Timelines are a great way to quickly learn about a topic.  Here are the top 10 most popular timelines on the xtimeline website in 2008.  From the list, we get a sense of what some of the big events were in 2008, and other life and entertainment topics that remain important or interesting to our xtimeline community:

1. History of Video Games
2. Life of Barack Obama
3. Google: Company History and Milestones
4. Rafael Garcia-Herreros
5. Pregnancy Timeline
6. Apple, Inc.
7. Adolf Hitler
8. Britney Spears
9. Olympic Games
10.John McCain

There’s a lot going on these days in the world. Price of oil is going down. Many references are made to the Great Depression given the general instability of the stock market and the gloomy outlook for our economy. There’s a lot of speculation in the media that President-elect Barack Obama may nominate Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Secretary of State. The high profile discussions also have to do with former president Bill Clinton and his relationships and work through his foundation.

The timelines may not tell you everything you want to know, but they’re a good start. I’ve found it helpful to get some of the historical and biographical context.

Lauren

Many of you have asked for this feature. Now, you’re able to print your timelines, and bring it with you to show your friends, classmates, or colleagues.

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Thanks for your suggestions, and keep them coming.

Have fun sharing your timelines!

The xtimeline team

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Dear xtimeline users,

The team that created xtimeline.com is proud to bring you www.famento.com, a website where you can record the history of your family, and the story of your life.

What can you do on Famento?

1. Tell your stories

Do you ever wish you knew more about your parents or grandparents? Do you want to stay connected with friends? Famento is a way to record your stories so that your friends and family can know you and their ancestors better.

2. Create timelines of your life

Organize your life stories, and create a timeline about your life. Famento is a private network, so you can share this with only the people you want.

3. Share photos, videos and files

Share your photos of family gatherings, vacations, babies, weddings and other events. Make sure important family photos can never be lost.

4. Create an online tribute for loved ones

Remember loved ones that have passed away. Create a profile, upload photos, and have friends and family submit their memories. You can make this a public tribute or keep it private.

Join us on Famento to start recording your life story and your family’s history today. No matter how far apart you live from each other, or how busy your lives are, you can stay close to the people you care about through Famento.

The Famento team

www.famento.com – Your Family History
www.xtimeline.com – Timeline 2.0

We are excited to announce a new version of our timeline widget and website!

Here are the highlights:

1) A new and improved timeline widget

• Enhanced performance – The timeline widget loads up much faster, and can handle large numbers of events.

• Improved embedding – It’s now easier to embed the timeline widget on your blog, social networking profile, or website. Customize the size of the widget, and then copy the embed code to start sharing timelines that you like or have created.

• Different timeline view – You can view our timeline in the traditional View or in a new “card” format. The “card” view shows the picture and allows you to view the timeline as a continuous series of events.

2) Easier to collaborate

• Public Editing Option – Now you have the option to make your timelines publicly editable. This means you can allow all xtimeline users to contribute events and edit your timelines. With the easy wiki-like edit history feature, you can roll back to previous versions as desired.

3) Easier to discover new timelines

• Site Redesign – We have been reorganizing the site since January, and we think the new layout will make it easier for you to find interesting timelines. We’ve made our Explore page the main page to find new timelines — you can now sort by category, language, views, and time and more. We’ve also simplified our home page to make it clearer.

We’re really excited about the new website, and we hope it is getting easier to create and explore timelines. We’re always working on further improvements, so let us know what you think of this new release.

And please help us spread the word about xtimeline!

The xtimeline team

Some of our recent favorite timelines:

The History of Oil
The TV Series “Lost”
The History of the Bra

As the number of timelines on our site increases, there are more interesting timelines, but finding what you want has gotten harder. In general you can explore timelines using:

1. Search – enter a keyword for the timeline you’re interested in
2. Browse – featured timelines, most viewed, most recent, etc.
3. Categories – six main categories
4. Tags – keywords that are associated with the timeline

However, one thing we realized is that all of these methods above have their respective weaknesses — most importantly they lack a human touch. What was missing was a way for users to categorize timelines and organize the data in different ways.

We have added two other ways for social discovery:
1) Groups – arrange timelines based on the group’s interests or common themes
2) Fans of – social bookmark timeline creators you like

1) Groups function – Unlike wikipedia, there are multiple copies of the same topic on xtimeline. Sometimes these are created intentionally for an assignment, in which case creating a Group for all of them allows teachers and students to easily see each other’s timelines. The class can also use the Group for a discussion about each student’s individual findings or about the topic they’re researching.

In other cases, Groups allows moderators and members to share timelines they like the most and that might interest other members based on their similar interests or themes.

We hope that the changes in Groups helps you find and participate in interesting timelines and discussions. Here are few of our favorites: authors, celebrities, China, web 2.0.

2) Fans – We changed what we originally called “Friends” into “Fans of”. This change allows you to follow the work of timeline creators or commenters that you find interesting. All of this information is collected on the Profile page which allows your fans to get to know you better. They can see the timelines you created and ones you liked, the timeline creators you’re a fan of, and the groups you belong to. (Note: Anyone in your “Friends” list has been turned into mutual fans of – you’re a fan of the friend and vice versa.).

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the changes, or any ideas for additional improvements.

The xtimeline team

It’s been our goal to make it easy to collaboratively create a timeline because we know creating an interesting timeline takes a lot of work.

Our attempts to make our timelines collaborative have evolved:

* At our launch last year in July, users could allow their “friends” to edit their timelines. However, we found that being friends on xtimeline didn’t necessarily equate with wanting to grant someone editing privileges. In fact, it almost became a disincentive to add on people you didn’t know well as friends.

* We then launched the “groups” function as a way of solving that problem. Instead of giving all of your friends access, you could create a smaller group to edit timelines. However, this was problematic too. Just imagine if you had made a group on US politics and you had timelines for both George W Bush and Hillary Clinton. Would you want the same group having editing rights to both timelines? Imagine even if you had a group for Democrats, could you imagine the same group editing both Clinton and Obama? If one Group manages multiple timelines, it’s not clear that you would want all of the group members to have access to all of the timelines. Groups also have other tricky internal management issues.

In the site redesign, we made two changes:

1) Edit History: We created an “edit history” function to track the changes on your timeline. This is similar to the history functions in most wiki-based websites. This is important for recording past changes to your data. You can see who made what changes, and you can quickly revert to a previous version if necessary. We think this function is critical for any sort of collaborative editing.

2) Timeline-based Permission: Editing permissions is now done on a per-timeline basis. Every timeline has a unique list of people who can edit that specific timeline. Viewers of a timeline can also send a request to the creator to become an editor of the timeline. Now it is transparent on every timeline who made what edits.

We hope these changes make collaboration on our site easier, more intuitive, and more transparent. Let us know your feedback in our forums!

The xtimeline team

We’re excited to announce some changes on the xtimeline site! Some of you may have noticed that we’ve been experimenting with some changes in functionality and layout. While we will continue to make changes and improve the site, we think it’s worth explaining what has changed in this version and why. More to come in subsequent posts. We’ve also updated our Help and Tour pages to reflect these changes.

In the end, we hope these changes will make it easier for you to create, share and discuss timelines. (If they’re not — please let us know through the feedback button or post it in our forums!)

Thanks,

The xtimeline team

(Quick note: We brought our forums back because it seemed like our feedback group wasn’t as popular.)

We spent a long time trying to figure out how to allow users to create timelines collaboratively. We found that the initial Friends feature did not have granular enough controls. The result is our new Group feature that we hope will make it easier to:

1) Work together on creating timelines
2) Find other users who share your interests

We greatly admire open editing platforms like wikipedia.org, and we wanted to create an editing system that would be flexible and also allow users the freedom to manage their own groups.

So what can you do in Groups?

Anyone can create a group. As a group creator, you’ll have administrator rights over all the timelines in the group, and the ability to appoint other members to be moderators. You will be able to set the editing settings for the group as a whole. You can allow other group members the right to modify all events (full cooperation), or only modify events they have created (limited cooperation).

You can create timelines specifically for a group, or you can submit timelines you have already created to a group.

Join the current groups or create your own!

We’ve created some groups and gotten some users to submit their timelines.

Web 2.0 Timeliners – timelines about internet companies, web 2.0 phenomenons
Military Historians – timelines about wars (iraq, ww2, etc.)
Celebrity Lives – timelines about famous people
xtimeline gamers – timelines about games, game histories

We hope the new Groups functionality will make it easier for everyone to collaborate on timelines. We know it takes work to create a good timeline, so why not let others work with you on one, and make it an educational and social process all in one.

Let us know what you think of the new feature. We’re always looking to get more feedback from you.

The xtimeline team

Final note: we’re still working on the new timeline widget that we’ve told you about. It’s taking longer than we’d hoped, but we’re trying to get it to you soon. Stay tuned!

As we created more biographical timelines about the 2008 election candidates, we thought it would be worthwhile to show all of these candidates on one page.

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So far we have timelines for:
Democrats:
Hillary Clinton
John Edwards
Al Gore (unofficial)
Barack Obama

Republicans:
Rudy Giuliani
John McCain
Ron Paul
Mitt Romney
Fred Thompson

We’re still missing a bunch of candidates so if you want to create one, let us know and we’ll put it up.

As ever, if you want to discuss any of these timelines (corrections and additions), please post in our forum or contact us directly using the feedback button.

Finally, if you have ideas for other timeline sets, please let us know!

The xtimeline team

PS: We’ll have more functionality ready soon. Stay tuned…

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