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As the social networks have increased, there are several scripts and plugins to display a chronological social timeline from various networks.

Is it possible to use a social timeline on your portfolio page? I know one advantage; that if it's not javascript, it will add automatically new content to your site. The harder thing is to use the right keywords so that this content really helps.

When can one use a social timeline, and why?

  • There are really good answers, but I am not sure which should be "accepted", because both are good. Maybe I could just leave it open? – Owl Feb 10 '14 at 19:12
  • Even if you don’t accept one (yet), why is it that you didn’t upvote the answers (as you seem to find them good)? -- See also: What should I do when someone answers my question? – unor Feb 11 '14 at 2:57
  • @unor The OP can't upvote until they have at least 15 rep. If you like the question, feel free to vote it up to give the OP another 5 rep, and then Paul and I can get our upvotes, maybe :) – Roger Attrill Feb 11 '14 at 8:54
  • @RogerAttrill: Ah, good to know. Owl, here you go! – unor Feb 11 '14 at 11:22
  • Thx, yes I wanted to upvote but was missing the rep... I'd like to leave this open for a while, maybe someone else has another opinion... – Owl Feb 12 '14 at 7:06
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A social timeline plugin such as the jQuery social timeline plugin at first seems cute - it's transitions are slick and it might initially seem like a nice easy way to amalgamate disparate information.

However, therein lies the problem: that disparate information is distributed for a reason.

Each social media network enters the market with a new and different USP. They serve different markets, different demographics. They provide different content, appeal to different emotions and different attitudes.

When you interact with different networks, you do so in a way that aligns with the sentiment of that network, and you share with like minded individuals - probably a different set of friends and for different motives than you would on another network.

Twitter, Facebook, Google+, MySpace, whether you like it or not you adapt the way you interact to fit the environment and the rules - just the same as you would in a physical environment: at home, at work, at play.

Which leads me to my point - that when you publish content you should consider whether it's fit for purpose - which means understanding that purpose.

Trying to re-centralise that distributed data from different environments results in a mish-mash of different types of content, written in different styles for different audiences and different purposes.

Doing this for portfolio reasons is, I believe, more likely to undermine what you set out to achieve with a portfolio.

A portfolio should be a carefully curated set of content, each item targeting your intended audience, each item in balance with the next, and the whole being more than the sum of the parts: the picture of you that you want to convey to potential clients and employers.

I don't believe that a social timeline can achieve what you should be seeking to do with a portfolio, how ever much the settings let you choose the sources and filter unwanted content.

By all means link to suitable examples of your work, but For a portfolio it's more important than ever to speak to your audience. Portfolio viewers will be looking at many many portfolios, online or on paper. They don't want to have to work at finding out what's important. Those who view your portfolio will be wanting you to write for them - not wanting you to redirect a bunch of stuff you wrote for others.

Without that single minded targeting of your intended audience you won't bring clarity, and your readers won't get you.

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You can use it when the events on the timeline are relevant to the website. I can see how the timeline of a companies (or whatever) page can be used as a sort of news list. Facebook is an awesome medium where people easily comment on a post or like something. It can show your popularity and how active you are. This can build trust.

For example:
You want to buy an aquarium ornament in the shape of Spongebob's pineapple home. You can either buy it from webshop A or webshop B. Webshop A is a few dollar cheaper, but you have never heard of them before and they don't seem active on any social media. Webshop B is more expensive, but you've seen the name in your Facebook newsfeed because a friend liked or bought something. Webshop B is active on social media. Were would you buy?

I would buy from webshop B.

Using it on your portfolio page can be tricky however. It could be an easy way of sharing your projects and let your visitors see what you're up to. But it could easily break your reputation. A drunken photo, a racial quote or whatever might offend your visitor or make your visitor think less of you.

So in short it all comes down to relevance.

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With the proliferation of cross-posting, it would also behoove you to only use a social timeline if you're sure that something you posted on Instagram, for example, won't automatically also be shared out on Twitter and Facebook as well, or you could easily end up with an extremely repetitive timeline.

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