Lots of stuff happening on the Facebook sphere this week. And as usual a lot is said, rumors come and go… so I though it would be cool to take it down a notch for the reader at SocialMouths and get right to the point explaining the new updates.
The new features are 2, so far (hey, the week is not over), “Lists” and the “Subscribe” button. We’ll discuss both of them and I’ll tell you exactly what they do.
Let’s first say that these new updates are really something that a lot of people expected from Facebook a long time ago. Not only that but they are pretty much just adding some of the functionalities from both biggest competitors Twitter and Google+, we’ll see why now.
Let’s first cover the “lists” feature…
Facebook has pretty much taken the concept of organizing friends into different groups from its new rival Google+. This is what we know as “Circles” on G+ and what had all its users throwing positive feedback all over the Internet a couple of months back.
It makes total sense, the concept is based on filtering your updates to these different groups but there is a big difference here, Google+ launched its service with this feature already included which means that everything is already organized this way from the beginning. Facebook will have to go through a process and depend on its users to adapt it.
To start, Facebook is making this optional so over the next few weeks you’ll get the chance to adapt it. The cool thing is that Facebook will create what they’re calling “Smart Lists” to automatically group your friends into 4 main groups:
This is based on information you have provided, if Facebook sees that you and one of friends went to the same school, guess what… I think it will be fun to see what they come up with, don’t you?
Close Friends and Acquaintances Lists
Then you’ll have the option to edit and add some accuracy to your grouping by manually adding and removing friends. You’ll filter your friends into “Close Friends” and “Acquaintances” list.
By separating these 2 groups you’ll be able to see everything your “Close Friends” publish while you only get the “Important” stuff from your ”Acquaintances”. I’m not sure about letting Facebook make the decision on what’s “Important”. I’m interested in knowing what you think, share in the comments.
When it comes to sharing your content you still have the other lists, if you want to make the post visible to your boss or coworkers, you will have to include the “Work” group when you publish, which is exactly the case with G+ and its “Circles”, as you can see in the following image.
When you get a new “Friend Request” you will get the option to assign that person to an existing group.
One of the cool additions in all this is how you can filter the News Feed to only see your “Close Friends” or ”Acquaintances” and eliminate some of the clutter.
So that’s it in regards to the new Facebook “Lists” that will start to roll out in the next couple of weeks.
I certainly like the concept as I did when I saw it on G+ and in my opinion it makes total sense, of course it will require a little bit of your time to really organize stuff the way you want it.
The only thing I don’t like so far is Facebook deciding what’s important to deliver your “Acquaintances” so I’m not sure that I will complete that step.
Facebook Subscribe Button
The “Subscribe” button adds the Twitter concept of “Following”, which means I don’t need to be your friend or I don’t need your approval to receive your updates. I can already see your face but let me explain…
The “Subscriber” brings a new relationship category to Facebook, it is the equivalent of the “Follower”. You are not necessarily friends with these people.
How about your privacy?
There are 2 options here to protect yourself:
The “Subscriber” button is totally optional, in the next few day you will have the option to add the button to your profile.
If you decide to allow people to subscribe to your profile, they will only see the content you have set as “Public”. Remember that you now have the option to filter with lists.
How about the other way around?
Let’s start by having the option to subscribe to a person instead of sending a friend request. The concept makes total sense, you don’t need to establish a relationship with Seth Godin, Tom Peters or Deepak Chopra to consume their content. They are 1-way connections. There is nothing wrong with that.
Now if you think about it, the “Subscriber” is also the same thing as the “Like” button on Facebook Pages. Couldn’t they just add a “LIke” button to profiles instead?
Before you go kill your Facebook Page, the main difference between the page and the personal profile is that the profile does not have Facebook Insights.
What you want to see
Facebook is also giving you the option to decide how much and what kind of information you get from these subscriptions by filtering in 3 categories:
- All Updates
- Most Updates
- Only Important
Which takes me back to the question of how is “Important” determined…
First, I’m not sure that I will subscribe to profiles. Isn’t that what Pages and Likes are for?
How About You?
But I know you probably want to say something too, please share your thoughts and questions in the comments section. I love to read your opinion in this matter.