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Some users of the popular social networking website Facebook are being told the new Timeline format will become mandatory in another week.

 While some of us are hesitant to depart from our familiar profile page, central Iowa social media expert Drew McLellan has already made the leap and says it was a simple, step-by-step process.

“The one thing you do need to think about is one of the main features on the Timeline,” McLellan says.

“That cover photo, that long horizontal photo becomes the header to your Facebook page. You’re going to want to think about what photo you want to have and have that ready to upload.”

The new Timeline feature re-arranges items on the page and orders posts, pictures and everything else based on reverse chronological order. Most recent items are at the top with the ability to scroll all the way back to the year a person was born.

“There are parts of it I do like,” McLellan says. “I like the layout of it, but I’m not so sure that I’m going to spend a lot of time on my friends’ profile pages, flipping back to their birth years and all of that sort of stuff.”

While it may take some Iowans a little time to get the hang of the new format, McLellan says it’s a masterful way for Facebook to give itself staying power, especially for younger users.

“Imagine a kid is 14 or 15 and they just opened a Facebook page,” McLellan says. “Fast forward ten years. Literally, their entire life is going to be chronicled and easy to find on Facebook. It really does become almost like a scrapbook of your life.”

The website claims to have 700-million members globally and McLellan says he doesn’t see anything else on the horizon that could challenge Facebook — though he admits, something new could come out tomorrow.

“For a lot of people, Facebook has become ‘the’ place that they have the widest connection of old friends and new friends and work friends and college friends,” McLellan says. “It’s hard to imagine unraveling that and starting all over again somewhere else, but in the social media world, you never say never.”

Iowans need to get used to the Timeline structure of Facebook, as it will be forced upon all users within another few weeks, some sooner than others. Privacy settings sometimes get jumbled with this sort of major shift in the program, so he recommends taking a close look at all of your settings, and for parents, especially those of your child’s page.