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Why I have no “Close Friends” on Facebook

Facebook has added a lot of new features to their site over the past 6 months. One of these features is the ability to select “close friends“. This was supposed to be an improvement on the old style of lists FB use to offer. However, this feature became annoying before it became anything else.

The new listing feature s cumbersome at best. I find that where I once used lists, though I know I was one of the 5%’ers that did, I no longer do. Adding friends to lists is not as easy as it once was, unless it is a close friend. For them you just need to click the star on their profile and wahlah! You are done!

Sounds great doesn’t it. Well, it is not. After adding some people to my close friends list, I started noticing that my notifications were filled with their posts. In fact, it was so filled with their posts, I couldn’t find the links to comments people had made to my posts. I was actually losing my notifications to the post notifications of my friends.

I love my friends and I want to know what is going on with them, but isn’t that was the time line is for? Why do I need to get notifications every time they post. I can see where this is handy if you are keeping an eye on a profile. For instance if you are cyber stalking someone like your ex, or doing something more innocent like monitoring your kids online activity. Otherwise, it is annoying and cluttering up my Facebook experience.

There are ways you can turn these off, but that seemed like too much work. So I simply removed all my “close friends”. Now all the notifications I get are when someone has commented on a post or a picture of mine. I actually get to pay attention to the engagement happening on my profile!

So though I have many close friends in real life and on Facebook, I no longer have any official “close friends” on Facebook.

Facebook adds Circles?

Google Plus vs. Facebook

This fabulous image is from the Puffs of Genius blog

The competitive edge that Google+ had over Facebook was circles. It is a form of micro-sharing. Basically you can share updates with a subset of your friends instead of all your friends. This kind of micro-sharing is what makes people feel that Google+ has better privacy control than Facebook.  Well Facebook has decided to be competitive and has created smart lists.

Lists are not anything new in Facebook. In fact, they have been around for years, but only about 5% of Facebook users actually use lists. Most do not even know they exist and the ones that do often find it more cumbersome than helpful.

Facebook is now trying to take the cumber out of cumbersome. They are making automatic smart lists where it will group people for you based on your user information and usage habits. So if you have friends from your same college, they may get grouped into a “College” or “School” group. People you work with will be put in “Work”. You will be able to move people around in these groups to adjust them as you see fit. But Facebook is trying to make micro sharing more of a reality for its users.

Though grouping our friends for us might make it easier for us to manage our lists, it will not necessarily get people to start using the list function. Google+ was formed around the idea of circles and micro-sharing. Facebook was formed around the more general concept of social sharing. Not to mention that many of us get rather annoyed at how much Google tried to understand and anticipate our every move. So it might not be a good idea for Facebook to try to emulate that model. We already get annoyed at some of the friend suggestions, especially when not only are they people who are not friends but they are people we don’t want to see.

I am one of the 5%-ers that use lists, but will that number now increase? Do you plan to use lists now that they are automated?

Making a list, checking it twice…

Santa checking his list

Adding people to a list can help you grow your network and improve your engagement. Are you using lists to help your Twitter presence?

Lists are an important tool in Twitter. They can help you keep an eye on the people you really want to pay attention to. They can help you organize your tweeps into content-related groupings, like “Funny Tweeps” or “Real Estate Tweeps”.  You can also use lists as a way to grow your network and your sales.

A great tool was recommended to me by one of my tweeps.

The interface is easy to use and the lists are easy to manage. Once you create them they are synced with your Twitter account, which means that they will also sync with applications like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite.

Formulists.com

This is a tool that links to your Twitter account and creates lists for you.

It has suggestions for the types of lists you can have or you can create your own custom list.

What makes this so useful is that it aggregates the list for you based on selected criteria and updates the list daily.

Suggested Lists

These are the lists that Formulists.com suggests for you.  They are a good starting point and give you some great building blocks.

  • Filter your following
    This allows you to add filters like location, tweet frequency or keyword. So you can limit a given list of people you follow to filter only those who talk about their cats.
  • Track your Interactions
    This is a great one for keeping track of your engagement levels. You can create a list of people you talk to, people you retweet and people who retweet you. Set yourself a goal for growing your engagement lists.
  • Manage your followers
    Who is following you? Who is not following you back?  Here you can see what is going on with your follows and followers. If you see a lot of fluctuation in your Twitter numbers this can be a good tool to help get to the bottom of why people are unfollowing you.
  • Expand your interactions
    This is my favorite tool for growing your network.  You can create a list to find people who are like you, based on Twitter suggestions. You can set it to find people who are like someone you follow, so you can find an influencer and then easily find more people like them. You can follow the people your friends are talking to, or people who are mutual friends.  This makes it very easy to target your networking to people who are likely to be interested in you.

Set yourself a goal to increase the size of your engagement base list every day and watch your Twitter network grow!

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