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Facebook Timeline: The Journal I Never Knew I Was Keeping

Bask in the glory of the early Facebook universe, where your wall was for inside jokes and drunken-night recaps.

I confess: I didn't do much work yesterday. Why? Because I followed Buzzfeed's instructions on how to trick Facebook into giving me its new timeline feature early.

This timeline allows you to pick a specific year or month from your Facebook life, and see every post on your wall, every photo, every "like" and comment, every friend you made during that time period. It is truly amazing, and I don't use that word lightly. It is both a virtual museum for social networking and a personal diary, in a cute little scrapbook format. It's the journal I never knew I was keeping.

Remember when people could take the liberty of erasing stuff from your Facebook wall?

Remember when we took a cue from Friendster and used Facebook for "testimonials"?

...or for drunken-night recaps?

...or for inside jokes?

...or for making plans?

Remember when posting photos on Facebook was a new thing?

...or when it was embarrassing to talk about or use Facebook in a public place?

Yes, of course you do.

The beauty of the Facebook timeline is that you won't be horrified by what you said or did five years ago. It only shows how other people have interacted with you, not what you posted on their walls. It's pretty much a huge pile of photos, postcards, and notes you passed in class. Who doesn't love all those things?

Sadly, the timeline won't be nearly as much fun going forward, especially if you're an adult. People don't post on each other's walls as frequently; there's tagging for that now. And we're all getting more professional—we're much more likely to share a link than write a rambling story on a friend's page. But for now, have fun basking in the glory of the early Facebook universe, when status updates were in the third-person, wall posts could turn into novels, and feed redesigns freaked us out. Which is actually what's happening now. Some things never change.

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