Why World IPv6 Launch Matters to Communicators / PR / Marketing
Note to PR People: PLEASE INCLUDE A URL With Your News Release!

Facebook Adds "Close Friends" List To Help Sort Through The NewsFeed Overload

Facebook has long known that the "News Feed" can easily drown most folks and it would seem that they are trying yet another attempt at helping people see more relevant info. When I logged into FB today, I was greeted by this banner on the top:

Facebook close friends

I decided to play along and added a few people as "Close Friends". After hitting "Done", I wondered what would happen.

The short answer is... nothing.

At least... nothing visible. I was back looking at my News Feed as per usual. Presumably over time as I refresh the news feed the updates from these "Close Friends" will appear more often in my News Feed.

Naturally, I wanted to know where these "Close Friends" went, and I could see no sign of them in the column on the left side of Facebook. I had to click on the "MORE" link next to "FRIENDS":

Facebook 1

to get to a page of all my "lists" and from there I could click on "Close Friends" and view the list. Once I went through this exercise, "Close Friends" then appeared in the left menu inside of Facebook:


Once inside the "Close Friends" list I had a standard News Feed view of just the people I had added to this list... identical to the way Facebook Lists have always operated. There was this special note, though:

Close Friends

And clicking the "Learn More" link pops up a new wizard walking people through "Lists":

Close Friends 1

The wizard introduced me to the concepts behind Lists, mentioned "Smart Lists" built seemingly from commonalities between profiles, noted that I can keep my old lists I manually built and mentioned that I can target status updates to only specific lists. Although, unlike Google+ it seems you can only send a status update to ONE Facebook List (whereas you can include multiple Circles in Google+).

I'm guessing that perhaps Facebook felt the need to go through all of this because they knew that people were getting overloaded by their News Feed, but they also knew that many people were not using the regular "Lists" feature that Facebook rolled out some time back. With this wizard and the accompanying boxes promoting "Close Friends" they can perhaps get more people using lists.

The last page of the wizard somewhat bizarrely mentioned that I could easily "Go straight to photos and updates from the friends you care about most", using a "LISTS" area of the left sidebar that I do NOT have. Hmmm...

Close Friends 2

In looking around at settings, I can't see anywhere to enable this "LISTS" view. My left sidebar in Facebook consists of:

  • APPS
  • INTERESTS (if I hit the "MORE" link to display this)

No "LISTS" for me. Is there some configuration option I've missed? Is this "LISTS" feature still in the process of rolling out to people? Is it just some other randomness inside of Facebook? Or is really the "FRIENDS" part of the sidebar as I noted earlier? (Does Facebook need to update their wizard? or update my sidebar?)

To be honest, I don't know how often I'll really switch to the list view for "Close Friends" (wherever the link is found). I don't spend a huge amount of time in Facebook... when I dip in I usually just scan down through the News Feed. Now and then, though, I can see the value of the list.

What I'd like more is to know that all the updates and photos from the people I put in that list will appear in my regular News Feed. Facebook's annoying feature of only showing you some of the posts from people means that I do miss out on what people post. I understand that it's one of their ways of helping with News Feed overload... and perhaps this list will help in prioritizing what you see.

What do you think? Will you use the "Close Friends" list? Will this help you in working with Facebook?

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either: