Everyone has their own definition to social networks like Facebook and Twitter. To me, Facebook is a private network that can be restricted only to close friends and family, while Twitter is public broadcasting platform. Google+ shows us the possibility of consolidating both functions into just one network. They do this by well-defining our contacts with Google+ Circles.
It’s too late for Facebook to move away from its two-way friending system, but the Palo Alto-based social network has figured out a way to offer a Google+ Circles-like functionality.
Facebook’s recent announcement brought us three new improvements that will make Friend Lists more mainstream functionality than it ever was:
- Smart lists - You’ll see smart lists that create themselves and stay up-to-date based on profile info your friends have in common with you — like your work, school, family and city.
- Close Friends and Acquaintances lists - You can see your best friends’ photos and posts in one place, and see less from people you’re not as close to.
- Better suggestions - You can add the right friends to your lists without a lot of effort.
Facebook knows that creating and managing friend lists isn’t a fun thing to do, especially when you’ve already accumulated hundreds or even thousands of friends (5,000 is the limit). And, no, it isn’t going to cross its arms and do nothing while its users are giving all the love to Google+’s Circles.
With Smart Lists, you no longer have a reason not to use lists on Facebook. It will build Friend Lists automatically, without any effort on your side, starting with four most common group of contacts — work, school, family and city.
Of course, it relies entirely on the information on your Facebook profile, so if you’re naming “Planet Mars” as your city, and “Hogwarts” as your school, tough luck.
Close Friends and Acquaintances lists on the other hand separate people you want and don’t want to hear from. Friends listed as “close friends” will have all their status updates appear on your newsfeed, while “acquaintances,” a better name for people you couldn’t care less about, will only have important updates (say, relationship status) posted.
Better Sharing Options
What’s the use of Friend Lists when you can’t easily post an update to a specific list, easily? Previously, you could only choose who to share an update with by selecting “Custom,” and fill in the annoying fields of “Make this visible to” and “Hide this from.”
This will change, too. Friend Lists will now appear in the “dropdown audience selector,” a section previously reserved only for “Public,” “Friends” and “Custom.”
These changes are being rolled out this week — you can monitor user reaction by clicking the Facebook Blog link below.