As Facebook switches to its new “Timeline” design, some users are already taking advantage of the revamped layout to exemplify what they do best.
Launched this week, Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum’s Facebook page boasts possibly the oldest “Timeline” on the social networking site’s newest technology.
Its birth is dated at 1099, when the Crusaders conquered Jerusalem and established a fortress where the museum stands today.
“A timeline makes perfect sense for us, because we already work based on a timeline,” Rose Ginosar, director of special projects at the museum, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
She said that a team had been working intensely over the past month to find photographs, film, illustrations and historical commentary from the museum in order to provide visitors to the Timeline with an in-depth look at Jerusalem’s ancient and modern history.
Sitting at the entrance to the Old City near the Jaffa Gate, the tower tells its own story of Jerusalem with insights into the many kings, princes, generals and pilgrims that have passed by its walls.
“We would love to talk to Facebook and tell them that we might even need them to create a longer timeline for us,” commented Ginosar, adding that the team planned to add even more information to the Timeline in the coming months.
“We have many artifacts from even earlier periods, and we are starting to photograph them so that we can add them to the Timeline, too,” she continued.
While the social networking site has yet to respond to the museum’s request, Ginosar said that within the last week since the new page went live, the museum had gained many more followers from all over the world.
One of the main goals was to make the page as interactive as possible, she said.
If people have old photographs of themselves or relatives visiting the museum or the Old City, they are invited to send those to the development team, which is hoping to build a “living” timeline as well.
According to Ginosar, there is intense discussion in the museum industry on how institutions can best utilize and engage in the new wave of social media platforms, and a debate over whether they add or detract from bringing visitors to the physical buildings.
“We all have to get used to the idea that the world is changing and it is no longer about people simply viewing history, but more about people taking part in history,” she observed. “A museum has to go beyond its walls and allow those who are interested the opportunity to interact even if they are more than 10,000 miles away.”
The aim, she said, is for people to know that if they have questions about Jerusalem’s history, they can log onto Facebook, find the Tower of David’s page and get the answers.
Asked whether she believed that presenting all the information online would reduce the number of real-life visitors, Ginosar said it would actually have the opposite effect.
“When people start interacting with something, then it only increases their curiosity,” she said. “If someone based in Oklahoma goes online to read about the museum and learn through our timeline, then you can be sure that the first place that person will visit if they come to Israel is the museum.”