Facebook's timeline is too hard to read

image_24Both Kristi (my wife) and I find the Facebook Timeline hard to read having converted to the timeline using the Facebook Developers trick a few months ago. She just commented “I think no one comments on your stuff because your timeline is so hard to read.”. Timeline on mobile seems better as it’s not left-to-right zig-zag reading.

Zig zag reading

The image to the right is my timeline as of a few minutes ago and I drew a few lines marking the path you’d need to traverse the data to read it in chronological order. I’ve not found any obvious way to revert though I haven’t searched very hard and now I rarely look at my own profile to find anything.
Lately, it seems I get a lot less engagement on updates I post and while it’s possible I’ve “tuned” my privacy setting so as to cause this result the conclusion is the same, Facebook has become a lot less interesting. I find that if I dig into profiles including my wife’s I see lots of interesting posts that never made it to my wall which is typically dominated by a few high volume posters.

Unfriending

A few months ago I “unfriended” about 40 people leaving me with 158 which is only slightly above average. I’d hope that Facebook is optimizing for people in my friend range and I’d see a greater diversity of content but that’s not the case. The current trend reminds me of the days of Yahoo’s LaunchCast Radio service (of which I was a big fan). I had 1000’s of ratings and there were times when my station made for a great listening experience and others when it was painful (like when the same Beastie Boys song would play every few songs). There was lots of tweaking to the algorithms used to craft a customized music experience and it wasn’t an easy task. I suspect Facebook has a similar yet more challenging problem so I guess it’s perhaps just time to wait and see.
In the mean time I’m checking into a lot of places so I can have a bunch of data to play with (btw, this link is to an application I’m experimenting with so if it doesn’t work don’t be surprised).
Update: Dec 27, 2011 Viewing a friend’s wall and clicking on the Subscribe button will reveal a dropdown that allows you to select “All Updates” which (at least in theory) should show you all of that person’s posts.