[Update 12/15/2011: Facebook Timeline is now available to all Facebook users. Learn more about the global Timeline rollout for web, as well as Timeline for iPhone, mobile web and Android. To enable Timeline for your profile, visit http://www.facebook.com/about/timeline]
This morning Facebook announced Timeline, a crazy (and kind of creepy) omnibus look at everything that has ever happened in your Facebook lifespan. It’s like a story book of your life — or at least the online, documented parts.
Facebook said that Timeline would be on the way for everyone sometime in the coming weeks… which is great and all, for everyone else. You’re the type of person who reads TechCrunch, and are thus likely the type of person who likes their new and shiny things right now.
That’s okay. We can make it happen.
Fortunately, enabling Timeline a bit early isn’t too difficult — but it’s not at all straight forward, either.
You see, Facebook is enabling Timeline early for open graph developers. You, too, can be an open graph developer — even if you’re just looking to dabble.
A few things to note:
- You probably don’t want to do this unless you’re actually a developer. Expect bugs.
- Only you will see your timeline at first (unless you decide otherwise), but it will automatically go public after a few days. My timeline was automatically hard-set to go public on September 29th.
- It seems that if you login into Facebook on another machine, Timeline gets disabled automatically on all of your machines. With that said, it seems you can get back to your timeline (but ONLY after following the steps below) by navigating to http://www.facebook.com/YOURUSERNAMEHERE?sk=timeline
- You’ll need to have a “verified” account for one of the steps, which means you need a credit card or phone number attached to the account.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Log into Facebook
2. Enable developer mode, if you haven’t already. To do this, type “developer” into the Facebook search box, click the first result (it should be an app made by Facebook with a few hundred thousand users), and add the app.
3. Jump into the developer app (if Facebook doesn’t put you there automatically, it should be in your left-hand tool bar)
4. Create a new app (don’t worry — you wont actually be submitting this for anyone else to see/use). Give your shiny new app any display name and namespace you see fit. Read through and agree to the Platform Privacy agreement. This is the step you need to be verified for.
5. Ensure you’re in your new app’s main settings screen. You should see your app’s name near the top of the page
6. Look for the “Open Graph” header, and click the “Get Started using open graph” link.
Create a test action for your app, like “read” a “book”, or “eat” a “sandwich”
7. This should drop you into an action type configuration page. Change a few of the default settings (I changed the past tense of “read” to “redd” — again, only you can see this unless you try and submit your application to the public directory), and click through all three pages of settings
8. Wait 2-3 minutes
9. Go back to your Facebook homescreen. An invite to try Timeline should be waiting at the top of the page
And you’re done! We’ve seen this work quite a few times now, so it should work without a hitch for just about anyone.