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Facebook Timeline Becomes Mandatory — Here’s How You Can Make Yours Awesome

a user's Facebook Timeline
Ania i Artur Nowaccy, Flickr

We hope you aren’t afraid of change, or the things you’ve posted on the internet in your past, because your Facebook page is about to be all kinds of different. And, you have to go with it or get out. Yep, the Facebook Timeline, that layout design you’ve seen that makes your friends’ pages look like a photo scrapbook, will soon become mandatory for all users.

In September, Facebook unveiled its new Timeline layout. The format is their way of presenting the story of your life online. According to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg, “It’s a completely new aesthetic for Facebook. It gives you the ability to curate all your stories so you can express who you really are.” You know, unlike the old, boring Facebook which just let you talk about yourself and tag your friends in awkward party photos.

In mid-December, Timeline became available to all Facebook users who wanted to try it. Those who opted in had a Facebook page that represented a literal timeline of all of their online activity, every bit of it visible to the public. Users can select who can see which items, but it’s not a quick or simple process. Basically, you have to actually curate your Timeline.

On Tuesday, Facebook announced that the Timeline format will be mandatory for all users, but there will be a seven day grace period in which people can get used to the layout and decide what will appear on their page. And then, that’s it, your Web life goes public.

Scared? You probably should be. How cool is your timeline? What kinds of things have you been doing on the internet? Will you seem lame? Will you be embarrassed?

Here are seven ways you can use those seven days to make your Timeline cool.

Delete, Delete, Delete

You may just want to go all kinds of ‘Men In Black’ on your Facebook history. Maybe today is the first day of the rest of your Facebook life. Hey, if it’s not on the Timeline, it didn’t happen. Facebook is great for posting your thoughts right when you think them. Unfortunately, it’s not great for forgetting those thoughts after you posted them. Remember that silly war of comments you got in with a friend of a friend, who then totally owned you? Delete. That photo of you dressed like drunken Sarah Palin at a 2008 Halloween party? Gone. You control your own timeline and your Timeline.

Untag Yourself

Your friends are mean. They get pleasure from posting unflattering pictures of you and then tagging them for the world to see. Used to be fat? There are pics. Kissed that weird guy at the bar? There’s a pic. Looked silly in college? Leaked your prom photo? Got suckered into that ridiculous trend? Pics, pics, pics, pics, pics for everyone from your boss to Aunt Martha to see. Untag that not-so-hot-anymore mess.

Unlike

Go back and find things you liked once but that are no longer cool and unlike them. (Like, say, every status update that involved the phrases “winning!” or “tiger blood.”) Any post you made about music, people, political candidates, shows or movies that at one time seemed awesome but are now utterly lame must be deleted. Put that thumb down.

Ex the Exes

We all have a past. It’s true. But it used to be that the past existed only in foggy memories and dusty, well-hidden shoe boxes. Now pics and posts of you and your exes live all over the internet. Get rid of them, because your new significant other is just waiting to see them all on your Timeline. Ex ‘em now, or exit soon.

Make Better Pics

You don’t just want a clean Timeline, you want a cool Timeline. That means the world needs to see that you interact with some pretty high profile people. Create and post pictures of you hanging out with celebrities. There are plenty of photo editing apps on the web with which you can superimpose your face on celebrity photos. Nobody has to know that’s not really you coming out of The Ivy with Jennifer Aniston. Start doctoring.

Make Cooler Comments

In an attempt to counteract your past comment fails, make comments on celebrity Facebook pages. You can’t just put up photos of you with celebrities. That’s not believable enough. It has to look like you are really friends with them. It’s not too late to start liking celeb fan pages and making comments. Maybe you’ll even get a comment back. Better get going on those convos, because your past ones with your mom aren’t so great.

Spice Up Your Interactions

It might prove to be difficult to get real interaction going with people who are actually cool, so a simpler method might be to find people who have names similar to celebrities, like, say, “Lindsay Loban,” “Jimmy Kinnel” and “Michelle Ohama,” and friend them. They’re likely to actually comment back to you, because what else would they be doing with names like those? People usually don’t have time to really look that closely at Facebook Timelines, so as they quickly glance through yours it’ll seem like you have some very important interactions.

There you go. That should help you down the path to a sweet Facebook Timeline. Get to work and good luck with that. We’ve got our own house cleaning to do now. See you back here in six months for the next inevitable Facebook layout change.

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