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Changes to Facebook Timeline worries a few businesses

Many business owners updated their facebook profile page to the new timeline format. While many of the transitions to the new look went through without a hitch, some companies’ transitions were quite rough on their customer base. A number of businesses are worried about the transition to the new look. Still, if Facebook’s development history is to serve as a guide, the few irate customers will later come to accept the changes. This all fits the pattern followed by Facebook’s user base ever since the company launched its powerful News feed system-a predictable cycle of user surprise, initial anger, and later acceptance. This cycle takes place whenever Facebook launches a new service or tweaks a popular feature. Apparently, as we reported earlier, this cycle also takes place whenever Facebook tweaks its privacy policy.

Still, what makes the timeline modification particularly troubling for some businesses looking for stability and predictability is that Facebook requires all business pages (along with non-profits and other types of organizations) to use the modified design. The problem is that businesses are left to explain the changes to their end users while Facebook doesn’t have to explain. Businesses are then left to face user anger.

An analyst with IDC that tracks social networks, Michael Fauscette, says that this change, on the whole, is a positive development for most companies that use such profile pages. The new timeline gives companies more capability in their efforts at brand promotion. Companies are now more enabled to make their brands stand out. Facebook announced that the massive Timeline transition is proceeding along well. 8 million plus brands and companies have already changed over to the new format. Big brands like Ford, Dr. Pepper, and Ben & Jerry’s have beefed up their customer interaction through the timeline and related marketing tools. The timeline and tools were announced by Facebook at its first marketing conference this past February 29.

Why change to the Timeline look? It is a more visual look and increases branding opportunities for companies’ logos and other graphics. It also gives organizations the ability to publish historical photos and other items that change over time.