Have you taken a look at your Facebook friends recently? Are they all people you’d call your friends in real life? If you’re an avid Facebook user, chances are you have a decent number of “friends” who aren’t, well, your friends.
Facebook recently rolled out several new features to help with this dilemma, some of which seem to borrow heavily from Google Plus’ tools. Arriving in the same week that Google Plus ditched the invites and opened up to all users, the Facebook changes seem to be the next step in the struggle for social networking superiority.
You can now “subscribe” to updates from people who you aren’t friends with, although you’ll only get information that they choose to share publicly. If the thought of a stranger—or somebody you’re deliberately not friends with—getting all your Facebook updates bothers you, now is the time to go into your privacy settings and give them a close look. The Lists function on Facebook has also be updated. You can now create specific lists of people (“Coworkers” “Family members” etc.) and click on the list to view only their updates (sound familiar, Google Plusers?). You also now have the option to sort your Facebook friends into “Close friends” and “Acquaintances.” If you choose to sort your friends this way, you’ll receive all updates from your close friends but only “major” updates from your acquaintances. (You’ll receive a notification every time one of your “close friends” updates, so choose carefully). Facebook is kind of fuzzy on what a “major” update is, but we just hope it translates to fewer Farmville requests.
The idea behind the updates is sound—if you set up your account with these new features you should be getting a more filtered version of your Facebook feed, with more information about the people you actually care about and less about your more distant acquaintances. The “subscribe” feature, however, which allows you to follow someone’s updates whether you’re friends with him/her or not, definitely warrants a privacy settings checkup.
What do you think of the new updates? Will you take the time to sort your friends into circles lists, or will you keep using Facebook the way you’ve been all along? Do you think Facebook is trying to act more like Google Plus? Are you going to change your social media marketing strategy to take advantage of the changes? Let us know in the comments.