Jan. 24, 2012 at 3:52 PM ET
Ding, ding ding! Your time is up! This is not a drill: You can no longer avoid using Timeline on Facebook, something that until now has been optional.
Timeline is rolling out over the next few weeks to everyone, all 800 million users, Facebook said Tuesday, and once you have it, you have 7 days to change it up — but there is no escaping it.
Even if you hate the biggest visible change to come to Facebook in awhile, you're stuck with the new feature, introduced last fall. Your profile and wall are going to be turned into a visual CV of your life, whether you want it to or not.
On Tuesday, Paul McDonald, a Timeline engineering manager, said on Facebook's blog:
Last year we introduced timeline, a new kind of profile that lets you highlight the photos, posts and life events that help you tell your story. Over the next few weeks, everyone will get timeline. When you get timeline, you'll have 7 days to preview what's there now. This gives you a chance to add or hide whatever you want before anyone else sees it.
He points out that users can learn more about the new features "by taking the quick tour available at the top of your timeline. If you want to get timeline now, go to the Introducing Timeline page and click "Get Timeline." Or you can wait until you see an announcement at the top of your home page."
If you think you can outsmart Facebook, by not publishing your Timeline during the review period — you're wrong.
"If you decide to wait" — er, stall — "your timeline will go live automatically after seven days. Your new timeline will replace your profile, but all your stories and photos will still be there."
McDonald advises that if you want to see how your Timeline looks to other people, you need to click on the gear menu at the top of your timeline, and hit "View As." "You can choose to see how your timeline appears to a specific friend or the public," he writes. There's more info on managing Timeline on the Facebook blog.
But there are also user comments there, many of them (futilely) protesting Timeline.
"I want to revert to old facebook look and by taking a survey, it seems to us that around 40-42% current users want to remove timeline. So facebook should better keep both options open for users," posted Bibaswan Dey of the Techno India Institute, receiving more than 800 "likes" for that comment.
And this one, from Mohamed Isham, got more than 2,000 thumbs up: "Old One is Better!"