Facebook has done it again. There's a new feature roll-out that has people pulling their hair out while the Facebook team smiles and pats themselves on the back for ingenuity. The latest Facebook upgrade affects the News Feeds, and it adds list management options for Friends. There is also a new ticker that allows users to see real-time Friend activity and join in the conversation as well. Finally, there's a "subscribe" option that lets users get notifications on Friends' updates, just like an RSS feed.
Facebook boasts that the new features deliver "more of what you want on Facebook and less of what you don't."
Here's a breakdown of what this all means:
Facebook users can now create lists within the Friends database and create a sub-group called, "Closest Friends." From there, users can choose to see only the posts of this group of Friends and, in turn, create a post that only this group can see. While not necessarily practical for widespread use, it does allow targeted threads to specific people without having to create a message that pollutes inboxes.
The Facebook upgrade also makes drastic changes to the News Feed. There are now top stories that users can view that are based on an algorithm guessing what people are interested in seeing. Inexplicably, however, entries in the News Feed are not necessarily in chronological order. They've decided to lump Recent Stories and Top Stories in a single feed.
Similar to Twitter, Facebook has now included a ticker on the right hand side of the screen that shows Friends' real-time activity and allows user to interact with the stream, also in real-time.
The Overall Facebook Upgrade
It's difficult to fault a company for continually evolving and making efforts to enhance users' experience. However, history has shown that Facebook members are generally unreceptive to changes, especially changes that radically change their experience. It's surprising that Facebook chose to change so much of the interface at one time.