- Smart lists;
- Top news; and
I previously wrote a post on Google+ and the great features it contained that I felt had been lacking in Facebook. Then last month I wrote a post on how Facebook had rolled out some changes in response to the competition from Google+ and Twitter.
But now, only a few weeks later, here are yet more changes. It would seem that the arrival of Google+ has kicked innovation into high-gear in Facebook with developers pushing out Facebook’s answer to some of the popular Google+ features, as well as some brand new features as well.
Nothing like a bit of competition to make people up their game!
Facebook says the new subscribe button can be used to:
1. Choose what you see from people in News Feed.
2. Hear from people, even if you’re not friends.
3. Let people hear from you, even if you’re not friends.
The first use can be particularly handy if some of your friends play Farmville a lot, as you can choose to just not see these updates any more.
The subscribe button also allows you to follow someone you are not friends with – similar to following someone on Twitter. The user e.g. President Obama, has to enable subscriptions on his account, but once this has been done anyone can subscribe to follow Obama’s news feed and anything that he posts publicly will show in subscribers’ news feeds.
This is somewhat similar to liking a Facebook Page, however Pages are supposed to be for businesses, brands or products only (although there’s a lot of misuse), so the subscribe button now allows you to follow people as well.
Friend Lists and Smart Lists
Facebook has also rolled out improved lists.
There are smart lists which you probably saw immediately when you logged in. These are created automatically based on something you have in common with a group of friends e.g. the city you live in or the university you went to.
You will also have close friends and acquaintances lists which separates your best friends from those you’re not as close to, allowing you to catch up with your closest friends quickly through one list. The lists are empty so you need to populate them yourself and from now on if you friend someone you will have to decide whether they are a close friend or an acquaintance straight away – however people will not know which list you have placed them in.
Any lists you have created yourself will now also be easier to access, as you can just add them to your favourites and they will show up in the left sidebar.
The lists are all completely optional, but as someone who was using the previous, clunkier version of lists, I find the new set up much nicer and easier to use.
Just announced today the news feed will now show you top news based on what has happened since you last logged into Facebook. So if it’s been a week you will see a summary of the top stories first…
Real-Time Friend Activity
Also announced today is the ticker which shows up in the top right corner of the screen and shows your friends’ activity in real time, including their comments on other people’s status messages. To see more details simply hover over the update.
Change Is Good
There has been a lot of grumbling about all these recent changes, but I think people forget that Facebook is a free service, and no one is forcing them to use it. Facebook is changing in response to its competition, and also in response to requests from users, all in an effort to give us a better experience…sure sometimes they get it wrong, but at least they’re trying to evolve and improve, and not just standing still!