Is there a Facebook timeline alternative?

January 30, 2012

by — Posted in Personal Writing, Technology

So last week I started filling out my Facebook timeline.   The idea behind it is pretty cool in the sense you give yourself a time machine to look back at your life.   I like the presentation and most of the options (some things are lacking).   Overall it is a good experience, though I know many hate it.   All the information it is displaying was there before – it just is in an easier presentation method.

As I’m filling it out one of my friends left a message that I should stop fiddling with my timeline since no one cares.   Granted that is not true since I care, but every life object I added spammed all my friends that I add X,Y, and Z to my timeline.   I had already done a bit, so I decided to slow down my importing information.    Overnight I decided that since I can not get my data out of Facebook, I really didn’t want to put it in. Privacy and over sharing doesn’t bother me.   Most of the information I was going to add is mostly public accessible via my blog or other public means.   Why would I want to spend hours upon hours doing this on Facebook, when only I would enjoy it and there is no long-term strategy to migrate the data out into another format?

I am on the hunt for an alternative.  I posted yesterday that I am aware of the WordPress plugin (which unfortunately doesn’t give you date ranges).   I am also aware of Memolane, which from my reading didn’t have a method it output the data in a reliable format (I don’t think you can output it at all).   Currently there doesn’t seem to be any method to do anything similar with any open data standards.    I would love to have a private (in my home) timeline that would include details and things that I would never share on the open Internet.     The dream would be for it to subscribe to a calendar and pull in data from there, arrange pictures by date taken, and be able to pull in data sources from RSS feeds, twitter, and other sources to give a comprehensive view of my life that I could work backwards in time from.

Once the data sourcing problem is solved I would love it if videos, pictures, and text in flat html files/ directories as well as a database.   This would give me the power of portability with the speed and comparison of data that you could do with a database.   For me this would be a win / win design.   Your data would always be able to be recovered, copied, moved, and backed up easily.

I was explaining to Xie last night that it is a catch-22.  I don’t obsessively record my data since there is no good way to store or visualize it.    Since I can’t find a method to store and visualize it to my liking – I don’t obsessively record my data.   I do have a WordPress installation on my laptop that aggregates more information than even my public blog does – it really however is a hack and not really good enough.  The hunt continues….

 

 

One thought on “Is there a Facebook timeline alternative?

  1. I was looking for the same and finally found a timeline template (Interactive Timeline) in google docs (spreadsheet). You still have to input all events by yourself, but until something better appears it works fine for me.

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