Defying Conventional Wisdom: Facebook's Timeline is a Feature for the Ages - CPC Strategy

Although CPC Strategy is based in San Diego and consists of many Bay Area transplants, there are actually a few among us that have exclusive memberships to one of the hottest clubs around: Tebow-mania.

It’s no wonder then that one of the early publicized celebrity profiles on Facebook’s newly released timeline feature belongs to Britney SpearsTim Tebow, given how much the two have in common (we’ll refrain from detailing either as the coverage on both is ubiquitous).

Both Tebow and Facebook’s timteboweline are certainly quite polarizing, as one can find as many fans as critics of either; and in spite of the criticism both are continuing down their paths and doing all they can to defy conventional wisdom.

Tebow is redefining how one views a quarterback in the NFL, which, compared to college, is known as a copycat league with coaches on too short of a leash to try to innovate on their own terms.

Similarly, it’s just as rare for big tech companies to stray from the tried and true; and a major reason why once perennial powerhouses are taking a backseat to those who take the initiative to be original and innovative. See: Microsoft/Yahoo/Blockbuster vs. Apple/Google/Netflix–and now in the battle of Facebook vs. Google vs the world, Facebook’s timeline has come out swinging and is trying to redefine the idea of a “profile”, which is the window upon which others see us in this digital age.

Both are defying conventional wisdom at appropriate times as well.

Even though Facebook is the largest social network the world has ever known–there are actually more members today than the entire world population less than 250 years ago [1]–its userbase will eventually stagnate or even max out and without innovation it can easily go the way of Myspace, the dodo bird of social networks.

With Google’s Google+ on the rise as one of the few companies with the userbase and the pockets to try to compete with Facebook, the release of timeline highlights at least one feature that Facebook has that its future competitors don’t: user history. With many heavy Facebook users already with thousands of pictures and status updates in their profile, the timeline makes for an easy, natural transition, something that Google+ will certainly struggle with if they ever try to implement something similar–or dare we say, something that’s impossible to replicate?

As for Tebow and the Broncos–they’re just over a decade removed from being repeat Super Bowl champions featuring one of the best “conventional” quarterbacks ever, but in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league, when you’re struggling, convention and history mean nothing in producing wins, and even less to the fans.

One difference between them though? While Tebow is known for his heroics in the very late stages of a game, the goal of Facebook’s timeline is to shift away from the present and putting an emphasis on the earlier stages of you, the user’s life.

Conventional wisdom itself once said that slow and steady wins the race, but we can safely throw that out the window in the tech age–slow and steady not only loses the race for you, it can put you off the track completely.

Is following conventional wisdom rampant in your company or industry? Is it keeping you in the same position, or worse yet pushing you behind others? If so think about ways to channel your inner Tebow to break it–you can even do it slowly, and steady if you must.

The important lesson to learn from FaceBow is to stay the path, even if you happen to turn your biggest supporters into critics, if you truly believe in the direction you’re taking, eventually you will find a way to turn even your biggest critics into supporters.

If nothing else, heed the advice of one wise man.

*actually, a lot of what is said about Mr. Tebow can easily be applied to Ms. Spears

[1] http://worldhistorysite.com/population.html

About the AuthorTien Nguyen is a co-founder of CPC Strategy and deals with data feeds in his waking hours and often in his sleep. He spends his free time with Rubik's cubes while rooting for the underachieving Raiders and UCLA sports teams where he graduated with a mathematics/economics degree. See all posts by this author here.