Facebook made waves last week as the social network finally rolled out Timeline, it's newly redesigned profile, to all users worldwide.
Timeline, which was first announced in September, is the most dramatic change in Facebook profiles to date. And while opinions about the new profile are mixed, one thing is for certain: Timeline is here to stay.
Once you switch to Timeline, you'll have seven days to make changes to your profile before Facebook pushes it live. You can make it public yourself anytime within the one-week period.
Here's a look at five things you can do—from aesthetics to removing content—in those seven days to get your profile ready for primetime.
1. Clean Up Your Content
Because Timeline makes your past posts easily searchable to all your friends, the first thing you should do before going live with your new profile is clean up any embarrassing or unwanted posts. For many—early adoters especially—dredging up the past for all to see could be a privacy nightmare.
Facebook doesn't make this task easy. You have three options when you adjust your settings: You can make all your posts friends-only; you can limit the posts by others on your Timeline; and you can review every item ever posted to your wall individually, and set your privacy controls accordingly.
For a detailed step-by-step on how to adjust your settings in these three ways, read: Facebook's New Timeline: Important Settings to Adjust Now.
2. Have Fun With Your Cover Photo
One of the most significant differences between the old profile and Timeline is the emphasis Facebook puts on visuals: Timeline's photos are much larger, and the cover photo is no exception.
Your cover photo is the long photo that spans the width of your profile. Inset is a smaller photo that shows up in searches for you and in your friends' News Feeds.
Facebook says that you should "fill this wide, open space with a unique image that represents you best. It's the first thing people see when they visit your timeline."
If you're unsure about what to put there, take a look at the profiles of your friends who have already switched over to timeline. Have fun with it.
[Want more tips, tricks and details on Facebook? Check out CIO.com's Facebook Bible.]
3. Fill in the Blanks
When you switch to Timeline, you'll notice a new button on your Status Update bar: Life Event. In addition to updating your status and uploading pictures as you would before, Facebook encourages you to fill out important events that happened in your life.
If you click on the "Life Event" tab, a menu of categories will appear, each containing a number of options. To add an event, you can choose between work and education; family and relationships; home and living; health and wellness; and travel and experiences. Drill down further by selecting one, and you can mark the day you got your license...or had your first kiss.
Once you choose a category to update, you'll be brought to a form to fill in the details: the location, who you were with, the date, a backstory, photos and a privacy setting for who can see this life event.
4. Highlight What Matters
As part of Timeline's more visual interface, you're able to denote which posts deserve more prominence and which are less important, which is reflected in the size of the post.
For example, if you want to highlight a new photo album of a vacation that you just updated, hover over the item and click the star icon. This will turn this item into a "featured post," which means it's more prominently displayed.
Similarly, if you want to hide a particular post from your Timline—but not delete it entirely—hover over the post and click the pencil icon.
5. Review Your "Likes"
With the old Facebook profile, pages you "liked" and your interests were buried under your Info tab. Timeline, however, resurfaces these and places them at the top of your Timeline, below your cover photo.
To review all your likes from each year you've used Facebook, and to browse the interests you added over the years, click the "Likes" icon.
The first section will show you your interests. To add or remove some, click the "Edit" button at the top. The section below that will show you the pages you liked by year, and your friends who also like that page. To remove any of these, click on the page's name, then select "Unlike."
Kristin Burnham covers consumer technology, social networking and Web 2.0 for CIO.com. Follow Kristin on Twitter @kmburnham. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Kristin at firstname.lastname@example.org