 25-28 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Click here for more information!


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