Well, Jane Smith, filing for divorce and asking for primary custody—you think you can avoid some of the stupid things you posted on Facebook a year ago? You think it might never see the light of day—those comments about how drunk you got—where you were, with whom, doing what? Guess again! And think about how Facebook will supplement your resume’ as you begin job-hunting. [See this blog article on Lexis-Nexis' use of Facebook in making decisions about whom to hire.]
Last Thursday (December 8, 2011), Facebook began updating Facebook accounts with a new and revamped profile feature called Timeline. Timeline allows a person with access to the account to see a user’s entire history of photos, links and other things shared on Facebook accessible with a single click. 800 million members of Facebook are about to see just how many digital fingerprints they have been leaving on the site — and on the Internet in general. This will make it more difficult to erase past identities, past comments, past bad behavior memorialized in a moment of sheer stupidity.
See also WTSP TV in St. Petersburg FL where family law attorney Carin Constantine says that she uses Facebook in 90% of her family law cases. She touted a wonderful tip that family lawyers should use to help find images that may have been deleted: According to Constantine, she goes to www.images.google.com, types in the person's name and searches through every single page of returns. Constantine told Channel 10 News in Tampa Bay that "t]hose pictures are still accessible by us, and we can still print them and we can still use them as evidence in your divorce case," Constantine said. And that printed piece of paper can be attached to a motion within the hour.
The new Timeline format is likely to share lots of old memories, but could make it harder to get rid of things users have shared in the past—things they’d like to forget as they move from high school to college and to job-seeking.
The changes? The old Facebook profile page shows the most recent items users have posted, along with things like photos of them posted by others. The new feature, Timeline, creates a patchwork of photos, links and updates from each month and year a person has used Facebook.
Facebook users can either wait to receive a notification about Timeline on their Facebook page, of they can go to facebook.com/about/timeline to activate it immediately. Once a FB user switches to Timeline, there is no ability to switch back. FB doesn't say when, but on the FB blog, it's clear that eventually all profiles will be switched to the new look.
For divorce lawyers, the new interface will offer a timesaver. In order to print out an entire FB profile, with the old interface, you have to go to the bottom of the page and click on “older posts” over and over and over. Once the entire FB profile is exposed, then you can print to PDF. Ah, you have never printed to PDF? Here’s an old blog post about free PDF printers, in the category “Jeanne’s Toolbox.”
To learn more, read Wortham, Jenna, NY Times, Your Life on Facebook, in Total Recall, published
December 15, 2011 [Last accessed on December 18, 2011]